Navigating the Intricate Landscape of Coatings and ADAS

Navigating the Intricate Landscape of Coatings and ADAS

With refinish and ADAS, the theme time and time again comes back to: check the OEM repair recommendations.

Courtesy of BodyShop Business, by the AkzoNobel Staff

Just like fixing a simple dent in a quarter panel isn’t so simple anymore, the same can be said for repairing and refinishing a bumper cover. And it’s all because of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).  

Preparing vehicles with ADAS seems a little bit like the Wild West these days, particularly in the realm of paint and coatings. It is critical that refinishers follow OEM guidelines and recommendations when repairing vehicles with ADAS. Even so, gray areas can remain.

Have you ever had to repair a vehicle that had ADAS technology? Even if you weren’t a part of the repair directly but experienced a vehicle with ADAS in your shop and witnessed some of the special procedures it had to go through? When we asked you if have you done a repair on a vehicle with ADAS, the answer is that 65% of you said yes, so quite a few of you have. 

What is ADAS?

ADAS is a broad umbrella term for many safety systems on a vehicle, including blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking (ABS), lane-keep assist and more. ADAS sensors detect the environment around the vehicle. The sensors could be cameras, radar and now lidar. Automakers are improving the sensors and the number of them to add new features and improve accuracy. Then, there are the unseen sensors of ADAS like the brake pedal position sensor and all ABS and stability control sensors.  

These ADAS features make vehicles not so simple to repair anymore. Before you start any repair, it’s important to see what ADAS features are on the vehicle. In some cases, these systems and features could be optional equipment. There is no sense in trying to calibrate a sensor that is not there. We need to identify these cars up front when they come into the building. It has to happen early in the process, because the last thing you want to do is get it to the painting procedures and when it’s in the booth you find out that, oh well, we can’t do this repair on the vehicle because it’s right in the middle of a radar area. Or it gets repaired and gets put on the vehicle, and then there’s a warning that the radar’s not working or something. And then if you happen to send it out to get calibrated and then it doesn’t calibrate, now we’re back at square one.

Vehicles are not simple anymore. They’re very complicated and high-tech. Not only are there considerations to take when welding, fixing dents or doing plastic repair, but there are considerations when you’re applying coatings.   

When requested by the automaker, paint manufacturers are developing special formulas for parts with radar, which then have to be approved by the automotive manufacturer.

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