As customers, we’re all happier to pay for services when we understand what they are and why they benefit us. As a workshop it’s a good idea to give customers a simple, clear explanation of why and when worn brake pads, discs and calipers need replacing. We know, and you know, the importance of keeping them within limits of wear but your customers often don’t. But if they understand they’ll be happier to pay for their necessary repairs, and you’ll bring trust – and repeat business – to your workshop.
Here are some simple ways to explain why worn brake pads, discs and calipers need replacing, plus a handy five-point checklist of warning signs.
Explain briefly how brake pads, discs and calipers work
Some customers feel uncomfortable paying for repair work when they don’t understand what’s needed, or how urgent it may be. A brief explanation of how the complete braking system works will help them understand the relevance of any warning signs or faults to look or listen out for. This will build their trust in you to undertake any subsequent necessary repair work on their vehicle.
Highlight how much wear brake parts take
Ask your customer to think about the number of times they brake on a journey and point out that it could be dozens of times even during one short commute. They not only brake to stop the vehicle but also to slow and control the vehicle in traffic, around bends and so on. Discuss how this action takes place daily and that, given the friction (the constant coming together of pads and discs), it's no surprise that pads suffer considerable wear and tear and need replacing regularly. Of course, fitting quality parts is vital to maximise safety too and TRW brake pads contain many innovations, such as COTEC, our unique friction coating that can cut stopping distances by up to seven metres during the bedding in period.
Here are five key warning signs that you can ask your customers to look out for:
- Warning light on their dashboard
- Screeching or squeaky breaks
- A grinding sound when they brake
- If their vehicle pulls to the left or right
- Vibrations through their steering or brake pedal
Begin by explaining to your customers that the most obvious indication their brake system needs looking at is typically the lighting up of a warning light on the car's dashboard. Some cars also have brake pad replacement sensors – something they can look out for (and not ignore!).
Screeching or squeaky brake pads
Explain to your customers that if they hear a loud screeching or squeaking sound when braking this may be caused by worn brake pads and it's a real warning sign that they need new pads, or at the very least a trip their local workshop to get them checked out.
A grinding sound
Explain to your customers that if they hear a grinding noise when they brake it could mean that their brake pads or discs are worn and need replacing, as brake pads include a metal wear indicator that makes a noise when it contacts the brake disc. You could also mention that when pads are worn to this extent, it is likely they will need to replace the discs too (and perhaps use this as an opportunity to explain why it’s often good to replace pads and discs at the same time anyway).
Vehicle pulling to the left or right
Explain to your customers that their car should track straight and true when they brake (and must for their safety in an emergency). If their car does lean more to one side or another when braking, this can be caused by brake pads and discs becoming worn – in this case they should be checked over.
Explain to your customers that if they notice vibrations through their steering wheel or brake pedal as they slow down, they should get their brakes checked, as a vibrating brake pedal is a sign that brake discs may be warped.
Offer good advice to build repeat business
Offering your customer good advice delivers added value and helps promote best practice for their maximum safety. Of course, fitting quality parts is vital to maximise safety, too, and because TRW design and build our pads, discs and calipers to be a balanced part of the braking dynamic, you can rely on ZF Aftermarket brand TRW, to give the most efficient fit for you, best quality for your customer, and the best results for your business.
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