Is it worth it?: buying after-market safety features for your car

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SEATTLE — Today’s cars are lasting much longer than they used to.

Q13 asked the experts at PEMCO Insurance if it’s worth it to add safety features to your old car instead of buying a new one.

“It’s relatively cheap to update your used car,” said Siena Prosswimmer, a Communications Specialist at PEMCO Insurance.  “So, it’s definitely a good idea to add things like that electronic stability control and the back up camera.”

Prosswimmer said for about $500, you can add a back up camera, front collision and warning and a blind-spot detector, but costs can vary depending on what you choose.

PEMCO recommends these safety features:

  • Electronic stability control – this feature senses if you are skidding and automatically applies the brakes to individual wheels
  • Curtain air bags
  • Front collision warning
  • Back up camera

The average car on the road is over 11-years-old, meaning many were manufactured before a lot of safety devices became standard.

PEMCO said adding features can make sense if your old car is in great shape and you plan to keep it for a while, but there are times when you are better off getting rid of your old car.

“So, if you no longer trust your vehicle to go on a long road trip or your repair bills are almost as expensive as new car payments would be, it’s definitely time to get rid of your old vehicle,” said Prosswimmer.

If you opted for a newer used car with factory-installed features, you would probably get a variety of other good features like automatic emergency braking and voice-controlled infotainment systems.

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