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Q: Wear&Tear versus Accident damage to Shocks

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Hi, I hit a pothole with low profile 19 inch wheels on my BMW 325I coupe at 100km/h owing to poor Road conditions in South Africa.

The impact was so hard that my rim cracked. I felt my alignment deteriorate so I asked BMW to assist. They informed me that my front shock is leaking.

I filed an insurance claim and the "inspectors" insist that the leak is due to wear and tear and not the impact.

Please help me understand how they can differentiate between the two (wear and tear versus pothole impact) because I'm certain the leak was caused by the impact.

Thank you in advance.

My car has 101000 km.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi there: Shocks and struts are designed t...

Hi there:

Shocks and struts are designed to wear out slowly over a designated period of time. As they lose pressure (for gas filled shocks like your BMW has), there are wearing indicator marks on the strut housing that indicate that they have worn out slowly over time (which is referred to as wear and tear). During an accident, when the shock or strut's seal is "popped" it is very easy to notice the damage that was caused by a severe impact. In some cases, it can be a judgement call, but the signs of wear and tear vs. accident damage as you've described are pretty easy for a professional mechanic to determine.

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