In 2008, Volvo released “Collision Warning and Auto Brake,” the first automatic braking feature offered on a production vehicle. This early form of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) used radar mounted behind the front grill and a camera located on the rear-view mirror to detect vehicles and pedestrians in front of the car. It would then alert the driver of the obstacle and apply the brakes if the driver failed to react in a timely manner, very similar to the way that present day automatic braking functions.
ADAS has come a long way since its mainstream inception in 2008 and continues to be incorporated into more new vehicles. While most of us understand the basics and benefits of ADAS (such as making our roads safer and ultimately saving lives), few understand how the systems work and the extra steps involved to make sure this system is functioning as it’s intended to.
Even a simple windshield crack can cause the system to malfunction or become inoperable, and when it comes to replacing a cracked windshield, we also have to pay attention to the manufacturer’s procedures to make sure that the system is functioning as intended.
Below we will walk through a windshield replacement on two common vehicles, and go over some specific procedures that will help us understand just how complex a windshield replacement is when accompanied by an ADAS system.
2018 Ford F150 3.5 Turbo 4x4
At first glance, this looks like a straightforward windshield replacement, but once we search the repair procedure in ALLDATA we see that there’s a bit more to it.
Let’s start with the note from Ford that states “If replacing the windshield glass and equipped with a camera bracket, it must have locating pins and spacers to ensure correct alignment. Do not use a replacement windshield glass without locating pins and spacers.”
This note is especially important to catch before starting any work. As a technician, I always laid out the new parts on the bench before starting the tear-down procedure. Not only does it help with missing steps, but it also allowed me to make sure that the correct parts were ordered. It’s easier to postpone a repair and have the customer bring the vehicle back while the correct part is ordered than it is to keep a vehicle sitting in your shop without a windshield. Not only does this vehicle take up space in your shop, but now you have to put in extra work to make sure that you keep the interior of the vehicle clean while it sits in your shop.
Now on to the actual procedure. This particular vehicle is equipped with a forward-facing camera, or as Ford describes it, an IPMA, or Image Processing Module A. And as per step 17, after we install the new windshield, we must now carry out the IPMA camera alignment.
This camera alignment procedure requires not only a diagnostic scan tool but also about 10 minutes of driving above 40mph. When the system is successfully aligned the “front camera malfunction – service required message” will disappear from the instrument panel cluster or IPC.
(TIP: If you come across an acronym or component that you are unfamiliar with, use the search function on the top right of ALLDATA to do a global search and click on “Component Index” under “Locations.” Also, keep in mind that every manufacturer will refer to this camera as a different acronym or name, so take your time and read closely when looking at unfamiliar components.)
2020 Subaru Outback 2.5
Something to keep in mind is that all 2020 and newer Subaru Outback, Forester, Legacy, and Ascents come equipped with “Eyesight” which is the term for their ADAS system. On this particular vehicle, we can see that the Eyesight system solely relies on a “stereo camera” which is mounted in front of the rear-view mirror, behind the windshield.
Once we reach the windshield replacement procedure within ALLDATA we can immediately see the precautions outlined by Subaru’s Eyesight System’s precautions require in regards to their Eyesight system, requiring that only Subaru genuine glass be used and that an “inspection” and “adjustment and check” be done any time the windshield is removed or replaced.
Once we click into the Eyesight – Camera adjustment Inspection Procedure, we see just how much the system differs from our last vehicle.
In this case, we have a flowchart that we must first follow to outline which procedure to do, and then the actual step-by-step procedure just to prep the vehicle for the inspection and adjustment procedure itself.
As you can see, this prep procedure is fairly involved and involves the use of a scan tool, target system, plumb bob, and measuring tape. This is all done while the vehicle is stationary, compared to the F150 which had a calibration that was done via road-test, with no other tools besides a scan tool.
I hope this side-by-side comparison helps with better understanding the differences in ADAS systems and their respective procedures. At a glance, a windshield replacement may seem like a fairly straightforward repair but with ADAS systems becoming more prevalent, even auto glass businesses will have to become more familiar with this technology and adjust their workflow accordingly.