Auto Glass Calibration & ADAS: Why These Are the Keys to Safe and Advanced Driving

woman driving safely after a windshield ADAS calibration

If your car’s windshield is free from cracks and chips, you might assume it doesn’t need any attention. But that might not be the case — after all, your windshield is an essential component of your vehicle’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). This pane of glass is home to numerous sensors and cameras, and even a slight bump could be enough to throw one or more of these parts out of calibration.

When your ADAS aren’t correctly calibrated, you won’t be able to fully utilize your vehicle’s cutting-edge safety features — a situation that could have serious consequences. Are you wondering how to tell if your ADAS sensors are on the fritz, how ADAS features keep you safe, or even what these systems are in the first place? If so, you’re in luck.

Here is our complete Max Auto Glass guide to ADAS and auto glass calibration.

What Is ADAS Technology?

Today’s vehicles are far more sophisticated than those manufactured decades ago, and one of the most noteworthy advancements in the industry has been the arrival of modern safety features. These days, cars typically come with protective capabilities like automatic emergency braking, parking assist, and lane departure warning. The majority of these features fall under the ADAS umbrella.

ADAS features take the information collected by various sensors in your vehicle and use that feedback to improve your car’s existing safety systems. A full suite of ADAS capabilities can significantly reduce your risk of getting into accidents, so it’s not hard to see why these features have become nearly ubiquitous in modern cars.

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Why Auto Glass Calibration Matters

While ADAS features are the future of automotive safety, this technology has one major weakness — it relies on information from auto sensors, and these components aren’t always perfect. If your sensors are misaligned by even a single millimeter, your ADAS cannot function as expected. In that situation, it won’t matter how futuristic your car’s safety features are. You’ll have nothing but your own reflexes to keep you safe while driving.

To illustrate the real-world consequences of this problem, let’s look at your automatic emergency braking (AEB) system. This system is designed to warn drivers of imminent crashes and can even stop their vehicles when they don’t respond. But when your AEB system is forced to rely on information from poorly calibrated sensors, it might not be able to gauge your collision risk accurately.

Though ADAS sensors are located all around the average car, its front windshield plays an especially prominent role in these systems. Many of the sensors, radars, and cameras these systems rely on are mounted on or behind your car’s windshield. With that in mind, drivers in and around Tucson, Arizona need to take ADAS calibration seriously — after all, it’s just as crucial to their continued well-being as any other auto maintenance task.

When Do You Need Windshield Recalibration?

While it isn’t always easy to tell when your ADAS sensors are out of whack, a few situations can lead to calibration trouble for these components. Drivers in Tucson should set up an appointment for auto glass calibration when:

  • Their ADAS warning lights are active. These warning lights let you know when something is wrong with your safety systems. When one of your ADAS lights blinks or remains on, it’s a good idea to get your ADAS professionally inspected.
  • Their windshield has been damaged or replaced. Since so many ADAS sensors are mounted on and behind your auto glass, any damage to this glass will affect the calibration of these components. Naturally, the same goes for auto glass repair or replacement work.
  • They have been involved in a collision. It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that a crash can cause difficulties for your vehicle’s safety sensors. Don’t assume a minor collision isn’t enough to cause problems with your ADAS — even hitting a curb could throw your sensors out of calibration.
  • They have had their tires replaced. Getting new tires might subtly affect your car’s height. If that’s so, your ADAS sensors will need recalibration to assimilate this change.

Know Your Vehicle’s ADAS Features

While it’s easy to discuss ADAS as a broad concept, it’s best not to consider these features as a single system. In reality, many different features fall under the ADAS umbrella — and each of these functions has an important job to do. Every ADAS feature in your car focuses on one of four goals:

  • Automation. These ADAS features can take over for you in an emergency (for example, a possible collision).
  • Adaptation. ADAS features in this category can interpret data about your car’s surroundings and make adjustments as needed.
  • Monitoring. Monitoring features use information from your vehicle’s sensors and cameras to keep an eye on how you’re driving and the area around you.
  • Warning. Finally, these ADAS features are intended to give you a heads-up about potential problems on the road.

Now that you have a better understanding of the basic ADAS categories, it’s time to look at a few well-known advanced safety features:

Lane-Keeping Assist

If you can’t stay in the correct lane, you can’t be a safe driver. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how leaving your lane by accident will cause problems for you and the drivers you share the road with. Unintentional lane departures are a leading factor in deadly car accidents.

Lane-keeping assist can reduce your risk of encountering this problem. This safety feature monitors your car’s position on the road, letting it know when you’re at risk of drifting out of your lane. When that happens, this system can nudge your vehicle back into the correct position — putting it one step ahead of passive lane departure warning systems.

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Adaptive Cruise Control

Cruise control is a near-universal feature on modern vehicles, but not every cruise control system works the same way. Cars with adaptive cruise control (ACC) benefit from a 21st-century update on setting a uniform speed for your vehicle.

