Myths & Misconceptions About ADAS

MYTH: IF I OUTSOURCE MY SHOP’S ADAS CALIBRATIONS I WILL NOT BE LIABLE.

FALSE.

General knowledge that ADAS calibrations are required after performing repairs can lead to legal liability to service providers if the recalibration process are not performed.

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MYTH: IF I DON’T USE OE EQUIPMENT TO PERFORM ADAS CALIBRATIONS I WILL BE LIABLE.

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FALSE.

In fact, it is illegal for an OE to tell an aftermarket business that they must use only OE products. The Magnuson-Moss Act was originally intended to address replacement parts, but it has been argued in court that this applies to tools and equipment as well.

OE service information was written for the new vehicle dealership, not for aftermarket repair shops. The OEs do make their service information available to the aftermarket, but they don’t rewrite it for the aftermarket.

Many resources are available to the aftermarket service and repair industry. I-CAR has a dedicated ADAS platform filled with ADAS classifications, reference guides, and educational resources based on OEM information.

MYTH: IF THERE ARE NO DTCS PRESENT CALIBRATIONS ARE NOT NEEDED.

FALSE.

In many cases, the engine is not cycled while the ADAS sensor is disconnected during the repair process. Without cycling the engine, the (DTC) Diagnostic Trouble Code is not live with the (ECM) Engine Control Module and ADAS (ECU) Electronic Control Unit. In this case the (CAN) Controller Area Network cannot communicate to check for proper ADAS calibration alignment and will not present a active DTC.

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MYTH: IT REQUIRES A CERTIFIED TECHNICIAN TO PERFORM ADAS CALIBRATIONS

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FALSE.

Performing an ADAS calibration is easy, nearly anyone can do it. BUT, when things go wrong and diagnostics or programming are required, a more experienced technician may need to step in.

When choosing calibration equipment, it is important to look at the distributor and manufacturing customer support engagement.

MYTH: IF THERE ARE NO WARNING LIGHTS OR MESSAGES ON THE DASH I DO NOT NEED TO CALIBRATE.

FALSE.

Any of the repairs or adjustments to the vehicle require recalibration for an ADAS system or multiple systems depending on type. When an ADAS module is removed from is bracket or fixture then mounted again, may not trigger a DTC (which initiates the warning lights on the dash). Recalibration ensures the ADAS module is positioned and accurately aiming as intended by the OEM.

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MYTH: ADAS CALIBRATIONS ARE ALL GOING DYNAMIC.

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FALSE.

OEMs ultimately determines the calibration type when selecting camera and software manufacturers. In recent years, we have seen more manufactures transition to platforms that include a static aiming process.

Environmental and road conditions can lead to inaccuracies or failure during dynamic aiming processes.

MYTH: THE SCAN TOOL SAYS THE CALIBRATION COMPLETED, SO IT MUST BE ACCURATE.

FALSE.

Calibration complete, does not mean the calibration is accurate. It simply means the camera recognized something it believes to be a target. Only after extensive test drive of the ADAS systems can we determine the calibration was accurate.

On some vehicles, the camera can display the calibration results, which can help determine calibration accuracy. In this case the vehicle preconditioning, calibration environment, and target placement were accurately placed.

We recommend taking a screenshot of any and all calibration confirmation pages and attaching the evidence to the post scan report.

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MYTH: ADAS CALIBRATION IS A FAD AND WON’T LAST LONG.

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FALSE.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT) has identified 5 levels of autonomy. Currently, the industry is at level 2. Only a few manufactures have produced level 3. By 2023, as a federal government requirement, all new vehicles sold in the US will have at least one ADAS system that needs recalibration after a repair.

MYTH: IF I DON’T UNPLUG THE CAMERA OR RADAR SENSOR, I DON’T NEED TO CALIBRATE.

FALSE.

The OEMs clearly state, if the camera is removed from its bracket and reinstalled, the camera must be calibrated.

