Dealerships are primarily in the business of selling new vehicles and servicing their regular maintenance needs, so it makes sense that some more technical repair procedures are outsourced. But as any good car salesperson will tell you, the technology in today's vehicles is getting more and more complex. On one hand, that means more built-in safety features for drivers, but it also means more components will need specialty equipment and capabilities to be repaired.
Topics: ADAS Calibration
As more cars hit the road equipped with ADAS safety features like emergency braking, parking assist and lane departure detection (to name a few), it's important that collision repair shops are ready to perform the right kinds of repairs. For shops focused on glass and windshield repair, that means having the ability to calibrate ADAS technology—whether you've got equipment in-house or you're outsourcing to another shop. Either way, you might be wondering: when exactly does a repair call for calibration?
Topics: ADAS Calibration
Nobody likes working on or paying for an unnecessary repair. As more and more driver assistance systems like pedestrian monitors, hands-free parking and emergency braking are included with new vehicles, more and more ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) calibrations will be needed to repair them properly. But unless you’re looking at a warning light on the dash, sensor damage can’t really be seen with the naked eye. So how will you know when a repair is necessary? It’s not as complex as you may think.
ADAS calibrations should be completed any time a vehicle’s sensors are disrupted. For example:
• If a windshield is cracked, the heads-up display and rain sensors need to be recalibrated.
• If a vehicle is sideswiped, the mirrors and lane departure warnings need to be recalibrated.
• if a vehicle is in a fender bender, the bumper sensors need to be recalibrated.
• Even a wheel alignment, a new tire size or moving a camera during another repair can trigger the need for a calibration.
It boils down to this: If the sensors aren’t functioning at their factory settings or there’s a chance they won’t, then they can’t reliably keep the driver safe. ADAS calibration will almost never be an unnecessary repair. If there’s any kind of DTC in the car’s computer memory, it’s always better to calibrate just to be sure you’re sending a safe vehicle out the door.
There’s always a learning curve with new technology, and ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) is no exception. The collision repair industry as we know it is changing thanks to the growing prevalence of driver-assistance systems in new vehicles. In the not-too-distant future, most cars on the road will have some sort of ADAS technology imbedded into the vehicle’s design, and dealers and collision repair shops will have to adjust to a whole new repair procedure. Soon, the terms “scan” and “calibrate” will become part of your everyday ADAS repair vocabulary. But what’s the difference?
What is scanning?
Consider scanning a step in the overall ADAS calibration repair process. Scanning happens at the beginning of the process to diagnose any sensor damage or disruption. It’s identifying codes, just like you would with any previous structural or technical repair. At the end of the ADAS repair process, you’ll scan again to clear the codes and make sure that all the sensors are back to normal.
What is calibration?
The term “calibration,” on the other hand, refers to the actual repair and communication process that occurs between an ADAS calibration system or tool and the sensors themselves. In an ADAS repair sandwich, calibration is the meaty middle.
Why it’s important to know the difference.
As more shops start to send out vehicles for ADAS calibration to a dealership or another shop, it will be especially important to distinguish between these two terms. Specifying that a vehicle needs a calibration will tell the tech that a crucial repair still needs to be performed. If you only said the vehicle needed a scan, the tech may assume that the repairs have been made and clear the codes. This isn’t just a simple miscommunication; it could lead to a safety issue for the driver if the codes are cleared without an actual repair being performed.
As you continue learning more about ADAS, make sure your techs know the difference between scan and calibration, so your repairs are accurate and your customers are satisfied with a job well done.
Whenever an ADAS (advanced driver-assistance system) sensor is damaged, moved or disrupted in any way, it needs to be calibrated. Every manufacturer has different requirements and repair processes, but they all require a proper calibration to ensure that driver-assistance features will function correctly and safely after disruption. There are two basic types of calibration you can perform: static or dynamic. The type you choose will depend on the recommended OEM repair procedures for that make and model.
What is static calibration?
