Why Are Collision Repairs So Expensive on Newer Cars?

Why Are Collision Repairs So Expensive
on Newer Cars?

Modern vehicles are safer than ever, thanks to advanced sensors and cutting-edge technology. While many drivers appreciate the luxury and convenience that come with these amazing advancements, there’s a downside: higher repair costs after an accident. The rise in repair expenses, which experts predict will average an excess of $5,000 by the end of the year, has also become one of the main reasons for soaring insurance premiums. 

The Complexities of Modern Vehicles

Packed with complex and luxurious features, new SUVs, pickup trucks, and electric vehicles have made seemingly simple repairs a costly affair, especially when it comes to materials that are designed to crumple to protect passengers and pedestrians. In the past, some of these materials could be repaired; today, many of them have to be replaced altogether. Safety sensors in bumpers, for example, are often damaged by even minor dings and dents. In addition, even systems that appear undamaged require careful inspection and calibration to ensure the safety features are working properly. These factors play a significant role in the rising cost of collision repairs. 

Escalating repair costs have also put an additional burden on insurance companies. As a result, insurance premiums have risen by 17% in the 12 months leading up to May. As advancements in automotive technology continue to make repairs more complex, we’ll likely continue to see insurance premiums rise in the future. 

Considerations for Electric Vehicle Repairs

Repairing electric cars and trucks has become a major concern in the automotive industry. Since these vehicles have different needs than their gas-powered counterparts, they can incur higher costs. Another concern is that fewer repair shops have the training and equipment to properly repair these vehicles. This is especially important when it comes to repairing and replacing battery packs, which require specialized tools and advanced training. 

To compound these issues, horror stories of astronomical repair costs shared on social media and in the news have put many consumers on edge. One notable example is Chris Apfelstadt’s experience with his Rivian R1T pickup truck; after a seemingly minor rear-end collision, the repair costs quickly escalated. The specialized Rivian repair center estimated the total repair cost to be $42,000, almost half the truck’s selling price. 

Despite the perception that electric vehicles are more prone to being totaled, the data reveals the reality is more complex. In 2022, for example, electric vehicles cost an average of $6,800 to repair after accidents, around $2,400 more than gasoline cars. However, the higher costs can be attributed to the fact that many electric models on the market are considered luxury vehicles. Repair costs for mainstream brands like Hyundai and Nissan were only around $800 higher than their gasoline counterparts. In the premium segment, repair costs for electric and gasoline vehicles are fairly similar, especially for models manufactured from 2018 onwards.

Fortunately, automakers are actively working on solutions to simplify electric vehicle repairs and reduce associated costs. For example, BMW uses sensors to provide crash-force data, which helps technicians identify the specific battery modules that require replacement. Ford has designed the Mustang Mach-E to allow dealers to replace damaged battery trays and transfer all components to a new tray. General Motors is also developing repair and replacement processes for damaged battery packs.

Higher Repair Costs, Better Safety Features

Although repair costs continue to rise, it’s important to realize that newer vehicles have significant advantages over older ones, especially when it comes to safety. Modern cars can withstand severe collisions and passengers can walk away safely—or even avoid accidents altogether using advanced camera and sensor systems. Ultimately, the higher repair costs are well worth the safety and security today’s vehicles offer. 

In the ever-evolving world of automotive technology, it’s essential to choose an auto body repair shop that specializes in Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) repairs and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) calibration. At Cline Collision Center, we focus on staying at the forefront of industry advancements by investing in ongoing factory training and state-of-the-art equipment. To make your repairs as simple and stress-free as possible, we also provide free estimates and complete insurance coordination. 

Whether your vehicle has minor scratches or requires extensive bodywork, our skilled technicians will give it the specialized attention it deserves. Call us today at (707) 591-9909 or schedule an appointment online!