If your vehicle has ACC, it can automatically adjust its speed to match the surrounding traffic. Because of that, you won’t need to fiddle with manual cruise control settings when the vehicles around you start slowing down. Instead, you’ll be able to delegate this task to your car, and it will raise your cruise control speed once traffic is no longer a concern.

Automatic Emergency Braking

No one enjoys the experience of slamming on their brakes to prevent a collision, but dramatic situations like these are all too common among Tucson-area drivers. When your car relies on a traditional braking system, the difference between a near-miss and a severe collision is entirely in your hands — or your foot on the brake pedal.

cars in a traffic jamBut if your vehicle uses automatic emergency braking (AEB), you won’t be alone in this situation. Cars with AEB capabilities can determine when a crash is about to occur and hit the brakes for you. Better yet, these systems can act faster than human reflexes — keeping you safer than ever while on the road.

Traffic Jam Assist

Traffic jam assist (TJA) relies on the same basic functionality as ACC, but it’s intended to help drivers deal with Tucson’s stop-and-go traffic. It  uses both ACC and an ADAS feature known as lane centering to accomplish this.

TJA can help you with brakes, steering, and throttle management in near-stationary city traffic. While using this feature, you can significantly reduce your risk of getting into a fender-bender during traffic jams.

The capabilities listed here are only a handful of the ADAS features available in today’s vehicles. If you drive a newer car, you might also be able to enjoy safety features like these:

  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Tire pressure monitoring
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Electric vehicle warning sounds
  • Driver-drowsiness detection
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Automatic parking
  • Adaptive light control

Static vs. Dynamic ADAS Calibration

As you know, auto glass calibration is essential for keeping your vehicle’s ADAS features in full working order. Even so, there’s a good chance that you don’t fully understand what calibration involves. And while the process is far too complicated for the average driver to handle on their own, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with how it works and what to expect during a windshield calibration service.

There are two primary forms of ADAS calibration: static and dynamic. We’ll take a closer look at both of these procedures.

Static Calibration

For most vehicles, the auto glass calibration process begins with static calibration. In this procedure, a skilled mechanic precisely calibrates the ADAS while the car is stationary, or static.

To complete static auto glass calibration, technicians need access to carefully controlled surroundings. Some of the environmental requirements for static calibration include:

  • An open space measuring at least 30’ x 50’
  • Zero direct sunlight, reflective surfaces, or windshield reflections
  • No obstructions around the vehicle
  • Neutral-colored, uniform walls and flooring
  • Adjustable lighting
  • A level floor

Static ADAS calibration also relies on specialized equipment such as:

  • ADAS scan tools. Diagnostic tools are almost always required to start the calibration process.
  • Alignment racks. For some car brands, a flat surface isn’t enough. In that case, manufacturers require auto glass shops to use an alignment rack in ADAS calibration.
  • Aiming targets. These targets come in various shapes and designs. Some vehicles only need one aiming target for auto glass calibration, while others require multiple targets.
  • ADAS calibration tools. While the specific tools used for ADAS calibration will vary depending on your car’s manufacturer, these devices are all designed to hold aiming targets at a particular distance from your vehicle.
  • Measuring tapes/laser measuring devices. These tools are used to make precise measurements with reference to the aiming targets.

Dynamic Calibration

As you might expect based on its name, dynamic calibration does not involve keeping your vehicle stationary. Instead, one or more technicians will drive your vehicle at specific speeds and in predetermined conditions while it’s connected to an ADAS scan tool. As part of its dynamic calibration test, your car may need to drive on straight roads, follow another vehicle, travel on clearly marked roads, or follow other parameters.

While many vehicles require dynamic calibration at some point in the ADAS calibration process, the exact role played by this procedure varies between different cars. In some cases, dynamic calibration is  the final step after an in-depth static calibration. But that’s not always the case — other vehicles only need dynamic calibration to ensure their ADAS sensors are fully functional.

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How Expensive Is Auto Glass Calibration?

By now, you’ve read about what ADAS does, why the sensors involved in these systems need to be calibrated, and how auto glass shops can handle calibration for you. But there’s still something else you’ll undoubtedly want to know about this service — how much it costs.

As a rule of thumb, more elaborate ADAS setups are more expensive to calibrate than simpler systems. This is primarily because highly advanced ADAS typically utilize more cameras and sensors. While calibrating a single camera can be relatively inexpensive, your labor costs will naturally increase once mechanics repeat this work across multiple cameras.

Depending on the type of car you drive, your ADAS may be more or less complicated than average. Because of that, it’s challenging to say how costly your calibration appointment will be without knowing more about your vehicle.

The good news is that we can still help you estimate the cost of ADAS calibration beforehand. If you’re curious about the expenses associated with this service, you only have to request a quote!

