by Bob Beranek
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There have been discussions about carmakers requiring pre & post scans when doing any repair work on their vehicles lately. “Scanning” means using a tool to read the vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBDII) computer.

The scan taps into the OBDII port under the driver side dashboard and flags “fault” codes that are tripped by things that cause problems for the vehicle. Dealerships, body shops and other repair facilities are already required to perform a pre-scan prior to beginning any repair procedure to make sure there are no undetermined issues to deal with, along with and a post-scan after the repair is complete to confirm the repair.

Photo courtesy of Thinkrace.com

Photo courtesy of engieapp.com

Vehicle technology built into the modern vehicle is categorized under two headings, safety related or performance related. Safety related technology is the most important. If safety related features are not performing properly, the repair facility is obligated to fix the problem. An example might be the Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS). I say “might be” because it is still unclear if ADAS is an “assist” system or a “safety” system.

Some safety systems are noticeable to the driver via lights, sounds, and warnings that pop up on the dash or fill the cab with audible warnings. Others are intertwined with other systems that are read by the scan of the vehicle and are not obvious to the driver. The carmaker wants to make sure the vehicle owner has the most current safety technology up and working correctly.  Directing and requiring scans help assure the safety of occupants in the vehicle.

The other scanning requirement is of performance related technology. Vehicle owners spend thousands of dollars to have the latest in performance features and expect them to be in working order. When an owner enters a repair facility, they expect their vehicle to be in the same working order as when it arrived at the repair shop. Pre & post scans assure the customer of that expectation.

What does this have to do with auto glass? Our challenge is to step up. This new technology has reached our industry through our connection to ADAS and with other glass related systems. We must rise to the level of professionalism of our sister industries.

More and more auto repairers pinpoint systems that are not operating properly through a pre-scan process. They then deliver that vehicle back to the owners, with all of the systems repaired and operating at peak performance and safety; which are documented through the post-scan process.  Our industry cannot be any less of a service provider.

There are dozens of scanners available to the professional and consumer and can range from under $100 to thousands. Each scanner offers different levels of performance from superficial readings for the car owner to global scans that professionals use to diagnosis complex systems.

My advice – do your homework and determine the scanner that will fit the needs of your shop. Purchase and use it on every vehicle. When an issue shows itself, determine if you have the ability and equipment to repair the problem. If not, inform the customer of the issue and suggest a repair by a professional that can complete it.

While I wrote this post, my wife Ann was busy making sure that we had everything packed for this week’s trip to Reno, Nev., for the Auto Glass Week™ festivities. When we went to our first national trade show we had no idea the things we were going to learn and see. We knew it was going to be an interesting adventure but we didn’t know the new ideas we were going to discuss and the friends we were going to make.

This year’s event will be no different than the first one we attended. There will be new friends to meet and old friends to share stories and experiences with. There will be new products to explore and new ideas to debate and put to work.

One of the things that I am looking forward to are the seminars and meetings that discuss and decide the future of our industry and how our businesses will have to change to make the most of the new coming trends. Technology is the future and we have to address it, whether we like to or not. I am honored to be part of a panel of experts in a series of seminars addressing, “How Vehicle Technology is Changing Your Business.” Mitch Becker from Abra Auto Body and Glass and Gerry Parij from Saint Gobain-Sekurit join me in presenting the second part of the technology series. The new Advanced Driver Assist Systems and other autonomous systems have been in our industry news for months now and will not go away. So, this series will be very interesting and educational.

Debra Levy from Key communications hit one out of the park in landing one of the most sought-after businessmen in the country, Jack Welch, as a speaker this year. Mr. Welch is one keynote speaker that should not be missed. He alone is worth the price of admission.

Well, I have to make this post short because Ann and I have a lot to do before getting on the plane. We hope to see you there.

Since the introduction of Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS), the need for aftermarket glass replacement companies to use OEM glass has increased substantially. Of course, auto dealers have claimed for years that OEM glass was necessary for the proper operation of the many electronic systems that utilize the glass for mounting or delivery. Is this true?

I got an email recently from a glass shop that installed a top quality windshield in a Cadillac Escalade with the Cadillac Intelligent Collision Avoidance System. It was installed more than six months ago with absolutely no problems with any of the ADAS system components. As a matter of fact, the customer used all of the system components during several road trips. However, recently the cruise control stopped working. None of the other systems malfunctioned but the cruise control didn’t work at all. The customer took the vehicle to the dealer, where another glass company came in and claimed that the malfunction was caused because the original aftermarket replacement shop didn’t use an OEM windshield.

This troubled me. In my experience, the cruise control malfunction could not possibly be caused by the glass if everything worked for six months prior. The features on the Cadillac glass are interconnected to the other components of the system and if one does not work, the others will not work either. Most concerning is that the statement, “the glass wasn’t OEM glass.” It came from another glass company and not from the dealer who may have had an incentive to sell his own glass.

So, what are we to believe?

I hope our readers can help me find out. I have had reports of ADAS that could not be calibrated unless an OEM glass was used. I have heard that aftermarket Chinese parts worked well with some systems and not others. I have heard that curvature, color intensity and thickness all play a part in proper operation. I have always depended on information I glean from my friends in the glass manufacturing industry, coupled with reports I get from trusted technicians and colleagues from the field. I then test things out with personal experience. However, the questions of ADAS and aftermarket glass replacement are too numerous (and growing) for this method of research.

There are many different ADAS systems out there and all are systems that work well. However, some are more sophisticated than others and some require more exact specifications from other supporting equipment. If you have read my past postings then you know that there has been a wide range of reports and facts. Honda requires OEM glass for proper ADAS operation. All ADAS equipped vehicles require re-calibration. And ADAS in Cadillacs and other GM vehicles require no re-calibration. All these past postings are correct in their content but none of them have given us a definitive answer to all our questions.

So, I am sending out a request to technicians, manufacturers of glass and vehicles, technology gurus of all types to give us answers. I don’t want to hear the politically correct response. I want to hear the truth. Does the glass make a difference in how the ADAS systems work? If so, how? If a system is so delicate and precise that a slight difference in the glass would cause it to malfunction, what about rain, snow, ice, fog, condensation, bug guts, sand pits, rock chips or anything else that affects driver vision? Do these factors affect operation as well? I will be updating you in future blogs with the information I discover.