George Lesniak, Autel’s director of sales and training, said one of the biggest challenges for shops working to follow OEM collision repair procedures – in particular, the steps necessary for calibration of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – is the variation among automakers.
“There’s a complete lack of consistency across the different OEMs when it comes to their service information: where that information is located, where you find the procedures and specifications,” Lesniak said during the recent Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) “Connex” conference.
But some of the challenges shops encounter in following OEM procedures, he said, has little to do with that inconsistency in how the information is organized.
“The one thing that I’ve found to be very consistent is technicians’ ability to skip steps,” Lesniak said. “The key skill set required to do calibrations is the ability to read, interpret and follow complex instructions and make detailed measurements. Knowing how to use a metric tape measure is absolutely foreign to most technicians. We’ve found that 50 percent of calibration failures come down to missing or skipping steps in those preliminary instructions.”
Those steps, he said, include having the required space with the right environmental conditions, such as proper lighting, and ensuring that nothing is interfering with the field of “view” of any sensors.
“I actually got called out by a customer who couldn’t get this vehicle calibrated. He had tried multiple times,” Lesniak said. “They sent me out to trouble-shoot, and there was what looked like a grasshopper splattered right in the middle of the camera on the windshield. Step number one in the instructions was to make sure the windshield is clean, especially in front of the camera. They skipped the basic steps.”
Lesniak was just one of several speakers discussing OEM procedures and ADAS calibrations during the CIECA conference, held in Charlottesville, VA. Sean Guthrie, director of operations for the seven Car Crafters Collision Centers in Albuquerque, N.M., said one thing he thinks may slow the expected reduction in claims count based on ADAS is whether consumers are buying vehicles equipped with such systems.