Chemicals are hot commodities because they are profitable to sell and help customers with a variety of needs. So let’s take a look at some of these products to see what kinds of needs they meet and benefits they provide.
ENGINE ADDITIVES AND TREATMENTS
Products here include friction reducers and modifiers to improve engine performance and reduce wear, additives to slow down oil burning and/or leakage in older, high-mileage engines, engine flushes to clean out carbon and varnish deposits, top cleaners to remove carbon from combustion chambers to reduce spark knock and pinging and moly- and teflon-based crankcase additives to improve lubrication and extend engine life. These products appeal to customers who want to maintain their engines and avoid expensive engine repairs down the road.
AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION ADDITIVES
These are formulated for smoother shifting, better lubrication and cooler operation. They include “super slippery” additives that reduce friction and wear, and elasticizers that help keep seals from leaking. Customers who buy these products may have shift or leakage problems with their transmissions, or they may be buying such products in hopes of avoid transmission problems later.
GEAR OIL ADDITIVES
Gear oil additives improve lubricity, reduce friction and wear and keep seals healthy. They should appeal to any customer who wants to get the most miles out of his manual transmission, transaxle or differential. Suggest this kind of product to a customer who is replacing a clutch, transmission or rear end, or one who wants to avoid replacing these parts as long as possible.
COOLING SYSTEM CLEANERS AND CORROSION INHIBITORS
They are very important from a maintenance standpoint in today’s bi-metal engines with iron blocks and aluminum cylinder heads. Coolant neglect can result in corrosion that attacks aluminum radiators and heater cores. When the coolant is changed, it is often necessary to flush the system with a cleaner to remove accumulated rust and scale. Additives that extend the life of the coolant can reduce the need for coolant changes and provide added protection against corrosion.
POWER STEERING ADDITIVES
The power steering system usually requires little maintenance, but can still benefit from additives that improve the lubricity of the fluid and help protect the pump and steering gear from wear and corrosion. Additives can reduce pump noise, too. Many additives also contain elasticizers to help keep seals from leaking.
Specialty lubricants come in handy for repair jobs that require a penetrating lubricant to loosen rusted fasteners. A few squirts of a product like this can save time and aggravation, not to mention busted knuckles and fasteners. A penetrating lubricant should be an add-on sale to almost any replacement part, from ball joints to water pumps.
FUEL INJECTION CLEANERS
Fuel injection requires precise fuel metering and clean injectors for proper fuel mixing and atomization. Varnish buildup in injectors is a common problem that can cause hard starting, rough idling due to lean misfire and lack of power when accelerating. Cleaning the injectors with a dose of fuel injector cleaner can restore like-new performance. Many products are also formulated to clean the intake valves and combustion chambers, too, because deposits here can also hurt performance. Fuel injector cleaner should be used regularly to keep the entire fuel system clean, and should be recommended anytime a customer is replacing a fuel filter, fuel hose, fuel pressure regulator or fuel pump.
Engines that ping under load are experiencing a condition called detonation (spark knock). Detonation is a type of erratic combustion that occurs when the temperature and pressure inside the cylinders exceed the octane rating of the fuel. The cause is often a heavy buildup of carbon deposits. The deposits on the tops of the pistons and inside the combustion chambers raise compression and reduce heat transfer. This may also cause yet another problem called preignition, where hot spots inside the combustion chamber cause the fuel to ignite before the spark plug fires. This can also cause expensive engine damage. Carbon deposits can be removed with top cleaner to restore normal compression and operation. The oil and filter should also be changed following the top cleaning because some of the product will get past the rings into the crankcase and dilute the oil.
Noisy brakes are really annoying. What’s even more annoying is to install a new set of brake pads and discover they’re noisy, too. Resurfacing the rotors to specifications and using noise-dampening shims or brake lubricant on the backs of the pads and the caliper bushings can reduce the tendency to squeal. Spraying the rotors with a brake quieting compound is another trick that helps keep new brake pads quiet.