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Advanced driver assistance tech can more than double your repair costs

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in new cars can multiply collision repair costs, according to AAA research. Replacing damaged cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and other equipment from even minor accidents can be surprisingly expensive. Even after repair, damaged systems require calibration.

The AAA study reported that repairing a vehicle equipped with driver assistance tech after a low-speed front or rear-end collision can cost as much as $5,300, more than twice the cost for a comparable vehicle without ADAS.

You might be OK with a windshield with minor scratches or dings, but safety systems that require optical clarity may not function correctly with those imperfections. Windshield replacement bills for cars with ADAS that uses cameras behind the glass can cost three times as much as a windshield for a tech-free vehicle.

“Advanced safety systems are much more common today, with many coming as standard equipment, even on base models,” John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, said. “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.”

The AAA determined ADAS repair cost ranges for common safety systems. Costs can vary based on vehicle make and model, sensor type and location, and the repair facility. The costs below are in addition to regular bodywork repair charges.

  • Front radar for automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control: $900 to $1,300
  • Rear radar for blindspot monitoring and rear cross traffic alerts: $850 to $2,050
  • Front cameras for automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, and lane departure alerts: $850 to $1,900
  • Front, side, or rear cameras for 360-degree views: $500 to $1,100 (each)
  • Front or rear ultrasound for parking assistance: $500 to $1,300

Automobile insurance policies may not always cover full suites of electronic systems. The AAA suggests that drivers not only learn how their vehicle ADAS systems work but also check that their insurance policies provide ample protection. If your normal driving routes result in frequent windshield dings, for example, it might be a good idea to forego the initial savings of high deductible coverage.

Hopefully, you will never be involved in a vehicle collision, but, as the AAA pointed out, ADAS systems can need repair or replacement from even minor bumps such as backing into a mailbox or hitting an object in a garage.

The AAA’s ADAS study was based on repair costs for current-year top-selling models in three categories, in each case equipped with all available ADAS tech:

Small SUV: 2018 Nissan Rogue
Medium-sized sedan: 2018 Toyota Camry
Full-size pickup truck: 2018 Ford F-150

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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