The Ins, Outs, and Arounds of Calibration

The Ins, Outs, and Arounds of Calibration
One of the most complex tasks for today ’ sulfur technician is completing a vehicle ’ second ADAS calibration. According to the 2020 FenderBender Industry Survey, precisely 25 percentage of responding shops said they were equipped to perform advance driver-assistance systems calibrations. Investing in that type of ADAS oeuvre wasn ’ thyroxine easy at Anderson & Koch Ford in North Branch, Minn., but Scott Flom says it was well worth it. The body shop coach, who has 40 years of diligence feel, says being equipped for ADAS work sets his employer apart from nearby competitors .
ADAS calibration refers to the fine tuning of the many sensors found throughout the vehicle that help in a act of processes, from airbag deployment to lane-change aid, to hand brake braking. calibration is necessary if the vehicle experiences a collision—regardless of the badness. If these intricate systems are not calibrated correctly, the vehicle could behave in unplanned ways, causing injury or even death .
“ [ Calibration ] sets us apart because of our educate, and our quality, and our commitment to our customers, ” says Flom, whose four-person body workshop staff produces an annual gross of $ 1.2 million. “ We want to be one footfall above everybody else. ”
AirPro Diagnostics provides scan, program, and calibration aid to shops across the area. Vice president of the united states of AirPro, Chuck Olsen, says there ’ s a spectrum of calibration, from scanning elementary features like cruise control, to the more complex. initially, there ’ s service line calibration—inspecting the liftgate, window positions, seat weight, steering angle, and tire pressure monitoring systems, all of which need to be done before more complex ADAS calibration can begin.

Despite most vehicles having features that require some kind of calibration, it remains a much-discussed so far opaque subject, due to varying terminology between OEMs, entirely sold parts, and a by and large limit total of data available on the topic .
Getting the calibration job done right, specially when it comes to ADAS, can literally mean the difference between life and death for those inside a vehicle. With such high stakes surrounding such a complicate and relatively new serve, it can be a daunting tax to get your denounce calibration fix. FenderBender spoke to collision industry experts to get your questions answered .

A sample of systems that require calibration include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind spot detection
  • Collision avoidance system 
  • Automatic braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Rain sensor
  • Tire pressure monitoring
  • Night detection 
  • Driver drowsiness detection
  • Hill descent control 
  • Steering angle
  • Parking assistance
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Forward collision warning
  • Intelligent speed adaptation 
  • Automatic navigation
  • Electric vehicle warning sounds
  • Surround view system

Creating a Calibration Station
If you want to perform calibrations in your shop, you first need the square footage. Whether you are doing electrostatic or active calibrations, a dedicate distance is essential and much required by most OEs as a region of their certificate processes .
static calibrations are done via targets on the shop deck to which the fomite ’ s sensors can respond. such targets are set up surrounding the vehicle, at varying distances, to test sensors ’ astuteness perceptions and the vehicle ’ second reply time. Dynamic calibration, on the other hired hand, refers to exchangeable processes, but the fomite is in motion throughout the test .
Jake Rodenroth, director of OEM and industry relations for asTech, a Texas-based diagnostic center, says ADAS sensors are amazingly finical. even if you find an fresh space large adequate to set up targets around a fomite, he says there can be unexpected sources of intervention that the sensors will detect—details equally minute as the character of coating used on the shop floor could come into play .
Rodenroth remembers a rare example in which a floor ’ south sealant had reflective properties, throwing off calibrations. Technicians had measured the quad, confirmed the floor was completely horizontal surface, and were finally cook to begin repair processes when floor reflections began toying with the vehicle ’ mho sensors .
Rodenroth says ADAS sensors have besides been known to uncover obstacles evening less noticeable than a morsel of glare. Techs were trying to calibrate the sensors on a vehicle and the car refused to move in any direction, claiming there was an obstacle obstructing its position. The technicians scratched their heads and walked around the empty quad, ineffective to find the detector ’ second lawsuit for concern. He says it was late revealed that a metal beam in between the walls is what gave the sensors pause, something the technicians never saw coming .
Flom, of Anderson & Koch Ford, estimates his adeptness required a roughly $ 40,000 investment, all told, to be cook for calibrations .
“ You don ’ thyroxine equitable purchase [ equipment ], have it all show up, and be able to calibrate the adjacent day, ” he says. “ It takes time. ”
But, in the end he adds, it ’ mho money well spent .

Indoor Calibration Station Checklist


  • Very level
  • Neutral-toned paint
  • At least 4,000 square feet
  • Pristinely clean 


  • Adjustable LEDs
  • Variety of bulb tones 
  • Sufficient height between vehicle and bulbs
  • Minimal shadows


  • Clean white wall
  • Clean black wall
  • Avoid warped walls

Noting Calibration Specifications
There ’ s no streamlined checklist for post-crash calibration procedures. not alone does each OEM have its own list of repairs and its own list of tools for the list of repairs, but they besides vary in definition as to what classify of collision requires recalibration, says Rodenroth.

