It is a necessity for repairers to know when it is appropriate to perform a calibration. Factory bulletins and other factory repair information from their websites or ALLDATA are great resources, especially when dealing with common calibrations such as seat weight sensors.
There is a relatively new source that may be the easiest and best tool to identify calibration needs. On the I-CAR Repairability Technical Support Portal there is a link to OEM Calibrations Requirements Search. You simply put in the vehicle information and it will tell you what calibrations may be required and give information on what tools, such as scanners or object detection targets, may be required. (See screen shots of the site.)
Some repairs include the necessity to reprogram Electronic Control Units (ECUs). Scanners that use an SAE J2534 standard may be required. Most aftermarket scanners don’t include it. Some ECUs have anti-theft systems imbedded and require licensed security identification (LSID), which is available to the aftermarket through the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF).
I just read of a new pedestrian detection system that Ford will offer on 2018 Mustangs and F-150s. It relies on information from a radar system in the bumper and a camera on the windshield, along with a database of pedestrian shapes. When detecting a pedestrian, the system warns the driver then automatically applies the brakes to avoid hitting the pedestrian. It works even in dim light and will not take such action on other shapes, such as deer. In the event of a collision repair, it may raise repair costs and require calibrations. It’s just one example of the anticipated onslaught of new technologies we will be dealing with. There is every reason to believe that as a percentage of repair costs, addressing new technologies will comprise an increasingly larger portion. If you as a repairer haven’t reacted to these new technologies, you have a lot of catching up to do. All of us will have to devote more and more resources to equipment, staffing and training.