ADAS optioned windscreens (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) have been in use for some time. ADAS are driver assistance accessories developed to automate/adapt/enhance vehicles to assist with driver safety.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems come with many features designed to reduce collisions by assisting or alerting the driver to potential dangers when one is distracted or not paying attention. For example, ADAS may deploy safeguards by mildly taking over control of the vehicle, to reduce the chance of a collision or alert you of a potential problem. Adaptive features may automate lighting, provide dynamic cruise control, incorporate GPS/ traffic warnings, speed limit warning, safe lane departure cameras, etc. ADAS has been around for years in many forms, however, in the past it has for the most part been reserved for more expensive prestige vehicles.
Is An ADAS Windscreen Necessary?
There is no doubt ADAS has some handy features that could potentially be of value for motorists. Taxi’s, Transport, Couriers and anyone who spends much of their day in their vehicle could benefit from ADAS Technology.
Like most technologies, over time they become affordable to the mass market and as a result are made available for all. Just as the humble reversing cameras has become standard, so have more complex systems.
With that said, it’s not uncommon to find Advance Driver Assistance Systems on vehicles in the $30k price range. Mazda and Honda are two brands that include basic ADAS systems on many entry level models. This has to be good news for motorists, right? All that technology that was once reserved for prestige vehicles is now becoming standard on the average family car? Well, perhaps not.
What the Car Salesman doesn’t tell you
When you purchase your new vehicle, the sales assistant is unlikely to inform you of potential running costs of the vehicle going forward. For example, many ADAS systems are mounted to the vehicles windscreen, the most fragile part of the vehicles outer shell.
Over time it’s inevitable you will require a replacement windscreen in the future. So when deciding on a vehicle, it’s a good idea to calculate future running costs as well as the vehicles initial purchase price.
At the time of this writing a standard generic windscreen replacement for a Mazda 3 without ADAS costs approx $300/500 Australian. However, the same genuine windscreen with an ADAS mounting system on the glass costs as much as $2.5k. This does include a calibration of the camera, which apparently takes several hours according to the dealer. By comparison, if you were to purchase a generic version of the ADAS optioned windscreen, you would still be up for $1000+. A substantial cost for a windscreen replacement I think you will agree.
void warranty on generic ADAS Windscreens
So why not install a generic ADAS windscreen, this being the cheaper solution? Dealerships state you should not install generic windscreens into vehicles with ADAS, as doing so will void the vehicle ADAS warranty. Void, no exceptions. They tell us this is due to differences in glass clarity, ADAS bracket/mount quality and fit. In their words, generic windscreens can render an ADAS system to not perform as factory tested and/or become unstable.
That said, our experience has been quite different to the advice given by dealers. Most auto glass shops in Australia install generic glass at the request of customers and with a few exceptions ADAS systems work just fine using generic parts. However, it’s important to understand if you choose the generic path, you should realise you are on your own, the dealer will no longer support the system. Service 8® Auto Glass has no objection to generic windscreen as long as customers are informed of the consequences and void warranty. And it should be noted that quality generic parts when installed correctly by experienced professionals function fine.
Windscreen Insurance Claims
Now, for those who are thinking, no problem, we have insurance. We will simply have the insurance group pay for the genuine windscreen. Think again, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Insurance groups have agreements with windscreen repairers to keep their costs under control. These windscreen repairers are know as “recommended repairers” or “selected repairers”. It’s important to point out that a “recommended repairer” works for the insurance group, not you. As a consequence if an insurance group instructs a recommended repairer to install generic glass, they do so.
It’s standard practice for national organisations to install generic windscreens with ADAS and not inform the policy holder. As we established above good quality generic windscreen are fine in most cases, however Service 8 believe it’s good practice to be transparent with customers too, especially when making insurance claims. The reason for this is your insurance company makes the decision as opposed to you deciding what windscreen should be used for the replacement. To read more about the contract you have with your insurance groups read your Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), this is the actual contract you have with your insurance group.
When a generic glass is used as instructed by your insurance group what happens if the system malfunctions and results in a collision, or injury, who will be liable? The manufacturer of the glass? The insurance group? The windscreen company? You?
This may seem like what ifs and maybes, however, the potential risk could occur. We live in a period were vehicles are adopting technology faster than it is able to be properly tested. Similar to computer systems and smart phones, devices are rolled out in beta phase to be tested by the public. This is when the system is really put to the test and firmware upgrades soon follow as problems arise. During these periods it is difficult for technicians to keep on top of the training and equipment required to service systems.
Outdated ADAS Technology
Another disadvantage of unnecessary technology is it’s outdated very quickly, especially in vehicles. When a vehicle is designed years before production, what was current then, may not be current now. As a result, by the time a vehicle is in production its technology may already be several years old. What’s more, future used car buyers are hesitant to purchase vehicles with outdated technology. Especially if its technology is no longer supported and expensive to repair.
In the case of an ADAS equipped windscreens that costs 2.5k to replace, there could be a time when a vehicle could be written off for a minor defect. Simply because it was over priced to repair. That does not sound environmentally friendly to me.
How many times have you seen a vehicle that had a clunky inbuilt dash screen equipped with Sat Nav. Worse still, the dealer wants to charge several hundred dollars every time it requires a system update. It’s a much simpler idea to use a Smartphone on a dock/dash mount. Google Maps work much better, faster and is always up to date. Further more, it’s everyone favorite price, free.
At Service 8® Auto Glass, we prefer simple, reliable technology, especially on vehicles. We like to put the key in the ignition rather than press the button. It just limits the amount of potential problems. Unnecessary electronics fail often and are expensive to repair, this we all know too well from experience.
In summary our advice would be purchase an ADAS vehicle only if you have the capital to maintain it.
Don’t fall victim to your insurance group installing a generic glass without your knowledge and therefor forfeiting your vehicles warranty. Check your PDS and if you are entitled to genuine parts and choice of repairer then execute this privileged. It’s not free it’s what you have paid for.
Check the original windscreen standards mark and take photo. If the replacement windscreen does not match. If you are entitled to genuine parts demand an explanation. It’s an illegal practice to not have full disclosure from your insurance group.
Generic parts are not bad and are improving all the time. However, you should always be aware of the choices you have and the costs involved. From here you can make an informed choice.
Service 8 Auto Glass Tweed Heads are experts in ADAS windscreen replacement. We work directly with the Gold Coast most experienced ADAS specialists. Together we form a partnership that is unmatched. We offer unbiased insurance advice and source our glass parts from several suppliers based on quality. We can help you with your insurance claims, so call us today obligation free.