Why your car's windshield is the next high-tech frontier
Cooley On Cars
A cracked windshield, not a big deal, right?
Your insurance will probably cover it.
And it's amazing how fast they can replace these things like in the parking lot, but something's changing up here and I wonder if you can afford it.
And used to be about the most high-tech thing about a windshield was the tinted band across the top that was optional for years, or they might embed antenna wires in here to get rid of an aerial.
[UNKNOWN] He used to go look, these things up on a nags or classmate database.
There were all kinds of compatible Swap parts.
You didn't have to get a factory windshield.
That's changing, because windshields now are coupled with high tech driver assists and head up displays.
That often means a camera, carefully calibrated to look out through this glass and get a very accurate image of the world outside.
Or a head up display projector down here on the dash that's counting on a very carefully engineered region of the windshield to project an image it's nice and crisp and not blurry or distorted.
And beyond that foreign goes so far as to say this to repairers, indicating that hud windshields Any windshield equipped with a camera bracket or windshield glass equipped with adhesive mouldings must be replaced anytime the original glass is removed from the vehicle, not just when the original glass is actually damaged.
This is a stark difference.
Aaron Schulenburg knows that well he's executive director of the society of collision repair specialists.
The trade group for all those texts who put your cars back together after a collision often involving replacement or repair of one of those high-tech windshields.
Today's vehicles are.
And so you're starting to see more consumer technologies and they're like advanced driver assistance systems, which are often referred to as a das.
And they're becoming really common on a wide range of vehicles and even a standard options on more modern vehicles.
And those types of AI systems include things like collision warning systems, so forward collision warning or Lane Departure warnings.
They include things like collision intervention systems, auto emergency braking or auto emergency steering and driver control assistance systems like adaptive cruise control or driving assistance.
That includes technology like forward facing cameras, Lane Departure cameras, night vision cameras, rain sensors, those are all mounted on the windshield.
Heads Up displays are mounted on the dash, And can include things like radar LIDAR, the cameras we mentioned and onboard computers
so the windshields not really just a piece of glass anymore is it?
What we're really one simple operations like replacing the windshield now require us as repair professionals to address More complex diagnostics and calibration work and it's really not even just the windshield.
Simple operations like replacing a wiper blade may require on higher end vehicles, wiper blade angle adjustments, and even things like performing an alignment or disconnecting the battery requires complex relearn initialisation and calibration processes for the professional I've heard that actually yeah, that sometimes when you disconnect the battery just to replace it on some of the more modern, particularly tech Laden, particularly German cars, [LAUGH] You have to bring the thing back to life almost.
I think that's why it's so important to pick Repair professionals who know what they're doing and are focused on consumer safety and the restoration of that type of technology.
We just talked about the parts that can be in the windshield.
What's the technique like these days for a technician who
They have all the parts and they are they can move them to the new glass whatever this process is, then there's this calibration I hear about what's that all about.
The processes are always going to be specific to the vehicle manufacturer, the OEM and that make and model Those eight OS systems are going to be tied to the windshield, they'll often require systems to be reinstalled and recalibrated.
And our feedback to the industry is to always reference the OEM documented repair procedures each and every time that it's performed.
Because those procedures can often change along the way as well and so it's important that.
You access them the day that you're performing the actual operation.
But types of those processes are things like dynamic recalibrations that involves driving the vehicle at set speeds through specified conditions to recalibrate the camera systems.
So the amount of time can vary and it can be affected by things like traffic conditions, it could be infected by things like Environmental conditions, all of those can have an impact how long that takes or what that operation actually entails.
There's also static recalibrations which are done in a repair facility and require specific OEM targets that the cameras sense and look at.
They're mounted in front of the vehicle they require specific types of floor coverings and space in front of and behind and around the vehicle.
And certain environment.
So you look at recalibrating a forward camera as an example and you talked about glass being replaced in a driveway.
The recalibration of a forward camera requires it to be on a level surface.
So, a pitched driveway wouldn't work.
And it may require two to three square metres in front of it of level space and may specify for natural or artificial lighting.
All of those things impact how that calibration will occur.
And then there's other factors like you have to make sure you have the right tire pressure while doing the calibration.
The gas tank may need to be full while performing the calibration.
You may have to empty the cargo area with the exception of the tool kit that came with the vehicle while you're performing it.
It's very specific, which makes it challenging to do in a non-controlled environment.
Not to mention the shop has to have the right tools and equipment like targets and stands, scan tools that are designated by the manufacturer that work on that specific make and model vehicle.
The members of your organization you represent those are independent shops right?
We represent all collision repair professionals across the US so independence dealership shops, okay, so if it's a collision repair shop That's in your umbrella, it could be in a dealer, it could be independent.
Why I'm asking is because I know there's there's been a tug of war in recent years about right to repair and how much the factories are releasing or the dealerships are making available to independence to have all of this technology you're talking about, not just the tools and the scanning tools.
