AAA: New Vehicle Technologies Double Repair Bills for Minor Collisions

Safety systems can add $3,000 in repair costs

PORTLAND, Ore., – 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. 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.

ADAS Repair Costs

With one-in-three Americans unable to afford an unexpected repair bill of just $500, AAA strongly urges consumers to review their insurance policies and consider the potential repair costs of these driver assistance systems.

“Prior AAA research shows ADAS systems offer many safety benefits, and these systems are becoming increasingly common. Many are included as standard equipment even on base models. So it’s critical that drivers understand what technology their vehicle has, how it performs, and how much it would cost to fix it if something happens,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

Many advanced safety systems are housed in windshields, bumpers and door mirrors where minor vehicle damage that affect these systems can often occur. 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 in the U.S. 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.

Cost of ADAS repairs:

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. 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.

  • 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

ADAS Repair Costs

ADAS often require specialized repairs

Once a driver finds that an ADAS has been damaged, 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 be calibrated, which requires special training, tools and information. Before having a vehicle repaired, AAA recommends that drivers 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. This includes understanding how the vehicle systems work as well as the cost of repairs. AAA recommends drivers review their insurance policy 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:

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 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities 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.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 59 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

 

AAA news releases, high resolution images, broadcast-quality video, fact sheets and podcasts are available on the AAA NewsRoom at NewsRoom.AAA.com.

For more info go www.AAA.com. AAA Oregon/Idaho provides more than 800,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 59 million motorists in North America.