When are ADAS Calibrations Required?

As automotive technology continues to advance, vehicles are becoming equipped with increasingly sophisticated safety features, thanks to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). These systems, including features like lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking, rely on a network of sensors and cameras to function effectively. However, for these systems to operate at their best, it's crucial to ensure that the sensors are accurately calibrated. In this blog post, we'll explore how to identify when ADAS calibrations are needed and why they are essential for road safety.

Understanding ADAS and Sensor Calibration:

ADAS relies on a combination of sensors, cameras, and radar systems to monitor the vehicle's surroundings and make split-second decisions to enhance safety. These sensors are typically located in strategic positions around the vehicle, such as on the windshield, bumpers, or side mirrors. For these systems to work optimally, these sensors must be precisely calibrated to ensure accuracy.

Signs that ADAS Calibrations are needed:

Warning Lights and Messages: One of the most obvious signs that ADAS calibrations are needed is the appearance of warning lights on the dashboard or error messages related to the safety systems. These warnings indicate a potential issue with the calibration of the sensors.

After a Collision or Accident: If a vehicle is involved in a collision or accident, ADAS components may be impacted. Even if there is no visible damage, sensors or cameras may have shifted, and recalibration is needed to restore proper functionality. Always check the manufacturer's position statements!

For example, this is an excerpt from Honda's position statement on the Front Passenger Seat Weight Sensor:

These sensors control passenger’s front airbag operation and the PASSENGER AIRBAG OFF indicator based on the occupant’s weight. Like any scale, weight sensors are a precision device.

The service information may refer to these sensors as the seat weight sensor (SWS) system or occupant detection system (ODS), depending on model and year.

This inspection requires a scan tool to fully check the seat weight sensor's operation using the following criteria:

  • Empty front passenger seat weight to confirm the sensors can detect this condition
  • Seat weight with a known calibration weight amount if necessary
    • This check must be done after any collision, regardless of damage, even if no airbags have deployed.
    • The check confirms sensor operation and that no binding or damage exists in the
      relationship between the seat frame, weight sensors, and floor pan.

Changes in Windshield or Bumper: If there has been any work done on the windshield, such as a replacement or repair, or if the bumper has been replaced or repaired, it can impact the alignment and calibration of ADAS sensors. In such cases, recalibration is often necessary.

Wheel Alignment and Suspension Work: Changes in wheel alignment or suspension work can affect the calibration of sensors responsible for features like lane-keeping assist. If you've recently had such work done, it's advisable to check and recalibrate the ADAS.

Always double check!

Many vehicle manufacturers release official position statements regarding repair procedures and specifications, including ADAS calibrations. These statements outline specific requirements for recalibrating sensors after certain events like collisions, windshield replacements, or suspension work. By reviewing the manufacturer's position statements, technicians and repair professionals can gain insights into when and why ADAS calibrations are necessary. These documents often provide essential details on which systems require calibration, the procedures involved, and any specialized equipment needed.

You can also check with your comprehensive automotive repair information database. Technicians can a repair information database to access specific repair procedures related to ADAS calibrations for various makes and models. This includes step-by-step instructions, required tools, and any precautions or special considerations. These may also provide information on the required targets and conditions for calibration. Additionally, repair databases often include service bulletins and recalls related to ADAS, alerting technicians to specific issues or updates that may require recalibration.

Why is this important?

Enhanced Safety:

Properly calibrated ADAS ensures that safety features respond accurately to real-time driving conditions, reducing the risk of collisions. By reducing the overall amount of collisions, ADAS saves lives - for both drivers and pedestrians.

Liability Mitigation:

As a collision repair shop, if you don't perform ADAS calibrations to specifications, and if the ADAS system is faulty and another collision occurs, your business may be liable for damages.

Conclusion

In the ever-evolving landscape of automotive technology, ADAS plays a pivotal role in enhancing road safety. Recognizing the signs that indicate a need for calibration and understanding the importance of regular checks are crucial steps in ensuring the optimal performance of these advanced safety systems. By staying vigilant and addressing calibration needs promptly, collision repair shops can contribute to a safer driving experience for themselves and others on the road.

11th Mar 2024

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