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ADAS Calibrations and Room to Stretch Out

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June 25, 2021—Small collision repair shops have their benefits.

One shop owner, whose first shop is 24,000 square feet, remarked how much easier it was to implement change at his newer, second shop of 6,750 square feet. He likened the smaller shop to a speedboat, whereas the larger shop is a tanker—one turns more quickly than the other.

That smaller shop may have one form of versatility, though it may be lacking when it comes to future collision repair needs.

Tansky Advanced Auto Body and Paint Center, based in the greater Columbus, Ohio, area, operates out of a building that formerly housed a lumber retailer, meaning it's big: some 40,000 square feet of its overall 50,000 square-foot footprint is dedicated to its shop floor.

That's been a huge benefit when it comes to advanced driver-assistance system calibrations and the ability to do them in-house, says body shop manager Shawn Smith.

A wide-open area that is sometimes used for staging vehicles and estimating can, as needed, become the spot where technicians perform calibrations, he says. Its floor is painted as needed for Toyota calibrations (the body shop is part of Tansky Sawmill Toyota dealership), Smith says, and there's much convenience that comes from having the ability to do that work in his shop.

Smith says he stopped outsourcing calibrations to his service department due to its lack of body work ability. Should a bumper cover need to be taken on or off during a calibration, it required that vehicle to be driven back and forth between service and the body shop.

In general, he says, many dealership service departments don't have the space for calibrations, and he's wary of the new wave of body shops being built too small for calibrations.

"You need to have the space that [OEMs require] to do it properly," he says.

Michelle Corson, CEO of Texas collision repair startup On The Road Garage, says existing shops can find themselves in a similar bind: they're too small to bring ADAS calibrations in-house even if they wanted to. She adds that could be a factor in the relatively slow uptake of shops performing their own ADAS calibrations.

On The Road Garage in the near future has eyes on expansion via a bond issuance, Corson says, and with the repair of advanced vehicles a focus of the company, Corson says all her future shop spaces will be purchased knowing they'll need space for ADAS calibrations.

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