New Technology = Expensive Repairs

New Technology = Expensive Repairs

New car technology can be expensive to repair
New car technologies can add an extra $3,000 to repair bills
All Regions
Lindsay Kensy

Automakers continue to race toward a self-driving future, adding a multitude of high-tech safety systems aimed at preventing crashes. These advanced driver assistance systems (also known as ADAS) are considered the building blocks toward fully automated vehicles. They’re available on many cars today: helping drivers stay in their lanes, detect vehicles in their blind spot and even help avoid a crash by applying the brakes. 

But what happens if one of these high-tech vehicles is involved in even a minor collision? Or, more likely, gets a chip in the windshield during a daily commute? Does an increase in technology equal an increase in repair costs?

AAA evaluated three popular vehicle models equipped with the latest technology to understand the costs of repairing these systems. To “see” the world around them, these vehicles rely on sophisticated cameras and sensors in bumpers, side-view mirrors and behind windshields. If damaged, not only do these components have to be replaced, they must also be recalibrated. This type of specialized repair can add up to an additional $3,000 in repair costs. Windshields, one of the most common types of repairs with 14.5 million replacements annually, can cost three times more to replace on a vehicle equipped with these systems.

“Advanced safety systems are much more common today, as many come as standard equipment, even on base models,” said Steve Finch, AAA Western and Central New York’s senior vice president of automotive services. “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 faced with repairs, it is important to select a facility that is equipped to handle these types of systems. Replacing sensors and cameras is relatively straight-forward and can be performed by most mechanics. However, the calibration needed to return ADAS to full operation is a specialized task requiring special information, training, tools and facilities. It is important to verify the facility selected is able to properly repair and recalibrate the damaged system, and AAA recommends requesting proof of the work once complete. As vehicle technology continues to evolve, AAA recognizes the importance of keeping its members informed and is committed to conducting meaningful research to help consumers in their decisions regarding their vehicle.  

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