Business aligns operations with automotive tech

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Andy Nack, left, and Brice Berentis operate Advanced Automotive Calibration in Grand Junction. They use various targets to install windshields and calibrate increasingly sophisticated safety and driver assistance systems. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle

There’s more to installing a windshield than ensuring a good fit. Increasingly sophisticated safety systems with cameras mounted to windshields require not only precise placement, but also careful calibration.

It’s an exacting service two Grand Junction entrepreneurs provide through a business they opened. While their operation aligns with technological changes in the automotive industry, they want to make sure customers keep up as well.

“We want the consumers to realize how important it is to have it calibrated,” says Andy Nack, who joined with Brice Berentis to operate Advanced Automotive Calibration.

Nack and Berentis completed training and invested in specialized equipment to offer calibration services. Nack also brings to the venture his experience in auto glass repair and replacement. Berentis has long worked in the auto collision repair industry.

Berentis says they recognized an opportunity given the growing use of advanced driver assistance systems that require calibration. “There’s a need here that has to be filled.”

Advanced driver assistance systems alert drivers if vehicles drift out of their lanes or there’s a risk of collision.

While some advanced driver assistance systems include alarms, others steer and brake. Adaptive cruise control adjusts the speed to maintain a safe distance between vehicles.

The systems depend in part on cameras mounted to windshields. That means windshields must be installed precisely and the safety systems calibrated to assure they work properly, Nack and Berentis say.

Even a tiny misadjustment of the windshield affects how a system detects hazards hundreds of feet away. The system might not work properly or could even cause an accident. “The placement is the critical part,” Nack says.

The windshields of vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems and windshield cameras should be installed by trained technicians and then calibrated, Nack and Berentis say.

The two say they carefully measure the placement of a windshield to match factory specifications, then use targets to calibrate the systems. Such factors as tire pressure and how much fuel is in a tank can affect the calibration, they said.

They expect to soon start using a laser measuring system that’s even more precise.

Nack and Berentis then drive the vehicles to assure the systems work properly.

It’s an exacting process, Nack says. “A lot of people think it just calibrates itself, but that’s not the case.”

Nack and Berentis offer their services not only to individual customers, but also auto glass and collision repair businesses.

The importance of proper windshield installations and system calibrations will become more important, Berentis says, as the systems become even more sophisticated and their use more prevalent. Systems will take over more of the functions of steering and braking vehicles and come in more and more models, he says.

For now, though, the pace of technological innovations has exceeded awareness of how advanced driver assistance systems work, Berentis says. That means marketing Advanced Automotive Calibration and inform people about what the business does, he says. “People just don’t know, and it takes a while to be educated.”

For more information about Advanced Automotive Calibration, call 424-0659.