AAA: New Safety Tech Effectively Doubles Cost of Minor Repairs

aaa new safety tech effectively doubles cost of minor repairs

Advanced safety tech may save your skin, but it certainly won’t spare your wallet in the event of a minor accident. According to research from the American Automobile Association, replacing and/or recalibrating the sensors needed to allow modern driving aids to function properly are severely inflating the cost of even minor repairs.

Unfortunate, considering features like blind spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking are cropping up as standard equipment on even the most affordable rides. Car ownership continues to get more expensive and there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it — with one exception.

Once again, AAA wisely urges drivers to get a handle on their car’s technology before making a purchase and definitely before they crash it.

“Advanced safety systems are much more common today, with many coming as standard equipment, even on base models,” explained 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.”

If you’re asking what’s the worst that could happen, don’t worry. AAA gave some pretty brutal examples. A broken front radar sensor, necessary for automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, can tack on an additional $900 to $1,300 to your repair bill. Rear radar sensors used with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems can tack on up to $2,050. Ultrasonic sensors used with parking assist systems can run you upwards of $1,300.

The list goes on. Busted parking cameras can set you back a grand apiece, but may set you back more if they’re used for lane monitoring, emergency braking, or adaptive cruise control. For the vehicles in AAA’s study, the repair bill for a minor front or rear collision on a car with a good amount of advanced driving aids would run as high as $5,300, almost two and half times the repair cost for a vehicle without these systems.

These aren’t the kind of repairs you want to cheap out on, either. Shoddy work or improper calibration can make these systems dangerously inaccurate, leaving someone who thought they could depend on the feature in danger of revisiting the repair shop after their adaptive cruise control fails and they rear-end someone on the highway.

The solution to all of this? Educate yourself. Figure out how the vehicle’s systems work and roughly how much repairs might set you back if something gets damaged. AAA also recommends drivers review their insurance policy routinely to ensure they have the appropriate coverage to cover the cost of repairs, and that deductibles are manageable to minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

[Image: AAA]

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  • Mtunofun1 Mtunofun1 on Oct 26, 2018

    Insurance adjuster here...those prices are accurate. The parts themselves are cheap but the labor to recalibrate those features are expensive.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Oct 27, 2018

    These things do prevent bang-ups, but there's no cure for stupid. The other day I backed out of my parking spot so quickly that I damn near hit a wall by the time the ultrasonic parking sensor noticed: it went from gray and silent to red and beeping without crossing through green and yellow first. They can protect you from being a bit inattentive, but not from being a total jackass. I felt pretty foolish. But then I read about the Tesla owner who used the "summon" feature to make his car self-drive itself back out of the garage and around a tight corner to him--without considering that there aren't sensors on the side of the car and so a tight turn backing out of the garage was inevitably going to crash the side of the car into the garage door opening. Unwarranted sense of superiority safely restored!

  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
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