RANT: Meets or Exceeds OE Specification BS

I was looking at brake pads online for a car and was bombarded with the phrases like “meets or exceeds OE specification” and “OE Formulation.” It really started to bug me because a lot of it is pure bull shit.
The first question you should be asking yourself is: Where are these OE specifications? Is this a document that includes the dimensions as well as the materials used? The fact of the matter is that there are no documents like this shared with aftermarket brake pad manufacturers. Even if their was, would they share it?
OE brake pad specifications are proprietary to the OEM and the supplier of the original pads. You can’t find it on the OE’s website and it is not filed with NHTSA. Sure there is the Friction Material Standards Institute (FMSI) that catalogs brake pad application information like dimensions, hardware, application and maybe what type of formulation was originally used (not the entire recipe).
It is OK to say “Designed to OE specification” or “Engineered to meet…”, but the pad manufacturer should be able to produce in-house or independent testing information where they compare their pads to the OE pads with either on-vehicle or dynamometer testing.
Some aftermarket suppliers can make the claim that they can meet or exceed OE specifications because they were the OE supplier on a platform for the pads.
Some aftermarket pads are better than the OE pads. The reason is two fold. First, as vehicles age, they accumulate more miles, more miles mean that the manufacturer has a better idea what the brake pad application needs to deliver better performance over the OE application. Second, some aftermarket friction materials will use better materials than the OEM due to less restrictive pricing.
The one thing you will never see on some boxes is “will stop your vehicle sooner” or “reduces stopping distances.” If someone actually made this claim, I might buy their pad.

9 Top Retail Tips for Brake Sales

Auto Service World published these nine tips for selling brakes. The market that needs brakes is not driven so much by brand preference as much as it is by the reliability of the components that you are handing over the counter.

The key selling point is usually cost and how confident you are in the product you are selling. So, you’ll need to know the product you’re selling and how brakes work, as well as why brakes fail. You’ll also need to know a little about each customer that comes in – how many miles are on the car, how long do they expect to keep the car; do they want a short-term fix or a long-term repair? As you become more experienced at asking the right questions, you’ll get better at selling brakes and helping customers make an educated decision.

Here are the nine top retail tips for brake sales from Auto Service World:

9. Hone Your Customer Service Skills
Every single customer that walking in your door or calls your shop wants to feel appreciated. They don’t want to feel taken advantage of and surely do not want to feel stupid when talking to you. Build relationships with customers and listen to the customer.

8. Stand Out from the Competition
Always exceed customer expectations. Know the products on your shelves and talk with the customer about his available options. Make the customer feel confident that he is walking out after making the best decision he could.

7. Ask Questions
Do some research about the car before recommending certain components. Is the customer looking to get another five to seven years out of the car? They make be willing to pay a little more to guarantee that the brakes last. Is the car towards the end of its lifespan? Chances are that the customer wants to put on less expensive parts that fix the problem.

6. Don’t Waste Money By Wasting Time
Don’t waste customer’s time by going into too many details or over-explaining products. Ensure that they are making an informed buying decision while being direct, short and informative.

5. Avoid Hardware Headaches
Emphasize that a small investment in new brake components now is well worth the extra few dollars to include all new hardware instead of dealing with re-using worn hardware. 

4. Rotor Recommendations
Customers that need pads oftentimes also need rotors too – they just don’t realize it. Ask them questions about the rotors and point out that it’s much more cost-effective to replace pads and rotors at the same time.

3. Keep In Mind the Import Challenge
Remember that import brands are usually loyal to OEM components.

2. Advising the DIYer
Be helpful. Brake jobs require a high level of technical knowledge. Don’t speak down to the customer; offer advice, pointers and reminders.

1. Go the Extra Mile
Schedule a reminder follow-up call for the customers that you’ve spent extra time with.  The customer will appreciate the few minutes you took to talk to him or her and if they give you feedback, that can help you hone your sales skills.

