GM Is Specific ADAS Calibrations On Their Vehicles, Here’s How That Affects You

As the owner of a GM car about to get collision repair, you need to know that GM is very specific about their repair procedures. It is vital because not every auto body shop in this area follows the OEM procedures. Believe it or not, the body shop has a choice in how they fix cars. They can guess and just cut out the damage and weld in new parts (which is cutting a lot of corners), or they can take time, research the procedure, and fix the car the way the factory wants it. Which method do you think yields the safest and must undetectable, longest-lasting repair?

How This Affects You


What is even more concerning is the fact that when you guess how to fix a car, you have about a 100% chance of doing it wrong. This is because your vehicle is built from over 15 different high strength metals, and each type of steel has rules for how it can be heated, cut, hammered, or even if it can be welded or hammer and dollied at all. Bodymen are craftsmen, no doubt, but they are not engineers, so any time a body man guesses how to make a repair, they are putting your safety at risk. Maybe you will never get into another accident in this car, but do you want to take that chance?

Your GM vehicle is built with highly “Advanced Driver Assistance Systems’ Or ADAS for short. This includes the cameras and proximity sensors that operate everything from the backup camera, the parking assist, the steering, the brakes, the blind-spot monitors, and more. In fact, depending on how your vehicle is equipped, most new fully equipped cars could drive themselves with just a software upgrade. The technology is already built into your vehicle. Every mile you drive, your GM vehicle writes more code than a Boeing 747. We’re talking thousands of lines of code every minute. And if anything is off in those sensors as a result of the accident you just had or modifications you made to your car, the systems may not be functioning properly. And you won’t even know it in most cases because ADAS system malfunctions do not set warning lights like your engine does.

Body shops have to pay for access to the GM OEM repair procedures, and it is an expense that not all shops make. GM realizes this, and so they recently put out a free Advanced Driver Assistance Systems overview guide. This is not meant to be a substitute for the actual OEM procedures, the “Driver Assistance Systems” document will be a valuable means for shops, insurers, and consumers to learn the broad strokes.

The guide lists the official name, abbreviation, and “regular production option” code of each ADAS feature and explains what it does and what systems it relies on. It also describes when calibration will be required and the cause of calibration issues for certain parts.

How This Affects Your Auto Body Repair


Calibrations are necessary because after your car is repaired, all of the affected ADAS systems have to be recalibrated. This is a precise process and involves setting the car level, usually with a full tank of gas, and can even involve a lengthy road test. Sometimes the vehicle needs to be taken to the dealer to have the calibrations performed, and in some cases, we have a specialist that comes to the shop to perform our calibrations. This process can take several hours.

GM tells you what to look for, provides the RPO code on top of the information available through the VIN, and offers the actual brand name of the ADAS to search for in the repair procedures.

As a vehicle owner who may be comparing estimates from two body shops, here is what to look for to know whether your car is getting a proper OEM repair and calibration:

Does the estimate say R&R or R&I windshield?

Was a “collision repair” conducted?

Did an airbag blow?

A forward collision usually requires a recalibration of the “Frontview Camera – Windshield,” according to GM.

Even in minor collisions, GM warns against assuming that the camera is properly functioning, and the shop might have to verify its status with a scan.

In terms of the actual windshield camera calibration, the GM document states the technician should program the camera if necessary and research the full OEM procedures.

Some GM vehicles can start reprogramming themselves after the camera is replaced, but other GM models will need the GM scan tool to start the calibrations. It is important for the technician to know that they need to check the OEM repair documentation for your vehicle and ask your shop if they are doing so before you drop off your car for repair.

Other parts on your GM vehicle are equally nuanced in their repair requirements.

Park assist sensors need calibration on some vehicles but not others. A short-range radar sensor module doesn’t need calibration but must receive SPS programming as described in the OEM procedures if it is replaced.

If your vehicle is equipped with lane departure or blind-spot monitoring systems, GM says that no specific calibration is required as a part of service, simply drive the vehicle to begin calibration, but SPS programming is required after replacement.


Some of this information be a little technical for some, but it is important to know that unlike years past, collision repair has become extremely more complicated and involves way more technology, research, equipment, and expertise than in years past. That’s why we take the time to break it down for you and explain what is important to know, and why. And most of all, it is important that you ask your repairer these questions to determine if you are dealing with a shop that follows the correct process or a shop that cuts corners in order to meet tight deadlines in the name of production. We hope you found this informative and helpful.

More Insurers Using Photo Estimates In 2020 And Why That May Be Bad For You


If you’ve just been in an accident, you may have been asked by your insurance company to submit a photo estimate. In order to do so, you may have had to download an app built by your insurance company, or you may have submitted photos online.


What happens next is some sci-fi technology analyzes the damage and writes an estimate, and it may even cut you a check immediately. Sounds convenient doesn’t it?


The trend towards photo damage estimates had been growing before Covid 19 brought massive changes to just about every aspect of our lives.  Collision repair industry estimating system company, CCC, has recently reported the insurers recently hit their 3 millionth photo estimated since 2019.


Body shops use CCC to write all estimates (it’s a universal platform) and because they have access to all this data, they publish trends articles in the industry.


CCC reported that the percentage of claims processed through their Quick Estimate, the company’s mobile photo estimating solution, has more than doubled from January to April of 2020 as carriers are accelerating use and adoption of digital tools in response to COVID-19.


Is this push for photo estimating good news for you, our customer?


It might not be. It is widely held by auto body shops that it is not possible to accurately estimate the total cost to repair a vehicle until it is torn down, and the photo systems cannot possibly see hidden damages.


Insurance companies want to move in this direction because it cuts their labor down.  It also cuts down on claims pay outs as many customers with small repairs are likely to just keep the check and live with the damage even though they could be entitled to much more if they would just get a proper estimate and a proper repair.


A proper estimate requires full teardown of the damaged areas to see what is behind. Photo estimates cannot detect kinks in frames. They cannot measure and check for frame or unibody straightness and they cannot measure critical components like steering columns that shops need to measure to accurately assess damages.


You could get a photo estimate, go to some cheap shop where they do not follow all the OEM procedures and end up driving an unsafe vehicle with hidden and unfixed damage


However, photo estimates and other AI systems are part of the future.

sun shining through auto repair shop


What do the Insurers say about photo estimating accuracy?


USAA auto claims Vice President Anne Warner said they have learned to allow progress over perfection even though the insurance industry tends to want to be “100 percent sure”.


Liberty Mutual claims general manager and U.S. retail markets Vice President Dean Peasley said the conditions imposed by the COVID-19 response showed that Insurance companies really can change more aggressively than expected.


He called it amazing how much Liberty Mutual changed in the few months before the May 26 webinar and estimated advancements had been pulled forward “several years.”


We will how things shape up when Covid 19 ends.