Calibration Research Tips For Collision Repair
Where does your body shop turn to find the latest calibration and repair information for vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)? Do your technicians grab an OEM service manual from your library first, or do they hop online and start Googling? While both scenarios are typical, it’s rare collision repair technicians will find the most up-to-date and comprehensive calibration information from either source.
As any experienced collision facility knows, a lot can change after an OEM service manual is published, and TSBs and Recalls will not provide the whole picture for ADAS repair and recalibration. And while the internet can be a valuable resource for advice for some ADAS calibration and repair issues, it simply can’t provide the most accurate and up to date information.
These information gaps can result from the fast pace of vehicle technology advancements, the often complicated specifications and procedures, and other causes. Regardless of why researching current calibration and repair information is such a challenge, the bottom line is your body shop has to find it and learn how to use it if you want to repair vehicles safely and stay ahead of the pack.
Diagnosing ADAS Collision Repairs
Getting ADAS calibration and repair right is critical; there’s no room for error. The vehicles you work on and the people who drive them depend on your expertise to keep them safe. But not only can calibration research be a hassle, just knowing if a vehicle even has an ADAS issue can be a challenge.
That’s because ADAS damage or faults don’t always show up as a light on a dashboard, screen, or another evident alert. Depending on the ADAS technology, here are some warning signs your shop should be aware of:
The minimal cost and lower weight of plastics continue to make this auto body material a staple in the industry. Plastic types of materials used in your auto body shop will continue to make up about half of the auto materials your body shop will encounter with a typical collision repair. From door handles and dashboards to accessories and air vents, plastics will continue to be a collision repair requiring up-to-date OEM information.
- Alert on the instrument panel
- Diagnostic trouble code (DTC)
- Steering wheel vibration
- Steering pull
- Brake pedal vibrations
- Difficulty steering
So how often do body shops miss needed ADAS repairs and recalibrations? A recent study in Canada of 100 collision repair estimates found 85 missed required calibrations. Out of 122 calibrations identified, estimators missed almost 90 percent of the needed calibrations. How would your collision repair facility stack up against your Canadian counterparts?
Wherever your body shop falls on the spectrum, there’s no excuse for collision repair ignorance regarding ADAS calibration. Yes, technology moves fast, and it can be complicated. But when you have access to calibration research tips using the best collision repair resources, you can perform ADAS diagnostics, repairs, and recalibrations more safely and accurately.
Here’s what ADAS calibrating means, its importance, and how SUN® Collision Repair Information can make your calibration research easier and your collision repairs more accurate.
What Are ADAS Calibrations?
ADAS relies on feedback from sensors that help the systems accurately determine a vehicle’s surroundings and assess potential dangers. Cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and other technology work independently and as a unit to help vehicles and drivers avoid collisions.
Some ADAS technology uses information from a specific sensor, while others pull data from multiple sensors. Known as sensor fusion, compiling data from numerous sources provides the most accurate assessment of a vehicle’s surroundings.
The most common ADAS features your body shop will encounter include:
- Forward collision warning
- Automatic emergency braking
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane departure alert
- Lane-keeping assist
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic warning
- Parking assist and self-parking
- Adaptive headlights
- Automatic high-beam and dimming
That is a long list of ADAS features, but there are many more in production and research and development. While collision repair information can help you decipher all that ADAS jargon and track down procedures, the most critical key for safe, accurate repair often lies in the calibration process. Recalibrating ADAS components after repair or replacement is your number one goal because sensors must be calibrated precisely.
A vehicle with an ADAS sensor out of calibration by the tiniest degree can misread distances — and the potential of a collision to a much greater degree. It’s also important to understand that an ADAS sensor can be compromised by even the slightest collision and even as a byproduct of other collision repairs. Windshield replacement, suspension repair, and wheel alignments are just some of the common collision repairs that may require a recalibration of associated ADAS components.
Whether it’s a camera, radar, or even the inevitable LIDAR, one degree of misalignment can affect the accuracy and the ADAS component’s ability to perform safely.
Vehicle safety calibration can often be an all-or-nothing endeavor, and only current OEM collision repair information for professionals can provide the guidance needed to get it right.
ADAS Calibrations in Action
While each OEM will have specific requirements for calibration and repair, there are many standard procedures and processes. If you aren’t familiar with performing ADAS repairs in your collision shop, here’s a quick primer of what most ADAS manufacturers recommend.
