Rear Sensor Collision Question

So I have a question. While parking I tapped a BMW in front of me that has rear sensors on it. The collision happened under 5 mph. There were small scratches in the bumper. The quote was $2550 and the said the had to replace 2 sensors. Is that a possibility? How sensitive are they?


European cars are very expensive to repair. At $2550…I think you got off quite lucky.

Apparently they are pretty sensitive! Do you know what those rear sensors are used for? Are they some kind of ultrasonic or IR back-up sensor system to alert the driver how far the car behind them is, during parking maneuvers?

I guess bumping into a BMW can prove expensive. Even fixing the bumper, I could see just that costing over a $1,000. Lesson learned is probably about the best you can do at this point.

If your insurance is taking care of this all you need to worry about is your rate increase. And you might consider buying a car with parking sensors so you don’t do that again.

I believe that the proximity sensors are part of the rear bumper cover. Those sensors can be costly. If I remember not too long ago we had an Acura in the shop with a failed rear sensor and the cost was something like $700.

I can see a rear bumper cover, sensors, paint, etc getting to $2500 pretty easily on a BMW.

Kudo’s to you for actually doing something and reporting it.

Bumpers are meant for light parallel parking taps. Scratches remove with scratch-x typically.

I likely would have driven away if tap was truly light. How do you know you actually made the scratches and damaged the said bumper?

Did you actually get a copy of estimate of repair? Typically insurance is better to work with once involved because they work in your interest and are experts in such matters.

Didn’t there used a be a requirement bumpers had to withstand a low speed collision with only so many dollars damage? $100 or something like that. The insurance companies wanted it, to reduce expenses for minor bump-accidents like this. Has that requirement expired now?

I agree with andrew. Bumpers are for bumps. Parking in a tight environment (like Boston) is impossible without bumps, at least occasionally. I would not pay for repairs for what I considered to be normal parking touches.

Blame the car manufacturer for such an idiotic design.

George, my understanding was that that was a federal requirement that was later dropped. Stupid move by the feds, like many others. Such as standardized headlights…


Right on Bill Russell. It’s the BMW owner’s fault for buying a car with poorly designed bumpers.

Hey, Bill, if I rear end you someday, and kill your family, I’ll blame YOU for not having 500 airbags installed in your car.

" Normal Parking Touches"? So I guess by your logic, it’s OK for me to park next to your car and put a few dings in your doors too, huh?

If you should ever get caught putting a dent in someone’s bumper as a result of a “normal parking touch”, be sure and tell that to a judge/policeman.

my new car already had a few dings in the bumpers. My 11 year old Passat, when I traded it in, had both bumpers covered with scratches and dings. One of the consequences of parking on the street in a city.

Note that 99% of those dings are not mine, I park carefully, but from other cars parking in tight in front or behind me.

Would I ever buy a car that had sensors mounted in the bumpers? I hope I’m not that dumb.

Speaking of unusual parking incidents, something happened to me the other day that continues to puzzle me. I was parked second to the last in a long line of parallel parkers along the side of a street. I was standing behind my Corolla moving things around in the trunk, when the owner of the car behind me – his was the last car in the line, nobody behind him – got out of his car and asked me to move out of the way. So I said “oh, I’m not leaving, just getting something out of the trunk”. So he says he can’t start his car until I at least move away from behind my car. I sort of give him a puzzled look, but move to the sidewalk.

So I watch what he does. He starts his car, backs up about 6 inches, then turns his steering wheel all the way to the stops, I can hear the power steering whining, so he has just barely enough room to clear the back of my car on the way out. So my puzzlement is of course why he did that, or why he needed me to move at all. He could have — instead of 6 inches – backed up 10 feet or 50 feet or however far he wanted to, nobody in his way, and then no need to be concerned about me, and no need to turn the wheels all the way to the stops to maneuver back into the street.