Electronic stability control (ESC) is nothing new. Introduced as optional equipment on luxury cars in the mid-1990s, it’s been standard on light-duty truck and passenger vehicles since 2012.
What is new is the profit potential built around helping motorists understand how ESC works and depends on ride control components to function effectively.
You need to be aware of the relationships of the supporting mechanical systems that allow the crash avoidance technology to function, according to Mac McGovern, director of marketing and training, KYB Americas Corp. For example, tires slow and turn a vehicle, not ESC. As suspension, springs, shocks and struts wear, their ability to control the tires lessens.
“ESC and other crash avoidance systems will work properly, but may have to work too hard or too often or may not be effective if there are worn or miscalculated parts in the steering, suspension, brakes or tires,” says McGovern. And this gives you the opportunity to show customers their worn parts and explain what it is doing to their vehicle.
Vehicle safety systems such as antilock brakes and ESC depend on input from the wheels to work properly, according to Eric Banas, product marketing manager for ZF Services LLC, manufacturer of Sachs shocks and struts. “As shocks and struts wear, the damping characteristics are reduced, increasing the chances of excessive wheel hop over bumps or hydroplaning in wet conditions, which can lead to extended stopping distances. Replacing worn shocks and struts will ensure the vehicle’s safety systems continue to work as intended.”
ESC depends on the tires’ ability to grip the road. “All of these crash avoidance systems’ effectiveness is largely attributed to ride control components,” says McGovern. A crash-avoidance system’s instructions to change the vehicle’s behavior, such as braking individual wheels, occur whether or not the vehicle is capable of executing them. “If the technology is expecting the vehicle behavior’s to stay within vehicle design so it can contribute to consumer safety, it only makes sense that the service provider understand that technology and make recommendations around this safety system so the customer has a better sense of the value proposition.”