Blindspot monitoring: When ADAS cannot see 

Collision repairs on vehicles equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can have more restrictions than vehicles without ADAS. For instance, ADAS needs to be able to see and sense in some way, whether it be by radar, camera-view, or ultrasonic. Repairers need to keep sensors and camera field of vision clear to avoid any system malfunctions. For example, repair material that would normally be used to repair a gouge in a bumper cover is now a problem because it can block the sensor’s field of vision and may not allow the sensor to function properly. As a result, these repairs are more complex, require more forethought and consideration for sensors and blindspot detection. 

How blindspot monitoring systems work 

Blind spot monitoring systems primarily use radar systems behind the rear bumper. Radar sensors work by sending radio waves that are deflected off of objects. The time it takes for the radio wave to return indicates how far away the object is, how big the object is, and what direction the object is traveling. With the radar behind the bumper cover, the radio waves must pass through the plastic cover, which can slow down the radio waves. This has been programmed into the radar sensors to consider the slower rate. 

Common materials that interfere with blindspot monitoring systems 

When other materials, such as bumper repair material, are in the sensors field of vision, it may cause the radio waves to slow down even more, possibly resulting in false readings from the radar unit. Many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) actually warn against repairing bumper covers that are damaged in front of or near a blindspot detection system (BDS). Some of these OEMs with this warning include Acura, Nissan, BMW, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, and Lexus. 

Other factors that can impact the function of sensors include mud, dirt, rain, snow, and stickers. For this reason, any kind of metallic or reflective tape, sticker, or material can completely block the radar. Additionally, refinish materials can also cause problems for radar sensors. Excessive buildup of refinish materials, including metallic, may block radar waves, and most paint manufacturers have developed special paint formulas that must be used when refinishing bumpers to ensure proper radar function. 

Ensuring that ADAS sensors and blindspot monitoring systems function properly is critical. To prevent impeding the ability of these sensors, check OEM repair information to identify what restrictions may apply to the repairs you are considering. Finally, always verify that the ADAS is functioning properly after completing repairs. 

To learn more about ADAS, and to stay up to date with ADAS repair and technology, visit the I-CAR Canada course catalogue and review the ADAS Technician training courses.