Many vehicle owners only think about ‘winter-proofing’ their cars when the first snowflakes start to fall. Automotive workshops should see the next few months as an opportunity to plan ahead and get their customers into the workshop for a check – including users of all-season tyres, says ZF Aftermarket.
For a safer drive, when customers come in for a winter checkup, the focus should not be on changing the wheels alone, but on checking the entire vehicle. The right spare parts for the chassis system – up to and including air suspension – are available from ZF Aftermarket with its Lemförder, Sachs, TRW, and Wabco brands.
The chassis systems of many passenger cars worked harder than normal during the summer season. Holiday trips and trailer operation were added to the usual usage for many drivers and put immense stress on the vehicle, particularly on its suspension system. And now the winter season is just around the corner, bringing with it salt spray and debris from the roads, and workshops need to prepare customers for the cold, wet conditions with snow and ice.
Therefore, ZF Aftermarket recommends that automotive workshops take advantage of the weeks before winter sets in to invite their customers for a winter check. For users of seasonal tyres, the need is self-evident due to the wheel change, but drivers of all-season tyres should also receive this invitation.
Despite the current difficult economic situation in many households, the willingness to keep one’s own car safe and fit for purpose remains high. In a recent survey by the German expert organisation, KÜS, 100 percent of respondents said that it was important to them that their car was in good technical condition. Eighty-eight percent have damage repaired as soon as possible, and 75 percent think proactive contact by their workshop is good or even very good.
To make the winter check a success for both the customer and the workshop, the experts at ZF Aftermarket offer the following five tips:
- Optimise workshop planning: When a wheel change is necessary, it should not be done at a “pit-stop” pace. There must be time for a complete vehicle inspection to uncover all defects.
- Ensure transparency: If the customer is not present during the vehicle check, the technician should document the vehicle components in need of repair by photo or video.
- Expand damage diagnosis: When changing wheels, not only check the condition of the brakes, but all of the suspension components as well. Coil springs damaged by stone chips, for example, can corrode under the influence of salt in winter and break later. Even minimally leaking air springs can cause expensive consequential damage.
- Carry out a battery test: This should be part of every winter check. Otherwise, there is a high risk that the customer will be stranded on the first cold days – which is particularly annoying shortly after a workshop visit.
- Market and upsell accessories: When making an appointment (online), customers should be given the option of ordering seasonal accessory packages – for example, care products, snow chains, rubber floor mats or similar.
With its Lemförder, Sachs, TRW and Wabco brands, ZF Aftermarket offers a full parts and service solution for the entire chassis system. New to the range is the Wabco brand with its range of air suspension compressors for many passenger car models. This is proven original equipment technology that has already been installed in millions of vehicles.
The TRW range includes brake discs, brake pads and spare parts for drum brakes, brake fluid, hoses and all other brake service components. Under the Sachs brand, ZF Aftermarket supplies all types of shock absorbers, and air springs. Lemförder is the specialist in steering and chassis technology, with control arms, coupling rods, wheel joints, and much more.