Other Auto Glass Services You Might Need

There’s no denying the importance of auto glass calibration, but this is far from the only auto glass service you might need to take care of throughout your vehicle’s lifespan. With that in mind, it makes sense to seek out auto glass shops that are ready to handle the following:

Windshield Repair and Replacement

If you’ve been driving for long enough, you’ve felt the sense of dread that comes with spotting a major crack in your windshield. But even a tiny chip is cause for concern. This type of damage can worsen before you know it. Needless to say, windshield damage can affect your vehicle’s ADAS calibration.

closeup of a chipped windshield in need of repair

Since windshield damage will only worsen if left alone, your best move is to contact a trustworthy auto glass shop for windshield service. The people working there will be able to determine whether your auto glass damage is repairable or if you’ll need a replacement windshield.

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Back and Side Glass Replacement

Of course, windshields aren’t the only type of auto glass that can sustain damage. You’ll also want to know where to go when your back or side windows need to be replaced. A good auto glass shop will be able to complete this work before you know it, and they won’t overcharge you for this job.

What To Look For in an Auto Glass Shop

Whether you need auto glass calibration or another type of auto glass service, you deserve a shop that will go above and beyond. If you’re searching for a Tucson-area auto glass shop, keep an eye out for businesses that can deliver the following:

Qualified Mechanics

Although there are countless things to consider while searching for a Tucson auto glass shop, no single factor is more important than the quality of your shop’s mechanics. These people need to know exactly what they’re doing to deliver the high-quality results you’d expect — especially when they’re responsible for services like auto glass calibration that require unmatched precision.

The best way to determine the skill level of a given mechanic is to look at their certifications. Ideally, your auto glass shop’s mechanics won’t just be Dow-certified or Auto Glass Safety Council™-certified. Instead, they should have both types of accreditation to their names.

A Broad Selection of Services

Some auto services, like oil changes and other maintenance tasks, are relatively easy to schedule. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for auto glass-related work. It doesn’t take much for your ADAS sensors to get knocked out of alignment or your windshield to crack, so you need to have a plan in place for whatever happens.

Since auto glass services are so unpredictable, finding an auto glass shop that can do it all is best. Whether you need auto glass calibration, windshield repair, or back/side glass replacement, your shop of choice should be up to the challenge.

Chances To Save Money

The unexpected nature of auto glass service can also affect Tucson drivers financially. Not only is it impossible to know when you’ll have to get an ADAS calibration, but your calibration costs can vary based on the type of calibration you need and other factors. Because of this, it’s a good idea to look for auto glass shops that can keep your ADAS-related expenses as low as possible.

As part of that, it’s a good idea to prioritize shops that offer financing options such as dedicated credit cards for auto glass work. In addition to their dedicated lines of credit, many reputable shops will help their customers save on these services by providing promotions.

Get Reliable Auto Glass Calibration in Tucson

Whether your car’s advanced safety features have malfunctioned for months or your ADAS warning light has just come on for the first time, Max Auto Glass can help. As Tucson’s leading auto glass shop, we can provide quick, reliable auto glass calibration service at any BRAKEmax Tire & Service Centers location.

When you choose Max Auto Glass, you’ll also benefit from our highly qualified mechanics, robust financing options, and a wide variety of services. If you’re interested, don’t wait a minute longer than you have to — request your quote today!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Glass Calibration

What are the different types of windshield calibration?

The two primary forms of ADAS sensor calibration are static and dynamic calibration. While there are many differences between these two types of windshield calibration, the biggest difference is that the former involves work on stationary cars and the latter requires your vehicle to be in motion.

It’s important to note that neither auto glass calibration method is inherently better than the other. Instead, mechanics will utilize one or both techniques based on your vehicle’s unique calibration requirements.

How long does ADAS calibration take?

No two cars are identical in terms of ADAS features, which means this auto glass calibration process can vary drastically from one vehicle to another. When it comes to what to expect during a windshield recalibration service, it’s difficult to accurately estimate how long your vehicle’s ADAS calibration appointment will take.

However, we can provide a rough estimate for you. Depending on the number of cameras and sensors your ADAS uses (among other factors), the calibration process may be done in 30 minutes or take a few hours.

How is ADAS calibration done?

That depends on the specific form of calibration your vehicle needs. If you require static calibration, mechanics will use specialized equipment, such as aiming targets and measuring tapes, to adjust your ADAS sensors in a controlled environment.

Conversely, dynamic calibration involves connecting your vehicle to a handheld device and driving it at a known speed in good weather. When a dynamic calibration test is correctly performed, your systems can adjust based on this input.

Does my car need calibration after a windshield replacement?

Many of your vehicle’s ADAS sensors are on or near your windshield, meaning windshield replacement work can directly affect your ADAS calibrationK. Thus, it’s always wise to take care of auto glass calibration right after replacing your windshield.

Auto glass calibration after a windshield replacement is not the only scenario where your sensors might need recalibration. You’ll also want to schedule this service when you get new tires, when your vehicle has sustained any type of collision (even a small one), and when your ADAS warning light turns on.

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  • Technicians Certified By The Auto Glass Safety Council™
  • Excellent Customer Service
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