Static calibration happens inside a shop while the vehicle is parked in place. The first step is finding the thrust line and setting up the vehicle in front of the ADAS tool you’ll use to complete the calibration. All ADAS tools use a series of targets (specific to OEM standards) that the sensors must be able to read in order to accurately recalibrate. It’s important that the vehicle is the correct distance away from the targets and that the targets are at the proper height, among other things. Different ADAS tools will have their own setup methods, but it’s important that this step is done correctly every time in order to ensure an accurate result.
What is dynamic calibration?
Dynamic calibration is also referred to as on-road calibration because the bulk of the work is done while driving the vehicle. Just like the static calibration process, dynamic calibration starts in the shop using a diagnostic tool to uncover which ADAS features have been disrupted. Then, depending on whether you’re calibrating a camera, radar or other sensor type, you would move to dynamic calibration to complete the process. This is because only certain types of sensors require the vehicle to be in motion in order to accurately reset the feature. Cameras typically require driving on a straight road between five and 30 minutes at certain speeds. The road should have visible and clear lane markings to help the cameras detect the vehicle’s position in the lane. Some systems actually calibrate better when surrounded by traffic, while others work best on an empty road.
With any ADAS repair procedure, the first step is checking your process against OEM recommendations. It helps to have an ADAS calibration tool that makes outlining the repair process automated and easy to follow. Check out Mosaic ADT from Chief if you’re interested in an ADAS calibration system that’s designed to help your techs work quickly and accurately every time.
Let's start at the beginning. ADAS stands for advanced driver assistance systems. Some people refer to them simply as driver assistance systems. These are the high-tech safety features that most drivers have come to expect in their new vehicles. Some examples include lane departure warning, emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, front collision warning, adaptive cruise control, self-parking and more.
Each of these systems relies on sensors in the vehicle in order to watch what’s going on around them. There are four common types of sensors: radar units, cameras, ultrasonic transmitters and steering angle sensors. Some driver assistance systems rely on multiple sensors, while others need just one to function properly.
Radar sensors are typically used in ADAS features that involve calculating distance. Most often you’ll find radar sensors mounted in or behind the front bumper or grille, in the side view mirrors and sometimes in the rear bumper. The radar sends out a high-frequency radio signal. If it reflects off an object and returns to the sensor, the sensor can use that information to calculate the distance between the vehicle and the object. This can help alert drivers to other cars, pedestrians or obstructions in the road.
For safety features that require more information than a simple radar signal can provide, you need a high-definition camera sensor with advanced data processing. Most of these camera sensors can be found inside a windshield, on the back of the vehicle or integrated with the rearview mirror. Other camera types provide a 360-degree view of a vehicle in its environment with multiple lower-resolution cameras placed around the vehicle, all designed to work together. Whatever kind of camera gets disrupted, they all need to be calibrated in order to function properly.
If you thought self-parking systems would rely on cameras, think again. Parking assist features typically use ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers where they can reflect high frequency sound waves off of objects or people in close proximity to the vehicle. It’s pretty similar to radars. One difference is that most ultrasonic transmitters used in ADAS don’t need to be calibrated. However, if an aftermarket body part is used for a repair, it might interfere with the sensors and keep them from working properly. It’s always best to run a diagnostic scan to see if a sensor requires calibration.
Steering angle sensors.
For ADAS features involved with measuring the degree of steering wheel rotation, you need steering angle sensors. Those features include lane departure warning, adaptive headlights that follow steering, electronic stability control and adaptive suspensions. These kinds of sensors can be found in, you guessed it, the steering column.
The technology that goes into making modern vehicles safe is hyper complex. It’s also changing all the time. If you want to ensure you can properly repair vehicles outfitted with these kinds of sensors, you need an easy-to-use ADAS calibration tool and access to the latest OEM procedures. You can have both with Mosaic ADT from Chief.
Mosaic ADT, the ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) calibration tool from Chief Collision Technology, is the only automated system on the market for repairing vehicle sensors and calibrating them according to OEM standards. But what does that really mean? Why does automation make a difference in ADAS calibrations?
