On the Oche with Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright

In March this year, Servicesure took its first steps into professional sport sponsorship, with current world number three darts player Peter Wright. Here we catch up with Peter in an exclusive interview with the new Servicesure Autocentres ambassador.

You’ve had a great start to 2017. What has been the secret and what are your hopes for the rest of the year?
It has been a good start to 2017 and it’s fantastic that it’s coincided with me starting to work alongside Servicesure. At the time of this interview, I’ve won seven tournaments so far this year, including my first TV title in the UK Open, and I’m at finals night in the Premier League. I think a lot of it is down to confidence and hard work. I put the hours in on the practice board and I believe that, on my day, I’m capable of beating anyone. It won’t always happen but you have to have the belief and I’ve got that. As for the rest of the year, I just want to keep playing well and winning titles. Obviously the television events are the ones we all love to win but winning on the Pro Tour or the European Tour is also a fantastic feeling.

How proud are you to be sponsored by Servicesure?
I’m extremely proud. I visited the head office in Solihull at the end of March for an official launch which was a great afternoon. It was a good, fun environment and it felt like a fantastic place to work. I know that there are an increasing number of garages signing up to the Servicesure programme and it’s well
over 400 now around the UK. Servicesure is on the march and I’d like to think I am in the darts world too. Hopefully we can rise to the top together and this can be a long and successful partnership for all parties. I’m certainly proud to have the logo on my shirt at all the big tournaments duringthe rest of this year.

You are commonly known around the darts circuit as Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright. Where did the nickname come from?
This is a nice easy one. I just like snakes as pets! The name was mentioned to me a good few years back and it has just stuck. The darts fans seem to like it and I’m happy with it so it’s all good.

When did you first realise you were good at darts?
I first started throwing darts when I was 10 and it’s just gone on from there. To be honest though, I don’t think I am that good yet! I know what I’m capable of and I still feel there is a lot more to come.

When you first started out, did you ever hustle in a pub?
I did hustle in a pub in London when I was 16 and the reaction wasn’t good. I learned my lesson that day so I haven’t done it since!

How do you prepare for a big match?
It’s quite a long process because I have to get my practice in but also I have to have my hair done. It can take up to four hours but my wife Jo does that and she is absolutely brilliant and a great support.

Who is your toughest opponent in darts?
That’s a difficult one because there are so many good players. I would have to say that Simon Whitlock is one of the toughest players to beat. He is a great but he has also got that Aussie grit which means he never knows when he is beaten.

If you weren’t one of the best professional darters in the world, what would be your occupation?
A tyre fitter.

Given you are backed by Servicesure, what would be your dream car?
Lamborghini.

And finally, what advice would you give aspiring young darts players looking to be successful in the sport?
Be dedicated and believe in yourself. There are so many quality darts players out there now that hard work is the only way you are going to make it to, and stay at, the top. Put the hours in on the practice board and the rewards will come.

Views from Inside the Garage Network: TSG Motors

TSG Motors has built a strong reputation, providing a wide range of vehicle repairs
and servicing for almost 30 years. Employing seven staff, including four family members, the garage caters for a wide range of vehicles.

  • Location: Slough
  • Services: Servicing, Reepairs, Diagnostics, MOT, Hybrid Technology
  • Garage Network: Servicesure Autocentres

Tony Shoard, owner of TSG Motors started his career as a vehicle technician and worked at a dealership before making the break and going it alone as an independent.

His family business has since expanded with success and is now split across two sites: a Servicesure branded fast fit centre, next door to the original TSG mechanical workshop.

We’ve been a Servicesure member ever since it started.

Tony Shoard, garage owner

Intrigued to find out more about the unique setup, we asked Tony what had prompted him to run part of his business under a separate brand.

“We were originally running from just one workshop, but we found that we were missing out on the amount of work Servicesure could actually bring to us.”

“We worked out that we could run a business on the amount of work that we turned away, so we decided to open up a Servicesure workshop as a fast fit centre alongside our motor engineer’s workshop.

The branded Servicesure Autocentre, located next door but one to the original garage, opened its doors for the first time just over 2 years ago.

It caters to the needs of the modern motorist, a consumer trend that Tony had initially been turning away.

Tony puts part of TSG’s success down to the relationship he has with his local factor, Allparts Automotive, a founder member of The Parts Alliance.

