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How does auto braking affect repairs?

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 08:00
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Automatic braking systems are just one of the many Advanced Driver Assistance Systems that help drivers reduce crashes. These systems use sensors and brake controls to help prevent high-speed accidents. Some of the automatic braking systems can prevent accidents completely, but most auto braking systems simply reduce the vehicle’s speed before an accident does happen. If more vehicles are being equipped with automatic braking, what does this mean for repair shops and technicians, and how will repair processes change?

Plan for the future
Repair shops and technicians should plan for a future of fewer repairs coming from one obvious source, such as rear-end crashes. The vehicles of the future will require different technology and repair tools. Technicians will need additional skill sets, including diagnostic and vehicle electronics knowledge, to perform the required repairs.  The complexity of vehicle technology is changing rapidly.

Changes are coming
Currently, automatic braking is a standard feature on approximately 10 percent of all new vehicles, and is available as an option on another 50 percent. Note: This article, published in December 2017 increases these numbers quite a bit. However, most U.S. automakers have voluntarily committed to have automatic braking systems on all of their vehicles by 2018. This will account for roughly 99 percent of all U.S. vehicle sales.

Nissan has announced that six of its most popular vehicle models would have automatic braking systems as a standard feature for current 2018 models. This is four years ahead of the self-imposed deadline from the auto industry to have automatic braking systems in vehicles by 2022.

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Multiple sensors
Automatic braking systems often use sensors to identify objects that the vehicle is approaching. Most Advanced Driver Assistance Systems use sensors. These sensors, located primarily in the front bumper and windshield, include radar, camera, infrared, and ultrasonic varieties.  Checking the automatic braking system, and all related sensors, is critical after a crash.  A vehicle should not be released from the repair facility if there was damage to any of the systems or sensors, until these parts are replaced and re-calibrated to ensure that the entire system is back on the network and working properly.  

Pre- and post-scans
Using the asTech™ device to perform both pre-repair and post-repair diagnostic tests, will assist the repair technician in identifying any Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) before the repair process is started and after the repairs have been completed. With modern vehicles having so many sensors, identifying every issue before repairs begin is more important than ever.

After the vehicle is repaired and everything has been recalibrated, a post-scan should be done with the asTech™ device. A vehicle is not completely repaired until all of the DTC’s are cleared and verified as repaired. A completion scan with the asTech™ device can determine if all repairs to each damaged sensor and other parts have been successfully completed.

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