Totalling a car.

This is a situation a friend of mine CLAIMED he saw on a gameshow. I’m not sure I believe him, but it’s sparked my curiousity anyway.

You have just bought a $15,000 dollar car. You are given the following challenge: Total your car with a sledge hammer in one minute. If you do, you get a $60,000 Mercedes. If you don’t manage to total it, however, the repairs come out of your own pocket.

Is it possible to gdo $15,000 dollars worth of damage to a car that quickly? What’s the best way to go about it?

Oh, and if anyone can point me to the gameshow, that would be nice, too.

Are you allowed to open the hood first? I think that you would want to concentrate on parts of the engine first because they are expensive to fix. Next, try to destroy the middle of the dashboard and any electronic components with one blow. Then give one blow to each body panel so that they all have to be replaced. I don’t know if that will do it but that is the only way I can think of.

Don’t take the suckers way and smash the windshield, headlights etc. because they are pretty cheap and easy to replace.

Point the car at a brick wall, or anything else suitably destructive. Put car in drive and wedge the accelerator down with the sledge hammer, vacate the car prior to impact.

There’s a point scale that insurance companies use for deciding if a car is totalled.

If you get the airbags to deploy somehow that is a huge number of points. If you think you’ve got it in you try to dent the frame near the front doors, if the structural integrity of the frame is damaged IIRC that is a totalled car in all states.

Who gets to decide the value of the damage? It seems like the gameshow would have an incentive to play with the numbers. Also, who decides what quality of repair would be acceptable? Replacing a dented body panel would generally be the most professional and most expensive method, but a lot of shops would expect to fill it with putty. Working as fast has humanly possible, in 60 seconds maybe you could deliver 20-30 sledge hammer blows. I dunno if I could do $500 to $800 in damage with every blow. Airbags are very expensive to replace, but I don’t think you could easily set them off with a hammer.

More than likely if this was in a game show it would be very strictly laid out in whatever papers you sign when you go on the show.

If they just left it open with the phrase “total a car” then they’d be in an actionable position if you were able to reach the criteria commonly used to classify a car “totalled” and they refused to pay out.

I’m not going to look for cites right now, but this is indeed a common gameshow challenge.

So, what kind of results happen in this very common test? Do a lot of people succeed?

Sledge hammer? One minute? Here’s where you go:

Step 1: Roof panel. Crease or puncture it. Replacement involves removal I installation of all glass and about 10 hours of labor.
Step 2: Both quarter panels (rear fender) Deliver severe dents on each near the rear bumper, door lock pillar and roof panel. Each quarter panel can cost around $900, replacement of both entails at least 20 hours of labor.
Step 3: Windshield and headlights, other light clusters & glass as time permits.
Step 4: Sharp dents in remaining body panels
Step 5: Smack the dash for all you’re worth.
Step 6: Take a few good whacks in the engine compartment–don’t try to break the motor, your time is best spent damaging a high number of small components. If you’re really brave, break open the battery and splash acid around the engine compartment.
Maybe a whack or two at the wheel hubs–just damage them.

Generally speaking, paint/body work will cost about $40/hr and mechanical is about $80.

If the interior is big enough you might be able to get a good swing at the dash–this is a good thing. Damage the airbags if possible–they run about $1,000 each. As a rule of thumb, you only need to do about $11-$12,000 in damage to toal the car by insurance standards.

I can’t imagine a game show succeeding (here in the U.S., anyway) where if the contestent loses, he or she is that much worse off then when they started. Who would play the game if there was a good chance of leaving with thousands of dollars of damage to your car and nothing to show for it?

Me, for one. :slight_smile:

Yeesh, has nobody ever scene this “stunt” before? Does nobody here watch tv? Maybe the OP should’ve posted this in Cafe Society instead…

The contestant is usually given the option of going ahead with the challenge. If they win they win, if they don’t, well, you takes your chances. Also, often times the gameshow will provide the car; the challenge simply being to destroy it.

Ok, alot of people haven’t seen it (is anything like this on TV in the USA?)…and you have.

So, do people win/succeed!? What happens?

Well, I’m in Canada but I get most American tv. Anyway, to my knowledge, there are no gameshows based on this premise. I’d say it’s more common to see this challenge put forth by a late night tv show. Also, I’ve seen variations of this done as a fundraiser for college frats, etc.

As to how often someone wins…I’d have to say not often.

There was one from a few years ago where a family was given the challenge of smashing out all the windows in their house with a baseball in some alotted time. If they succeeded they get their windows replaced and a new car, trip, etc. If they failed…suckers!