by Bob Beranek
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What are the safety related features offered on the new vehicles? As stated earlier, some features are performance driven and others are safety driven and some are a combination of both. The safety related features are those that we cannot deactivate, disconnect or eliminate no matter what we are asked to do. We must make sure that these safety features are in perfect working order, either by the technician restoration or by arranging for the repair or replacement of these features by a certified service provider before we release the vehicle to the customer.

According to the National Traffic and Highway Administration Act of 1966, “[N]o repair business shall render a safety device inoperative …” The official document is here. Look in Title 49, Sec.30122 paragraph (b). Page 557.

Okay, what are these devices we cannot render inoperative? Other than the windshield, there are a few new safety features we have to make sure are operable or at least recalibrated.

Lane Departure Systems – Any lane departure camera mounted to the glass or a part of the vehicle that we are altering, must be recalibrated by a dealer or certified calibration servicer. The system mounted to the glass is an easy decision, if we remove and remount a camera or system to a mounting plate, it must be recalibrated. Usually this is done by the dealer servicing that brand of vehicle. If the dealer does not have the recalibration tools and training or it is located in a faraway city, the glass shop still has the responsibility to facilitate recalibration.

The glass shop has two options regarding this responsibility; physically take the vehicle to the calibrating service center and once the calibration is completed release the vehicle to the customer or make an appointment with the service center or dealer for the customer to take the vehicle at a later time. I suggest that you check around your community for local calibration centers. I have heard that there are some Goodyear Tire and Service Centers that have the recalibrating systems to service different brands of vehicles. If there are no local recalibration centers, then the only option is to send the customer to the nearest dealer that can calibrate. Make sure that you make the appointment with the dealer—don’t let the customer make the appointment. If you rely on the customer to make the appointment, they may forget and you are still liable. If you make the appointment for the customer and they don’t show up, then it is the dealer’s responsibility to follow-up with the customer and you are relieved of responsibility.

If the camera is mounted to the roof header, mounted to a center console or positioned behind the front grill of the vehicle, then the glass shop need not worry about recalibration because it did not alter the system while replacing a glass part. I got a call asking about the lane departure system on a BMW vehicle where the camera is located in the side rearview mirror assembly. My advice is that if the windshield was replaced, the need to recalibrate is unnecessary. However, if you replaced the mirror glass in the assembly, then recalibration is called for because you altered the camera’s housing.

Obviously, this lane departure is a safety related item that must be made operable. Not only for the safety of the consumer but for your own liability as well.

Anti-pinch Panels – According to FMVSS 118, automatically moveable panels must be equipped with an anti-pinch reverse feature that prevents entrapment or injury to occupants or vehicle operators. What are “automatically moveable panels?” They are door windows, doors, sunroofs, moon roofs, back hatches, etc., that move or close with a touch of a button or intentional body movement. This feature is definitely a safety related item that must be calibrated or re-initialized to work properly before the vehicle can be released to the customer.

Door windows and sunroofs are the items replaced or repaired most frequently that we must be concerned about proper operation. Any window that rises with a single touch of the window switch must be checked for proper operation and reversing action. To check operation after the installation:

  • Touch the “Auto Up” switch. If it goes to the top of the door frame and reverses, then it needs to be re-initialized. If the window goes to the top of the door frame and stops, it should be fine, but you still must test operation to assure performance.
  • To do this, repeat the same “Auto Up” procedure but this time interrupt the movement of the window by placing a rubber mallet between the glass and the door frame. The glass must reverse when it comes in contact with the rubber mallet. If it doesn’t, then re-initialization is required.

Re-initialization is a step-by-step procedure to re-train the window mechanism to recognize the top of the door frame as the door frame and not the head or neck of a child. Each vehicle’s procedures are different, even within the same brand of vehicle. Sometimes the procedure has to be repeated several times to get it to work properly. But there is good news. Most of the newer vehicles, starting in 2014, are going to a more standardized re-initialization. They are going to the simplest of resets.

  • Just pull/depress the window switch and hold until the glass reaches the top of the door frame. Then hold the switch for three to five seconds after the glass is positioned in the door frame.
  • Now open the window by pull/depress the window switch until the glass is fully opened. Then hold the switch for three to five seconds after the glass is positioned in the open position. Repeat if necessary.

The vehicle models before 2014 that have the “Auto Up” feature will require you to contact the dealer for re-initialization procedures or go online to search for procedures. Some of the older resets can be quite detailed and difficult to complete so be aware of time constraints and price accordingly.

P.S. – Here is also a little hint. If you can make contact with the customer soon after the window broke, tell the customer not to operate the mechanism. If the customer moves the door glass mechanism too far in either direction, the mechanism will require re-initialization. However, if the customer does not move the mechanism, the reset may not need re-initialization.

These two features must be considered safety devices and must be dealt with accordingly.

I recently have heard reports that some third-party administrators (TPAs) are refusing to pay for the re-calibration of lane departure systems (LDS) built into the vehicles after a windshield is replaced. If true, it is up to the glass replacement company to communicate the importance of re-calibration to their customers and urge them to have the re-calibration completed by their vehicle dealership. It could be a matter of life or death.

First of all, there are several ways to mount the LDS sensing device. Some are mounted to the roof’s header and view through the windshield (Volvo); some are mounted to the outside rearview mirrors (BMW); others are mounted in the front grill of the vehicle; and still others are mounted to a glass bracket on the inside surface of the windshield.

Any vehicle that mounts the LDS camera to the glass requires that the camera be re-calibrated to assure proper operation. The vehicle brands that have voiced the most concern are Mercedes and Honda, but I am sure that other vehicles that have introduced this safety device will voice the same directive depending on where they decide to mount the camera. The camera shoots the center line to the left of the vehicle and vibrates the steering wheel to warn the driver when needed. Some will even begin the braking system. If the camera/sensor is misaligned, the sensor will not pick up the warning signal thus allowing the car to veer into the other lane. This is an important issue, and it must be communicated to the customer and their insurers.

Lane departure image

What do you do if the TPA refuses to pay for re-calibration? To assure that you are talking intelligently about the issue, I would suggest that you:

—Make sure that the vehicle has a glass mounted LDS and not one of the roof or grill mounted units that will not require re-calibration.

—Talk to the vehicle dealer and get a quote for calibrating the system. In our area it costs $75.00

—Get pre-authorization for the re-calibration from the TPA involved.

 —If the TPA refuses to pay for the re-calibration, ask for a written refusal letter to show your current and future customers.

—Explain the importance to the customer and charge them for the re-calibration.

—If everyone refuses to pay for the re-calibration, it will be the responsibility of the glass professional to make the final decision of refusing or accepting the job.

Remember that deviating from the vehicle manufacturers’ recommendations for safety means accepting the liability. You are the responsible party and you make the final decisions. Please let me know if you have had TPAs refuse to pay for re-calibration of lane departure systems.