The Return: Gabriel Shock Test
STATS: Precision Tune Auto Care Location: Augusta, Ga. Website: Gabriel.com Cost: Free download. Gabriel offers the app because the company feels it is a necessary tool to accurately diagnose the performance of shocks. Uses: App that checks vehicle shocks/struts
Gerry Williamson’s father got involved with the Precision Tune Auto Care franchise in 1990. After Williamson got out of the Army, he joined his father at the shop in 1998.
Precision Tune Auto Care, a six-bay shop in Augusta, Ga., employs six people, including district manager Gerry Williamson.
Williamson says the shop has attempted to gain more suspension work. In order to do this, the shop purchased an alignment machine, but Williamson found it was only being used for alignments.
In March, Williamson connected with a Gabriel sales representative that showed him a mobile app that performed shock/strut testing and could potentially help increase the shop’s suspension work.
How It Works:
Once the app has been downloaded, select the vehicle by year, make, model and style from a dropdown menu. After all of that information is gathered, enter information on the estimated shock/strut milage. To test, determine which of the four corners of the vehicle needs testing and then put the phone on the selected corner of the fender. Then, push the start button on the app and push down on the vehicle so it bounces. The force of the push should not affect how the results are read.
“The app will come back with a message,” Williamson says. “It will come back with an ‘Error’ if the test was not performed appropriately. If it was, it will either say ‘Inspect Now,’ ‘Inspect Soon,’ or ‘Good/Pass.’ If it says ‘Inspect Now,’ the vehicle should be inspected immediately as you may be dealing with a bad shock or strut. A technician can help you determine this.”
Williamson says that it takes 2–3 minutes to test the entire vehicle. The test results can be emailed to the shop and/or directly emailed to a customer.
“It’s another visual for customers,” Williamson says. “That’s why I like it.”
Williamson says that it’s helped him establish trust with customers and also allows him to sell more struts at his shop.
“People are very skeptical of this business,” Williamson says. “People aren’t always going to believe what you tell them, but if you can show them, that makes a difference.”
In 2015, Williamson sold eight struts total. At time of printing, the shop has sold 25.
“It’s helped me increase my strut sales,” Williamson says. “That was my No. 1 goal.”
At no cost to the user, it recoups itself immediately.
Because the tire changer only performs one operation, there is a huge saving when it comes to training. Since a user doesn't need to learn multiple positions, training time and costs are cut significantly. Teach one person how to do one operation and they can teach others. Williamson says that he taught two older women who came into the shop for an open house and they learned within a few minutes. That's how easy it is.