He told us that Allparts supports his marketing strategy with seasonal offers. “It sounds a bit corny but we ‘spring into summer and fall into winter’, the Servicesure brand allows us to be more flexible with this.” “But you can’t just put the sign up and expect it to work. “You have to believe in it, you have to get behind the brand and promote it everywhere you can.”

With the newly opened Servicesure workshop successfully attracting fast fit custom, the motor engineer’s workshop deals with the more complicated jobs. Hybrid vehicles, for example, is an area that’s becoming
increasingly lucrative for TSG.

Tony had trained for this specialism just as the technology was starting to be seen as a viable alternative to the conventional petrol or diesel engine and has since sent more of his staff on the appropriate courses. It’s training that appears to have paid off. He said that more and more hybrid owners are specifically seeking out his garage for the specialist knowledge.

“We are quite well versed on them now and we find that one hybrid person will talk to another so word of mouth works well for us.”

While marketed completely separately, the two sides of the business are well adjusted and come together to cater for the needs of motorists in Slough and the surrounding area.

“We’ve been members of other networks before but we were pushing for a set up that would allow us to say ‘The answer is yes, what’s the question”. “It’s an opportunity to be part of a larger chain and it’s given us a lot of weight.”

We’re a small independent but Servicesure has allowed us to be part of something bigger, something that’s growing all the time as more and more quality members join.


WHAT IS SERVICESURE?

Established by The Parts Alliance in 2004, members of the Servicesure Autocentre network must comply
with a ‘consumer service charter’, which demands high quality and professionalism.

In return, independents benefit from a national warranty programme, a courtesy car scheme, marketing,
waste management and insurance offers, among other things. There are currently over 420 independents listed as a Servicesure Autocentre.

Delphi does not recommend the use of Copper Grease

There’s a widespread view that copper grease, otherwise known as copper slip, should be applied to the back of brake pads to help lubrication and noise prevention. Not so. The need for copper grease has diminished in recent years in line with advances in shim technology.

In fact, its use could have the opposite effect, preventing the shim, the basis of quiet braking, from doing its job. The result is increased noise and judder, as well as possible interference with the electrical systems such as the ABS, ESP wear sensors, etc.

So Why Take the Risk?

  • Copper Grease is mineral based and may damage any rubber component that it comes into contact with such as rubber boots, gaiters, seals and O rings, etc.
  • Copper Grease is an excellent conductor of heat and when used on the backside of a brake pad can significantly increase heat transfer.
  • Copper Grease has poor lubricating properties. It is in fact an anti-seize compound.
  • Never use Copper Grease on the back side of a brake disc mounting face as this can increase the Disc run out lead to DTV (Disc Thickness Variation) causing brake judder.
  • A good quality non-mineral grease should be used on moving parts only and never applied to the back face of a Brake Pad or mounting face of a Brake Disc.
  • Most modern brake pads are supplied with noise fix shims and do not require the use of Copper Grease, which could be detrimental to their performance.

Why choose Delphi brake grease?

Formulated from a non-mineral oil based solution, Delphi’s high performance brake grease (SSB1000) replaces the need for traditional copper-based variants, whilst also reducing noise and preventing squealing.

  • Free of copper and acids, avoiding the risk of corrosion.
  • Non-conductive eliminating interference with electrical components.
  • High pressure stability helping to ensure longer-term lubricating properties.
  • Compatible with all metals and most rubber materials for universal application.
  • Resistant to high temperatures and water for increased protection.
  • Long-lasting protection against corrosion, with no visible residue or staining.
  • Supplied in a handy 100ml tube with applicator for easy application (SSB1000).

For a professional brake installation, Delphi brake grease should be applied sparingly to the metalto-
metal contact points between the brake pad and caliper only. But remember, never coat the pad’s friction
material or the surface of the disc, and always keep clear of all rubber parts.

Use like this…

…not like this!

Effective Filtration Of Even Tiny Water Droplets

Even high-quality diesel may contain traces of water, whether from moist air entering through the tank opening or from condensation in the large tanks used to store the diesel in gas stations.

However, advanced common rail diesel injection systems with pressures of up to 2,500 bar have higher requirements than simple mechanical systems in terms of the purity of the fuel. Tiny dirt particles as well as water drops can damage the components of the fuel circuit, which in the worst case can result in system failure.