But just the specs.>> I think in the collision repair space, we're fortunate that the automakers actually rely very heavily on the independent market for representation of in their certified networks and things along those lines.
So you see a great deal of independent collision repair facilities being recognized by the automakers as a certified repair facility.
And we're fortunate that we gain a lot of access to that information directly through the OEM Tech Info sites, accessing those detailed repair procedures as they're provided by the OEM.
How important is it that I go to a shop that can or will show me that they are in some way endorsed by the brand?
You see that on some shops?
Not all, you know that are authorized repair centers and a lot of us I think think that that's feels a little bit just like marketing gloss.
How important is it to have an authorized repair center certified for my brand of car.
I think it's becoming certainly something to look for for a consumer.
It's one of those things that you're going to be able to identify and go That collision repair facility received the necessary training.
They were vetted that they had the proper tools and equipment they've met certain criteria to be able to carry that recognition.
It's often more than just a marketing ploy.
Normally is a recognition that those technicians and that that business have gone through the necessary steps to be able to repair those vehicles properly.
There is a very healthy independent market out there, but many of them you will We'll see are aligning themselves and associating themselves with the manufacturers because they're investing in that equipment that training that skill set development and making sure that they have what's necessary to fix those cars correctly and ask questions.
They should be able to communicate and be able to inform you on exactly what they're doing, why they're approaching it that way.
I think I think all of those things are really important in identifying a professional repair facility.
And you trust and you have a good relationship with them.
Let's talk about training.
I know in this day and age, it's always hard to get people to go into a lot of these careers that they look at and say yeah, I wanna go write code or video games for a living.
And so now they're looking at things like being a tech in a repair shop.
It's a little harder to recruit them at least from what I hear.
Is this putting a new face on the world of collision repair?
Do you think for recruits?
I think we've got a lot of appeal to a younger generation who's looking for challenging career paths that are gonna give them opportunities to kinda take some of those skills that they developed growing up as a youngster and putting them to use in a highly skilled, highly technical manner.
Fixing cars today is not the same as it was decades ago.
There is a lot of diagnostics involved.
There's a lot of technical and analytical approach to those repairs.
You have to understand engineering and how vehicles are constructed and how the systems interplay with one another.
It's very different from what I think a lot of people think of for.
Our body shape as the right->> Yep.>> Used to be just some burly old guys sitting there sanding bondo and then rolling the car into the spray booth.
[LAUGH] It's a little different these days.
These individuals are called technicians for a reason.
It is very technical, very sophisticated work on on highly advanced automobiles.
It is not Your older vehicles where you can climb into the hood and and get to work with a wrench.
It's they're very different than and it's much more elevated than I think it's ever been.
In closing I think about all this and I think about more cost of components are in these high tech cars Windshields, and elsewhere, and sounds like more time to do the job to some degree.
How is the insurance industry dealing with you guys, in terms of what sounds like an escalating cost to do a lot of repairs.
A lot of these sophisticated technologies have been driven by consumer demand, by federal demand, and by the insurance industry who's looking to reduce down accident frequency
Unfortunately, it also can be a challenge because the insurance companies are still behind the curve on understanding and properly underwriting for these repair processes which can sometimes cause pushback in the claim settlement process.
And I think that's why it's so important for consumers that they understand that these steps are critical they're necessary to their safety and restoring the vehicle, its features and putting you back you and your family back into a safe and properly repaired vehicle.
And that they have to pick a repair professional that they know are gonna go through the necessary steps, regardless of whether the insurance company recognizes it.
To be able to put the consumer first but safety first
As you mentioned, the insurance companies are very big on these safety technologies they've been advocating for most of them that they feel are pretty effective.
But they have to be willing to pay to repair them.
When that griller windshield gets broken down the road, you can't just have one after that.
That's right, the struggle that we have a lot of these a lot of these technologies find their way with support on the front end.
The claims process obviously is one that makes it they are looking to mitigate their costs and expenses and that often relates to push back back on the consumers and the claims settlement processes.
So it's again, proper documentation, making sure that you, you can justify why that's, why it's necessary and finding a repair professional that won't compromise on that despite whether or not there's there's pushback in the claims.
Writers recently did a survey looking at the penetration of driver assistance technology in cars and a apparently corresponding reduction in collisions both trend lines are quite strong.
But just like all real estate is a local market, all car repair is a personal expense.
Nobody can argue with the safety benefits of technology now being put into windshields, but it seems that shade tree or indifferent replacement or repair is no longer an option.
Electric trucks are the hottest kind of electric car
See the new emergency flasher lights for cars
New car destination fees have soared in the last 10 years
The tech you may not have noticed in your car
Why catalytic converters are being stolen and what you can do...
Motor oil made easy
Why solid-state batteries are a hot topic for electric cars
Make sure your electric car gets the range promised
Why Tesla enjoys a huge lead in the electric car market