What happens when you diagnose a problem by trying to throw parts at it to fix it instead of diagnosing it correctly? Does this happen in your shop with some of your technicians? What is your customer’s reaction to this problem?
The majority of people servicing brakes have obtained most of their knowledge on the job. While hands on experience is sometimes the best teacher, it cannot always provide the knowledge that is necessary to understand the inner workings of the various brake parts and systems. Without this understanding, accurate diagnosis can be extremely difficult if not impossible.
In the eyes of most technicians and consumers, the brake system is relatively simple. Disc brakes in the front and drum or disc brakes in the rear. “Throw” a set of pads on it and it will be fine. This oversimplification of the brake system leads to many of the problems that are encountered. The brake system is a complex system. It has many components which are dependent upon one another to function properly. The key word is “system”. They work together to stop the vehicle. When one part of the system is not working properly, then other parts of the system will be affected. There is a direct relationship between how good a technician is and how much they know about how each part in the system works. Correct and accurate brake system diagnosis depends on having a clear understanding of:
- how each part works…
- what can go wrong with it….
- and what that will cause.
Many technicians servicing brake systems do not have a good enough handle on the first point listed above, how each part works. Without this the technicians will be faced with replacing parts to try and correct a problem. This is the definition of a “parts changer”. Brake technicians have a clear understanding of each part in the system and how it relates to the overall system operation. This gives them the ability to understand what can go wrong with the part and what it will cause. They use this in applying a logical approach to the diagnosis of the various brake problems they encounter.
Technicians must constantly seek out new sources of information. These tips and blog posts are examples of where to get the kind of information necessary to allow accurate diagnosis of many different brake problems. Other resources include trade publications, seminars, webinars, and the internet (many resources here with YouTube, Facebook, Automotive Forums, etc…). With the constant advancement of vehicle technology, the learning process will never be over. We hope that you will keep coming back for our Tech Trick Tuesday Blog Posts.