Calibration Calculations

Since I returned from the Auto Glass Week™, I keep thinking about the seminars given on Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS). Although I have addressed this subject in the past, it is becoming obvious that the questions are not going away. ADAS will continue to be a problem until we know what to do for ourselves and our customers. This technology is so new that many dealerships don’t know what to do.

Question 1:

Is it necessary for the glass repair company to take control of the vehicle until the recalibration is completed?

That would be great if we all had the car dealer we needed across the street. But, how about all of the others that are miles from the nearest dealer? Do we rent a car for the customer? Who pays for that? If we do take it to the local dealer, does he have the equipment and know how to get the recalibration done?

Question 2:

Do we have the customer sign-off on the replacement and send them to their dealer for recalibration?

That is great if we can be assured they will do it and we are free from liability. This is a question for your attorney to answer. What if the customer does not follow your directive? What if they drive the car and it seems okay so they don’t take it in? What if they get into a head-on collision because they crossed the centerline and were not warned. Who is at fault then?

Question 3:

What about independent calibrators?

There is a company that does independent calibrations in Minneapolis, but I don’t know if there are others. The cost of a separate business for recalibrations can cost tens of thousands of dollars to start and tens of thousands of dollars to keep current with the copyright licenses and software. It is a business not many entrepreneurs are jumping at.

Question 4:

So, what do we do?

This is a question that each shop owner needs to answer for himself. I still think that this issue will right itself with time. Technology will either become self-calibrating or directives will become friendlier to businesses and the consumers. One bright note that came up at the show was that Mercedes just introduced one of their models with a self-calibrating system. This, I hope, signifies hope for the future of self-calibrating vehicles.

However, in the meantime, I think it would be wise for all of us to re-introduce ourselves to our local car dealers. Build relationships that are equally educational to both of you. Sit down and discuss this issue. How can we help each other? What needs to be done to please our mutual customer? What are the costs of recalibration in both time and procedure? Is OEM glass required or does the calibration account for slight changes in the glass? Who pays for this and how?

I know that this whole blog is nothing but questions, but that is all we have right now. It is up to us to be proactive instead of reactive and go out and find the answers. It will take sitting down with your attorney and discussing the liabilities you are willing to accept or reject. It will take local effort and shoe-leather to get answers that will work for you and your customers.

Stay tuned. I will keep you updated and pass on discoveries as I go. However, the first thing you will have to do is to make close friends of your local and regional dealers. Dealership relationships are the key to your success.

Oh, by the way, let me know what you find out so I can pass the word. Good Luck!