by Bob Beranek
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I saw a topic on an industry forum run by glassBYTEs that was titled “Hey Bob Beranek!”  Well, I couldn’t ignore that and promised the subject writer I’d answer his questions as best as I can. The questions and answers may help you too.

  1. Should every new install with ADAS be re-calibrated (or at least checked), or only if things don’t seem to be working accurately?

According to Opti-Aim, a recalibration should be completed on every ADAS equipped vehicle after a windshield replacement. Why? The reason – although a fault code may not be triggered/tripped, the camera, bracket, or both may not be perfectly positioned for maximum performance. As I’ve said in previous posts, even if the camera or LIDAR is a millimeter off, it can cause big differences at the reference point. It can mean feet or yards off of being perfect.

  1. What about aftermarket glass? Should only OEM glass be used when ADAS is involved?

Most third-party calibrators can recalibrate aftermarket parts if the ARG parts meet OE specs. However, if the bracket is so far off that it’s outside the limits of the units aiming ability, that part will not allow the unit to be properly recalibrated.

The only way of making sure the glass can be recalibrated properly in advance is by using OE parts. That’s why many dealerships require OE glass before agreeing to do a recalibration. They don’t want to waste time recalibrating something that doesn’t work, or they want to limit their liability.

  1. Is an aftermarket glass from say Pilkington (DOT-15) the same as an OEM Honda branded glass that is marked Pilkington (DOT-15)?

That’s a good question for Pilkington. I will let you know what I find out. I do know Pilkington guarantees they can recalibrate any Pilkington part no matter if it is OE or not, if their calibration tool (Opti-Aim) is used.

Recalibration is complicated and a rapidly changing issue. There are liabilities, products, tools, adhesives, procedures and vehicle design both public and proprietary that come into play. There are scanners, lasers, cameras, LIDAR, and sensors of every type and style mounted to dozens of different parts of the vehicle. Some apply to us and others don’t. We all hope for is a simplified or standardized system that can be recalibrated or self-calibrated. Right now none of us know it but I’ll do my best to keep you up to date.

 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my Readers!

I received some interesting news recently about 2017-18 Honda CRVs equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and a rain sensor (FW04540-41). Although I can’t confirm at this time if this glitch applies to all Honda models, if the Honda model you are working on has both ADAS and a rain sensor, then I suspect the following procedure will be necessary when replacing glass in those models as well.

Honda CRV 2017

Honda CRV 2018

Dealers will tell you that all Honda model vehicles will require OE glass be installed before they can be recalibrated. With that being said, those of you who recalibrate with your own purchased tool may find that recalibration is possible with aftermarket glass, if the glass used is of good to excellent quality. The issue is the rain sensor.

If you install an aftermarket windshield, the rain sensor still may not work, even though the recalibration was a success, and even though it worked during the pre-inspection. The reason for the malfunction is what is called the Body Control Module (BCM).

Honda has an instruction note for installation that reads:

  • Make sure that there are no air bubbles between the windshield glass and the silicone sheet during installation;
  • If the automatic lighting/rain sensor connection is connected after the 12-volt battery terminal is connected, the automatic lighting/rain sensor is not confirmed by the body control module;
  • If the body control module does not confirm the automatic lighting/rain sensor, the automatic wiper system does not work.

This means that the BCM must be reset to recognize the lighting/rain sensor. How do we reset the BCM? In this case, the only way to reset the BCM is to disconnect the battery.

I know, disconnecting the battery should be discouraged whenever possible. Disconnecting the battery means that memory systems built into the vehicle can, and in most cases, will be lost. You will have to explain to the vehicle owner the possibility of lost memory to favorite features. However, here’s what needs to be done.

  • Disconnect the negative battery terminal;
  • Leave it disconnected for 15 minutes;
  • Reconnect the battery terminal and start the vehicle;
  • The vehicle will go through a reset protocol and reset the lighting/rain sensor; and
  • The radio can be reset by depressing the power “on” button 3-5 seconds.

After talking to several Honda dealers and dealer glass installers, I have heard that if an OE glass is installed, this BCM reset process rarely needs to be completed. So, you have a choice, stand around for 15 minutes waiting for the BCM to reset, or simply buy OE glass and be on your way. I will let you know when I learn more.

Since I started my career in the auto glass business, I have seen some serious changes over the years.  Some of them we might label as good and others as bad. However, what do those definitions really mean?

Consider the word “good.” Is it good for profits? Is it good for the technician? Is it good for the consumer? Or, is it good for the industry? Over the years, I have had many a debate with others in our industry on these issues but have never come to a consensus of what is good for all concerned. What might be good for profits, may not be good for the technician. What might be good for the technician, may not be good for the consumer. And so on.

Like any industry, when new vehicles are introduced, problems are identified and solutions are found.  Unfortunately, the solutions may very well satisfy one problem but cause another problem somewhere else. Rarely do the problem solvers take into consideration all of the aspects involved with the big picture. Their only duty is to solve the problem presented.

Case in point, recalibration. Who would have foreseen this issue coming ten years ago? Yes, we saw technology progressing. But could we see that those of us in the aftermarket would need to be involved with the tools, software and expertise necessary to recalibrate an entire vehicle after glass replacement? I didn’t.

When asked to estimate the cost of tools for auto glass replacement by my clients, I could estimate the hand tools, the power tools and specialty tools and come up with a price at retail of about $2,000 to $3,000. Now, with the necessity for recalibration, you may spend five or six times that amount. When asked to estimate the cost of starting an auto glass business, I was able to estimate the cost of a “bricks and mortar” business to be around a $10,000 to $20,000 to begin business, day one. Today, you must consider the infrastructure of the building and size of the service bays to have level floors and thirty feet in front of the vehicle for recalibration. This could double or triple that startup investment.

Now that this technology is here, decisions are being made to deal with this new challenge. Owners are asking, “Will my technicians need additional training and learn new skills sets?” Will my current way of doing business need to be changed to accommodate the new demands of technology? What about the future? Will my investments in the current technology pay off, or will new upcoming systems make them obsolete?

None of us can see the future. We can only use our experience, research future trends and act on what is best for our immediate needs. Owning an auto glass business isn’t always easy. In the short term, at least, it has become even more difficult. Successful business owners have to be realists as well as fortune tellers. Embrace the changes caused by recalibration because this need is going to “cull the herd” so to speak. The need for a professional auto glass shop is greater than ever, and those who pay attention to what that means will come out on top.