Minor Collision, Major Bill: The Truth About ADAS Repairs
Minor Collision Major Bill The Truth About Adas Repairs

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have become increasingly common in modern vehicles, offering features like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control. These technologies aim to enhance safety and convenience for drivers, but they also come with a hidden cost: higher repair expenses after a collision, even a minor one.

Key Takeaways

  • Even minor accidents can result in very costly repairs for vehicles with ADAS
  • Repairing/replacing ADAS sensors and cameras and recalibrating the systems accounts for a significant portion (over 1/3) of total repair costs
  • What used to be simple repairs now require expensive high-tech components and specialized labor
  • Consumers need to be aware of the high potential repair costs when purchasing ADAS-equipped vehicles

How ADAS Components Impact Collision Repair Costs

The sensors, cameras, and radar systems that enable ADAS features are highly sensitive and precisely calibrated. When a vehicle equipped with ADAS is involved in a collision, these components often require replacement and recalibration to ensure they continue to function correctly. As a result, the cost of collision repair for ADAS-equipped vehicles can be significantly higher than for traditional vehicles.

According to a recent study by AAA, the cost of replacing ADAS components can account for up to 37.6% of the total repair cost after a minor collision. For example, the average cost of replacing ADAS components in a minor front collision repair was found to be $1,540, or 13.2% of the average total repair estimate of $11,708.

ADAS Component Average Replacement Cost
Front radar sensors $500 – $1,300
Front camera sensors (excluding windshield) $600 – $800
Mirror-mounted side cameras $740 – $1,600
Windshield camera sensor (including calibration) $900 – $1,200
Front or rear ultrasonic sensors $300 – $1,000


Minor Fender Benders Major Repair Bills The High Cost Of Fixing Vehicles

The Importance of Proper ADAS Calibration

Replacing damaged ADAS components is only part of the equation. To ensure that these advanced systems continue to function as designed, they must be properly calibrated after repair or replacement. Calibration involves precisely aligning the sensors and cameras to ensure they accurately detect and interpret their surroundings.

The process of ADAS calibration can be complex and time-consuming, requiring specialized equipment and training. Some calibrations can be performed in a shop, while others require a dynamic process involving driving the vehicle under specific conditions. The cost of ADAS calibration can range from several hundred to over a thousand dollars, depending on the vehicle and the extent of the repair.

Failing to properly calibrate ADAS components after a repair can lead to serious consequences. If a sensor or camera is even slightly misaligned, it can cause the system to malfunction or fail to respond when needed, potentially leading to an accident. As such, it is essential to have ADAS-equipped vehicles repaired by trained technicians who understand the intricacies of these advanced systems.

The Role of Insurance in ADAS Repair Costs

As the prevalence of ADAS-equipped vehicles continues to grow, insurance companies are grappling with the increased cost of repairs. In Washington state, where labor costs are higher than the national average and there is a concentration of technology companies and early adopters of ADAS-equipped vehicles, the impact on insurance premiums is particularly notable.

Mid-Columbia Insurance, serving customers throughout Washington state, has seen firsthand the challenges associated with ADAS repair costs. “We’ve seen a significant increase in the cost of collision repairs for vehicles equipped with ADAS,” said Gary Paulson, the owner of Mid-Columbia Insurance. “It’s important for our customers to understand that while these systems can enhance safety, they also come with higher repair costs in the event of a collision.”

Insurance companies are adapting to the changing landscape by adjusting premiums based on the presence of ADAS features in insured vehicles. Some insurers offer discounts for vehicles equipped with certain ADAS technologies, recognizing their potential to reduce accidents. However, the overall impact on premiums depends on a variety of factors, including the driver’s location, driving record, and the specific ADAS features in their vehicle.

What Washington State Drivers Can Do

For drivers in Washington state, understanding the potential costs associated with repairing ADAS-equipped vehicles is essential. When purchasing a new vehicle, it is important to consider not only the upfront cost of ADAS features but also the potential long-term expenses in the event of a collision.

If you own an ADAS-equipped vehicle, there are several steps you can take to minimize repair costs and ensure your advanced systems continue to function correctly:

  • Choose a reputable collision repair facility with technicians trained in ADAS repair and calibration
  • Request the use of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts for ADAS repairs, as aftermarket parts may not meet the same quality and performance standards
  • Ensure that your insurance policy provides adequate coverage for ADAS-related repairs
  • Stay informed about the latest developments in ADAS technology and repair procedures

By understanding the complexities and costs associated with repairing ADAS-equipped vehicles, Washington state drivers can make informed decisions about their vehicle purchases and insurance coverage. As these advanced technologies become more common, it is crucial for consumers, repair facilities, and insurance companies to work together to ensure that ADAS-equipped vehicles continue to provide the safety and convenience they promise.

Mid-Columbia Insurance
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Source: AAA 2023 December Report Cost of ADAS Repair