Nowadays, many automakers are making advanced safety features more accessible to consumers by offering them as standard equipment on their vehicles. But a new study from AAA points out a potential downside to these new technologies: They could cost you big at the repair shop.
Vehicles with features such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring can cost twice as much to repair after a collision, the study says. The added cost reflects not only the expensive sensors these vehicles have, but also the recalibration needed for the systems to properly function again. Repair bills for minor collisions to the front and rear can total as much as $5,300, which AAA says is almost two and a half times the repair cost for a vehicle without these technologies.
The exact costs vary depending on the location of the compromised sensors. It can cost an extra $900 to $1,300 to repair front radar sensors associated with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control systems, AAA says. Rear radar sensors, used for blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert systems, can set you back $850 to $2,050. And the costs pile up when you factor in camera sensors located throughout the vehicle. This graphic gives the full breakdown.
To come up with these numbers, AAA took data from the top-selling models in three popular categories: a small sport utility vehicle, a medium sedan, and a full-size pickup. Note that these costs are just for the safety systems; they do not include normal repairs to the bodywork.
Even if your vehicle isn’t involved in a collision, you could still end up paying. When you replace a cracked windshield on a car that has cameras behind it, you’ll typically pay around $1,500, or up to three times as much as you would fork over without the feature. That’s because the cameras need to be recalibrated for the new glass. AAA recommends that drivers review their insurance policies on a regular basis to ensure they have enough coverage in the event of a collision.
Though we don’t believe the study’s findings outweigh the potentially life-saving benefits advanced safety features offer, they are worth considering—especially if you don’t like being surprised by auto shop repair bills.
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