Once an ADAS component or sensor has been repaired or replaced per OEM collision repair requirements, most manufacturers recommend the following before an ADAS can be calibrated correctly:
- Remove heavy items from the vehicle cabin and trunk
- Inflate the tires to recommended pressures
- Ensure the front and rear vehicle ride height is within specifications
- Fill the fuel tank
- Clean the windshield
- Remove protective covers from radar sensors
- Perform a four-wheel alignment
Again, each OEM will have unique requirements, so your technicians should always research the latest guidelines for accurate calibrations. Besides pre-calibration preparations, many ADAS manufacturers will require more than one type of calibration method for the most accurate results.
The most common ADAS calibration methods fall into two camps: static and dynamic. These calibration methods could just as easily be called “sitting still” and “moving” because that’s precisely what they mean. Here’s the 411:
- A static system calibration is a method to perform tests and check specifications for proper alignment while the vehicle is stationary.
- A dynamic calibration procedure is a method used to check ADAS system functions on the road.
While some OEM collision repair information may require one or both of these calibration methods, it is in your and your customers’ best interest to perform a dynamic calibration procedure for accuracy. A dynamic calibration can help validate the static calibration, discover diagnostic codes, and ensure the ADAS is working as it should.
What ADAS Calibration Expertise Can Mean for Your Body Shop
When your technicians have on-demand access to the most up-to-date OEM ADAS information, it’s evident that the repairs will be more accurate and safe. While safety is the ultimate goal, calibration expertise can mean even more for your shop such as additional revenue.
According to Enterprise Fleet Management, the AAA has determined that collision repair on vehicles with ADAS can cost an average of $3,000 more for a moderate vehicle repair. A glaring example is the typical cost of windshield replacement, around $500, compared to the cost of the same windshield with an ADAS camera at about $1,500. That’s a significant increase in collision repair cost and potentially your bottom line.
If your body shop typically outsources collision repair like calibrations, your shop is not only missing out on revenue; it may actually be losing it because of the outsourcing. When you invest in advanced OEM collision repair information, you can keep more jobs in-house and reap the rewards of being an ADAS collision repair and recalibration specialist.
Does performing safer, more accurate ADAS calibration and repair, realizing more revenue and profit, and being able to provide a more comprehensive menu of collision repair services appeal to you? If you want your technicians to spend more time performing collision repairs instead of researching calibration and other OEM information, SUN Collision has the comprehensive features your body shop needs.
Putting Collision Repair Technology to Work
SUN gives collision repair facilities the latest OEM ADAS diagnostics, repair procedures, and recalibration specifications at the click of a button. From our proprietary search engine, 1Search Plus, to the most up-to-date OEM information, we help your body shop meet the demands of advanced vehicle technology with the most advanced collision repair technology. You won’t need to search the internet for calibration research tips because our intuitive vehicle repair information software will take you right to the OEM information you need.
The ADAS Quick Reference is SUN Collision’s answer to help auto body technicians meet all the challenges of ADAS repair and recalibration. The software helps make sense of the relationship between components and ADAS features. SUN even organizes all of the information into a consistent naming system, to prevent confusion, and provides calibration information, targets and the scan tools needed.
There is no consistency across OEMS for naming these ADAS features. For instance, what Ford calls “Active City Stop,” Toyota calls “Pedestrian Detection.” SUN Collision organizes all of the information into a consistent naming system, making it so much faster and easier for technicians who work on all makes and models.
When you invest in collision repair software, you’re investing in your body shop’s future, customer safety, and a healthier bottom line. You not only get on-demand OEM collision procedures and diagnostic processes, but you also get the support and training you need to put it all to work. Whether you need installation help, operating guidance, or specific 1-on-1 live training, we’re with you every step of the way.
Get a free demo today and find out how SUN Collision and on-demand OEM information can lead to increased efficiency and safer and more accurate collision repairs. If you want to learn more about our advanced collision repair solutions right away, we’re just a phone call away at 877-840-1973. Let SUN help your collision facility meet the demands of vehicle technology and collision repair today and in the future.
Ross Whiteley, Product Manager for SUN Collision, has held roles of increasing responsibility at Snap-on over the past 13 years. He joined SUN Collision’s sister company, Mitchell 1, as Product Contact Support rep in 2010 and was later promoted to Client Services Manager. He began his career after high school as a UPS driver in 1997 and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and an MBA in BA in Project Management at Purdue University in 2015. In the interim, he held various positions in the auto industry, including roles as Service Consultant at Lithia Chrysler Dodge and Assistant Service Manager at Cascade Auto Center.