ADAS technologies are complex, sprawling systems that need proper maintenance to keep them working at peak efficiency. Without correct and regular care, the systems can malfunction, at best leading to driver frustration and at worst, compromising safety.
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"Keep in mind that ADAS technologies are built on the foundation of antilock braking systems (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) technologies," says Fred Andersky, director of demos, sales and service training at Bendix. "A fault with the ABS or ESC system means that the ADAS may not be available."
Through the regular use of the vehicle, ADAS components can move or otherwise become compromised. On-wheel speed sensors, for instance, can be susceptible to chassis harness issues such as rubbing and chafing. Wheel-end maintenance can also tamper with the sensor, causing it to fail. The steering angle sensor can also fall out of calibration after regular maintenance such as a front end alignment, or the yaw rate sensor can be incorrectly placed after work on the frame rail or chassis.
"Sometimes, systems can show a diagnostic trouble code (DTC), and a simple key cycle of the ignition key, done off-road in a safe area, can clear it," says Brian Screeton, manager of technical training and service at Bendix. "DTCs like this can be caused by road conditions or the terrain the vehicle is operating in. It's always important to first try and clear the DTC by restarting the vehicle. If it returns after restarting, the vehicle should be taken to a qualified repair facility immediately."
ADAS also uses both cameras and radar to see what's going on around the vehicle. Improper wiring or placement can interfere with both systems. Sensors in these systems can also become blocked by road debris. If you're having problems with your cameras, check the unit to ensure proper placement and wiring, and make sure the camera isn't blocked by debris.
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"Some radar issues, if they occur, can be caused by sensor misalignment, vehicle wiring or active DTCs in other components of the vehicle, like the engine, for example," Screeton says. He adds that modern radars are better at adjusting to minor misalignment than older radar systems. If you suspect your radar is misaligned, follow the procedures on your system's data sheet and also check the brackets for damage as well as the chassis mounting surface.
"Since the radar is in the front of the vehicle, the connector can be exposed to all sorts of chemicals, especially in climates where snow and ice require salt, sand or other substances to help maintain traction," Screeton says. "Checking to ensure the connector is properly covered, sealed and secured will help minimize the corrosion that may occur from repeated exposure to road chemicals."
Radar inactivity -- when the unit goes to sleep because of a long period without targets -- can also cause the ADAS to work improperly. An ignition key cycle will wake it up again.
Replacing connectors and connection types can also cause problems with a vehicles ADAS technology. Improperly installed aftermarket components on the vehicles J1939 datalink network can cause issues with Bendix systems in particular, as can shorted-out wires and open circuits. The later are particularly problematic since diagnostics may not pick it up.
"Every driver should carefully review the operator's manual to ensure they are aware of the ADAS system alerts and notifications expected during operation. This is especially important to make sure the driver knows how the system is supposed to operate so they can better understand if or when something isn't working properly," Andersky says.