When it comes to the cooling system, there are a handful of simple steps technicians can take to reduce or eliminate comebacks.
Use New, OEM-Quality Replacement Parts
Installing brand new parts, made from high-quality materials, will always reduce the chances of a cooling system comeback. Re-manufactured or rebuilt water pumps, while often offering some cost savings, tend to have higher failure rates. This is the nature of rebuilding and remanufacturing parts – it’s not always possible to determine when a part has an issue that will lead to immediate failure.
Therefore, if a shop or technician wants to limit comebacks, they should install new parts that are manufactured to OEM-quality standards. Top-of-the-line water pumps, for example, are tested for coolant flow rate and pressure, use high-quality bearings, and are manufactured to precise dimensions to ensure a perfect fit. The same is also true for replacement hoses, radiators and fittings.
If you want to minimize comebacks, all the little details matter. A few dollars saved on parts can cost hundreds of dollars in lost labor time.
Cooling System Repair Best Practices
While quality parts reduce customer comebacks, proper removal and replacement of all cooling system components is vital. Most technicians know the following best practices, but not all technicians follow them. Preventing comebacks is all about having a great process, so every tech should try to do the following:
- Any coolant system repair should include a coolant drain and flush. Coolant contamination is the leading cause of most cooling system problems.
- Double-check the vehicle’s year, make, and model and compare the information on each part before installing.
- No matter which specific parts are to be replaced, check the whole cooling system. Make sure there’s no leakage nor corrosion throughout.
- Before installing a new water pump, don’t manually turn the pump. This can damage the shaft seal.
- When installing a water pump, tighten bolts evenly with the specified torque recommended by the manufacturer. Over or under- tightening these bolts can cause water pump failure.
- Apply correct tension on belts, make sure coolant hoses are secure, ensure sealants are applied in exact amounts, make sure the radiator is filled with factory-recommended coolant and the radiator cap is on tight. Then, do a pressure and leak test.
- Bring over a second technician or manager to inspect all installs and adjustments. Requiring another person to inspect the work may seem time consuming, but it’s a good way to reduce or eliminate comebacks.
Take It For A Spin
Last but certainly not least, a final drive of the vehicle after the repair is completed is a great tool for preventing comebacks. If the technician has made a simple error, a drive will uncover it.
However, technicians need to be compensated for their time on this drive, as the vehicle needs to be driven long enough to reach full operating temperature. That’s the only way to test a cooling system – a quick “I’ll be back in 2 minutes” drive isn’t going to cut it.
After the test drive, do a final check for leaks or loose belts or hoses.
Following a few simple steps and using only high-quality auto parts can make cooling system installs easy. Focusing on the details is the key to preventing customer comebacks on cooling system repairs.
* Written and submitted by GMB North America Inc., a global manufacturer of automotive products, including water pumps.