April 2013: At the Service Counter


“If the tires aren’t on the ground,
they can’t stop or turn the vehicle”

Editorial & Training Insights from “Mac” McGovern, AAM

-Director of Training & Marketing

Recently I watched and listened as a motorist approached a service counter. “Do you think I should replace the shocks or struts on my car?” Unfortunately, the service person standing at the counter was unprepared for that question. He replied “I don’t know. Does your car ride bad or have some other problem?” As you may already suspect, that conversation didn’t last very long and the motorist decided there was no reason to think that their vehicle would benefit by replacing them.


Instead, the service person could have chosen to help the motorist by explaining or showing something about what shocks & struts do, like “Tire Control.” So here are a few things for you to talk about the next time a motorist asks you about shocks:

lossofcontrolcopy_000_000 tiretopavementcontactcopy_000

It’s this simple: The tires are what actually stop and turn the vehicle. If the tires can’t grip the road for any reason, then you aren’t going to be able to stop or turn the vehicle very well.


The purpose of shocks and struts is to reduce and control suspension movements (spring oscillations). As they wear, extra movement allows the tires to flex up & down which reduces the tire to road contact area. The result is less traction and the possibility of losing control.

The tires are controlled by three systems: The steering, suspension & brakes.None of them can do thier job within the vehicle’s designed capability if any of the others have a problem. That’s why worn shocks & struts become so critical to all three: steering, stopping and handling capabilities.


By the time a driver begins to feel the first signs of shock & strut wear (harshness, vibrations, excess road feel), Tire Control performance has been greatly reduced. Even new tires can’t perform well if there isn’t sufficient tire to road contact. So the next time a motorist asks about thier shocks & struts, use the animations and still images from the Digital Media Library to help them understand the important role of “Tire Control.”






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