Another challenge is the composition of modern diesel fuels, which have changed greatly in recent years: they contain very little sulphur and have higher proportions of biofuel and additives. This results in the formation of very small and stable water drops in the diesel fuel and requires a new water separation technology.

EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE ACROSS THE ENTIRE SERVICE INTERVAL

With the three-stage water separators, car workshops and wholesalers are offering their customers a new filter element which achieves extremely high efficiency over its entire service life. It separates more than 93% of the water in fuel when new, and its separation efficiency is still over 90% at the end of the service interval.

The benefit for the vehicle owner is therefore clear: “Whether corrosion or cavitation effects in injectors, valves, or the electric injection pump, this innovative separation technology from MANN-FILTER greatly reduces damage that can result in system failure,” says Lena Ketschau, Product Manager Fuel Filters in MANN+HUMMEL’s Automotive Aftermarket business unit.

Reliable performance is even more important if the vehicle is used in countries where the fuel has high water content.

DROPLETS JOIN TOGETHER INTO DROPS IN THE COALESCER FLEECE

If water enters the fuel circuit, it is reduced to small drops in the low-pressure fuel pump. After several fuel cycles, drop sizes smaller than 1/10th the diameter of a human hair are possible.

The innovative PU 9005 z and PU 10 011 z diesel fuel filters from MANN-FILTER are designed for the challenging job of removing these very small and finely distributed water droplets from the diesel fuel. Fuel flows from the outside to the inside of the three-stage filter element (pressure-side filter operation).

  1. In the first stage, the filter medium reliably removes solid dirt particles from the diesel fuel.
  2. The second filter stage uses a coalescer fleece. It retains even the finest water droplets from the fuel/water emulsion and combines them to form much larger drops.
  3. In the third stage, a hydrophobic sieve ensures that the enlarged drops do not enter the injection system. Gravity causes the separated water to collect in a water collection chamber in the filter module. A sensor signals as soon as the water needs to be manually drained or siphoned. Metal-free elements mean that both filters are completely incinerable and therefore can be recycled to protect the environment.

Automotive Battery Operating States, Lifespan & Replacement Conditions

Automotive Battery Operating States, Lifespan & Replacement Conditions

By Ian Newham, Training Manager at GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd

STATE OF CHARGE (SOC)

The State of Charge of an automotive battery is expressed as Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) and is the force used to push the starting current known as Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) through the starter circuit to the starter motor.

Assuming a battery is fully charged with a high OCV and has a good State of Health (SOH), the high OCV will enable the battery to repeatedly supply sufficient CCA to start the engine and achieve  pproximately 100% of its starting capacity.

If a battery has a low OCV its ability to force CCA through the starter circuit is reduced resulting in a possible non-start even though the battery has a good SOH.

STATE OF HEALTH (SOH)

The SOH of an automotive battery is expressed as Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) and is the starting capacity the OCV is capable of forcing to the starter motor via the starter circuit. Each time a battery is discharged and recharged (cycled) a small amount of the plate material that chemically reacts with the sulphuric acid in electrolyte solution to produce electricity is permanently lost.

Over time and dependent on factors such as operating temperature, operating state of charge and duty cycle this natural usage of the plate material will eventually result in a slow but steady reduction in the SOH of the battery and its ability to produce the CCA required by the starter motor.

While it is impossible to stipulate a maximum or minimum battery life expectancy due to the possible variations in the operating conditions of the battery this ageing and deterioration will eventually result in the failure of the battery to start the engine.

BATTERY FAILURE & DIAGNOSTICS

Taking these two operating states of an automotive battery into consideration it is easy to confuse SOC with SOH and make incorrect diagnostic assumptions when battery failure occurs. If the battery SOC is low but it has a good SOH engine starting capability can be recovered by recharging the battery and restoring its ability to push the available CCA through the starter circuit.

However, if the SOC is high but the SOH is low as the battery plate material has deteriorated over time to a level that cannot support the demands placed on it by the starter motor, a nonstart situation is likely to occur even though the battery is fully charged.

The SOH of a battery and its ability to supply high levels of CCA becomes even more important during the cold winter months. This is because the ability of a battery to supply the maximum available CCA is reduced by approximately 30% at 0°C. However the CCA requirements of the starter circuit increase in order to overcome conditions such as increased engine oil viscosity and reduced engine component tolerances.

