Do Driving Assistance Technologies Require Extra Maintenance?
Modern cars are full of driving assistance technologies that are intended to help ease the burden on longer trips, as well as keep you safer on the road. As impressive as some of these features are, however, there are questions surrounding their long-term costs and reliability.
Specifically, do these systems require any additional maintenance to stay in top shape during the ownership of your vehicle? Or are they largely “set-it-and-forget-it” features?
How Do They Work?
First, here’s a brief primer on the driving assistance technologies we’re talking about. Advanced systems like blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control rely on radar to keep track of traffic around the vehicle, while lane-keep assist technology uses cameras to scan the lines on the road. Some systems blend the two together and add ultrasonic distance sensors into the mix as well.
What this means for you is that your vehicle has sensors all over it. Some of these are well-protected—like behind the windshield—while others are in more vulnerable spots such as bumpers, side mirrors, trunks, tailgates, and grilles.
Keep Them Clean
In terms of maintenance, there’s very little an owner can do to service any of these systems themselves. By and large, the most important thing you can do to keep your vehicle’s driving assistance technologies operating properly is to ensure that the sensors are kept as clean as possible.
This means regularly washing your vehicle, and, if some of the sensors and cameras are hidden under a badge or inside an alcove, making sure you have access to every nook and cranny during the cleaning process. In the winter, this is even more important: snow and ice must be cleared from each sensor prior to driving or the sensors will be useless, and accumulated road salt can also cancel out their functionalities.
The real hidden cost of advanced safety features has to do with the cost of replacing or repairing them. With front- and side-mounted sensors particularly vulnerable to even low-speed fender benders, repair costs in the event of an accident can be substantially higher when compared to older vehicles. This is something to keep in mind when considering buying a vehicle equipped with driving assistance technologies, as it may affect both your insurance rates and the total cost of ownership over the long term.
For more information on driving assistance technologies and automotive maintenance, chat with an expert at your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre.
By Benjamin Hunting