A minor collision can lead to an expensive sensor repair, the ADAC found (Photo: ADAC)

Radar sensors in today's cars can significantly increase the costs of relatively minor accidents, according to a study by the ADAC, Germany's largest automobile club.

Using the example of a Toyota Avensis colliding with an Audi Q7 at 10 km/hour, the ADAC registered damage of 5,000 euros on the Toyota. Of these costs, 65 pc alone were for the repair of the Toyota's adaptive cruise control technology. In addition, the ADAC cited 16 hours of labor for the repair.

The automobile club said radar sensors provide important safety functions. But it noted that the Toyota example underlines the need to make sensors cheaper and protect them better in the event of a collision.

One problem with the Toyota-Audi crash was that the bumpers on each car were fitted at different heights. Had they been at the same level, replacement parts wouldn't have cost more than 1,000 euros, the ADAC said.

Differences between radar sensor prices from one brand to the next also show that these parts can cost much less than the ones fitted in the Toyota.

"A Mercedes sensor can be had for 464 euros," the automobile club said. "If a Honda, Jaguar or Toyota sensor is damaged in a small accident, the consumer easily has to pay more than 3,000 euros."

Another way to bring repair costs down would be to fit sensors in special protective brackets and separate them better from the car's electronics, the ADAC said.

-Arjen Bongard