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Servicing vehicles with advanced safety systems

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 07:00
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Advanced vehicle safety systems used to be found pretty much only on expensive, higher-end vehicles, but that's no longer the case.

Systems that can prevent or mitigate crashes and compensate for occasional driving errors seem to be very common now, even on less expensive units from most vehicle manufacturers. While it’s great that safety is no longer an expensive luxury, advanced safety systems can easily be affected or even damaged by well-meaning technicians while performing routine service procedures – which is not good news at all and can be easily prevented.

True, for the most part the systems consist of computer-controlled inputs and outputs and there’s not much maintenance or service required to keep them operating well.

Advanced safety systems that used to be found only on expensive vehicles are very common now.

However, those advanced safety features can cause big headaches if you’re not careful during routine service. But don’t worry.

With a little planning and know-how you can avoid causing any problems, fix a few common faults in the systems and definitely keep your customers happy and safely on the road. Here’s a quick overview of some the common systems used and some typical service precautions that will keep repairs problem free and keep the systems functioning as they should – and keep you stress-free at the end of the day.

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Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist Systems 

Frankly, it seems that even economy vehicles are equipped with fairly advanced, computer-dependent technologies that keep drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe on the roads.

One of the most common advanced safety systems used is the Lane Departure Warning system that tells drivers they’re wandering too far out of the marked lanes, very much like “rumble strips” or rough pavement along the edges of the road are intended to do.

This electronic version, however, sounds an alarm (typically a buzzer / light combination) and sometimes even vibrates the steering wheel or seat to let the driver know that the vehicle is wandering too far out of the acceptable zone and that they should take corrective action immediately.

These “passive” warning systems use lane markings as the basis for their calculations and while these systems can be useful manufacturers are quick to point out that the systems are only as good as the road markings and can often malfunction when the markings aren’t clear, and also in the rain and snow, which can be very frustrating indeed. In fact, from personal experience, many customers will actually shut these systems off using the interior switch or controls because the false alarms are incredibly annoying – even though the false activations tend to amuse passengers in the vehicle who watch the driver get “zapped” repeatedly when the system activates.

Seven easy ways to prevent problems during service
  1. Understand what type of system is used
  2. Use OE-Quality glass for window repairs
  3. Watch out for anything that blocks the sensors or cameras
  4. Keep tire sizes and pressures in accordance with manufacturer recommendations
  5. Mind the brakes and brake switch
  6. If system components need to be removed or disconnected, check service information to make sure the system won’t need to be calibrated or adjusted
  7. Park out of direct sun on hot days
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