New Vehicle Technologies Double Repair Bills for Minor Collisions

AAA finds safety systems can add an extra $3,000 in repair costs.

New vehicle safety technology offers many safety benefits, but can cost twice as much to repair following a collision, according to new research from AAA. Even minor incidents that cause damage to this technology can add up to $3,000 in extra repair costs.

“Advanced safety systems are much more common today, with many coming as standard equipment, even on base models,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “It’s critical that drivers understand what technology their vehicle has, how it performs and how much it could cost to repair should something happen.”

Costly Damage:

One-in-three Americans is unable to afford an unexpected repair bill of just $500, according to previous AAA research. However, this recent study found the repair bill for a minor front or rear collision on a car with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can run as high as $5,300, almost two-and-a-half times the repair cost for a vehicle without these systems.

While actual repair costs vary by vehicle make and model, the type and location of the sensor and where the work is performed, AAA’s research determined typical cost ranges for ADAS repairs. These costs are in addition to any 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

Windshield damage is especially common, with more than 14.5 million replacement annually. Many safety systems rely on cameras positioned behind the windshield that require calibration 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 about $1,500, which can be as much as three times the amount to replace a windshield on a car without the technology.

Finding a Repair Shop:

Not all repair shops are able to repair or replace ADAS technologies. Simply replacing sensors is relatively straightforward and can be performed by most automotive technicians. However, to restore the system to the proper operation it must be calibrated, which requires special training, tools and information.

Before having a vehicle repaired, AAA recommends drivers verify whether a facility is able to properly repair and calibrate the damaged system(s), and request proof of the work once complete.

Consumer Education:

As technology continues to evolve, drivers need to be better educated and more aware of their vehicle’s capabilities. This includes understanding how the vehicle systems work and knowing how much repairs may cost if systems are damaged.

Drivers should also review their automotive insurance policy regularly to ensure they have appropriate coverage to cover the cost of repairs for any damage to ADAS systems and that deductibles are manageable to minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

For additional details on this study, visit Newsroom.AAA.com.

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