The good news about automotive research and development is that car companies discover additional and more effective ways of saving lives and minimizing injuries on the road. These safety features have become more prevalent, as more and more car companies are offering these advanced safety features as standard equipment in their vehicles.
In fact, some of these features have now become legally mandatory. Starting in May of 2018, all new vehicles in the US must now have backup cameras. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes that once all the cars on US roads have this feature, up to 69 lives may be saved each year.
However, there’s a downside to all this. Not only do these features add to the overall cost of new cars, but they may make even minor repairs much more expensive. A minor accident may only damage your sensors, but these are as cheap to fix as you might think. The sensors aren’t just expensive to repair to begin with. They must also be recalibrated properly so that the entire safety system will work properly.
Costs of Sensor Repairs
There was a time when minor collisions only cost a few hundred dollars, and most of that is for the body work. Nowadays, such minor collisions to the front or rear can cost you up to $5,300 in repair bills. That’s 2.5 times as large as what you’d pay if you didn’t have these gizmos.
Here are some sensors needed for certain safety features, and how much it may take to repair them:
· Front camera sensors ($1,900). You need these for Automatic Emergency Braking, when the car can step on the brakes automatically when something suddenly darts in front of your vehicle. These sensors are also needed for Adaptive Cruise Control, so that it can maintain the proper distance to the car directly ahead of you. These sensors can also warn you through the Lane Departure/Keeping feature, which tells you when you’re drifting out of your lane.
· Ultrasonic sensors in the rear ($1,300). These sensors work to help you park better, as it alerts you when you get too close to other objects like the other parked cars. However, these aren’t able to quickly detect objects that are about to enter your backing path.
· Rear radar sensors ($2,050). Now these will help you with its Rear Cross Traffic Alert, as now you have a way of detecting whether other cars or people are about to get in your way when you’re on reverse. These sensors are also part of your Blind Spot Monitoring program.
· Side mirror sensors ($1,100). Again, these are also part of your Blind Spot Monitoring feature. Sometimes there are vehicles that are in your “blind spots”. These are the areas just right behind you and to the left and right. They’re hard to see from your side mirror or rearview mirror. So what happens is that you try to change lanes and you cause an accident because there’s actually a faster vehicle trying to overtake on your side.
· Front radar sensors. These work in conjunction with your front camera sensors for features such as Automatic Emergency Braking and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Note that these prices don’t even include the price of the body work just yet, and that kind of repair is common for collisions.
But even if your car wasn’t involved in a collision, you can still end up with a rather hefty repair bill. Let’s say you have a cracked windshield, but you also have cameras behind it. Replacing that car windshield may cost you up to $1,500 whereas without the cameras the bill would only have been $500 or so. That’s because the cameras will have to be recalibrated to work with the new windshield.
No one’s saying that the use of these advanced safety features is a bad tradeoff. We took the time to explain the benefits of each system to emphasize their benefits, and they’re worth the cost of repairs.
We just want to make sure you’re aware of what these repair costs are. Knowing the costs will give you the info you need to make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage in case of a collision.
Advances in recent modern technology have often been accompanied with bill shock. That phenomenon first became popular with cellphones, when people were unaware of how much their phone calls would cost them at the end of the month. But at least people learned.
So when it comes to the repair bills of advanced vehicle safety features, be aware. Know what you have to pay beforehand so you can make sure your bills are covered either by your insurance provider or by your own bank account. There’s no escaping these bills—they’re worth the price of repairs, because they can actually save your life!
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