When you see “ADAS Calibration” on your estimate from a Pennsylvania auto body shop, what does it mean? Is it even necessary? And why is it important? Here at 3D Collision Centers, we feel it’s our job to inform car owners like you about specific repair procedures and what they mean. That way, you have a better understanding of how vital these particular repair procedures are when repairing your car. It will also help you compare estimates and make sense of the language used in the estimates.
What Is ADAS?
Nearly every new vehicle sold in America today has some form of ADAS as standard equipment. In the march towards the future of fully autonomous vehicles, ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. These are the latest technologies built into your car and designed for enhanced driver safety. Most of the ADAS systems are designed to correct driver error through a complex system of cameras, radar, sensors and onboard computers. They are designed to enhance your ability to drive error-free or to fully take over in the event of driver inattention. Some of the most common ADAS systems are the following:
- Blindspot detection
- Forward collision warning
- Lane departure warning
- Adaptive cruise control
- Emergency braking
The ADAS system’s in today’s advanced vehicles are made up of a network of sensors. The most common of these sensors are ultrasonic, camera, and radar. These sensors are necessary for the ADAS safety features to properly operate to “see” what’s happening and view the surroundings. They are essentially a pair of eyes located everywhere on the car to provide you with the assistance of computers to correct improper driving behaviors and physical human limitations.
in 2018, the NHTSA made rearview cameras a requirement for all new vehicles. Over 200 people are killed annually from backover accidents with an additional 14,000 injuries contributed to rear related accidents.
What Is ADAS Calibration?
According to AAA, “an ADAS calibration is a process carried out to correctly align the cameras and sensors of a car so that its ADAS system can work as intended.” ADAS calibration requires specialized equipment and tools with highly trained technicians capable of adjusting or resetting these systems. Each one of these sensors is precisely positioned to perform their designed safety features. Only the best auto body shops have highly trained technicians capable of accurately performing an ADAS calibration with the specialized tools and equipment.
If the position of these cameras or sensors is altered in any way, calibration will be required. In fact, “…a sensor on the car that is out of alignment by a fraction of an inch or even one degree will be aimed at an area significantly off-axis 50 or more feet down the road.” (AAA)
In other words, if one of these sensors is a mere inch out of alignment, it will focus on an area at least 50 feet away and won’t be able to protect you with its designed advanced safety features. It’s pretty scary to think that a mere inch or degree can create a world of difference to what goes on inside your vehicle. Even a simple fender bender can put you at serious risk for being in another accident. You want to take your vehicle to a body shop that knows the importance of ADAS calibration.
Failure to properly calibrate a sensor can also cause the following:
- Increased steering effort
- Steering wheel vibration
- Vehicle steering pull
- Diagnostic trouble codes, commonly known as “DTC,” stored in the vehicle’s computer system.
What does ADAS Recalibration Involve?
Recalibrating an ADAS system most often requires that we bring your vehicle to the dealer to perform the re-calibration. Each manufacturer has their own methods and some require that the vehicle have a full tank of gas, be placed on a perfectly level ground, and the sensors are aimed at recalibration targets while the system is being updated through a scanning device hooked to your vehicle’s OBD port and monitored by a certified technician sometimes remotely. It is a very precise and lengthy process that has to be performed or the vehicle will not only be unsafe but might even function improperly. Because we fix such a variety of vehicles, it is often best to have the dealer who specializes in just that one brand to recalibrate the vehicle and then we bring it back to the shop for your delivery.
When is an ADAS Calibration Needed?
An ADAS Calibration is necessary whenever any of the sensors on a vehicle are disrupted in any way. This can be from a fender bender, collision, or various service repairs. These repairs can include wheel alignment, windshield replacement, suspension repairs, change in tire size, and car roof repair.
Calibration is also necessary whenever a sensor or its mounting bracket is repaired in any way or when the front airbag deploys, deflecting off the front windshield. Lastly, ADAS calibration will be needed “when there is a related DTC in the car’s computer memory” or following any technical repair procedures laid out by a manufacturer. A DTC stands for Diagnostic Trouble Code and those are stored in the vehicle’s computer memory every time there is an issue with any of the ADAS systems.
Who in Pennsylvania Knows How To Perform An ADAS Calibration?
Here at 3D Collision Centers, we know that an ADAS calibration means much more than making sure all the sensors in your vehicle are installed. It takes skill, the right equipment, and specialized knowledge to perform an ADAS calibration.
Our team of highly-trained technicians knows the importance of these advanced repairs, which is why we never cut corners in the repair process. Our technicians are I-CAR Gold Class certified, which is the highest level of certification an auto repair technician can receive. This is exceptionally important, especially when it’s not a requirement for technicians to have a license to operate on your car in the state of Pennsylvania.
When ADAS recalibrations can be done in house, we use the latest tools and equipment when performing an ADAS calibration, ensuring everything is properly calibrated before returning it to you. We’re telling you this information because we care about your safety and want you to get the best care out there for your car.
We have 7 different locations across Deleware, Montgomery, and Chester counties. We will work with you and your insurance company to ensure a stress-free repair and are committed to providing our customers with “quality on time, every time.”
We look forward to hearing from you!