When ADAS Can't See: Park Assist System

Collision repairs on vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) can have more restrictions than vehicles without ADAS. Items that historically would be a simple repair may now need to be replaced. The ADAS needs to be able to see/sense in some way, whether it be by radar, camera-view, ultrasonic, etc. Repairers need to keep sensor/camera field of vision clear to avoid system malfunctions. For example, repair material that would normally be used to repair a gouge in a bumper cover is now a problem because it can block the sensor’s field of vision and may not allow the sensor to function properly.

Some OEMs have warnings against making repairs in front of sensors/cameras or a certain distance from the sensors/cameras. However, many times there is also a list of other items that can block the sensor/camera view. Let’s take a look at some common things or materials that can interfere with the park assist system.

Park assist systems almost exclusively use ultrasonic sensors. An ultrasonic sensor uses soundwaves to detect the distance to an object. The sensor sends out and receives the soundwave after bouncing off a detected object. The time it takes for the soundwave to return determines the distance the object is from the sensor. Due to how an ultrasonic sensor works, things like excess refinish material can impede the sensor’s ability to “hear”. For this reason, some OEMs restrict any repairs, which can include the amount of refinish material that can be applied or in some cases no refinishing the ultrasonic sensors.

Other things that can cause failures in the park assist sensors can include mud, dirt, rain, snow, and stickers. Due to the fact that ultrasonic sensors use sound, loud noises near the vehicle can prevent the ultrasonic sensors from being able to hear as well.

To prevent impeding the ability of the ADAS to function and potentially fail, check OEM repair information to identify what restrictions may apply to the repairs you are considering. Always verify that the ADAS is functioning properly after completing repairs.

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