Throw away your old tread depth gauge, because a new product has come along which is set to change the way the industry presents itself when it comes to advising customers on the health of their tires.
The TreadReader™ from Atlas Automotive Equipment, is an ingenious handheld scan tool which provides an instant 3D image of the tire, providing vital data such as tread depth and adverse wear. Advisory information like mis-alignment or uneven wear due to under or over-inflation is also displayed, presenting a no-question presentation to the vehicle owner on the condition of their tires, and the recommended resolution whether it is immediate or in the future.
“This product really is a game changer for the tire business,” comments the company’s EVP of Garage Equipment, James Boon.
“There is something about human nature that makes many of us naturally suspicious when someone tells you that you have to spend money! However, the TreadReader presents the customer with a very real appraisal of their tires, in a color-coded and numbered format which is easy to understand, on a report that simply can’t be argued with. It removes any doubt or apprehension in its entirety.”
The unit itself is lightweight, robust (the company claims it has the same characteristics of a well-known brand of hammer drill, and can withstand the volume use of a heavy-handed technician!) and requires just a few seconds to run over all 4 tires for instant upload to a smart phone or tablet via the TreadReader App, which can then be converted into a hard printout or emailable document.
Not a new concept, just one that has been perfected
The concept of having an automated measurement of tires isn’t new, with both drive-over systems and alternative-technology handheld units both available, but James feels that until now nothing has offered the level of superiority of the TreadReader for a price that is accessible to the average tire shop or garage.
“Drive-over units are great, but they are expensive and impractical for the majority of workshops,” continues James.
“Conversely, the only other hand held unit we’ve seen simply cannot compete with the level of technology we have in TreadReader, plus it requires an ongoing subscription service making it very expensive even short-term. In essence, we are offering all the technological supremacy of a drive-over system, in a handheld unit, at a sensible and one-off cost.”
Unlike traditional dip-gauges or the laser systems used in rival products, the TreadReader takes a full width, 50mm circumference section of the tire, monitoring 320,000 points of reference. This ensures that obstacles such as debris or even the tread wear indicator cannot confuse the reading, whereas with a single line scan of a laser you are relying purely on that one tiny sample of the tire.
The ideal partner for wheel alignment
It goes without saying that the TreadReader is a must-have for anybody looking to increase tire sales, but the other automatic uplift resulting from using this product is the ability to sell wheel alignment.
The advisory nature of the report will clearly state where mis-alignment is an issue, and given this information a customer is understandably convinced to prevent any further premature tire wear by having the alignment carried out.
“How else can you demonstrate the need for alignment with such clarity?” adds James.
“Setting the aligner up and putting clamps on the wheels looks contrived, not to mention the time element involved. The obvious visual impact of the 3D rendering, highlighted by a red ‘warning’ and advisory comment, all achieved as a consequence of checking the tread depth, is the fastest, most compelling way to ensure a customer understands they are in need of wheel alignment.”
Although the system is clearly an asset for anybody carrying out alignment regardless of what aligner they have, Atlas actually offer a range of both CCD and 3D aligners, making the perfect package for anybody looking to upgrade or get into the alignment business. On the flagship Atlas Platinum 3D system, the TreadReader can even be integrated into the table of the aligner, making the whole process even more convenient.
Cloud-based service provides new level of analysis
To add even more value to TreadReader, the company has recently introduced the TreadManager Portal, which enables anyone managing remotely, or multi-location operations, infinite opportunity to maximise on the scan tool. By logging into the portal, workshops and Service Managers can view essential data on the number of vehicles scanned, activity by technician, and number of opportunities created for tire and alignment sales.
By maintaining invaluable customer data, TreadManager can even predict tire life-expectancy, allowing opportunities for tire sales long after the customer left the workshop!
Helping customers make the most of TreadReader
TreadReader has already been designed to work with existing eVHC (Electronic Vehicle Health Check Systems) and Tire Management Software existing within a business, ensuring that tread health becomes part of the full-spectrum vehicle health monitoring, and the ability to develop and work with other systems is welcomed by the Atlas team.
“We know we have a product that is simply unrivalled in the market today”, surmises James.
“We can present a fact-based argument to demonstrate that TreadReader is simply superior in terms of price/performance ratio, and we know our customers have seen a very tangible increase in business and credibility as a result of employing the product. Developing the product to work with existing systems is all part of the process we envisage in establishing TreadReader as the industry standard for anybody working with tires.