Bushings are a crucial part of the heavy-duty industry. However, not all bushings are made of the same quality and materials. What makes polyurethane bushings a must-have?
Rubber vs. Polyurethane Bushings
To be able to compare rubber bushings to polyurethane bushings, a basic understanding of polyurethane is beneficial. Polyurethane is a synthetic elastic polymer, which is made from two chemical components, polymers, and urethane. It was developed to take the place of rubber. However, polyurethane provides performance characteristics that other materials are unable to.
For one, polyurethane will last much longer than rubber. Not only that, but it also keeps its shape better than any other material, while being more resistant to chemicals. In the heavy-duty trucking industry, this is essential to lowering cost-per-mile. The fewer times a truck or trailer is taken out of service for repairs, the more uptime there is to make money. Along with the money-saving aspects of polyurethane bushings, they also provide enhanced performance and handling.
Polyurethane bushings do far more than just increase performance and handling, they lower cost-per-mile. How so?
“A polyurethane product will be more expensive. Our products are made in the USA (California), and the material is pure polyurethane, we do not add additives or fillers like other manufacturers sometimes do. With a rubber part, you’ll be replacing the bushings at a much more frequent interval than a polyurethane part. The cost of labor and replacing the part itself will be much higher with a rubber part because of the number of times it needs to be done… There’s less downtime,” said Walter Schnapp of Energy Suspension.
In other words, going with polyurethane bushings will lower the total cost of operation by performing better and lasting longer. But as with all parts, bushings do eventually wear out, even polyurethane bushings.
What signs indicate that a bushing may need to be replaced?
“Bushings are like cartilage in the human body. If you are seeing excessive movement in the suspension, if something is shaking, or if you are seeing handling issues, your bushing may be wearing out. Sometimes you can even see the bushing itself starting to degrade. You’ll start to see cracks, or you will see that it’s actually quite dry. All of these are likely indications that it is time to get them replaced,” explained Walter Schnapp.
Selling Polyurethane Bushings
What if you’re a parts technician and a customer asks to purchase a bushing; how should you upsell the polyurethane bushing to someone who wants to save money?
The truth is, by going with a rubber bushing fleets will be back much sooner to get their bushings replaced than if they were to go with a polyurethane bushing.
With polyurethane bushings, they will get increased longevity over rubber bushings. Polyurethane bushings enhance the performance of the suspension and lower operation costs by minimizing downtime and are a great choice for fleets.
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