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Car Safety Tech May Save Your Life, But Cost You in a Minor Collision

Car Safety Tech May Save Your Life, But Cost You in a Minor Collision

it's easy to get excited about new, high-tech features on modern vehicles. whether it's a rearview camera, park assist or lane departure prevention, advanced safety systems can come in handy while you're out and about in your car. but according to a new study from aaa, these technologies can turn what you think is a minor fender bender into an expensive repair.

researchers evaluated three top-selling models in different categories — the 2018 nissan rogue, 2018 toyota camry and 2018 ford f-150 — all equipped with the highest available level of advanced driver assistance systems, or adas, technology. it found that even minor incidents that cause damage to this technology can add up to $3,000 in extra repair costs when it's found behind windshields, bumpers and door mirrors.

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"basically, the cost of repairs is rising sharply because people are buying more nice things for their vehicles," michael barry, head of media relations and public affairs for the insurance information institute, told . the iii is a nonprofit consumer education organization funded by the insurance industry and is based in new york.

barry added: "what you have today in terms of cars are computers on wheels."

barry said that this tech is positive in situations where it has prevented fatal accidents. but the downside is, if you get into a fender bender and, for example, damage a rearview camera, that's a more expensive car repair.

the aaa study found these costs to be typical for adas repairs:

  • 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: $850 to $1,900
  • front, side mirror or rear camera sensors used with 360-degree camera systems: $500 to $1,100
  • front or rear ultrasonic sensors used with park assist systems: $500 to $1,300
  • windshield replacement for vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems: $1,200 to $1,600 for aftermarket glass and $1,300 to $1,650 for factory glass

the parts themselves aren't the only part of the expensive cost; replacing the sensors used by driver assistance systems is a job most mechanics can do. however, restoring the system to proper operation requires calibration, which necessitates special training, tools and information.

"we're talking about not only a very expensive replacement part, but it may require an expertise in terms of labor that is hard to find," barry said, noting that the availability of such expertise also varies based on what part of the country you're in.

before having a vehicle repaired, aaa recommends that you verify whether the facility is able to properly repair and calibrate any of your car's damaged systems, then request proof of the work once it's complete.

all of these costs add up to more expensive claims for less severe crashes, but barry said that when it comes to insurance costs, bodily harm is still the biggest expense. policies are priced to reflect risk, so while these expensive repairs may not directly affect your insurance rates, they can still cost a pretty penny when they're out of pocket.

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