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Breaking down vehicle scanning

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 09:00
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Since the reset procedures vary by OEM, vehicle and system, enter the vehicle information into the OEM diagnostic tool and or online repair and service information site, and search the keyword “reset” or “diagnostic reset.” Generally, this search will retrieve a list of reset procedures required after parts replacement and/or a battery disconnect. Some reset procedures can be done without special tools. Others may require scan tool software.

  • Front passenger’s seat weight sensors control passenger’s front airbag operation and the passenger airbag on/off indicator based on the occupant’s weight. Like any scale, weight sensors are a precision device and require checks.
  • Windshield replacement for vehicles with driver-assist sensors (including rain/light sensors) located in the windshield.
  • Removal and/or replacement of exterior components, bumpers, SRS sensors, parking sensors, wiring harnesses, vehicle control units, seats, or interior trim panels.

Some OEMs offer models with one or more of the following camera- and/or radar-based driver support systems that require software-based aiming and/or calibration to ensure proper operation after certain components have been removed and/or replaced:

  • Adaptive/Active/Distronic/Autonomous Cruise Control
  • Collision Mitigation/Predictive/Avoidance Braking System
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning/Lane Keeping Assist System
  • Blind Spot Information/Assist
  • Multi-View Camera System/All-Around Camera Systems

Rearview (backup) cameras do not require any aiming procedures after removal or replacement unless the vehicle is also equipped with the Multi-View, All-Around, Guide View, Active-View, Park Assist, Auto Park System. Check with the OEM procedures.

These procedures may require special tools and/or the OEM scanner and software to complete. Refer to the service information for specific information.

Test drives

A test drive of the vehicle is required to be performed by a technician at the repair facility, regardless if the vehicle was inspected and or serviced at the dealer or independent mechanical repair facility, to ensure the vehicle is operating properly.  Additionally, this test drive will also check for wind noise, drivability issues and check services performed by another shop.  


As of this writing, some vehicles are now equipped with advanced adaptive LED or HID headlamps that allow one or both of the lamps to turn to provide better vision for the driver during turns. These headlamps require OEM software to align and reset after the lamps have been removed and reinstalled or replaced. Some OEMs — for example Mercedes-Benz on the 2017 E-Class (W213) — are now requiring the VIN to be imputed to the software to install into the headlamp control modules during the installation and aiming of the headlamp. Collision repair professionals must understand the importance of checking the vehicle’s computerized systems and memories, and understand who can reset these systems. Not knowing there was a problem or claiming there were no MILs present is not an excuse for not checking the vehicle systems. Many post-repair issues can be avoided by having the dealer check over the vehicle, or just a simple scan. This would also provide some liability protection to the repair facility, as the dealer checked the computer systems and gave the facility a cleared vehicle report (invoice).

We hope this article has helped the industry to understand the truths, the myths or lies and the importance of having the vehicle’s computerized systems checked, cleared and/or reset to ensure the vehicle operates and drives properly.

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