CSA and Repair Opportunities
Repair garages that offer mobile service are perhaps in the best position to take advantage of CSA by adding brake, lighting and tire checks to their menu of services. While Wade does not suggest adding mobile service because of CSA, if you've already been considering it, CSA should push you over the edge. “Something as simple as checking the air system, the brakes, the tires, the lights; that covers 90% of the violations,” he says.
“Once a customer understands that lighting is a 6-point violation, what else do they need to know?” Wade asks. “It is something that drivers should take very seriously and it offers the opportunity to sell a couple of extra ‘rounds’ for the back of the trailer that the driver can carry in the truck.”
Repair garages are not the only ones who can take advantage of the opportunities CSA presents. Distributors can reap add-on sales by asking customers some key questions when they place an order.
“For example, if a guy asks for brake shoes and brake drums, you need to ask him if he has checked his wheel seals to see if there is seepage, has he checked the cam shafts to see is there is play, has he checked this automatic slack adjusters,” Botts says.
Botts believes many small fleets and owner-owner operators think that if they replace drums and shoes, they have done a brake job. But he says it is important to remind them to check things such as cam shafts, cam bushing and ASAs, because those are areas for potential CSA violations that can take a truck out of service.
Looking out for the customer
Make sure you have educational material about CSA at the front counter so customers can see it when they come in, Wade says.
“Anytime you can help a driver or small fleet understand where trouble lurks, you are going to win," he says. "Whether you win right that very moment with a sale or not, you are going to win with the customer because you looked out for him and had his best interest at heart.”
Botts shared a story of a business in his area that racked up $68,000 in fines because of CSA violations and ultimately went out of business. This fleet allowed vehicles to run with chafed air lines. “He could have replaced those lines for $50, but instead he let the trucks go out. The driver got pulled over for a DOT inspection, was fined for the air lines and the vehicle was taken out of service.”
Botts explained that if a proper inspection had been completed, the problem would have been caught and repaired for less than the cost of the fine and lost revenue from being taken out of service.
He encourages distributors and repair garages to be proactive with their customers when it comes to CSA. “If you don’t do it, someone else is going to. CSA is probably the greatest marketing opportunity for people in the truck repair business.”
Wade adds, “FMVSS stuff historically is seen to be in the regulatory cloud, but [CSA] is in the commercial cloud and that's where we are supposed to be really good.”