As cars get more sophisticated and manufacturers compete with each other, often to do with car safety standards, the cost of repairing or replacing associated car parts is rising dramatically after an accident.
For example, the cost of an average accident repair has risen by 45% in the last decade, from £1205 to £1748, with parts accounting for a much higher percentage rise than paint or wage costs. In some cases this can represent the difference between an insurer authorising a car for repair or for writing it off after a crash.
Either way, our insurance premiums rise as a result.
As a consequence of car sales slowing down (as they have in 2017 and 2018) we’re told that car part prices rise in proportion – presumably this is based on supply and demand. Interestingly, if Brexit proceeds without agreed automotive tariffs between the UK and EU, then supply, availability and higher costs of car parts are likely to be problems motorists face.
Examples of Car Part Price Rises
Take an executive car model as an example here; when fitting a new bonnet, bumper and car grille after a relatively common car accident this would have cost £2243.90 to repair in 2012 but now costs £3956.10 to cater for enhanced pedestrian and car occupancy safety systems. This is a massive 76% increase.
Take an everyday car as another example, the VW Golf model you buy will dramatically affect the cost of replacement parts because of new safety related sensors and radars. For example, the Mk 7 Golf is fitted with radars whereas the Mk 6 Golf isn’t. So if you are unlucky enough to need a replacement headlamp, for example, the Mk 6 Golf will cost you £147 but the Mk 7 Golf will set you back a staggering £1171. And there’ll be other associated costs to repair the onboard Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS).
Another mind boggling stat is the cost of the new Prius grille badge – at £530 this is nearly £500 more than it was on the previous version at £33 – simply because of new sensors.
Whilst safety features come at a price, wouldn’t it be nice if minimum standards could be a given across all manufacturers and that this bar was forever raised. Allowing these who want more than this standard to choose the features they require.
Similarly, info-tainment gadgets come at a price, whether we want it or not. I am a luddite here as I favour my Garmin over my onboard SatNav and I’d ALWAYS choose a CD-Player over Bluetooth options. Were I given that choice.
At the end of the day no new car salesman will explain these choices to you and if you don’t need to pay for replacement car parts then you won’t be paying for repairs to features you didn’t want.
But perhaps when TV adverts encourage us to buy new Vauxhalls with all the fancy gadgets we can imagine, compared to new Dacias with just the basics – we might do well to choose the features we REALLY need rather than nice to haves. Or end up forking out for repairing or replacing car parts we didn’t choose, need or use in the first place.