Your high-tech car may lead to high-cost repairs

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Driver beware – those new vehicle technologies that assist people behind the wheel can lead to unexpectedly high repair costs in the event of an accident – in fact, almost twice the cost of repairs to vehicles without the systems, according to the American Automobile Association. 

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS, include tasks like automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and others. Many are located behind windshields, bumpers and door mirrors. 

If you’re involved in a minor accident, fixing damaged ADAS components can be as high as $5,000, due to the cost of sensors and the highly specific calibration requirements to get the systems to properly work. 

“Advanced safety features are now coming as standard equipment on many new vehicles, including base models,” said North Dakota AAA spokesman Gene LaDoucer. “It’s important that drivers understand what technology their vehicle has, how it performs and how much it could cost to repair should something happen.” 

For the vehicles in AAA’s study, the repair bill for a minor front or rear collision on a car with ADAS can run as high as $5,300, almost two and half times the repair cost for a vehicle without these systems. 

Windshield damage is especially common, with more than 14.5 million replacements annually. Many safety systems rely on cameras positioned behind the windshield that require recalibration when the glass is replaced. In addition, some automakers require the use of factory glass that meets strict standards for optical clarity. 

Replacing a windshield on a vehicle equipped with a camera behind the glass typically costs approximately $1,500, which can be as much as three times the amount to replace the windshield on a car without the technology. 

Windshields are not the only area vulnerable to damage that could result in a costly repair or replacement. Vehicles with ADAS may also have radar, camera and ultrasonic sensors located in or behind the front and rear bumpers or bodywork, as well as built into the side mirrors. These parts can easily be damaged when pulling out of a garage, hitting a mailbox or bumping into other objects. 

Many variables such as the vehicle make and model, the type and location of the sensor and where the work is performed can affect ADAS repair costs. AAA’s research determined the ranges listed below for typical ADAS repair expenses. Note these are costs over and above the normal bodywork required following a collision. 

  • Front radar sensors used with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control systems: $900 to $1,300 

  • Rear radar sensors used with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert systems: $850 to $2,050 

  • Front camera sensors used with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keeping systems (does not include the cost of a replacement windshield): $850 to $1,900 

  • Front, side mirror or rear camera sensors used with around-view systems: $500 to $1,100 

  • Front or rear ultrasonic sensors used with parking assist systems: $500 to $1,300 

You can read more about the AAA research here.

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