A female motorist on the left, speaks with an automotive repair technician on the right, while under a vehicle in the shop. They are discussing the vehicle's wheel.

Winter puts a lot of stress on many vehicle components; humidity, salt spray and potholes take a toll on our cars. This results in higher wear and makes it necessary to check safety-relevant components and replace them if required. Automotive repair shops that offer a spring check in addition to tire changes contribute significantly to road safety in general and the individual driving safety of their customers. ZF Aftermarket supports them with high-quality spare parts and know-how to help get customer vehicles in shape for the warmer seasons.

Especially after this lasting winter, safety relevant parts such as shock absorbers, brakes and chassis need inspecting and replacing if necessary. In spring, workshops should take the opportunity to position themselves as experts by offering their customers professional spring checks. Professional education on possible safety risks not only increases customer loyalty, it also generates additional sales in the workshop.

Recognizing and repairing chassis damage

During tire changes, it is easy to check shock absorbers and brake systems. Winter tires that show uneven wear on one axle may indicate that shock absorbers are no longer working properly. This then impairs the vehicle’s traction and stability on uneven roads or in curves, presents the risk of aquaplaning even at low speeds and safety and security systems such as ABS, slip and stability control no longer fully function. The stopping distance is also significantly longer. Faulty shock absorbers should therefore be replaced immediately. 

Road salt, however, also effects chassis components. For example, it corrodes the rubber bellows on the chassis joints, making them brittle and porous. This results in cracks that allow dirty water to reach the inside of the joints where it washes out the special grease, accelerating corrosion. Defective, worn joints can lead to considerable problems while driving and present a safety risk. The rubber bellows and sealing boot on the steering system’s tie rod should also be inspected for cracks. Wear on these components tends to be gradual. However, it significantly influences vehicle handling, especially in critical situations. 

Keeping brake systems in good shape

During the winter, cold, humidity and salt also put a tremendous strain on brake systems. Grit especially can get stuck in the tight gap between brake pads and brake disks, which in turn shortens their service life considerably. Inspecting the brake system is a mandatory part of every spring check for this reason. Brake pads should be replaced at the latest when the residual lining is less than two millimeters, while drum brake shoes need to be replaced when the residual lining reaches one millimeter at the latest. Today, disk brake systems in almost every car have wear indicators. These should not be ignored. Some vehicle types are also prone to extremely rusty brake disks on the rear axle. Workshops recommend that customers slam on the brakes every now and again, as the pads hardly touch the disks when braking gently, meaning rust and dirt do not get ground off. 

The Right Parts for the Job

ZF Aftermarket has the right components if repairs are needed. ZF’s brands Lemförder, Sachs and TRW stand for original equipment quality and technical innovation as well as technical service solutions. The product portfolio includes transmissions and transmission parts, steering systems, chassis and steering components, shock absorbers, brake systems, as well as steering and drive components and rubber-to-metal components from the world’s leading technology company in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety systems.

For more technical advice and tips, read more on www.aftermarket.zf.com/us

For the latest news and information on the global automotive aftermarket industry, visit https://aftermarketintel.com.

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