Iowans who drive cars with advanced technology are finding they’re much more expensive to repair. A study shows cars equipped with “advanced driver assistance systems” may cost twice as much to fix after crashes or even fender-benders.

Beth Mosher, at AAA-Iowa, says “high tech” features are important in preventing crashes, but they’re not cheap to replace after a wreck.

“Front radar sensors used with automatic braking, that can cost anywhere from $900 to $1,300,” Mosher says. “The rear radar sensors, used with blind spot monitoring and the rear traffic alert systems, those cost anywhere from $850 to just over $2,000.”

Sensors, cameras and other devices are being embedded in bumpers, side mirrors and windshields. Mosher says even minor damage might need to be fixed right away.

“Something that people think, ‘Oh, I’ve got a small chip there, I’ll get to it when I can,’ but that could really distort the camera sensor that’s behind that windshield,” Mosher says. “It could become a necessary repair instead of just something that we’ll get to when we’re able to.”

Car owners should make sure their mechanics are qualified to calibrate advanced driving systems. The study shows one in three Americans can’t afford an un-expected car repair bill, even as low as $500. Mosher says AAA has several recommendations for car owners:

  • Learn about repair costs when shopping for a car
  • Discuss them with your insurance agent
  • Start saving money for emergency repairs

Thanks to Michelle O’Neill, WVIK, Rock Island