Video: Pool Cleaner + Brake Fluid = Fiery Chemical Reaction

Is this safe? Definitely not. But, it is cool!

Two basic ingredients that technicians are sure to have in their garage — pool cleaner and brake fluid.

You don’t need pure chlorine, what you need is “pool shock” or calcium hypochlorite. Your brake fluid should be a type with polyethylene glycol. When you mix the two together, nothing happens. Well, for about 15 seconds nothing happens.

Soon the mixture bubbles up, builds up pressure inside the water bottle forcing the plastic to expand and … POW! Erupts into a red flame.

Is brake fluid flammable? Not necessarily. Here’s an explanation from i09:

“In studies of the reaction, all the brake fluid is consumed by the fire, but no effort on the part of the researchers can get the brake fluid to ignite on its own. The calcium hypochlorite is ripping the brake fluid apart, grabbing the hydrocarbons in it, and the heat from the reaction is making them ignite. In conclusion, boom.”

Here’s a few things to be careful for:

This reaction will work in any bottle, including glass bottles. Do not use a glass bottle to try this out. The glass will break into shards and the shards shooting off from the reaction could result in an injury.

It’s also a chemical reaction people, there’s nothing inherently safe about those …

But, you can Youtube the reaction safely! Check out this video:

Brake Safety Week: Violations In North America Increase In 2014

News coming out of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Brake Safety Week indicates the trucking industry has some work to do.

This year, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance(CVSA)-certified commercial motor vehicle safety inspectors inspected 13,305 vehicles (compared with 20,067 in 2013) and placed 2,162 commercial vehicles out of service for brake violations.

Of the vehicles inspected, the OOS (out of service) rate for all brake-related violations conducted in North America was 16.2 percent, compared with 13.5 percent for the 2013 event.

However, historically speaking, out-of-service rates for Canadian jurisdictions are lower than those in U.S. jurisdictions.

This can be seen again this year with the OOS rates for brake adjustment violations (10.8 percent in the U.S. versus 4.6 percent in Canada; 10.4 percent combined), brake component violations (9.5 percent in the U.S. versus 6.8 percent in Canada; 9.3 percent combined), and total brake violations (16.6 percent in the U.S. versus 11.0 percent in Canada; 16.2 percent combined).

During the week-long campaign held Sept. 7-13, 2014, local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico conducted roadside inspections to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations.

Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and stopping distance of trucks and buses, which poses a serious risk to driver and public safety, CVSA officials said.

According to sources, roadside inspections conducted during Brake Safety Week included the inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake-system components. Antilock braking systems (ABS) malfunction indicator lamps also were checked. Inspectors inspected brake components and measured pushrod stroke when appropriate.

Here are the 2014 Brake Safety Week results compared with 2012 and 2011:

• 1,388 or 10.4 percent of vehicles were placed OOS for brake adjustment (9.0 in 2013, 9.4 percent in 2012, 8.4 percent in 2011)

• 1,244 or 9.3 percent of vehicles were placed OOS for brake components (7.1 percent in 2013, 7.8 percent in 2012, 7.9 percent in 2011)

• 1,658 or 16.2 percent of vehicles were placed OOS for brakes overall (13.5 percent in 2013, 15.3 percent in 2012, 14.2 percent in 2011)

Video: Noise-Reducing Brakes

Squeaky brakes are a harsh reality of life. They let you know when the end is near for your brakes, and they do a killer job of giving you a medical-grade migraine at every opportunity possible. Like most harsh realities of life, there isn’t much you can do to prevent them from happening. Until today.

NUCAP industries have recently created a revolutionary braking shim that combines the integrity of a mechanical lock shim with the superior noise dampening capabilities and resistance to shear-based damage of Japanese-style OE shims. This shim not only reduces irritating brake noise, but it provides a durable, lasting and resilient braking experience that you can rely on.

Check out the video explaining this revolutionary technology below!