A Conversation on Scanning, Diagnostics, and Calibration with Industry Leaders
03/21/2023 by Val D'Anna
Our industry has an acute need for clear, accessible information on how new technologies are transforming collision repair procedures. Every avenue of learning needs to be explored on the topics of scanning, diagnostics and calibration as more ADAS features become standardized and new ADAS continue to be developed. This two-part video is an easy-to access opportunity to better understand how ADAS impacts collision repairs. It’s available to all in keeping with I-CAR’s vision to equip Every person in the industry with the information, knowledge and skills needed to perform collision repairs the proper way.
We’ve compiled examples of insights provided by the top experts featured in Part One and Part Two of this video, with time stamps to zero in on sections of greatest interest to you. We strongly encourage you to view these recordings in full because there are many more topics besides those covered in the highlights below, from why safety trumps every consideration to OEM vs. aftermarket scan tools to future predictions.
ADAS complicates even the simplest repairs; an anecdote about what went wrong on a hail repair. (Part Two: 12:20, Bud Center, I-CAR)
Center tells an anecdote about when I-CAR rode along on a shop’s test drive in a vehicle repaired for hail damage. Not anticipating any ADAS issues, no ADAS testing was planned; but on the road, it became apparent that the Adaptive Cruise was not functioning. Center says that back at the shop, there was discussion about the repair, which required the removal of the front bumper. “On this particular vehicle,” he notes, “this sensor that controls the Adaptive Cruise is one that you set with a bubble level…..at some point, taking the cover off or putting it back on, they bumped that sensor, and it was no longer calibrated. So they didn’t know that, it didn’t set any codes.”
The dilemma: can’t afford all the needed resources, but can’t afford to keep giving up a growing part of the business. (Part One: 33:59, Darrell Amberson, LaMettry’s Collision)
Equipping your shop to cover all OEMs “becomes quite expensive and complicated. Not every shop is going to be able to do that,” says Amberson, whose shop paced out its investments as an early adopter and is now even venturing into B2B calibrations. Yet, with the thin margins that collision repair shops typically operate on, who can afford to outsource a part of the business that will only keep growing? Amberson advises, “A typical single-location shop operator may not be able to afford the space, the equipment to handle all brands; so they may have to focus on a specific niche area of the marketplace.”
How specific should my ADAS training be; do I need OEM training? (Part One: 7:23, Dane Rounkles, Honda)
“We understand every manufacturer has a different ADAS system, so we don’t want the shops to assume that one ADAS system will work the same on every car,” explains Rounkles of Honda, which requires shops in its network to complete four online classes on different ADAS features on Honda and Acura models. “As we develop new systems, we’ll have new required classes,” he adds. Honda network shops also must meet other requirements, including maintaining I-CAR Gold Class® recognition.
Go deeper with documentation sent to insurance partners. (Part Two: 16:03; Arlo Johnson, Driven Brands)
Driven Brands works with calibration providers and CCC to be able to provide its franchisees “a nice flow of documentation of the scan reports,” Johnson says, and this “helps avoid friction” with reimbursement of repair costs. It’s not enough to simply provide a position statement and then expect to get reimbursed, and Johnson encourages shops to go deeper by “providing repair procedures or proper scan documentation, etc. to explain the ‘why’ to our insurance partners…We certainly coach our stores to go to that level.”
How much do you really need to know about calibrations if you’re subletting this work to a third-party? (Part One: 5:20, Center)
The decision to sublet doesn’t diminish the need for knowledge about ADAS and calibrations. How will you know, in every instance, when to call the provider or if your provider is performing calibrations correctly?
Calling on shops during field research, I-CAR heard some troubling things like “It didn’t set a trouble code, so we didn’t calibrate it,” says Center. Another mistake occurs when a third-party provider is called in to perform a static calibration at a shop without adequate floor space, so the parking lot is used. “There’s not a vehicle on this planet that you can properly calibrate (for static calibrations) in a parking lot. There are a lot of vehicle conditions surrounding the environment that have to be right.”
The knowledge and precision required to perform calibrations is behind I-CAR’s introduction last year of an ADAS technician role, currently an optional role for I-CAR Gold Class shops.
Treat position statements, if available, only as supplemental information to OEM repair procedures. (Part One: 20:40, Dan Risley, CCC)
Risley of CCC notes that some vehicle makers don’t have position statements on scanning or calibrations and instead include all information in their repair procedures. It’s important to understand, he says, that “position statements are great supplements, but you should always refer back to those repair procedures to make sure that you’re following any changes that may have occurred.”
An experienced shop’s best practice: re-scan after disassembly even if there are no Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) in initial pre-scan. (Part Two: 19:26, Amberson)
Before starting a calibration, performing a scan is a good practice since fault codes can appear at any time, says Amberson. “You may tear down the car and maybe something else has happened, and all of sudden there’s more codes in the car that weren’t there during that pre-scan. You want to know about that before you go into the calibration.” He explains, “Some DTCs don’t occur until they get to a certain number of key cycles or a certain time, hence the importance of following up on this to make sure that something didn’t occur or pop up that you didn’t expect.” Amberson recommends CEICA, where he served as chair of its calibration committee, as a resource for scanning and calibration information.
Another free resource: RTS OEM Calibration Requirements Search Tool
The panel discussion closed with a reminder about I-CAR’s RTS tool that can be used to identify which system(s) a particular make/model may be equipped with; which parts and systems will set DTCS, illuminate MILs, or require scan tools; and when calibrations are required.