The need for vehicle seat calibrations isn’t new. Many years ago, Will Latuff of Latuff Brothers Auto Body in Minnesota forwarded me information pertaining to a seat calibration needed on a Honda.
I started looking into it and found there are several vehicles that require these seat calibrations after a collision.
Despite this information, last year’s “Who Pays for What?” survey found that 20% of shops have never asked to be paid for such a calibration. (Hopefully that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing them). I think there are a number of things that shops aren’t always considering when it comes to seat calibrations.
First, you need to understand why resetting or calibrating the seat sensors is so critical. The system tells the vehicle about the person driving the vehicle as well as the passenger (if there is one). This is important because in the event of an accident, how the airbag deploys may vary depending on whether I’m the one driving the vehicle – at 180 pounds – versus my sister driving the vehicle at 102 pounds. In some cases, the system tells the vehicle not to deploy some of the airbags, such if there’s no passenger in the vehicle, or if the passenger is a small child.
Second, you have to research the OEM repair procedures related to them every time because they vary by automaker and from vehicle model to model. Some Toyotas, for example, require a seat calibration after any accident, no matter what, even if the vehicle was parked and unoccupied when it was hit. However, on other Toyota models, a calibration is required only if a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) related to the system has been set – yet another reason that performing a vehicle diagnostic scan is so critical. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Some of the systems may even reset themselves after a test drive; so, you have to check the procedures to know what the particular requirements are for the specific vehicle you are repairing.
Automakers use different terminology for various systems, which presents another challenge.