Are New Cars Too Expensive To Fix?

from the the-price-of-all-those-gadgets.. dept

With all the expensive safety equipment, electronics, sensors and gadgets in new cars, it’s getting to the point where it’s increasingly less reasonable to fix them if they’ve been in an accident. The article includes an example story of a relatively new BMW that was flipped: despite a lack of serious structural damage, the car was considered totaled by the insurance company, in large part due to the cost of replacing all six airbags (including the sensors and pyrotechnics) that went off in the accident. Even fancier lighting is causing problems. Xenon headlights have become quite popular among thieves – but can cost thousands of dollars to replace, especially when additional body damage is done by the thief. Some are even saying that we’re creating “disposable” cars that are simply too expensive to repair when things go wrong.

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Comments on “Are New Cars Too Expensive To Fix?”

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thecaptain says:


The problem is this whole “planned obsolescense” deal that execs buy into.

We’ve created a whole disposible economy.

My take on it is that if a car was made to last a LOT longer, I’d be willing to pay more (even take longer finance terms) to buy it…as it is, most cars won’t last beyond 4-5 years without extremely anal measures…

But execs think this is a losing proposition, its not that they WOULDN’T make money…they wouldn’t make MORE MONEY…its that “MORE MONEY” that causes the problem.

Greed, it does a body bad.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: disposible - BS

The Captain is separated from reality. The longevity of a car isn’t its age, it’s the miles put on it. And cars on the road today last longer than cars in the past, quality is higher, pollutants are lower. Even Consumer Reports would agree that those evil car executives are putting better, longer lasting cars on the road today than just 10 years ago.

Let’s separate issues with high-tech gadgetry that’s expensive to repair (the issue in the article) with general car reliability, which is higher, and safety, which is WAY higher (and part of the reason for the increase in repair costs).

rax (user link) says:


Airbags have always been an expensive component of safety system in most cars. However, with more and more cars equipped with airbags “standard”, it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out how to reduce manufacturing costs.

This has happened with almost every feature on a car over the past 100 years. Seatbelts, collapsible steering columns, crumple zones.. you name it all started out a major safety improvements, and ended up as standard safety features.

What really drives up the cost of repairing a wrecked vehicle is the type of tools and experience required to work on these newer, more complicated systems (ie Labor).

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Everything has a cost benefit curve. They could make every car on the road equivalent to an M1 Abrahms chassis and your chances of dying in a typical traffic accident would drop to negligible levels. Plus it would be extremely cool. However, the cost of owning those vehicles plus the increased cost of the needed infrastructure upgrades to support them would be out of reach for the vast majority of people.

So too the increased cost of the gadgets, plus the insurance costs that get passed down (total $40-odd-k of Beamer and somebody’s eating it, and it ain’t your friendly insurance company) plus the increased cost of labor when they actually fix the stuff, means you wind up with a)cars that are really safe, but fairly expensive, b)cars that are fairly safe and moderately priced, c)cars of dubious safety that are very cheap, i.e. used piles of rust that somehow pass inspection. Those of us who can, buy the level of safety and conveniance we can. But the net effect is, we price a lot of people out of safer cars than they’d otherwise be in. Especially since the auto industry (Motto:’Why do they need seatbelts AND airbags?’) isn’t giving away anything without getting sued or ordered to by the government.

Charles W. says:

No Subject Given

Just to add to your list of expensive parts. ECM (Computer that runs the car) approx $700 for Dodge. Hood on a Dodge Viper $12,000, Wiring Harnes for a Dodge Viper $5,000, Dually Fender for Dodge 3500 $1,200, Rebuilt diesel for a Dodge truck $11,000. Power/Heated mirrors for a Dodge truck $600 for a set.

-Charles W.

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