In traditional structural collision repair, aesthetics and function were the signs of a good repair. In modern collision repair—where small sensors are built into windshields, mirrors, bumpers, you name it—accuracy is the most important thing. It can be frustrating trying to repair something you can’t really see or get your hands on. The key is having a tool you can trust. That’s where automation comes in. The automation features of Mosaic ADT allow for accuracy, significantly less room for error, less time to complete a calibration and a calibration that’s based on hard data, not just handiwork. Here’s how:
Automated alignment with the target.
One of the most time-consuming tasks in an ADAS calibration process is aligning the car accurately to the target. Systems that aren’t automated might have a tech lay a string on the ground, use plumb bobs from the center emblem on the hood, stretch out a tape measure or physically adjust the target stand to line everything up just right. Can you say “room for error”? With Mosaic, the tech parks the car within four or five feet of the target and attaches the wheel clamps so the machine can read the distance to the target. Everything else—distance, height, width and yaw—is all adjusted automatically.
Automated OEM procedures.
In order to choose the right target for calibration and complete an accurate repair, you have to use the correct OEM procedure and follow it precisely. Other systems will rely on techs to manually search for the correct standards, determine all the right steps and follow them. With Mosaic, all techs have to do is enter the VIN into the machine. Once the machine has identified the correct OEM procedure, a step-by-step process is automatically sent to the tablet. Just follow the directions on screen to reach an accurate repair. The software won’t let you skip a step, ensuring accuracy every time.
So you’ve followed the step-by-step process and completed your calibration. Next, Mosaic automatically generates documentation that captures all the data gathered throughout the process. It also makes a record in your system database that a calibration was completed successfully. Having proof that a calibration was performed to OEM standards gives you and your customer peace of mind.
Before you choose an ADAS calibration tool for your shop, consider how all the features work together. Will it help you work efficiently and accurately? We know Mosaic will.
OEM procedures and requirements are nothing new in collision repair. We’ve always needed precise specs to make a vehicle look and run like new. From emergency braking systems to lane departure warnings and more, modern vehicles are getting complex, so repairing them is more complex too.
Every time you complete a structural repair, you need to repair—aka recalibrate—the sensors in the advanced driver-assistance systems. In order to perform the most accurate calibration and keep drivers safe, you need three things:
1. The latest OEM repair procedures for the exact make and model you’re working on.
2. A clear, reliable process that can be followed again and again without mistake.
3. An ADAS calibration tool to calibrate the sensors.
Or, if you want all three things in one, choose the Mosaic ADT from Chief.
With Mosaic, you’ll always have access to the most up-to-date OEM standards for ADAS calibrations right there in the system database. Other aftermarket calibration systems hold shops responsible for updating OEM standards and repair procedures as they receive them from the OEM, or they use tools that have old data. Not with Mosaic. We get our data directly from the OEMs themselves and update it automatically for you.
Another common disadvantage of other calibration systems is not having a clear and repeatable process for techs to follow. Other systems simply give you the data and leave your techs to interpret it into a process of their own. Even for a skilled professional, that room for error isn’t very efficient or accurate.
Mosaic tells techs exactly what to do, step-by-step, through automation. Once the correct vehicle information has been identified in the database, the whole procedure automatically loads into the Mosaic tablet. The software automatically moves the targets and performs the scans and calibrations. All that your tech has to do is simply follow each step on the tablet to complete the repair--no searching or interpreting needed. The software also won’t let the tech skip any steps, so you can be sure the repair is completed accurately every time.
As more and more vehicles roll into your shop needing ADAS calibration, you’ll need an accurate, efficient and error-free system on your side. Consider Mosaic ADT to make pulling OEM procedures and following them a breeze.
The adoption of ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) in new vehicles is rapidly growing. There are close to 60 million vehicles in the U.S. that are equipped with some sort of ADAS features, like parking assistance, adaptive cruise control or collision-avoidance systems.
Topics: ADAS Calibration
If you're just diving into learning about ADAS, we recommend starting here to learn what it is and why it matters.