What Does It Mean to Re-Calibrate a Windshield?
It might look like any other normal, solid piece of glass, such as the ones in your home, but car windshields are actually anything but normal. The technology built into a lot of modern cars’ glass windshields surprises many people.
With the advent of those nifty driver assistance programs, however, the window at the front of your car had to get a whole lot smarter. ADAS, which stands for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, is at the forefront of modern car technology.
We know — it’s a mouthful — so most of the time experts just refer to it as ADAS. Though you may not have realized it, ADAS communicates with your windshield quite a bit.
To make sure this communication remains correct and safe, your windshield will occasionally need to be recalibrated. When, why, and how this all happens are questions that we’ll answer shortly.
What does it mean to calibrate a windshield? Well, by the time we’re through here, you’ll know everything you ever wanted to know (and maybe a lot you didn’t) about glass window recalibration in cars.
What Is ADAS?
Naturally, as soon as they hear the acronym, people immediately ask, “What is ADAS?”
Well, in general, ADAS refers to virtually all the driver assistance messages from a car that alert the operator of the vehicle while on the road. ADAS features include things like a collision warning or the lane departure warning system, both of which rely on cameras and sensors to work properly.
For instance, lane-drift technology can prompt the car to display a graphic on the dashboard and/or play a sound in the speakers. This alerts the driver in case they have veered off course.
Here’s one more example: if your car senses that an object — pedestrian, wall, car, etc. — has entered into your direct path and vicinity, automatic emergency breaking could save your life, not to mention those of your passengers.
All this and more fall under the control of the advanced driver assistance safety systems of your automobile. Depending on the car you drive, it may be called something else, but the principle remains the same.
Here are a few of the major auto manufacturer’s branded versions of advanced driver assistance systems:
- Subaru EyeSight
- Honda Sensing
- Toyota Safety Sense
- Ford Co-Pilot 360
- Kia DRIVEWiSE
These are just a few of the many names car makers use to describe their own ADAS technologies.
What Does ADAS Have to Do with My Windshield?
For the ADAS safety systems to work properly, your windshield needs to be calibrated and aligned with your car’s numerous sensors and cameras. When you purchase a new car, the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) glass will already be calibrated and ready to rock and roll down the highway.
According to one source, “A critical component of [ADAS] is the vehicle’s multi-function camera that is centrally mounted behind the top of the windshield. The presence of a ‘smart windshield’ is widely expected to be the norm by the year 2020 on all new vehicles.”
But what exactly does this mean? In other words: what does ADAS actually have to do with my windshield?
The answer is that your windshield has to be situated perfectly in relationship to the cameras and sensors mounted in your car. Certain areas of the glass are tinted or un-tinted in order to allow this technology to “see” the road and potential obstacles in the vehicle’s path.
If someone doesn’t properly perform your ADAS calibration, then there’s a chance the car’s system could fail to alert you or even alert you at the wrong time, causing you to make a quick decision based on false information.
Another example: if the car’s supposed to trigger emergency breaking in the event of a suddenly approaching object, a windshield with an improperly calibrated ADAS could bring the car to an abrupt stop at exactly the wrong moment.
These unpleasant (and dangerous) situations can occur based on the system being off by as little as a few degrees. As such, the most important factor at play here is, without a doubt, the safety of yourself and that of your precious cargo.
Because of this, you want to have a thoroughly trained capable technician run the proper calibration testing on your ADAS system to ensure that everything’s up to speed.
Safety in Numbers
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “In 2017, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Research shows that the vast number of vehicle crashes are tied to human error.”
They go on to report, “Driver assistance technologies not only keep drivers and passengers safe, but they keep other drivers and pedestrians safe too.”
So, the good news is that there’s a very high chance that appropriately functioning ADAS could prevent a lot of accidents related to human error moving forward.
In fact, estimates show that the ‘integration of ADAS in passenger vehicles — specifically cars, trucks, vans and SUVs — are estimated to have the potential to prevent 40% of all passenger-vehicle crashes, 37% of injuries that occur in passenger-vehicle crashes and 29% of deaths in crashes that involve passenger vehicles.”
Aside from these staggering statistics, there are very specific reasons that you should get your windshield calibrated properly.
When Does My Windshield Need Calibrating?
A handful of instances do exist when you’ll need to have the windshield and ADAS recalibrated.
When these occur, you will want to have the calibration take place as soon as possible (in some cases, such as a windshield replacement, this occurs immediately following the procedure).
Here are a few examples of times when recalibration must be completed:
After a windshield replacement
Following wheel realignment
Change of the car’s suspension
If the camera has become disconnected or reconnected
When your dashboard alerts you with an error message
If/when you have experienced any of these with your own vehicle, you will need to immediately have the ADAS calibration performed as well.
What Does It Mean to Calibrate a Windshield?
Of course, you want to know that your car’s windshield and computer systems have been aligned according to the proper specifications.
To do this, you’ll want to ensure that the technician has performed one of two important calibration tests (depending on what the manufacturers require).
- Static Recalibration – This form of ADAS calibration involves a stationary (aka, static) marker or target affixed ahead of the car throughout the process of recalibration.
- Dynamic Recalibration – As opposed to static recalibration, this method calls for the camera and sensor systems to go through a range of movement. During a driving test, the car is driven at a constant speed on closed roads in relation to fixed objects.
The time needed to run these tests varies based on the specific make and model of the vehicle. A good rule of thumb — for either one of the methods — is around one to two hours.
The tools and equipment needed do require extensive technical skill and knowledge, but thankfully you don’t need to be an expert — you just need to find an expert.
If the correct testing has been completed and passed, then you can rest assured that you’re in good hands and your recalibration is now road safe.
Where Should I Have my Windshield Calibrated?
If you live in or around Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, or Charlotte, North Carolina, then you have the benefit of using one of the best windshield replacement services in the country.
Here at Century Glass, we have been replacing glass since 1991. As such, we have immense experience, expertise, and all the equipment necessary to replace your windshield and recalibrate the associated cameras making your vehicle safe and secure.
Give us a call or stop by one of our offices to speak with a trained technician. We’ll answer any questions you may have to ensure that you’re comfortable with the entire process of calibrating your windshield.
Call the Glass Experts at Century Glass
Century Glass is the glass company you can count on. We have a team of glass professionals who can assist you with your windshield, shower door, and home glass needs. We understand reliability and convenience are key. Our customers enjoy not just clearer glass, but see life’s moments more clearly.