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Keep Your Crash-Prevention Technology Working

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) work well to help save lives and prevent injuries. According to the most recent data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,166 people were killed in the United States in 2017 in distraction-related vehicle crashes. So expect to see more of these systems installed in vehicles each year.

But as accurate and sensitive as these systems are, today’s sophisticated vehicles require additional repair considerations compared to those from just a few years ago. Even simple bumps and bruises, or replacing a cracked windshield, require more care for today’s repairs. It’s why you should select a collision repair shop, such as Spirit West Motor Carriage, that will ensure your vehicle’s system works as designed to keep you and your family safe. Here are a few of the most common sensors found, and a primer of how they work:

Steering Angle Sensor

The steering angle sensor (SAS), located within the steering column, determines where the driver wants to steer, matching the steering wheel with the vehicle’s wheels. Your vehicle uses this input to detect when your vehicle is entering a skid. A high rate of steering, and a high steering angle, such as when you’re parallel parking at low speeds, is normal. But those same actions at high road speeds are interpreted by your vehicle’s computer as being in a skid, and it will take measures, such as reducing power or applying individual brakes, to keep your vehicle under control.
The pros at Spirit West Motor Carriage will recalibrate the SAS, as needed, such as when a wheel alignment is performed.

Forward-Looking Camera

You might know that modern windshields, which are bonded with urethane to the windshield frame, are an integral part of the vehicle’s rollover strength. But did you know that if you have a forward-looking camera, any windshield replacement requires recalibrating the camera?

If so equipped, your vehicle uses a forward-looking camera to look far down the road for such features as lane-keeping systems. Depending on your vehicle’s system, this lane-keeping system may provide audible or haptic (such as a vibrating steering wheel) warnings, or it may even lighten your driving workload by gently steering the wheel to keep your vehicle between the lines.

But this camera attaches to the windshield bracket. If you’ve ever aimed a camera on a tripod, sighted in a rifle, or thrown a baseball long-distance, you might envision how just a tiny variation in the angle of that bracket will require the system to be recalibrated to compensate for minute differences.

Additionally, some makes and models are more sensitive to the materials used in aftermarket windshields not being compatible with how the forward-looking camera sees through the windshield, so it’s imperative that only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) windshields be used.

Blind Spot Warning Sensors

Typically, this technology uses a radar to “see” vehicles that you may miss using mirrors alone and will help you avoid those close-call collisions when changing lanes. These may be attached to the outside mirrors, or they may be hidden from view behind the rear bumper. Just as in the example of the forward-looking camera example above, if the area where the blind spot monitor bracket attaches is damaged, it must be recalibrated. If the mirror is replaced, it must be recalibrated. And because the blind spot monitor behind the bumper needs to be able to “see” through it, the OEM may set limits on how the bumper can be repaired. Gouges and scuffs that, just a few years ago, could be repaired economically and at a high quality may now mean the bumper must be replaced if the damage is near the sensor. Even the thickness of paint in the area of the sensor may be a consideration, so paint cannot be blended in that area, and the OEM will usually limit the number of refinishes that can be applied in that area. Radar sensors are also commonly used for forward collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking.

Spirit West Carriage Auto Body Repair stands ready to assist with all your auto collision repair needs. Contact us at 636.394.1712 Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m.-

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