Maryville, Tenn.-based C&D Tire began recalibrating advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in January 2023 and its owner, Dennis Dossett, says the dealership is still learning about the service.
“We haven’t figured all of this out yet.”
But one thing Dossett knows for sure is that ADAS will become an increasingly bigger part of what his five-store dealership offers.
“If you’re an independent tire dealer and you want to be around” on a long-term basis, “you have to do your part and your part is being able to service the customer. If you’re not able to say, ‘No problem. We can do that for you,’ they’re going to find someone else who can. And that applies to ADAS.”
Not unlike TPMS
Dossett had been looking at ADAS service for several years prior to offering recalibrations. “We have a five-year outlook” when evaluating new tire and service technologies and determined that ADAS is here to stay, he says.
He compares it to when tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) were mandated on new vehicles. “Some dealers said they offered TPMS service. Some dealers said they weren’t sure. There were a lot of different variables and you had to look at a lot of different things. But we jumped in and trained our people so we’d be well-equipped.
“We’re taking the same approach with ADAS. It’s going to be standard” on all vehicles, he believes.
“If you’re going to be in the tire business, you’re going to have to do this.”
That doesn’t mean ADAS service is simple. “When TPMS came out, there were many manufacturers of TPMS sensors,” says Dossett. “It was very complex. Right now, ADAS is pretty vast. There are a lot of different ways to look at it.”
However, like TPMS sensors and tools, ADAS service will eventually “standardize,” he says. “It’s going to be easier to service ADAS in the future. Consumers have to have their vehicles’ ADAS recalibrated. And as more cars with ADAS (come out), we’re going to have to be faster and better at it.”
C&D Tire, which is a member of the Independent Tire Dealers Group LLC, sends its technicians to ADAS training offered by Hunter Engineering Co. — two technicians at a time. “They then teach our other techs. That seems to be working for us.”
The dealership’s technicians also refer to a web portal provided by Hunter, where they “can go and look up specific vehicles. It gives us information on what resets we have to do.”
Procedures can vary from vehicle to vehicle, according to Dossett. “When you get into Audis and Volvos, ADAS becomes more complex than, for example, a Honda Odyssey van. You need a lot of room and you have to work really hard to recalibrate ADAS on some European and Asian cars.”
Aftermarket lift kits present another challenge. “As people continue to raise their trucks, you’re changing those camera angles. All of this has to be figured out.”
Education is a must
Educating customers about ADAS is critical, says Dossett, again harkening back to the advent of TPMS.
“When TPMS came out, a lot of consumers didn’t know anything about it. People said, ‘You’re crazy. I’m not paying for a TPMS sensor.’ Now, because people understand what TPMS does, we sell a lot of sensors. People understand the value of it.
“Now we’re faced with educating consumers about ADAS,” he explains. “We have to show people what ADAS does, the importance of having it and what it’s going to take to recalibrate their vehicles.
“The other thing we have to educate customers about is the expense of an alignment,” with the addition of ADAS. “Instead of that front end alignment being $119, it can run as much as $300 or $350, depending on what you have to do. The cost is definitely going up.
“We’re on the very front” of ADAS service. “It’s new for everybody. We still have situations where we don’t have all of the specs on every vehicle. It’s a learning process, but we’re keeping up with it.”