Advancing tech drives up the cost of car repairs

Monday, June 12, 2017


The average cost of vehicle repair has increased by around 32 per cent in the past three years, as more and more cars are fitted with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).


Experts have now predicted making insurance claims for stone chips and windscreen damage could lose you your no claims bonus in the future. 


With motorists now forking out £1,678 on average to have their vehicle repaired, vehicle manufacturers are being called upon to open a dialogue with the repair industry to halt the ‘spiralling costs’. 


According to the CEO of Thatcham Research Peter Shaw, the increasing prevalence of ADAS, the use of new materials and a lack of skills are behind rising costs. 


He said: “The average repair bill has risen by 32 per cent over the last three years. This has been driven by the reparability of parts such as headlamps, increasing complexity of vehicle materials and technology and the rising cost of spare parts, influenced to some extent by currency fluctuations. Vehicle manufacturers must bring these costs under control.


“The cost for windscreen-mounted ADAS calibration spans from £0 to £700 – across car manufacturers and often across similar sensors and technology. This is unacceptable. Unless urgently addressed, these costs will challenge the current model of a no-claims bonus being unaffected y a windscreen repair or replacement.”


Windscreen replacement – often exempt on policies – can now cost up to £700 thanks to advanced driver assistance systems that are mounted and calibrated through the glass. 


For example, a new windscreen on a Ford Focus fitted with autonomous emergency braking increased by more than double and for a VW Golf it’s up by 78 per cent.


It’s estimated more than two million cars currently on UK roads are fitted with this life-saving technology.


Thomas Hudd, operations manager at the Thatcham Research Repair Technology Centre said: “The rising use of a mix of new materials in modern cars is leading to more intrusive repairs.


“This means that where we were once able to partially replace a panel, we now need to replace it in its entirety.


“This is especially true of aluminium panels, which are challenging the repair industry as it is stiffer and harder to reshape than steel.” 

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