The cost of collision repair is one of the top elements discussed between the auto body shop, insurance company and car owner.  It seems that the cost is increasing more with every year and we can’t help but wonder why that is.

The unfortunate fact is that newer cars are more expensive to fix then older cars because of the hidden safety fetures. 

Lets use windshield repair as an example. What used to be a simple $150 repair, can now be over $1,500. Yes, read that correctly that its nearly two thousand dollars. A dealership recently quoted $1,400 for a replacement windshield on a 2017 Subaru Forester compared to Safelite AutoGlass, a national auto glass repair and replacement chain, still at $910. Both estimates are considerably more expensive then previous years when it was only a few hundred dollars. So why does a newer car cost almost $2000 to replace a windshield? The answer is because of all the safety technology hiding around and inside the newer vehicles.

Illustration illuminating various ADAS-related repair costs on a car.

On a Subaru equipped with EyeSight which is an complete package of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that includes forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), and adaptive cruise control (ACC). What makes EyeSight work are the many components inside the system, including two cameras that help ACC and other convenience and advanced safety systems, such as AEB, calculate the distance from the car to objects ahead. Windshield glass clarity is vital to the function of these cameras and sensors, and that’s more complex to make.

The sensors must also be recalibrated by experienced technicians using specific equipment which means additional labor and time. In this day and age, almost all new cars and trucks for sale have a multiple ADAS features that help keep us safe. Despite the fact that modern vehicles are equipped with ADAS which result in fewer accidents, they are more expensive to repair. For example, rear-end collision rates in vehicles with both FCW and AEB were 46 percent lower than those without these systems, according to a recent study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor.

The study showed that lane departure collisions dropped 21 percent for cars with LDW and lane-keeping assistance (LKA) and that having a backup camera and other systems, including reverse AEB with rear cross-traffic alert, reduced backup collisions by 81 percent, among other safety findings.

When a vehicle is involved in a minor accident at low speed (less then 15 miles an hour), it is pretty common for these ADAS components to become damaged or misaligned. The safety sensors that convey vehicle information to the ADAS systems typically are placed in easily damaged areas like mirrors, bumpers or other external areas that allow sensing the perimeter of the car. This is why a minor fender bender or a cracked windshield can become a major expense.

Most forward-facing cameras used for ADAS are mounted to the glass in or around the rearview mirror, and those cameras don’t know where they are in relation to the windshield. Even a minute movement at the windshield could cause a miscalculation of the system several hundred feet ahead at highway speeds. If you are relying on the system to auto brake or even match the speed of the vehicle ahead, a misaligned ADAS system could actually cause a collision instead of preventing one.

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Why This Is Important For You To Know.

Not all collision repair shops are qualified to fix ADAS-equipped vehicles, and every new make and model has varying updates or features which requires constant research and checking in with what the manufacturer recommends. Safety advances has been evolving at a faster rate than some repair shops can keep up with in terms of new equipment and training, so selecting the right auto repair center is paramount to your safety. You should confirm that your body shop follows OEM repair procedures like we do here at Telesis Collision  Center so you know that the necessary steps are performed some non OEM shops may exclude. Estimates may be more costly ay an OEM certified shop, but rest assured your repair will be accurate and safe.

As repair costs rise, more cars declared total losses because of the cost of repairing them. So don’t be surprised if what appears to be minor damage might result in you needing to shop for a new vehicle.

Collision Repairs Are More Complicated

The most common repairs are for bumpers, fenders, and doors, and the bumpers. These areas in particular, tend to be the home of quite a few safety sensors that can be damaged or misaligned even in a low-speed collision.

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Not that long ago, we could fix minor bumper damage by filling scratches and dents but now many manufacturers and the safety sensors or requiring a total removal and replacement. This is because body-filler and fresh paint add additional thickness that can alter or even impair vehicle sensors. As you can imagine, replacement costs more than it does to repair.

Headlights and tail lights are moving towards really complex, even intelligent LEDS. They are now very expensive to replace, some even costing over $1,000 per light. Damage to headlight and taillight assemblies and side mirrors can be similarly expensive. Side mirrors now have all kinds of technology and indicators, so what used to be a $50-$100 mirrors can also cost hundreds to replace.

The average collision repair just a few years ago was between $1,350 and $2,500. Now it is not at all uncommon to see repairs costing $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the vehicle.

Then there are other expensive parts now more common on new vehicles, including large-diameter wheels with low-profile tires that can be more easily damaged by potholes. LED headlights and taillights are becoming more common on cars as consumer demand rises, and repairing them can run into the multiple thousands of dollars for some luxury SUVs.

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Some vehicles also require sensor calibrations as a part of wheel alignments so that adaptive cruise control sensors can work properly.

We asked several automakers about the extra costs related to collision damage in ADAS-equipped vehicles. They all stressed the importance of increasing safety via new technology.

Our technicians are all OEM trained, and research every single repair every single day. This means that our technicians have received the highest level of training and know what it means to repair your car the right way. We are always checking OEM repair procedures and understand what it takes to give you the best possible repair out there!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (661)-952-4732. We can provide you with a free estimate or a free online quote! Just click any of the buttons below! We look forward to hearing from you!

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