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Servicing vehicles with advanced safety systems

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 07:00
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Always consult the owners’ manual and service information for the details on how a specific system operates and the software and components used, but at a very general level the systems are similar to lane departure warning systems but instead of watching lane markings these systems scan for other vehicles (though not so much small vehicles and motorcycles) and in some cases also scan for pedestrians and some of the advanced systems scan for large animals by the side of the road at night.

If a problem or impending collision is detected the system alerts the driver with an alarm or vibration and depending on the system, may also pre-charge the brakes so that the vehicle can stop quickly to shave valuable milliseconds off braking time and avoid the collision completely – or at least slow down for an extra few milliseconds to get the vehicle to a lower speed to minimize damage and injury to both the vehicle occupants and whatever is being hit. Some systems will prepare the vehicle and occupants for impact if it determines that a collision is unavoidable by doing things like closing the windows and tensioning the seatbelts.

It’s also worth noting that some systems will use the steering and braking systems without driver input to avoid an impact if the controller determines that no driver action is being taken to avoid the impending collision.

Both affordable and luxury vehicles have advanced safety systems and use cameras located in the front grill.

During routine service the system will probably go unnoticed (especially if you’re careful on the test drive) but there are still a few important things to keep in mind to ensure that service goes smoothly.

For example, be aware that changing anything that affects ride height, braking, steering or lighting can also affect Collision Avoidance System operation. Always consult service information to be sure. To be safe, tire pressures and sizes should always follow manufacturer recommendations and shouldn’t vary from side to side.

Also, it’s important to be mindful of doing anything to the brake switch circuit on certain systems since this critical input may be monitored to determine if the driver is trying to stop the vehicle and avoid any impending collisions. Consult service information before proceeding.

And finally, ensure that the base braking system doesn’t bind or pull and always use high-quality replacement parts to avoid introducing problems into the system. Again, the automated system is only as good and the mechanical components it controls.

The Collision Avoidance system is pretty advanced but working around it just takes a bit of know-how – which is really easy to do once you know how.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Usually vehicles with Collision Avoidance will also have Adaptive Cruise Control, which can is easy to work around with a bit of knowledge.

Active Cruise Control systems typically use radar or a laser-based system to maintain a set distance between the vehicle and the vehicle ahead – which is useful in heavy traffic but still not perfect so drivers (and technicians on road tests) still need to be vigilant and monitor traffic and road conditions and be ready for surprises.

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