Snow, cold weather and road grit – the winter months take their toll on cars. A representative survey by the market research institute YouGov found that one in three car owners in Germany take their car for a Spring check. In a bid to increase awareness and raise this figure experts at ZF Aftermarket examine the damage that winter roads can do to vehicles, and highlight the importance of checking safety critical automotive parts during the Spring. A job which can easily be combined with the biannual tire change.
According to the German Federal Office of Statistics, in hard winters up to 3.5 million tons of grit is spread on German roads. As necessary as this is to keep vehicles from slipping on icy roads, unfortunately it can do a great deal of damage when it comes into contact with important chassis components. ZF Aftermarket experts believe that a professional check of the chassis system is absolutely essential after the winter months. The recommended bi-annual tire change is a perfect opportunity to inspect brake pads and discs for wear. This should also include an expert inspection of the brake hoses and calipers to test the functionality, durability and impermeability.
Defective shock absorbers are a severe safety risk
A defective shock absorber can be detrimental to braking performance; increasing braking distance and reducing traction on corners which increases the risk of aquaplaning. In addition, the effectiveness of common electronic assistance systems – such as Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) can be severely compromised. In line with this, experts strongly recommend that shock absorbers and all complementary components be initially inspected after 80,000 kilometers at the latest, and thereafter every 20,000 kilometers.
Focusing on suspension components
Cold, wet weather and dirt can also take a heavy toll on a vehicle’s sensitive suspension components. Leak testing of the rubber bellows at the ball joints should be part of the Spring check, as well as a professional inspection of the tie rod, tie rod end and axial joint. Furthermore, the specialists at ZF Aftermarket recommend inspecting the steering rack gaiter and spring lock rings. Wear on these parts occurs gradually, however, weak parts will have a significant impact on driving behavior in critical situations.
Competent information about possible safety risks instils confidence which can not only boost customer loyalty, but generate additional sales in the workshop. The importance of vehicle maintenance and overall component safety including a Spring check, cannot be rated highly enough. It is also essential for the value retention of the car.
High customer satisfaction thanks to parts in OEM quality
ZF Aftermarket contributes to road traffic safety with a wide range of OEM quality products: brakes from TRW, shock absorbers from Sachs and chassis and steering components from Lemförder, perfectly equip garages to meet all service and repair needs. In addition, the aftersales specialist offers a wide added value service portfolio: from practical training courses through to technical information and professional workshop concepts.
Richard Adgey, Director Product Management of ZF Aftermarket, explained: “Our products, under the established Sachs, Lemförder and TRW brands, stand for quality and durability. In addition, we offer a broad range of added value services to our customers. Besides trainings and technical information, every spare part can be found without any problem via the ZF Part Finder App.”