Keeping an eye on safety

Replacing a damaged windscreen may require a recalibration of vehicle safety systems.
Woman on phone behind car with shattered windscreen.

Major advances in car safety technology have added a layer of complexity to replacing a vehicle’s windscreen.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) use cameras, radars and sensors to assess where a vehicle is on the road, detect driver errors and identify obstacles.

In an ADAS-equipped vehicle, the front-facing camera is often mounted on the windscreen or on the vehicle’s hood lining and looks through the front windscreen. Safety features monitored by these cameras include lane-keep assist, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.

The ADAS camera must be recalibrated after a windscreen is replaced to ensure it works effectively. RACQ Auto Glass’s Mike Aro said this was done using dynamic and static methods or a combination of both by trained ADAS technicians.

The dynamic method involves connecting the vehicle to a diagnostic tool and driving under conditions prescribed by the manufacturer.

“For instance, with a Ford Ranger, once the windscreen is fitted, we take it for a drive and go through a drive cycle for recalibration of the ADAS, which the vehicle does itself,” Mr Aro said.

“The driver has to follow specific parameters, for example driving at more than 40km/h for 10 minutes.

“It starts at zero percent and once it reaches 100 percent it is done. It can take from five minutes to half an hour.” The static recalibration sees the vehicle positioned at a precise point aligned with target boards.

The ADAS technician connects the vehicle to a diagnostic scan tool and uses a precisely positioned target board to recalibrate the camera.

Mr Aro said vehicles which had undergone modifications that affected their height, such as suspension changes, should also get their ADAS recalibrated.

“Some people aren’t aware that by changing the geometry of a vehicle, you are changing the parameters of the camera, so if you increase the height of a ute, you should get it recalibrated,” Mr Aro said.

Vehicle owners should ensure their insurance policy covers the cost of a replacement windscreen with ADAS.

“A lot of consumers don’t understand how much a windscreen can cost, especially with new vehicles that don’t have an aftermarket option available,” Mr Aro said.

“Some of the windscreens we replace cost north of $1800 and if the owner doesn’t have insurance or the right cover for the windscreen, they can find themselves out of pocket.”

Learn about RACQ Auto Glass windscreen repair services

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The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.