But the perception that a newly-installed sensor that doesn’t generate an error code means the system will work properly runs counter to a presentation at the same conference in which Jason Bartanen, at that time the director of industry technical relations for I-CAR, discussed several examples of vehicle sensors that weren’t calibrated to operate properly – yet set no fault codes.
In one, for example, a vehicle’s emergency braking sensor was pointed too high. That improper calibration didn’t set a fault code, Bartanen said, but that’s not an indication the sensor will function properly. When the vehicle was driven under an overpass, he said, the system “slammed on the brakes because it saw the overpass as a vehicle in front of it.”
He pointed to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study last year that found a misalignment of just six-tenths of a degree on an emergency braking sensor (because of play in the non-OEM windshield’s bracket that held the sensor) was enough to prevent the system from avoiding a 20 mph collision with a stationary car. A lack of codes being set when a sensor appears to be calibrated is not an automatic indication the sensor will perform within the system as designed.
Bartanen has more recently joined the staff of Collision Hub; but, because he was still with I-CAR during his presentation to the ABPA, he prefaced his remarks by saying I-CAR largely stays out of the OEM vs. non-OEM debate.
“What we do say is follow the automaker procedures,” Bartanen said. “We limit it to the procedures. That’s kind of where we stop. We believe that the procedures for removal and installation of the panels themselves are service specifications. They’re not recommendations; they’re service specifications.”
Given I-CAR’s technical expertise and the make-up of its inter-industry board of directors – which includes both repairers and insurers – I-CAR’s position on vehicle scanning is equally important.