Posted 14 January, 2022 at 12:00
Protective tube, shock absorber support bearing and bump stop: How workshops generate additional business when changing shock absorbers with surrounding components – and why customers also benefit.
BILSTEIN B1 provides workshops with an accessories package that is perfectly matched to BILSTEIN shock absorbers. “The parts help to ensure that the shock absorbers achieve their technically maximum possible service life,” says Mustafa Yavuz, a qualified master mechanic and responsible for global customer service at BILSTEIN. In the interview, he and Dimitris Kouvaras, Global Training Manager of the BILSTEIN Academy, explain this effect using the protective tube as an example.
It is said that any vehicle part is only as good as its surrounding components. What does this mean for shock absorber replacement?
Kouvaras: It means that automotive workshops should also keep an eye on the periphery when changing a shock absorber. The protective tube, for example, protects the shock absorber’s piston rod from stone chips and contamination by water or sand. It is enormously important for the shock absorber to be able to do its job for a long time.
What problems occur when the shock absorber is not optimally protected?
Yavuz: The shock absorber leaks and loses oil. As a result, it will eventually stop working properly. In addition, a defective shock absorber affects the bump stop. The longer you drive with a defective shock absorber, the higher the consequential costs. A set of protective tubes, on the other hand, does not cost much.
Apart from shock absorber replacement: at what point should workshops take a closer look at the protective tube?
Kouvaras: That varies. There are vehicles that are very susceptible. The protective tubes fall off after just a few kilometres. If you are then on a gravel road, the sliding track of the piston rod gets a lot of little bruises and the shock absorber ends up leaking. So: better replace in due time.
How can the clientele be convinced of this? The accessories are not expensive, but additional costs arise anyway …
Yavuz: That’s true, but the amount of work is much higher than the cost of the attachment parts. If the workshop has removed the shock absorber anyway, it saves labour time and the measuring. That’s much more efficient than having to do it all over again after two months when, say, noises occur. And after that, the customer can rest easy for a long time.
Isn’t it more profitable for a workshop if the customer comes a second time to have the attachment parts replaced separately?
Kouvaras: Maybe in the short term. But in the long term, this is how a company damages its reputation. If a workshop charges the same components and working positions a short time later after a shock absorber replacement, customers will question this. Or they will seek a second opinion from another workshop and become suspicious. Incidentally, to minimise the risk of losing customers, I recommend the training courses offered by the BILSTEIN Academy: they not only impart valuable knowledge about sales strategies, but also provide further specialist know-how about shock absorbers