The move by America’s largest auto glass repairer follows similar companywide initiatives by Safelite’s U.K. glass peers National Windscreens and Autoglass. Britain’s No. 1 auto body MSO Nationwide Crash Repair Centres, auto insurance research organization Thatcham (it’s like the IIHS) and leasing company Activa Contracts also have signaled the importance of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) recalibration in glass repair.
“A camera that is misaligned by as little as one degree can have devastating consequences,” Autoglass wrote in a spring infographic.
Safelite said it and Bosch will start “introducing recalibration tools this fall with the goal of having them available in at least one location in each market by the end of the year,” it wrote in a news release. The company has 6,800 “MobileGlassShops” and stores in every state, and it worked with nearly 5 million customers in 2015.
“The tools have been extensively tested and are expected to cover approximately 90 percent of the vehicle makes by mid-2017,” Safelite continued. “… The tools are designed to address the wide variety of different types of recalibration needed – no make or model is the same. Technicians will be trained to perform all types of recalibration.”
This is interesting because while Bosch is a Tier 1 OEM supplier, it doesn’t sound as though these are the official OEM calibration tools. We’ve asked Safelite and Bosch for more information about if the tools are OEM-sanctioned or aftermarket versions, and, if the latter, who has the liability if the calibration is off Autoglass’ “one degree.”
Both companies appeared receptive to discussing their calibration announcement further, and we should hopefully have some follow-up coverage in the coming days. Continue to check Repairer Driven News for updates.
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In any case, it’s good to have a major glass outfit — particularly one with close ties to auto insurance companies and — emphasizing and accepting the importance of calibrating new vehicle technology during repairs.
There’s been some friction in the past between repairers and insurers on the need for calibration and scanning, and perhaps the move from such a large player can help convince everyone that such work does indeed need to be done.
“We are committed to the safety of our customers,” Safelite President and CEO Tom Feeney said in a statement Monday. “The tools offer customers a convenient one-stop solution for windshield replacement and recalibration by trusted experts in the field.”
“This is a significant investment we’re making,” Feeney said in a statement. “As the leader in our industry, we believe it’s our duty to be on the forefront of solutions for addressing this new need in our market. Our customers and our insurance and fleet clients can continue to expect us to lead the way in this continuously evolving technology.”
Calibration, as Safelite indicated Monday, can take a variety of forms. I-CAR in a RTS news post last week described some techniques a collision repairer or glass installer might use:
For a static procedure, a target or multiple targets are positioned in certain locations in front of the vehicle. Then, a scan tool starts an aiming procedure that will make the FFC align to the target(s). A dynamic procedure requires the vehicle be driven down the road (sometimes while connected to scan tool) at or below a certain speed for a specified amount of time and/or distance. Dynamic procedures sometimes require that the road be clear of snow or rain, and avoid curves and heavy traffic. However, some FFCs will calibrate more quickly when more objects are detected around the vehicle. Always refer to OEM procedures for instructions on how to calibrate the system. Some OEMs even have simple procedures to determine if the system is functioning properly.
Safelite provided this graphic indicating the kind of advanced driver assistance systems one could expect to see on a car — including one located behind the windshield. (Provided by Safelite)
Besides advanced materials like an aluminum-magnesium rear liftgate and higher-strength steels, body shops need to be aware of the kind of sensors and cameras that can be located all over the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan exterior and behind the windshield. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)