LEXINGTON, Ky. – According to new research from AAA, vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and others, can cost twice as much to repair following a collision due to expensive sensors and their calibration requirements.
With much of the technology found behind windshields, bumpers and door mirrors, even minor incidents can add up to $3,000 in extra repair costs. With one-in-three Americans unable to afford even $500 in unexpected repairs, AAA strongly urges consumers to consider the potential repair costs of these advanced systems as well as perform an insurance policy review.
“Advanced safety systems are much more common today, with many coming as standard equipment, even on base models,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, manager, public and government affairs, AAA Blue Grass. “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.”
Previous AAA testing has shown that ADAS offers many safety benefits. However, minor vehicle damage that affects these systems may be inevitable. For the vehicles in AAA’s study, the repair bill for a minor front or rear collision on a car with ADAS ran as high as $5,300, almost two-and-a-half times the repair cost for a vehicle without these systems.
Windshield damage is especially common, with more than 14.5 million replacements across the country annually. Many safety systems rely on cameras positioned behind the windshield that require re-calibration when the glass is replaced. In addition, some automakers require the use of factory glass that meets strict standards for optical clarity. Typical cost of replacing a windshield on a vehicle equipped with a camera behind the glass is approximately $1,500, or as much as three times the amount to replace the windshield on a car without the technology.
“It is not unusual for windshields to get chipped or cracked, especially for drivers who commute on a daily basis,” continued Weaver Hawkins. “This may be an eyesore, but when it falls in the line of sight of a camera or the driver, it becomes a safety issue that needs immediate attention by a facility qualified to work on these systems.”
Kentucky law requires insurance companies to waive the deductible on windshield replacement for those who carry comprehensive coverage on their vehicles in an effort to facilitate timely replacement when necessary. However, when repair costs surpass deductibles, motorists can expect to find themselves opening their wallets for a windshield repair.
But 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. While most drivers may not find themselves in a collision, these parts can easily be damaged when pulling out of a garage or bumping into 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 that these numbers are for costs over and above the normal bodywork required following a collision.
Repairing a damaged ADAS
Once a motorist finds that an ADAS has been damaged and requires repair, there are key factors to consider when selecting a repair facility. Simply replacing the sensors of driver assistance systems is relatively straightforward and can be performed by most mechanics.
However, to restore the system to proper operation, it must also be calibrated, which requires special training, tools and information. Before having a vehicle repaired, AAA recommends that vehicle owners verify whether the facility is able to properly repair and calibrate the damaged system(s), and request proof of the work once complete.
“As technology continues to evolve, drivers need to be better educated and more aware of their vehicle’s capabilities,” Weaver Hawkins sums up. “This includes understanding how the vehicle systems work as well as how much repairs may cost if damaged.”
AAA recommends motorists review their insurance policies regularly to ensure they have the appropriate coverage to cover the cost of repairs for any damage and that deductibles are manageable to minimize out-of-pocket expenses.
About the Study
For this study, AAA evaluated three top-selling models in popular categories. The vehicle models were selected from AAA’s 2018 Your Driving Costs study and include a small sport utility vehicle, a medium sedan and a full-size pickup truck. To establish repair part types and costs, all replacement parts discussed are original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components charged at their suggested list prices.
To establish mechanical labor costs, a national average customer pay rate was determined based on data from National Auto Body Research as well as, and rounded to the nearest whole dollar amount. Labor rates used do not include state or local taxes, shop supplies fees or hazardous materials disposal charges. To establish repair times, data was obtained from CCC Estimating (Certified Collateral Corporation), Mitchell1 ProDemand, Safelite, Inc. and Nissan, Ford and Toyota dealer repair facilities. Full methodology is available at newsroom.aaa.com.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 600,000 members in Kentucky. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.aaa.com.
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