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Consumer Reports: Cost of smarter, safer car repair

Many of today’s cars are engineered with the latest advanced safety features. They can watch the road, steer your vehicle back into its lane, and even automatically brake when a crash is imminent.

Although investing in advanced safety technology on your next car will raise its sticker price, it can lessen the impact of a collision or help you avoid one altogether.

But what happens when these systems need repair?

These advanced safety systems can’t work without sensors. And the sensors are located in easy-to-damage areas like the bumper, windshield, and side mirrors.

According to RepairPal, the average cost of a basic windshield replacement runs about $300 to $500. But a replacement for a windshield with advanced safety components could cost anywhere from $800 to $1,900.

Although more expensive to repair, these advanced safety systems are worth it because they keep drivers safer on the roads, Consumer Reports says.

According to a recent study, rear-end collision rates for vehicles with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking were 46 percent lower than for vehicles those without those systems.

So how worried should you be that you’ll get a big bill from a mechanic? Consumer Reports says your car insurance should help.

When you get one of these bills, don’t panic -- you shouldn’t have to pay any more than your insurance deductible.

CR says because these systems have become more complicated, it may be harder to find the right mechanic for the job. Ask your dealership if it can handle the repair or recommend a qualified repair shop.

If you’re in the market for a new car, CR strongly recommends looking for a vehicle with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and blind-spot warning, features that could turn a devastating crash into just a close call.