Opportunity Knocks

Just got our first real cold weather here in the mid-Atlantic area; lots of dead batteries and hard-start cold issues, so most shops around here are pretty busy this week.

Of course, most of those cars haven’t been to a shop for a while, and experienced techs know now’s the time to check for other items that have been neglected too long. Low tire pressure is almost universal, but rusted caliper slides, muddy coolant, ancient air filters, useless wiper blades and nasty brake fluid are pretty common too.

Unless the manufacturer recommends it (and many imports do), it’s kind of hard to sell a brake fluid flush without showing the customer some kind of empirical proof that it’s needed. I know techs who use test strips successfully, and there are some who find electronic testers helpful too. But nothing is more convincing than a good firm brake pedal that felt mushy when you first pull the car into your bay. Get that customer to buy a brake fluid flush once, and they’ll probably trust your recommendation on just about anything else.

Even though cars are designed to function properly in any weather, different seasons and environments are harder on specific parts or systems. What kind of problems are most common in your area of the country, and in what season?