This exclusive article is for the Garage Magazine by Anthony McAteer of LKQ Euro Car Parts.
Ask most bodyshop technicians what they think the biggest challenges in training and upskilling will be this decade and they’ll likely tell you it’s working with the complex electrified systems in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids.
There is no doubt this is an important focus, especially with the government recently confirming the ban on diesel and petrol engines is to be brought forward to 2030.
But the conversation over EVs can sometimes overshadow a much more urgent training requirement – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS are already present in 40% of vehicles on UK roads – compared to the 2% of the UK car parc that is electric or hybrid. Since 2016, all new vehicles have required at least two ADAS systems to qualify for the highest NCAP Safety Rating, and many are set to become mandatory on all new registrations from 2022.
This, coupled with the new ADAS repair and recalibration requirements that came into force on 31st March, means that if they haven’t already, bodyshop technicians need to upskill now.
It can be easy to overlook ADAS as a core component of a bodyshop repair, particularly in the case of minor bumps or scrapes. But these systems are now so integral to the operation of modern vehicles that incorrect calibration can have a huge impact – and can be caused by even the smallest of repairs or adjustments.
Recalibration is required whenever an ADAS sensor is disturbed in any way. This could be a result of anything from removing a panel to a windshield replacement. If technicians miss out this key step, the risk is incorrect information is sent to vital safety systems, or they shut down completely.
With the right training and equipment, however, bodyshops can protect driver safety and their experience at the wheel, reducing the chance of avoidable system faults after a driver has left the garage.
What are my obligations?
It’s doubly important for bodyshops to familiarise themselves with ADAS technologies following the introduction of the new UK Insurance Industry Requirements (IRR), developed by Thatcham Research and the UK’s insurance industry. The IRR defines what is required to guarantee the safe repair and recalibration of ADAS-enabled vehicles.
The guidance covers identification, inspection, realignment and calibration of all ADAS, as well as post-repair road testing, manufacturer compliance, and the production of verifiable and auditable records.
Critically, following this guidance will have a direct impact on the kind of work bodyshops are able to bring through their doors. Compliant bodyshops can then become trusted, first-choice suppliers to insurers – a key opportunity to boost revenue and to retain competitiveness with manufacturers.
What do I need to know?
Our AutoEducation platform offers a comprehensive ADAS training course that covers operations, calibration techniques and the implications of incorrect alignment.
On completion of the programme, technicians will have developed specialist knowledge of both dynamic and static calibration and will be able to accurately calibrate camera and radar-based driver assist systems.
Key components of the course include an in-depth introduction to ADAS, sensors, and its relationship to vehicle alignment, as well as guidance on when to calibrate and insight into future technology and industry developments.
With vehicles becoming more and more technically complex, independent bodyshops are challenged to adapt and evolve quickly to keep pace with manufacturers. Our advice is to act now to make sure they’re ready to serve the growing numbers of ADAS-enabled vehicles they will see coming through their workshop doors, maintaining their competitiveness and ensuring they have the tools and skills to service these critical technologies at their fingertips.