From Mike Antich, “Multiple Airbags & Electronics Increase Repair Costs“, Automotive Fleet, September, 2006:
Three years ago, a car with $10,000 in damage would today, involved in the same accident, most likely have $12,000 to $14,000 damage because of the additional airbags that deployed. In this case, because of the dollar amount, we would total the car, which contributed to the increased average number of vehicles totaled in 2005…
Another factor for the increase in repair cost is that manufacturers continue to sell more assemblies rather than individual parts. “If you have a damaged quarter panel, now you have to buy an integrated body side unit that contains the quarter panel…Although some manufacturers are reverting back to selling individual parts, most continue to sell parts as part of modules.”
In some cases, manufacturers sell assemblies for safety considerations. “Manufacturers are focused on safety and not necessarily on ease of repair, which can result in a higher cost of repair…”
How much gets recycled, when units replaced? Came up when toner on photocopier being replaced, and old toner being shipped back to be refurbished. New toner package had shipping label to take back the old.
Colleague told me that when twelve airbags deploy, the cost of replacing the airbag units may be more than the cost of the car itself, quite apart from the cost of additional repairs. Wondered if one could consent to buying the refurbished car, without airbags. Colleague didn’t know. But did know this, in terms of units and repairs:
“It’s simple, but more complex. And more expensive.”