Sometimes it pays to own an old vehicle

By Jordan Arseneault
Toronto, Ontario — September 26, 2018 — Finding the right car can be a complicated process at the best of times. Now, technological gadgets found standard in most new vehicles only adds to the homework consumers must do before purchasing a vehicle.
Most car owners could list off all the features that can be found in their vehicle, but what they might struggle to explain is how much those features cost to replace.  
“Some new cars have four to six forward facing parking sensors in just the bumper cover alone, which can cost upwards of $500 each to replace” said Corey Carlaw, general manager of Carlaw CSN Collision Centres in Peterborough. 
“A little bump in a parking lot could be over $1,000 in two sensors alone. It takes the average repair of a bumper cover, that I would ballpark somewhere between $800 and $1,200, and just blows that number out of the water.” 
It’s not just the parts themselves that are running up the cost of repairs, consumers are now dealing with increased labour prices associated with taking apart and reassembling new and more complex vehicles. Vehicles are making a steady transition into computers with each passing year.  
“Outside of the basic and most common parking sensors in the bumper, there is also forward collision avoidance and active cruise control sensors,” said Carlaw. 
“For example a glass orb in a Jeep Cherokee was $2,500 on its own, that’s not calibrated or installed, not to mention the difficulty of getting that part.  Because it’s a $2,500 part that is damaged so infrequently, dealerships aren’t very intrigued in stocking that part.”
The result of these types of repairs is extended wait times, which creates added expenses such as rental cars fees. A $1,200 repair that might have been paid out of pocket now becomes a $4,000 fix that the average consumer just can’t pay for themselves. 
Being able to find an affordable vehicle has now evolved into so much more than the original price, as even the smallest pieces of technology can turn bumper scraps and mirror damage into unaffordable repairs. 
“You could have an average family that buys a used car to save money, not knowing that they have sensors in the bumper of the car,” said Carlaw. 
“Maybe they’re in a parking lot and back into a car, and now they have to take what little disposable income they have into a bodyshop hoping for a $400 to $500 estimate. With the sensors that estimate could quickly reach $2,000, which means they basically can’t afford it out of pocket and are forced to go through insurance at that point.” 
“The general consumer doesn’t really understand that when they buy a vehicle, and that’s a problem,” he said. 
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