Getting into a fender bender used to be an irritating but manageable hassle. More often than not, a cracked bumper cover or a few scrapes on the paint weren’t egregious enough to take a vehicle out of commission, and one could simply ignore the cosmetic damage until it was convenient, or financially expedient, to get the blemishes taken care of at the closest body shop.
For any vehicle built over the course of the past five years, however, technology has dramatically changed the calculus when it comes to quickie car repair. The emergence of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) — that phalanx of sensors, cameras and radar emitters that rule the semi-autonomous roost — means that the “good enough” world of inexpensive aftermarket parts and affordable third-party labor is now in the (electronic) review mirror.
Replacement sensors to feed data to a vehicle’s various safety systems are a hidden tax on body repairs for modern automobiles. Even more stealthy are the costs associated with the expertise required to properly calibrate those systems once they’re back in action, combined with the requirement that body panels and glass meet exacting, and expensive, standards for everything to function up to factory spec. Read about the ADAS consequences to both your wallet and on-road safety in this feature for Inside Hook.