For Barry Lintner, owner and partner of Lloyd’s Glass & Correct Calibration Services in Pensacola, Fla., calibration has always been important “but none of us knew it,” he says.
Lintner’s company, which he owns with his son, performs 100 calibrations and installs 600 to 700 windshields per month. He has been in the auto glass industry for 50 years, after taking a job as a windshield installer at age 20 at a glass shop in Pittsburgh.
“[Calibration is] such an interesting topic. Anybody who doesn’t understand the importance of calibration is living on another planet,” says Lintner.
Lintner says that calibration is necessary, required by manufacturers, and, if a vehicle is not calibrated, its camera could become unsure of what it is looking at.
“It’s important because you’re putting someone’s life at risk,” Lintner says.
Auto glass companies who do not calibrate, Lintner says, are just not worried about calibration, but are misinformed. Just because a warning light does not come on in a vehicle, does not mean there isn’t a problem, he warns.
Lintner says that car dealerships used to be the leading source of misinformation about warning lights, because they did not run scans of vehicles, instead just looking for faulty codes.
“A miscalibrated camera will not pull a faulty code,” Lintner says. Dealerships are “now up to speed,” he adds, and no longer part of the problem creating misinformation in the industry.
Windshield installers who do not want to tell customers that calibration must be done are at a disadvantage, he explains. He says some do not want to follow rules, and calibration is an expense, as well as requires training staff, and each installer must take the time to calibrate each vehicle.
“It’s extremely complicated,” Lintner says, but important. “[The vehicle’s camera] is supposed to be protecting people.” Vehicles do not have a fault code for miscalibration.
And auto glass shops must stay informed about updates and data regarding ADAS. “It’s a full-time job just to stay on top of this stuff,” Lintner says.
Lintner says he thinks technology in vehicles “is absolutely amazing.” It is forcing barriers to entry in the auto industry for anyone who does not want to keep up to date with technology, he suggests, adding, “The industry has to move along with technology.”
Jacques Navant, chair of the Auto Glass Safety Council’s Advanced Driver Assistance System committee, says “the importance of dispelling myths” is important to calibration.
On the west coast, where he is in California, and he believes possibly throughout the United States, “there’s an urban legend that if you don’t unplug you don’t have to calibrate it,” Navant says.
Navant compares calibration to getting a new pair of eyeglasses. When your prescription changes, it must be recalibrated to fit your eyesight.
“And that’s what the calibration process is,” Navant says, adding that the myth that calibration is not important is hurtful to consumers and installers, and the industry as a whole.
If not calibrated, a vehicle’s camera will have to work overtime, “and by the time it realizes the part is bad, it’s going to be too late,” Navant says. The camera may be unable to recognize its surroundings.
Another myth, Navant says, is that a light will come on in the instrument panel to warn of a problem. “A lot of people are very reliant on technology,” Navant says. They expect the vehicle to tell them if something is wrong.
If not calibrated properly, a vehicle may favor solid lines on the road, not dotted lines. And no light in the instrument panel will warn of that issue.
“We’re all in a new world now [with technology in vehicles],” Navant says.
According to Navant, if a customer thinks a vehicle has not been calibrated or was calibrated incorrectly, they should return the vehicle to the shop where the work was done.
Navant says that when work is done on a vehicle, the customer should be provided pre-scan and post-scan reports. The post-scan report shows that the vehicle was calibrated and then driven afterward to ensure no problems exist.
“If they don’t get that paperwork, then I would be worried that something wasn’t done correctly,” Navant says.