From the Desk of Mike Anderson: Are You Itemizing Vehicle Prep Steps Necessary Prior to ADAS Calibrations?
Written by Mike Anderson, Autobody News
Published Dec. 5, 2022
Collision repair shops are obviously seeing more and more vehicles coming in for repairs that include advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and that means more and more vehicles are requiring calibrations of those systems as part of the repair.
There are a lot of great resources out there for determining which vehicles have systems that will need to be calibrated. I-CAR, for example, offers a free online search tool to find OEM calibration requirements.
Pull up the requirements for 2022 Acura MDX, for example, and the site shows what’s required related to the adaptive cruise control, collision warning, blind spot detection and about 10 other vehicle systems---there’s also a link at the top of the search results to a detailed page explaining how to use the requirements search.
But what I want to focus on here are some of the things often required by the automaker to be done---by your shop or by whatever sublet vendor you are using---to the vehicle prior to the calibration. There’s also “stall prep” work that must be done, but I’m focusing here on steps related to the vehicle itself.
This vehicle prep required for accurate calibration may include such items as verifying the fuel level in the vehicle, and adding fuel if necessary to meet the necessary conditions. It can include verifying the tire pressure, and the levels of other vehicle fluids in the vehicle like coolant or oil or washer fluid. It can include verifying the trunk doesn’t have any excess contents adding weight or “ballast.” You may have to check the back of the front seats to make sure there’s nothing in the seat pocket. An alignment is often a required step prior to calibrations.
When I’m working with estimators or repair planners, I always teach them to itemize these operations aside from the calibration line entry itself. Why?
Because there are variables. You may have two similar vehicles each requiring the same calibration, but one has the full fuel tank needed, while the other has only a half tank of gas, requiring an added step.
Speaking of which, let me tell you about an experience one collision repairer recently told me about when I was visiting the shop. The shop had added fuel to a vehicle because the calibration required a full tank of gas, but the vehicle had come into the shop with only a half-full tank.
After the customer picked up the repaired vehicle, he asked if the shop had added gas. The shop explained it was required as part of the calibration. The customer then asked what type was added. It turned out it wasn’t the type the customer used. He made such a stink about it, the shop had to drain the fuel and replace the fuel filters just to make the customer happy.