Removing the camera from its bracket and letting the camera hang while the windshield is replaced does not mean the calibration is still OK. The position of the camera on the windshield has changed and even if the LDW (Lane Departure Warning) system still appears to function, the ABS (Automatic Emergency Braking System) may be severely limited.

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MYTH: ALL VEHICLES WILL SOON BE SELF CALIBRATING AND EQUIPMENT WILL NOT BE NECESSARY.

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FALSE.

The OEMs are aggressively moving ADAS calibrations to static or static and dynamic and eliminating dynamic only calibrations. No matter to calibration, the security gateway module must be accessed before calibration is performed. To enter a SGM, a diagnostic tool and other equipment is needed. Manufacturers are constantly updating SGM (Security Gateway Module) in order to protect unwanted outside sources from entering (i.e. hackers). Diagnostic and calibration equipment is the only way to successfully complete and ADAS calibration.

MYTH: CUSTOMERS CAN SIGN A WAIVER TO DECLINE ADAS CALIBRATIONS AND RELIEVE THE SHOP OF ALL RESPONSIBILITY.

FALSE.

The same liability laws that require that calibrations are performed in commonly known circumstances apply in all cases and vehicle owner waivers do not necessarily result in relief of liability for the service provider.

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MYTH: RIDE HEIGHT, TIRE SIZE, AND WHEEL ALIGNMENT DO NO AFFECT THE ADAS SYSTEM; THEY WILL AUTOMATICALLY COMPENSATE FOR THESE CHANGES.

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FALSE.

Ride height and tire size change the field of view of the forward-facing camera and radar. When compared to OE specifications if the vehicle is:

  • raised higher than spec, the camera or radar may be unable to see objects close to the vehicle
  • lowered than spec the camera and radar may not be able to see long distances

Wheel alignment, especially changes to thrust angle, change the direction the vehicle is driving. Forward-facing cameras and radar sensors are aligned to vehicle centerline. If the centerline and thrust angle no longer match, the camera and/or radar will no longer be accurate.

MYTH: AFTERMARKET ADAS CALIBRATION PROCEDURES ARE NOT ALWAYS THE SAME AS OEM.

TRUE, HOWEVER….

While this may be true, what is most important is that the target is placed at the correct distance, height and in the case of more than one target, at the proper distance apart.

How you get the targets to the exact OE position is less important.

Consider the maps software on your phone/ You enter an address, and your phone provides 2 or 3 routes from which to choose. They all end up at the exact same location, they just get there in a different way.

One of the biggest differences is where measurements are taken, at the target itself or at some fixed point on the calibration frame.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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The answer to this question is wide ranging, it could be a few minutes to over an hour depending on the vehicle and the equipment being used.

The most time-consuming portion of static calibration is target set up. If you have a calibration system designed to accurately place your target in less time, that could be a plus.

The most time-consuming portion of a dynamic calibration is meeting the OE driving requirements. Constant vehicle speed, road conditions, available targets, etc.

  • Not making accurate measurements
  • Not following the vehicle pre-conditioning instructions, i.e. full gas tank, tire pressure, weight load, etc.
  • Improper lighting
  • Background clutter
  • Not maintaining battery voltage
  • Not updating your scan tool

Failure to recognize the target due to:

  • Not following the scan tool instructions exactly
  • Improper lighting
  • Background clutter
  • Improper measurements
  • Not following the vehicle pre-conditioning instructions. Full gas tank, tire pressure, load, etc.

Generally, a neutral tone works best. Off-white, tan and light gray work well.

  • Avoid:
  • Bright colors
  • Busy patterns
  • Checkerboard patterns
  • Black
  • Pure white

There are several ways to determine this:

  • Service information
  • Scan tool instructions
  • Autel MaxiSysADAS.com website

ADAS screen capture from calibration settings

WHICH ADAS TOOL DO YOU NEED?

Check out the ADAS Tool Comparison Chart to see which tool your shop needs.

Download ADAS Tool Comparison Chart