Current Issue
Published on January 6, 1997


Determining whether or not to replace various automotive components often amounts to a ``no-win'' proposition for dealers and other service providers. Removing an aging, but functioning, component is basically a judgment call on the part of the technician—whose decision some see as too easily influenced by the increased profit the service shop stands to reap from thereplaced part.

Yet waiting until an aging component fails before replacing it can leave a service customer stranded.

The answer, according to Al Schretter of Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., is to stop trying to predict the probable service future of these components and replace them based on the vehicle maker's recommended timetable.

His point is worth considering.

Following the recommended maintenance schedule frees the technician from the decision-making process and places the responsibility squarely on the automaker.

Such ``routine maintenance'' is necessary for today's complex vehicles and has the advantage of being easy for service shops to sell and customers to understand.

Ironically, the hardest sell of all may be to technicians who've practiced the former inspect-and-replace service methods so long these old habits will be tough to break.

Jan. 1 marked a changing of the guard for the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association. On that date, Executive Vice President Philip P. Friedlander Jr. retired after 44 years on the association's staff—and nearly two decades at its administrative helm, officially turning over the reins to his successor, David Poisson.

Mr. Friedlander can look back at many accomplishments during his long career. Among them were the elimination of the federal excise tax on retread rubber, removing the mandatory provisions of federal tire registration, commissioning the now famous Louis W. Stern report of 1983 on the future of the independent tire dealer and development of the Money Express credit card. We wish the best to both gentlemen.


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