There’s more to windscreens than just a big piece of glass
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Don’t want to pay more money for a windscreen replacement?
Like many parts of your car, your windscreen is becoming more advanced and complex.
Sure, it might just look like a big piece of glass, but are you aware it’s filled with technology?
If you’ve noticed extra items mounted around your rear view mirror area or extra shaded areas on the screen, your car may be equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems — also known as ADAS.
Such systems include Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Avoidance and Autonomous Braking and at the heart of these technologies is your windscreen.
If your front windscreen is broken, requires replacement, or needs to be removed for any other reason, it’s extremely important the installer knows what they are doing and that the correct procedures are followed.
ADAS systems operate through the windscreens glass by using cameras, lasers or infrared beams, in combination with radar and sensors around the vehicle.
While ADAS guides or physically assists your driving, if your windscreen is incorrectly fitted (even by just a few millimetres), these technologies may not function correctly. These systems are also prevented from operating if the windscreen is dirty, obstructed, or even when vision is restricted due to foggy conditions. Your vehicle should flash a warning if any of these systems are unable to operate.
The cameras and lasers within your windscreen can generally be found in front of the rear view mirror of your vehicle or along the top of your windscreen.
If a chip occurs in the area where the cameras and lasers are, chip repairs cannot be completed and the whole windscreen will need to be replaced.
On top of this, manufacturers will also require calibrations to be completed, so that the ADAS system can still operate properly.
In other words, it can be a costly procedure to fix compared to your usual windscreen repair or replacement, which is why some insurance companies won’t cover the cost of calibrations in their policies.
Companies that don’t cover the additional cost in relation to the calibration deem this to be an extra maintenance cost, which is then passed to the policy holder.
So what’s involved in recalibration?
There are two main forms of calibration — dynamic and static — and some ADAS technology requires a combination of each when being reset.
While static requires a controlled environment where the vehicle does not move, dynamic requires the vehicle to be driven with the recalibration equipment in place to complete the process.
As we move towards an autonomous future, there is no question that advanced driver assistance systems make driving easier and safer.
Although these technologies are new to our vehicle fleet, it’s only a matter of time before they become commonplace on New Zealand roads.