The adoption of new onboard safety technologies, such as Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) is adding new complexity to fleet maintenance programs.
ADAS technologies require special equipment and training when service is needed. These systems add new parts to vehicles, such as cameras, proximity sensors, and radar/lidar. A minor collision that used to only require a bumper cover replacement can now involve bumper cover and radar replacement, along with pre- and post-sys tem scans and ADAS recalibration. ADAS cameras built into windshields and rear-view mirrors are adding complexity and cost to windshield replacements.
When repairs are required on vehicles equipped with new technologies the costs can sometimes be shocking; however, the failure rates for these components are relatively low. Instead of just replacing a part, you will now have to add the cost to recalibrate the ADAS, potentially adding hundreds of dollars to the repair.
“As ADAS become more common in new vehicle models, alignment costs are rising because of the increased complexity and required steps to complete what was once a basic service. Repairs such as windshield replacements and bumper cover replacements, that do not involve any steering or suspension components, now commonly require a scan tool for recalibration and computer aided equipment for ADAS alignment,” said Erin Mills, national service department manager for Enterprise Fleet Management.
Many previously simple repairs now require a calibration of the ADAS system, consisting of cameras, sensors, and controllers, which requires specialized and expensive tooling and equipment.
There is a growing number of vehicles equipped with ADAS. These systems are now included as standard equipment on several popular fleet models and these more expensive components are pushing repair costs higher. For example, the replacement cost of a windshield in an ADAS-equipped vehicle is typically higher than that of a non-ADAS unit. In addition to the increased cost of the windshield itself, the vehicle also often requires a recalibration of the entire system, an additional cost driver.
While the adoption of ADAS does involve increased maintenance expenses, these costs are offset by a reduction in preventable accidents or saving someone’s life.
“There is no question these systems increase safety and maintaining these systems is necessary after certain repairs to keep the systems functioning properly. However, the extra time and expense to perform the calibration frequently catches both drivers and fleet managers by surprise,” said Brian Simek, director – maintenance, repair, & workforce management for Wheels, Inc. “The calibration process could add 30 minutes to more than an hour of labor time to a repair increasing the total cost, which can be significant. Even more frustrating, is when drivers are required to bring their vehicle to a second repair facility or dealership to complete the calibration process increasing downtime.”