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OEM Pre-Repair Calibration Requirements

As advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) have become commonplace on vehicles, and as the number and complexity of ADAS systems on a vehicle increases, calibrations are here to stay.

ADAS calibrations are nothing new and, as you know, can vary between vehicle makers and even within an OEM. Tools and equipment often are unique to an OEM and are not typically compatible or interchangeable with other vehicle makers. However, one thing that is standard among most OEMs is the need for meeting certain requirements before calibrating.

These requirements may be related to the workspace, such as the size of the work area or the need for it to be empty so objects do not interfere with the calibration process. Pre-repair calibration requirements may also apply to the vehicle.

For example, the sensor behind the front bumper cover/grille (Cruise Control Radar Alignment) calibration procedure for the 2020 Lincoln Aviator states that the vehicle must be in a wheel alignment bay station so that the vehicle is level. This is a simple requirement and one that most people would likely find obvious.

Some are maybe less obvious, like on a 2018 Mazda CX5 sensor behind the front bumper cover/grille (Radar Unit Aiming) calibration procedure. Mazda also states that the vehicle must be level within one degree front to back and side-to-side. In addition, they require the removal of any cargo from the cabin and trunk so that the vehicle is in an unloaded condition, and that the tire pressure be set to the specified value.

Then there are some specific pre-repair calibration requirements that many may not even think about. Take the 2020 Nissan Altima sensor behind the front bumper cover/grille (Outline of Radar Alignment) calibration procedure for example. Like the Mazda, Nissan requires the tire pressure to be adjusted to specification, and to remove any cargo. That is where the similarity ends. Nissan requires one to fully fill the fuel tank, and then check that the coolant and oils are filled up to correct level. That is not where it ends however, as Nissan states: "A 4-wheel vehicle alignment must be performed before proceeding with radar alignment procedure."

As different vehicle makes and models can have specific pre-repair calibration requirements, it is important to identify these prerequisites before attempting to calibrate ADAS to help ensure a complete, safe, and quality repair.

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