When ADAS Can't See: Collision Warning and Braking System

2014 Subaru Forester, EyeSight Camera.

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 collision warning/braking system.

Collision warning/braking systems primarily use cameras and sensors to locate objects in front of the vehicle, and how far the object is away. For camera-based systems the camera needs a clear view in front of the vehicle. In most cases, any damage to the windshield, in front of the camera’s view is not repairable. If there is a stone chip or any other damage by the camera, the windshield may require replacement. When replacing a windshield, it is important to look for any manufacturing defects in what will be the camera’s vision path. Stickers and window tint must also be avoided in front of the camera.

Collision warning/braking systems that use radars also require an unobstructed view in front of the vehicle. Radars mounted behind the front bumper cover or grille can be blinded by repair materials or excessive refinish materials. The signal from radar can change speeds after passing through repair material, giving false readings. For this reason, a normally repairable bumper cover may be a candidate for replacement.

The windshield and the bumper cover normally receives the worst of what mother nature can throw at it. Most forms of precipitation, such as rain, snow, and ice, can blind the camera and block the radar. Direct sunlight may also make it difficult for the camera to see. A dirty windshield or bumper cover can block the camera’s or radar’s field of view. Dead bugs, dust, and mud may need to be removed for the collision warning/braking system to work properly.

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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