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Double your ride control business

Like the sound of that? Here are some tips to help make it happen.
Friday, April 15, 2016 - 06:00
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Most customers — and many repair shops — don’t consider ride control replacement. Even with the average age of vehicles edging toward 12 years, most cars go to the scrapyard with their original shocks and struts.

SYMPTOMS OF PHYSICAL DAMAGE THAT INDICATE NEW SHOCKS AND STRUTS MIGHT BE NEEDED
Are there signs of physical damage that could compromise the ride control unit's ability to function as intended?
  • Is the rod bent, rusted, loose or scratched?
  • Does an air shock have a torn or leaking air boot?
  • Is fluid actively leaking down the side or off the bottom of the unit?
  • Has corrosion compromised the integrity of any components that make up the shock or strut?
  • Are non-replaceable bushings damaged or missing?
  • Do the vehicle's tires display cupping or other abnormal wear?
  • Is an electronic damper producting a diagnostic code indicating failure? 

But ride control components do wear out, and service providers are likely leaving money on the table by not actively engaging consumers about the replacement of worn shocks and struts. Those consumers, meanwhile, are potentially experiencing degraded ride comfort, performance, stopping and stability in some driving situations, creating obvious safety concerns.

According to Bill Johnston, director of sales, North America Aftermarket at Tenneco, the primary reason ride control components are not replaced is because repair shops aren’t inspecting and recommending replacement. “During the course of the customer taking their vehicle in for service, unfortunately no one mentions it,” Johnston says. “They too often do not recommend ride control replacement.”

Johnston says repair shops could significantly increase their ride control business by educating their service writers and technicians, providing better information to new customers and going the extra mile to complete more jobs with existing customers. What’s more, that business can be gained with no new equipment or advertising expenses.

As the manufacturer of Monroe shocks and struts, Tenneco has developed a comprehensive education and training program called Safety, Service & Value to help shops improve their ride control business. “The goal is to get them to focus on products that wear out very gradually, since drivers don’t notice the change as much as they would with another component that might break or fail,” Johnston says. “That’s why these clinics are important. We educate the technicians and service writers to provide awareness to the owners so they are comfortable with inspecting and recommending ride control replacement.”

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