When it comes to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) calibrations, not every manufacturer has the same requirements on when certain calibrations are REQUIRED on vehicles. I wanted to kick-start a series of blogs focused on diving deep into a single manufacturer to dissect and look at why, and when, ADAS calibrations are necessary.
One important part about this topic is notice how I said "required" not "recommended". A lot of times repair shops, automotive glass shops, or other members of the automotive repair industry don't realize that vehicles that are equipped with ADAS calibrations are most often going to need a calibration. Whether it be a Seat Weight Sensor or a more complex Front Radar Sensor, a calibration is frequently REQUIRED after any collision or accident. ADAS related calibrations or procedures may not always throw a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) or throw a dashboard light on the vehicle. It is vital that you stay informed, do your homework, and follow repair procedures on vehicles you work on in order to perform the necessary ADAS procedures when required. Which leads into our first manufacturer deep dive...Honda and Acura - they have some of the more stricter requirements and reasons on when to perform ADAS calibrations.
Before we dive in I would like to note that we may not cover every ADAS calibration. It is always best to get in contact with us if you have any questions on whether or not your vehicle may need an ADAS calibration after repairs are performed on the vehicle. In addition, the links provided will be for Honda vehicles but Acura vehicles follow a very similar protocol for when calibrations are REQUIRED. Remember, we are a calibration shop but also a resource to help you identify ADAS systems and identify if any ADAS procedures need to be completed based on the repairs done on the vehicle!
Seat Weight Sensor (SWS), also known as Occupant Detection System (ODS) Calibrations
The Passenger Seat Weight Sensor is a common calibration that is most often overlooked but is probably one of the most required calibrations among any Honda vehicle. Honda states that...
"this check must be done after ANY collision, regardless of damage, even if no airbags have deployed. Weight sensor calibration is also required when front passenger seat components have been removed or replaced."
This calibration is pivotal to the safety of the person in the passenger seat as the sensor notifies the vehicle when an airbag needs to deployed based on the weight of the passenger when an accident occurs.
Front Radar Calibration, also known as Millimeter Wave Radar or Adaptive Cruise Control Calibrations
The Front Radar Unit (sometimes referred to as the Distance Sensor, Millimeter Wave Radar, and/or Adaptive Cruise Control Unit), is located typically behind the front Emblem or behind a black cover in the Lower Bumper Cover offset to the driver's side of the vehicle. This ADAS unit provides a few features such as Collision Mitigation/Pre-Collision Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control. Honda wants this procedure done after a variety of reasons such as...
"Millimeter wave radar unit was removed and reinstalled..." (found on page 4)
"After a collision repair requiring a structural body repair..." (found on page 4)
"After a collision repair that would require at least a front bumper fascia repair within 300 mm of the millimeter wave radar unit..." (found on page 4)
"After a Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) deployment..." (found on page 5)
There is even a few more reasons for performing this Front Radar/Millimeter Wave Radar calibration that you can continue reading in the article linked above. As you can see, a majority of front collision losses will REQUIRE this calibration to be performed!
Front Windshield Camera Calibration, also known as Multipurpose Camera or LDW Camera Calibrations
The Front Windshield Camera (sometimes referred to as the LDW Camera, Multipurpose Camera, or Forward Facing Camera) is located behind your Rearview Mirror inside a plastic cover. This ADAS Unit provides Lane Departure Warning capabilities to alert, and even sometimes steer you back into your lane, when you cross over visible road lines. In addition, it also works to provide Forward Collision Warning (similar to Pre-Collision Mitigation that the Front Radar Unit provides) by alerting you when there is a possibility of a front collision. In newer Honda and Acura models, the ADAS capabilities that a Front Radar Unit would typically provide is operated through the camera system. Honda states to perform a calibration on this Front Windshield Camera when...
"Windshield was removed and installed..." (found on page 6)
"Windshield was replaced..." (found on page 6)
"Multipurpose camera unit or FCW/LDW camera unit was replaced..." (found on page 6)
"After a collision repair requiring a structural body repair..." (found on page 6)
Once again, there are a few more reasons when the Front Windshield Camera unit REQUIRES calibration if you click the links above and read the article a bit more.
Blind Spot Monitor Calibration, also known as Blind Spot Information (BSI) Radar Calibration
The Blind Spot Monitor System (also referred to as the Blind Spot Information or BSI System) is located behind the Rear Bumper and mounted onto the LT. and RT. Quarter Panels of the vehicle. Some Honda vehicles are equipped with this BSI system while others may have a camera on the bottom of the RT. Passenger Mirror called the LaneWatch Camera. The functionality of these systems is virtually the same, they help alert you if someone is in your blind spots when you turn your directional on and switch lanes. These sensors detect if a vehicle is approaching you on the left or right side and alert you visually with a given indicator, similar to the bottom right photo above. Sometimes they even give an audible warning. It is important to note that this system will only alert you of approaching vehicles. If you drive past a vehicle in an adjacent lane, the system may not visually or audibly alert you until said vehicle approaches the side of the vehicle once again. For this system, Honda states that a calibration is necessary when...
"BSI radar unit was removed and installed..." (found on page 5)
"BSI radar unit was replaced..." (found on page 5)
"After replacing or repairing the body panel(s) where the BSI radar unit is mounted..." (found on page 5)
"After a collision repair requiring a structural body repair at the rear of the vehicle..." (found on page 5)
As always, there are a few more reasons on when it's REQUIRED to calibrate this BSI system which you can take a look at by clicking the links above. This BSI calibration involves the Rear Bumper being removed to take measurements from the mounting area. It is a great way to confirm the system works and if the repairs to the Quarter Panel(s) were sufficient which keeps the BSI system within Honda/Acura specifications!
That just about covers the most frequently calibrated systems on Honda/Acura vehicles. There are a few other systems that Honda/Acura vehicles come equipped with such as the LaneWatch system, previously mentioned in the Blind Spot section, as well as Parking Sensors that may require various resets/procedures which you can find through OEM repair information or on ALLDATA (which is a great reference site for repair data). In my experiences, Honda and Acura vehicles have some of the most simply documented regulations on when and why calibrations are REQUIRED.
I'm sure by now you can see the emphasis I have on REQUIRED due to the fact that some people ask us here at Crown Collision Solutions, "Why did you do this procedure?". Our typical response is, "We follow OEM instructions". We don't cut corners and we don't do more than what is required but we make sure every vehicle that comes into our facility is treated and serviced the way the vehicle was meant to per the manufacturer. Naturally, many of our customers get confused or are unsure of certain procedures and reasons for doing calibrations which is why we provide full documentation. When in doubt, use us here at Crown Collision Solutions as your number one resource for all things calibration. We are here to calibrate your vehicles but also inform you on why procedures are REQUIRED, which helps return your vehicle back to its pre-loss condition!