Answering the Calibration Call

The calibration panel covered everything from liability to cars with accessories and how to handle those.

Six expert panelists gathered in September at Auto Glass Week 2019 for a two-hour panel discussion covering everything and anything related to performing calibrations. There was so much to report on that we couldn’t fit it all into our article in the November-December issue of AGRR.

So if you had questions on liability risks or what about those fancy cars with all the bells and whistles, read on for the answers.

The session was moderated by AGRR editorial director Tara Taffera, and additional participants included: Jon Burra, owner of Windshield Calibration Center; Bill Purtell, operations manager of All Star Glass; Bob Scharaga, president of All Star Glass; Josh Bradley, owner of Clear Choice Auto Glass; and Jon Dickerman, the diagnostic quality assurance coordinator for Sullivan Tire.

For two hours, Taffera, along with the audience, asked questions about the ins and outs of performing calibrations in their shops. They may know they have to do it, some attendees said, but many still have yet to make the leap.

What Are My Liability Risks?

Taffera asked the panelists how they would respond to the company owners who believe they don’t need to offer calibration services fearing it will open them up to liability.

“Go back to the factory service info,” says Dickerman. “If it says to calibrate, then talk to them about the liability if they don’t do it and something goes wrong.”

“If they say they don’t want a calibration, we won’t do the replacement,” said Weller. “It’s a moral issue.”

What About Cars With Accessories?

Attendees wanted to know how these companies are dealing with vehicles that come in with accessories, many of these being Jeeps.

“We turn down cars with lift kits and huge tires,” said Scharaga. “We don’t even want to touch the car. I hate to turn the business down, but it’s not worth someone’s life.”

This is an area where the training of CSRs comes into play. “It’s part of our phone script,” said Scharaga.

One questioner followed up, saying: “We can’t turn away 25% of our work. We want to find a way we can help and work with those customers.”

“The aftermarket tends to support that thinking,” added Burra. “But it’s up to you to stay up to date and educated about what developments are being made to deal with those types of cars.”

Final Words of Wisdom

“Know your numbers, and know your market,” Bradley reminded attendees.

Dickerman advised the audience of some key items when it comes to calibration not to forget.

“First, keep your equipment maintained,” he said, and then added, “Keep employees trained, as we all know there is a lot of employee turnover. With calibration there is no learning curve.”

Ultimately, ADAS systems are changing on a daily basis, panelists suggested, and are providing auto glass shops with a moving target.

“It’s changing every day and you have to stay on top of it,” said Purtell. “But it’s exciting.”

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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5 Responses to Answering the Calibration Call

  1. Kevin Horstman says:

    I just emailed safelite asking for their policy regarding recalibration. I want to know who is going to pay me to take a vehicle to the dealership ,wait for it to be calibrated and drive it home , at least 4 hours of my time .I also asked how much mark-up I am allowed to make if any.We will see if anyone responds to my questions. I also asked if the customer takes their car to the dealer will they be reimbursed . is anyone concerned about getting paid?

    • Ian Hanshew says:

      Here in VA the insurances do not allow a mark up. They ask for a pre and post calibration report or a POP from the dealership. This means we contact the dealership of the customers choice to see what the calibration costs, get the verbal or email approval from SGC or whoever the network is, must send the proof of documentation to them in advance to assure approval by EDI and then, still get short paid at a high percentage.

      We will literally spend hours and have to spend our money to pay the dealership only for the insurance reimburses us if and when they finally do.

      The market needs to allow companies to at least make a “managerial fee” for the time and effort.

  2. Lisa Ricks says:

    We have other glass shops in our area who are installing the windshield and then just telling the customer to take it to the dealer and get it recalibrated. I asked if they are installing OEM windshields or aftermarket, they said aftermarket! All of our dealerships will not recalibrate anything other than OEM windshields! They are doing this with insurance claims and the adjustors I am sure are glad because some I am sure are not getting it done. Anyone else having this problem?

    • Ian Hanshew says:

      We have developed very good relationships with our local dealerships. Many will in fact recalibrate an aftermarket windshield. However, if it fails due to being aftermarket, they will still charge for it.

      This risk needs to be the responsibility of the customer or the insurance company denying the calibration.

      They suggest there are other companies that can and will so it should be taken to someone else even if the customer requests for the dealer.

      I look forward to some changes for the better.

  3. We inform our customers upfront during the quoting process that it is their responsibility to schedule and to pay for the recalibration service after we replace their windshield, so there are no surprises when they use us. After replacement, we require them to deactivate their advanced driver assistance system until they get it recalibrated, eliminating false readings and dangerous malfunctions to occur. A more in-depth explanation about this process appears on the back of our invoice, which they read, sign, and initial after I review everything with them verbally.

    Some dealerships in Houston, Texas, are recalibrating aftermarket, but only if we install the Pilkington brand for now.

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