Comprised of wear-parts that continually need attention while generating consistent DIY and DIFM revenues, tires and brakes are where the rubber meets the road. Every driver requires the ability to get going along with the capability of coming to a full stop.
“It kind of goes hand-in-hand,” says Dann Ingebritson, senior technical trainer for Brake Parts Inc. (BPI), the parent firm of Raybestos. “Just about every tire store does brakes.”
Opportunities abound for obtaining the proper training at both the service center and counterperson levels, beginning with an auto shop class that may still be offered at your local high school and moving onward into more sophisticated education for addressing a series of increasingly complex technologies.
Often aligned with other tasks under an overall undercar category, localized vocational programs, independent and association-affiliated instructional institutions and manufacturer-led training sessions are provided throughout the nation to ensure that these safety-critical maintenance, repair and replace operations are successfully completed.
“It’s not like it was 10 years ago; brakes have come a long way – it’s not just throwing pads on and moving it out the door,” Ingebritson reports. “Brakes do a lot more than stop the car: They keep the car on the road. You have to do the job correctly or it will come back to bite you.”
If you’re currently concentrating solely on tires and wish to increase your knowledge by learning about brakes, “probably the first thing to do is to get into a shop that has training,” he suggests. That may seem obvious, yet “if you go to (made-up name) ‘Bob’s Tire,’ Bob may not pay too much attention to training. Find a shop that offers training.”
Raybestos has an extensive array of online and in-person, hands-on training options along with expert call-in advice for industry professionals. “On our Technical Service Helpline we get 200 calls a day, so we know where the problems are out in the field,” according to Ingebritson.
“The diagnostics these days is a process of elimination,” he explains, referring to the numerous interrelated undercarriage systems that may or may not be behind a suspicious noise, spongy pedal, handling issue or stopping difficulty. “We teach every step you should take for a brake job.” Firestone, NAPA and ACDelco are among Ingebritson’s chain training clients.
“My goal is to offer practical instruction to our shop customers,” says Ingebritson. “You go to any parts store and they can tell you which shops have a lot of returns” because of diagnostic challenges. “I like to go to shops that have a lot of questions and issues. I can give them advice on how to find a problem a little more quickly and efficiently.”
Remaining up-to-date regarding automaker innovations is an ongoing endeavor, he notes. “Today’s top technicians, sales people and counterpeople, those regarded as the best in their field, understand the importance of keeping current with the latest systems, products, guidelines and procedures.”
Ingebritson has found that even the most experienced industry personnel are quite receptive to conquering the complexities of all the groundbreaking braking developments. “The average age of my classes at night is typically 40- to 45-years-old, and the guys who come to the class are open-minded. We cover as much as we can – it’s not boring.”
He points out that “by participating in these programs, Raybestos makes it easier for companies to employ knowledgeable, dependable technicians. Through this education, their companies benefit from maintaining a prepared work force capable of providing the best customer service possible.”
The firm’s internet-based training options deliver value as well for addressing the many car-on-the-rack puzzles that commonly come to the fore within this category. “Have you ever wondered why it’s important to match OE specifications on lightweight rotors? Do you want to learn how to properly perform a master cylinder bench bleed?” queries BPI marketing manager Kristin Grons: “Automotive professionals will find answers to these questions in addition to many other helpful tips and useful information when they watch the new ‘how-to’ training videos located on the Raybestos website.”