For example, in some models an unexpected rap on the back bumper will most probable be harmless. If the vehicle has limited ADAS features, chances are hitting the bridle while parking will not disrupt the vehicle ’ s cruise restraint capabilities, assures AirPro ’ s Chuck Olsen .
But for other vehicles, both new and used, a balmy bump to one of the bumpers could have extreme consequences. Checking for daily updates on repair procedures has never been more vital than it is today with vehicles ’ compass of self-driving capabilities, says Olsen. What could be a little scrape for one vehicle could reset the automatic brake system in another. He says that lone by checking the animate procedures on the day of the fix can techs be certain to cover all bases, handing the car back to its owner with full confidence that it ’ south properly repaired .
Pre-scans are necessity to the calibration procedure, because they show which systems have been affected by bumps or more serious crashes. Rodenroth says they often identify new issues owners were unaware of. Experts across the industry agree that post-scans are equitable deoxyadenosine monophosphate crucial as pre-scans to ensure a vehicle is working american samoa efficiently as it was when it first base left the lot. But according to the 2020 FenderBender Industry Survey, 65 percentage of respondents said they do not systematically perform pre- and post-repair scans. Of the shops that said they do perform ADAS services, however, 76 percentage do pre- and post-repair scans. Regardless, though, the majority ( 64 percentage ) use a third-party service for scanning services .
Post-Calibration Procedures
One of the few topics OEMs agree on is the importance of road tests, which should be performed after a calibration is complete to ensure vehicles are spinal column to their original country. More often than not, OEs will specify which road test—or tests—they want to run before returning a fomite to its owner, says Rodenroth .
road tests for ADAS calibrations vary depending on the type of calibration that was performed and the geographic placement of the shop class. For dynamic test, a long stretch of straight road with a steady focal ratio limit and no compulsory stops is ideal, says Olsen. This can be unmanageable to find, particularly when many luxury cars, laden with boost driver-assistance systems, are located in major metro areas .
For electrostatic test drives, Rodenroth says that normally a conclude course is preferred, where technicians can plan the route in order to ensure the animate was performed correctly and that the fomite responds as it should. This is an particularly dearly-won type of calibration, considering the space needed to perform it, arsenic well as the control environment for the test drive .
Achieving Your Preferred Calibration Certification
If your shop has the funds and the work force, in-house calibrations are the most convenient choice .
Kye Yeung, owner of European Motor Car Works, in Costa Mesa, Calif., has two calibration technicians who are trained across all five OE brands in which the workshop specializes .
In order to correctly and safely calibrate vehicles, technicians must inaugural receive their certifications from the OEM. There are diverse ways to attain OEM certificate discipline, from plainly buying the chastise equipment to completing subscription-based on-line modules, to even traveling across the world and having to prove yourself to the OE .
One of the more rare ways of gaining OEM calibration certificate is by invitation. Mike Hubbard, drumhead technician at European Motor Car Works, secured a sponsorship from Aston Martin. Per the requirements of the sponsorship, Hubbard has to travel to England for two weeks each year to stay up to date on the latest repair data .
“ If you ’ rhenium lucky enough to be selected to participate in an OE platform, the tools themselves could cost a quarter million dollars, ” says Yeung. Despite the costs, Scott Flom, the Minnesota shop owner, says being equipped to handle ADAS calibrations offers shops an advantage over competitors because it means they can efficaciously keep all repairs in-house .
“ It ’ s a major benefit, ” he says. “ We don ’ t have drive time, we don ’ t have to worry about the sublet shop and how busy they are. … I mean, it ’ s a huge advantage to have operate over the whole compensate, versus sending it out to a sublet shop. ”
But for smaller shops that can ’ metric ton let their technical school jet oversea for two weeks, Hubbard says there are other education options. Almost all automakers have subscription on-line repair manuals that can be accessed by technicians and engineers. Most subscriptions are offered for a daily, monthly, or annual fee .
For $ 1,200 per year, shops can have year-long access to Land Rover ’ s compensate manuals, says Hubbard, while access to Honda ’ s animate manual costs approximately $ 10 per day. Choosing to bring calibrations in firm is an expensive endeavor upfront, and continual updates across tools, software, and equipment comes at a price .
“ If you ’ re getting your [ OEM calibration ] documentation, you just hope there are enough of those cars in your area to get a turn on investment, ” Yeung warns .
training modules, in tandem with compensate manuals, could be the right fit for smaller shops, says Hubbard, unless a shop owner prefers to sublet his or her calibrations .
Hiring Out for Remote Calibrations
Yeung guesses there ’ s not a single freelancer shop that is able to perform calibrations across all automakers, based on the total of time, money, and dedication that it would take. here ’ second where services for distant calibration gradation in—according to the 2020 FenderBender Industry Survey, 64 percentage of shops utilize third-party scan services .
Yeung says there are two identify players in the distant calibrations game : AirPro and asTech. The companies operate under the notion that cognition is for all, specially when the landscape of the diligence is constantly changing .
Both provide pre- and post-repair scan tools, diagnostic information, calibration services, blue-ribbon tools, and the allow software to independent shops, which don ’ t have the means to provide them their own .
Olsen says AirPro brings on shops as clients and acts as a guide handwriting for technicians who are not calibration certified themselves. The steepest learn curvature for technicians, he says, is learning how to manage the many software programs. The effectiveness of remote control diagnostic capabilities much depends on the skill degree of a shop ’ s technician, he says .
“ You ’ ve got updates, logins, security measures, licensing agreements, and a whole lot more across all unlike computer systems—it can become very difficult very flying, ” Olsen says. “ For a workshop to be able to do it independently and be able to charge appropriately is a challenge. ” A alone obstacle that many shops may face, even if they are able of doing their own calibration, is a dearth of devices .
Olsen says having calibration programs from two vehicle manufacturers on the same laptop renders it useless .
“ You can spend hours trying to figure out why the plan international relations and security network ’ thymine working, and that ’ s before you can even start working on the car, ” he says .
AirPro tries to shoulder that burden a much as it can by sending PCs and laptops to its clients, says Olsen, a well as providing aim and IT support. asTech provides similar services, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well .
From Calibration to Monetization
Yeung, owner of European Motor Car Works, says one of the industry ’ s most heat debates right now is whether or not you can turn a profit on calibrations. He promptly acknowledges losing money performing calibrations, but believes they ’ re a necessity, however .
“ We will continue to do [ calibrations ] careless of profit or not, because of the oath we took to protect the customer, ” says Yeung .
even global mender asTech, says Rodenroth, has so far to turn a profit from outback calibration. “ We need to understand the process, their systems, and how they work, ” he says. “ Understanding the importance of calibrations should come before profiting from them. ”
AirPro charges an initial fee, $ 89 to $ 129, for high-end luxury vehicles. That covers the pre-scan and includes diagnostic trouble codes. Any scans, modifications, or calibrations after the initial scan have extra prices, Olsen says. Rodenroth says asTech charges $ 119.95 for its initial scan, and an extra $ 50 per extra scan .
Yeung says one of the most convenient features of outside calibrations is the paper lead. Most insurers will only cover repairs that they can see in print. Keeping detail software documentation of each scan and test campaign for insurers means they are much more probably to cover shops ’ costs .
Your Next Step
Olsen warns against smaller shops falling behind the crook if they can ’ metric ton find a means to keep up with the changing landscape. But fear not, FenderBender has your future steps. Rodenroth says asTech encourages facilities to begin by investing in calibration tools for their most-logged brands .
“ If you ’ re primarily a Toyota adeptness, buy the target equipment for Toyotas, not Tesla, ” he says. Outfitting your shop to be able to perform calibrations is a drawn-out and expensive process. But, Olsen says, at minimum, shops should be setting goals to have a space that is ADAS-ready. “ ‘ ADAS-ready ’ means the shop has the cognition, the software and the equipment to perform calibrations, ” he says .
“ even if you can ’ t cause calibrations, get the space fix. then you can learn from the vehicles that come in, make note of what you see the most for calibration issues and OEs, ” says Olsen. “ then you can determine what you want your shop to be able to address and in turn, plan for what you can practicably afford while staying on acme of the latest vogue. ”

