He's a highly talented and productive auto service technician, with extraordinary customer relations skills and the ability to balance sometimes conflicting forces of sales targets and the customer's ...
He’s a highly talented and productive auto service technician, with extraordinary customer relations skills and the ability to balance sometimes conflicting forces of sales targets and the customer’s vehicle service requirements.
Like thousands of other auto service professionals across Canada, he is confronted daily by a suspicious public and must continually prove his credibility by taking care of genuine customer service requirements without over-selling.
Generous and honest and willing to share his knowledge, this 30-something technician also teaches technician apprentices about brake service part-time at night school.
He works full time for a corporate chain of auto service shops, at one of the chain’s three specially designated emission test and repair facilities in the Greater Toronto Area.
Until recently, he was known as a $1,000 a day man when he worked in the service bays for a competing chain. That is, he generated that much worth of daily parts and labour sales, being a star on the pipes, mufflers, brakes and suspension parts.
He did alright for himself, too, earning the same amount on a weekly basis.
These days, and for some years now, brakes have become less a service item and more a disposal and replacement item, as the trend by auto makers makes brakes a commodity-driven business. Rotors have become virtually disposable. Calipers aren’t so far behind, either.
On some car models, life expectancy of a set of rotors is 50,000 km to 70,000 km, if they are babied.
Talk about programmed obsolescence. Brakes are increasingly being engineered to require more attention, with less service over less time.
Take hub assemblies on some SUVs. The rotors to which they are bonded can hardly be machined, even once.
In fact, lathes are increasingly collecting dust, he says, because it’s not worth machining these rotors and risk having the customer return within a few thousand kilometres, complaining about pedal pulsation due to warped rotors.
Better to just replace the rotors, which are relatively cheap, when a new set of pads is installed.
Pads are another story entirely. Product diversification has led to pads marketed to specific applications, such as SUVs, heavy duty and light duty and commercial applications.
High quality pads and shoes that offer better stopping power, less noise and more favourable durability have emerged.
But then, some things never change, according to this veteran of the brake wars. No matter what the component or product and its quality or lack thereof, when it comes to brake service, a large part of customer satisfaction is derived from the quality of the work performed by the technician.
Brake noise, pulsation, pedal feel and height are variables that are controlled greatly by service performed by technicians.