• 2020

Return to Your Senses


Modern FCA US LLC vehicles are equipped with a host of sensors and other equipment designed to enhance driver awareness and safety. If these are damaged in a collision or otherwise need to be replaced, it’s important not only to use original equipment parts, but to calibrate them correctly. The four main sensors include Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward-Facing Cameras, Park Assist, and Blind Spot Monitor System. Let’s get a quick overview of these using a Chrysler Pacifica as an example.

FIRST, always recommend OEM replacement parts for any collision work. Most sensors are pre-calibrated right out of the box and require no initialization. If they’re installed correctly, they’re good to go. Some have more complex calibration procedures which must be followed to maximize proper use and safety. It’s also important that if the windshield is replaced, it too is OEM glass as the forward facing camera and radar need a clear field of view in order to operate safely.


Located below the front bumper fascia, the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) module requires alignment whenever the ACC module is removed and installed, whenever front end structural repairs are performed or whenever a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) indicates ACC module adjustment is required. Module alignment consists of performing a mechanical vertical alignment procedure, followed by the electronic horizontal alignment using a diagnostic scan tool and the appropriate diagnostic information.


Forward-facing cameras and radar replaced after a collision require calibrations and alignment. Calibration of the Chrysler Pacifica forward facing camera and front vision system (a part of the rear view mirror assembly) requires a dynamic test — on-the-road, driving at 45+ MPH for 10 minutes. In busy markets, the test may have to be performed in the early morning hours, when there’s less traffic on the road. Test tools include the micropod with WiTech software, which connects to the cloud and therefore always has the latest data.


Park Assist includes 12 Park Assist sensors located in the front and rear bumper fascias and a Park Assist module, secured to the right inner quarter panel above the front of the right rear wheel housing. The module cannot be adjusted or repaired, and if damaged or ineffective, must be replaced with a new unit. When Park Assist sensors need to be replaced, the new sensors from the factory will come unpainted. Park Assist sensors can only be painted one additional time after the factory painting, for a maximum of two layers of paint.


Vehicles equipped with the Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) system have two blind spot sensors that are concealed behind the rear bumper fascia. Each sensor is loaded into a bracket on the back side of the rear bumper fascia directly below the left and right tail lamps. Each sensor performs both radar-based and information processing. The BSM system components cannot be adjusted or repaired. If any of the BSM system components are damaged or inoperative, that component must be replaced.

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