The ADAS Shop

According to the 2020 FenderBender Industry Survey, only 25 percentage of shop owners said they are equipped to perform ADAS calibrations. Who are these shop owners and what do they have in park ? Well, many of them are like Kye Yeung :

  • Demographically, they are likely either an independent shop or a dealer with a large business: facility of 20,000 square feet or more, at least 11 employees, generate at least $5 million in annual revenue.
  • They tend to perform better, be it a touch time of 4-5 hours, average tech efficiency of 160% or higher, and average tech productivity of 110% or higher. 
  • They likely have at least one OEM certification and regularly attend OEM-specific training, for which they pay employees to attend. They also overwhelmingly attend industry-specific technical training on a regular basis. 

The Insurance Negotiation 

It goes without saying that, whether you like it or not, negotiating with insurers is a component of the scanning and calibration process. Luckily, according to data from CollisionAdvice’s “Who Pays for What?” survey of nearly 1,000 shops, the majority of shops are having success in that department:  

  • Of those that negotiate for pre- and post-repair scans, 84 percent and 88 percent, respectively, are paid always or most of the time 
  • Of those that negotiate for seat calibration, 79 percent are paid always or most of the time. 

  • Of those that negotiate for calibration of systems, 87 percent are paid always or most of the time. 

Sidebar: Calibration Pricing

According to data from CCC Information Services, just over 2.5 percentage of all appraisals in 2019 included an extra submission for “ calibration ”, “ reprogram ”, or “ flash ” —up about a full percentage period from 2017. There is, however, a wide range in these types of fees ; the average tip per calibration calculate argumentation ( including categoric fees and labor ) was $ 232 in 2019 and the maximum fee on a single appraisal was $ 8,564 .
One area where the industry could improve ? Identifying needed calibrations on the front end. From that lapp datum, less than 40 percentage of calibration entries were included in the original estimate of phonograph record, and of those calibration with fees of more than $ 1,000, only 9 percentage were included on the original estimate .

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Category : Car Brakes