It’s looking a lot like the winter changeover season.
The salmon are starting to run, and that’s how you know fall’s coming. That means the winter changeover season is just around the corner.
The almanac is talking about another El Nino, and whether you believe in that or not, it would be a good idea to prepare for a big winter season. That means making sure that you, your shop and your techs are ready.
To begin with, how are your tire machines? There are so many out there, you see them at all the shows, they’ve changed a lot. That’s because there are so many different tire requirements. For example, electric vehicles and noise-dampening tires with a cushion on the inside. Do your techs know how to handle these? You need to change up your training.
TPMS has been out there for a while, but it’s changed too. If you’re changing tires, you’re also changing service packs, and relearning the sensors to the car, so you need to have the proper updates to your tools. You need to have the right sensors in your inventory. If the TPMS comes into your shop working properly, it should also leave working properly.
Being up to date on tools and equipment means you can work smarter, not harder. If the tire machine goes down, if something goes sideways, that adds to your frustration through an already busy workday.
New vehicles come with different lifting points, too. There’s a book out there from the American Lifting Institute (ALI), that shows the year, make, and model of a vehicle with its lifting points—where you can and where you cannot put the lifts. A lot of them come with specialized lifts.
According to the insurance companies, one of the major damages to cars is improper lifting. Not only does it hurt the car but it also puts you in danger if the car was to fall on you. Studies have found that the number one reason for mechanic fatalities was being crushed by a piece of equipment. So having an information booklet or using the owners’ manual to point out any special procedures for lifting is crucial.
Realistically speaking, it’s that first snowfall that gets people hustling their cars in for winter tires. The techs get really busy and it’s too easy to forget about safety, to forget a step, forget to re-learn your tools, forget to put a jack stand underneath or forget to put the right torque on your wheels or clean them. That can cause issues for the car and the customer. Safety has to be the utmost priority when you’re that busy!
Survive the winter
Many people store their tires, you need to make sure that the tire is fit to go back on, and that it will be fit to take off for next year. This is the time to look over the tires and inform the customer, especially if they’re close to needing new tires.
It’s also a good time to check the car, the alignment status, struts, shocks, and brakes. Canadian winters can be brutal on cars. You owe it to your customers to look after their vehicles and take care of them. Anything you can do to help them survive the winter will look good on you and your shop.