Why Is Modern Collision Repair So Expensive?

Being involved in an accident is never fun, but getting your car repaired and back on the road can be an even larger hassle. If you've had to deal with accident repairs on a relatively modern car, then you know that seemingly minor damage can be shockingly expensive to repair. It can sometimes feel as though collision shops are simply marking up their prices, but there are many good reasons why damage to a modern car can quickly lead to four-figure repair bills.

Body-On-Frame vs. Unibody Construction

In the past, most cars were constructed using a technique known as body-on-frame construction. Unsurprisingly, this style of automotive engineering meant that the car's body was placed on top of a rigid frame. The cosmetic bodywork of the vehicle was exactly that: purely cosmetic. Most trucks and a handful of truck-based SUVs still use this style of construction, but most modern cars, SUVs, and CUVs now use unibody construction.

A unibody vehicle does not have a separate frame. Instead, the various pieces of bodywork are all structurally important elements. Even the windshield provides a large amount of structural strength in modern cars. Because of this, the concept of "frame damage" has become somewhat nebulous. It is possible for the structural integrity of a vehicle to be compromised by damage that appears only skin deep, often leading to expensive repairs.

Sacrificial Safety Elements

Cars are safer than ever, but this is largely because both passive and active safety components are generally designed to be sacrificial. Your car's bumpers, for example, will rarely survive even minor collisions. This is by design, but it also means that relatively low-speed impacts can result in a bumper replacement that may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Likewise, a deployed airbag is usually an expensive item to replace even if the exterior damage to the car is not severe.

Expensive Electrical Components

Of course, those sacrificial bumpers often contain expensive electrical components as well. Simple items such as temperature sensors are usually found on or near the bumper, but more expensive components such as park distance sensors and cameras can often be located here as well. Although these items are not always individually expensive, the loss of several in an accident can rapidly add to the overall cost of the repair.

Even mundane equipment can be costly to replace. Modern headlight assemblies, which often feature high-intensity xenon lights and LED daytime running lights, can sometimes cost well over a thousand dollars on their own. The loss of a front bumper on a fairly new car can easily result in several thousand dollars' worth of damage even if the car's structure is otherwise unaffected.

While modern cars can be expensive to fix after a collision, it is also important to keep in mind that these costly elements are the reason that cars can be lighter, safer, more efficient, and more luxurious. Getting your vehicle fixed properly after an accident is important to ensure that it contains to get you and your family safely to your destinations.

To learn more, contact a company like Exoticar Paintworks Inc.