Jobbers who regularly do retail business become accustomed to dealing with the DIY customer with varying levels of capability. Some are as good as the best professional technicians. Some are not.
A close glance at this brake pad shows some odd wear; not the least alarming fact being that the wear is on the backing plate!
NAPA Winnipeg store manager Chris Robinson explains:
“Yes, the pads were put on backwards. It was a retail cash customer who had never done a brake job before, and didn’t ask questions. This was someone trying to return them today at another location.
“Couldn’t make it up if I tried.”
It’s certainly hard to protect customers from themselves when they do not ask questions, but perhaps there is some measure of responsibility on the part of the counterperson to at least try.
But the ultimate responsibility lies with the customer to not take on more than they can handle.
“No question is a dumb question with regards to installation and safety. Ask an expert before doing a job like this if you don’t know how.”
Astonishingly, Robinson isn’t the only parts professional who has seen this issue. A number of other industry members have reported coming across it as well. Jean-Philippe Audet , sales manager at Absco Brake Ltd., says his returns department got some brake pads back once a few years ago, with the label “defective” on the box to claim it as a defective!
Bob Azadi, a technician and training and quality assurance manager with First Transit, told us, “I’ve seen that happen before. One came to me out of another shop like that.”
This is why safety-related parts should only be sold to certified professionals, says Allan Haberman, technical trainer/owner, ACA Training Systems, Winnipeg, Man.
“Improper installation of parts renders a vehicle unsafe and a hazard to everyone else on the road. Steering and brake systems are critical safety systems that can have fatal consequences if they do not operate properly. Do you want your family on the same roads with vehicles such as this one?
“Substandard work performed by DIYers on safety-related systems is a real problem, putting innocent people at risk. Restricting the sale of these components to professionals would be a good start. I know it is an uphill battle, but it’s one worth fighting.”