It is therefore possible to have a battery that is fully charged with a good OCV that will still not be able to start the engine as the SOH and its ability to deliver high levels of CCA has reached a level that is unable to support the requirements of the starter circuit.

Calls for part-worn tyre ban following trading standards sting

Six of seven samples bought from dealers had faults and the only legal one was over 18-years-old

Traders are continuing to sell potentially lethal part worn tyres to motorists, according to a Sunday Mirror investigation.

Official figures put the number of people killed or seriously injured in accident involving illegal or defective tyres to 989 in the past five years.

During the latest investigation trading standards watchdogs posed as motorists to buy used tyres from dealers in County Durham.

An inspector from charity Tyresafe found six of seven samples to have faults, with the only legal tyre being over 18-years-old.

Two were seriously damaged from under-inflation, two had damage to the bead, one had a reinforced rubber section inside the wheel and another contained water and had not been stored properly.

Illegal tyres

Five had no official part-worn stamp, making them illegal.

The National Tyre Distributors Association has called for a ban on used tyre sales, calling current practices “appalling” and a “ticking time bomb”.

A Tyresafe spokesman said: “Competence among used tyre retailers is questionable.

“The majority of used tyres are not properly inspected.

“A tyre is classed as a waste product until it’s been fully checked.”

Do you sell part worn tyres? Are you concerned about the safety risks? Share your comments below.


Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.

Polybush resolves troublesome Transit wishbone bush issues

Cost saving, problem-solving Transit bush

Polybush, the leading name in polyurethane suspension bushes has created another bush to solve fleet problems. 40BC is Polybush’s uprated replacement for the ever troublesome Ford Transit front wishbone rear bush.

Due to the position of the front wishbone rear bush, it suffers from compression set caused by the force from the weight of the vehicle and its load during braking. This is compounded by potholes, speed bumps and rough ground.

Polybush resolved the problem using high-quality polyurethane. Polybush will not suffer from compression set and as such lasts four to five times longer than O.E. rubber.

Praised for the instant difference it makes, 40BC solves problems, reduces downtime and saves money without negatively affecting the overall ride of the vehicle. This solution resolved issues with Transit suspension for a number of large utility vehicle fleets.

The Parts Alliance answers call from the AA and gains a 5 year supply contract.

The Parts Alliance is to partner with the AA and supply key products to Britain’s largest breakdown and recovery organisation. The products will cover batteries, vehicle parts and consumables in a supply contract for five years.

The Parts Alliance, the UK and Ireland’s largest group of automotive parts distributors, will support the AA national patrol force as they attend more daily breakdowns than any other recovery organisation in the UK.

Sarah Millward, Commercial Director Road Operations at the AA said:

“Both sides have been working diligently to ensure the varied and special requirements of Britain’s largest breakdown organisation can be met.”

“The Parts Alliance has shown it has the footprint and market leading systems to support our needs, while also providing access to a wide ranging supply of quality parts, which is critical in enabling us to maintain our service to our members.”

The Parts Alliance and their supply partners provide service from 360 distribution sites using over 3,500 delivery vehicles to deliver a full range of OE quality branded products from the largest national parts distribution network in the UK and Ireland.

Mike Curry, The Parts Alliance National Accounts Sales Director, said: “The length of this contract with the AA is testament to our partnership to date and is a major business win for our group.

“We are supplying the AA with premium quality brands from stock to provide an all makes parts programme, our market leading catalogue Allicat identifies the correct vehicle fitment required and has the lowest product returns rate within our industry which helps reduce breakdown repair times.”

Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance, said: “We are delighted to be a business partner and supplier to the AA, one of Britain’s most trusted brands.

“As with all our customers, we want to go that extra mile to ensure we deliver the right level of support, quality parts, systems and innovation to meet their needs. Allicat and our PartVend are two examples of how we can do this.”

The Parts Alliance is also pioneering the use of autoparts vending machines. These ensure the supply of key products is available in strategic locations with access 24/7.

The new AA contract follows further contract wins with major retail chains and workshops for The Parts Alliance.

Original equipment bulbs are part of a quality service for your customers

Making sure your customers are happy after a visit to your workshop or garage is an essential part of your business. By offering an excellent service and using top quality OE parts, you will help guarantee they’ll return or recommend you to other potential customers.

