March 7, 2023 by Adam Malik
While most automotive mechanical repair shops send out ADAS calibration work, one expert recently stressed the need for the work to remain in-house — and not just for financial reasons. Money is being diverted away from the aftermarket to the dealer stream. But repairers can be at legal risk as well.
Take a windshield replacement. It sounds simple but it could disrupt a sensor. “With any time you interrupt a sensor, you’re going to have to provide a recalibration of those systems,” said Greg Peeters, CEO of Car ADAS Solutions. “I think it moves from a simple invoice into full documentation with a certificate of calibration.” A vehicle will not generally warn the technician or vehicle owner that it’s not calibrated properly or even at all.
“And often times, the only time a warning comes up is when you attempt to actually calibrate it, and it won’t,” Peeters said. “But if you never make the attempt, it just continues to operate [and] the safety systems do not function as they were engineered to function. It is not avoiding accidents the way it’s supposed to.”
Shops could be at risk of a lawsuit if they ignore this.
“I think there are impressive liabilities around vehicles being repaired that aren’t getting calibrated,” Peeters observed. Adding to the issue is a lack of documentation — a calibration isn’t written into an estimate or calibration details are not included on the final invoice. “I think there’s going to be some very serious lawsuits” as a result,” Peeters noted. “We’ve already seen some indicators of that starting.”
And rather than send the work out, shops should look to do it in-house. But it’s not easy. Peeters ran through some of the requirements.
A bay that measures 30 by 50 feet and 12 feet of ceiling space — at minimum — is the starting point. The floor needs to be precisely level and needs to be a low-sheen finish. The vehicle and targeting systems need to sit on the exact same plane. The walls have to be the same colour. There can’t be reflective surfaces. Lighting has to be uniform — natural light, he noted, can ruin calibrations.
A “distracting environment” could lead to either an incorrect calibration or a missed one, Peeters warned.