Many bulb replacements have become quite technical and the customer is more likely than ever to rely on you to fit the bulb for them. Bulb fitting and replacement is often a complex job and it makes sense to use a quality OE product when replacing bulbs in a vehicle, especially for applications that require considerable labour time.

Recent information released by the DVLA shows that ‘lighting and signaling’ is still the top reason for vehicles in the class 3 and class 4 vehicle category to fail their MoT.

Fitting OE quality bulbs can greatly reduce failures and retesting costs. They last longer and the beam pattern in the halogen bulbs is perfectly aligned thanks to precision manufacturing, meaning less headlamp adjustment required on MoT tests.

For garages and workshops there is a large profit potential by offering genuine OE quality bulbs. You can increase this if you also offer customers the opportunity to upgrade their bulbs to one of the many upgrade bulbs available offering increased or alternative lighting performance.

Like for like OE replacement bulbs are a good starting point but there are many road legal, ECE approved, MoT compliant upgrade alternatives within the Osram range. For example, a customer may not know that improved performance or whiter light is available for their vehicle simply by changing the bulbs.

As well as a longer service life, Osram OE bulbs offer a high quality performance during their lifetime with perfect geometry to maximize light output. There are many reasons why lower cost aftermarket bulbs do not last as long as their OE counterparts:

  • Poor gas filling and sealing of the bulb can lead to a ‘blackening’ effect on the glass.
  • Use of cheaper materials such as the filament or electrical contacts can lead to early failures.
  • Some amber bulb types have been coated in lacquer which can peel off or fade giving an incorrect light output.

Osram bulbs will not do this.

Help your customers avoid ‘shocking’ holiday driving

As your customers prepare for the holiday season, there are a number of checks you can do to make sure their vehicles are in safe operating condition.

As millions take to the roads for the holidays, only a fraction will remember to perform comprehensive inspections of key vehicle systems, including brakes, tyres, lights and shock absorbers. That’s right, shock absorbers. Many vehicle owners are surprised to learn that the primary role of a shock absorber is to help protect their safety through precise steering, stopping and stability characteristics in a full range of driving situations.

“Shock absorbers are often referred to as ‘ride control’ components within the automotive trade, because that term more clearly describes their true function,” said Brian Sanders, business support manager UK, for Monroe shocks manufacturer Tenneco Inc. “They help control how your vehicle reacts to the road under all driving situations, and play vital roles in keeping you safe by complementing the performance of your tyres, brakes and other steering and suspension components.”

Automotive service representatives recommend that shocks be thoroughly inspected and tested for wear at least annually and worn units replaced by at least 80,000 kilometers. It is important to follow this replacement benchmark because these components can lose their effectiveness in a very gradual and
almost imperceptible manner.

Think of how our eyesight changes throughout our lives – we might not notice the change from day to day, but after a year or two it can be quite significant, the same can be true of your shocks’ performance. As they wear out we are losing the steering, stopping and stability characteristics that help
us avoid accidents.

UNDERSTANDING THE ‘SAFETY TRIANGLE’

One way to understand the importance of properly functioning shock absorbers is through a vehicle system known as the ‘Safety Triangle’. This system of interconnected undercar components – including tyres, brakes, shocks and other steering and suspension parts – is the primary contributor to safe steering, stopping and stability.

One worn part in this system can compromise the effectiveness of the others, as seen in the following
influences of worn shocks:

  • Worn ride control components can affect steering by reducing tyre grip and permitting increased
    body sway;
  • They can affect stopping by allowing severe spring oscillation and permitting excessive weight
    transfer to the front wheels;
  • And they can affect stability by permitting excessive
    side-to-side weight transfer around curves.

Replacing worn shocks can also help protect other expensive vehicle components from premature wear. For example, worn shocks can accelerate brake-pad wear by permitting excessive back-to-front weight transfer during stops. They also can lead to abnormal wear of tyres and suspension components such as tie rods, ball joints and control arms.

However, make no mistake, the number one reason to replace worn shocks is to protect the safety of drivers and passengers, and this need is especially pressing as people take to the roads for the holiday season. “As millions of consumers plan their upcoming holiday trips, we urge them to add a comprehensive vehicle safety inspection to their preparations,” Sanders said. “This one added step can help keep them safer on the road and ensure that their holidays are as enjoyable and relaxing as they had hoped.”