New Garage Wire survey to snapshot state of business for independent garages

Take part in this short survey to give a ‘snapshot’ of the state of the aftermarket

Garage Wire has launched a new ‘state of the aftermarket’ survey aimed at finding how business is for independent garages.

A simple structure asks garages to rate business now compared to six months ago and to estimate how business will be six months in the future.

The answers for range from ‘much worse’ to ‘much better’ enabling a simple average to be taken on garages’ perception of how things are now compared to previously and how optimistic they are about the future.

“The reaction of the independent aftermarket to wider economic trends has always been complex,” said managing director James Onions.

“The feeling now seems to be that consumers are nervous about the UK economy and their personal finances may be under pressure but then driving is absolutely essential for many people too.”

Historically the aftermarket has proved relatively immune to fluctuations in the economy.

Whilst downturns dramatically effect new car sales, independent garages and the wider supply chain have been seen to benefit as drivers’ hold onto cars longer, incurring more maintenance needs and turn to independents in great number to service older cars and to save money over franchised dealers.

“The big difference this time is probably Brexit uncertainty,” added James.

“There’s a lull now in media coverage but many motorists may be reluctant to spend or apprehensive about the future.”

The survey can be completed in 5 minutes by following the ‘More Details’ button below.

The aim is to take the temperature of the market at six month intervals. Results will be shared in the near future.

Take part in the survey now.


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Croydon garage adopts board of shame to deal with non-paying customers

Garage Wire reports Fiat 500 owner currently named and shamed after failing to pay bill for clutch and master cylinder replacement

MOTaPlus Ltd in Croydon has taken to naming and shaming non-paying customers by writing their name and vehicle details on a white board located outside the workshop for all to see.

Garage owner, Gary Pritchard told GW that he adopted the board “out of principle” after helping a customer only for them to bounce a cheque for a £40 MOT.

“Put it up out of principle”

He said: “I first put it up out of principle after a customer came in for an MOT following a recommendation.

“She called us up, desperate for a test because she didn’t have an MOT but it was a Saturday and we were fully booked up.

“To help her out though, we told her to come down and we’d get it done to get her out of trouble.

“We MOTd the car and it failed on a couple of bulbs and a few other small bits, which we put right and didn’t even charge her for it.

“She wrote a £40 cheque out for the MOT and off she went.

“A couple of weeks later, we noticed the cheque didn’t go through and after looking into it I found out that she parked around the corner and stopped the cheque.

“From there on, the board has stayed up.”

Amuses genuine customers

Gary says the board has gone down well among his genuine customers, with many finding it amusing and even taking photos of it.

He added: “I’ve not had many on there at all and those that have been on there have had plenty of warning.

“It’s all about embarrassment.

“I trust everyone on face value and if they fail to pay I’d rather just embarrass them and warn other garages around here.

“It’s not about the money, it’s the principle.”

Currently the owner of a white Fiat 500 features on the board of shame after failing to pay two bills for a clutch and a master cylinder.

Gary said: “The lady that’s on there at the moment is local.

“I’d rather embarrass her than waste my time chasing”

“I know where she lives and I could go and knock on her door but I’d rather embarrass her than waste my time chasing her.

“We fitted a new clutch and we told her it had a fault on the slave and master cylinder but she didn’t want it repaired at the time.

“Of course, that soon failed but we put it right for her.”

The lady in question had already made a couple of payments towards her initial bill for the clutch replacement and made one more following the later repair but has since failed to make any further payment.

How do you deal non-paying customers? Share your comments and experiences below.


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Garage survey shows “concerning” lack of battery awareness

Garage owners urged to ensure all technicians undergo battery training

Yuasa Batteries has described the results of a recent GW reader survey as “concerning” and is calling on independent garages to ensure they’re up to speed on the latest battery technology.

The survey results showed that 63 per cent of participants did not know what battery state of charge and state of health is.

What’s more, 52 per cent were unaware of the reasons battery failure is more common in the winter and eight per cent didn’t know what the minimum voltage of a lead acid battery must be at prior to installation.

A spokesperson for Yuasa Batteries told GW Views: “These results replicate what we see out in the workshop at the beginning of our training events.

“It is obvious that there are some concerning knowledge gaps when it comes to batteries.

“An understanding of batteries is essential for all technicians in order to ensure that batteries are stored and fitted correctly.”

Kwik Fit battery blunder

It was reported earlier this year that a self-employed driving instructor claimed to have been left out of pocket after Kwik Fit fitted the wrong battery to her start-stop equipped car on two occasions.

Yuasa has advised garage owners to ensure all technicians undergo battery training.

“This not only improves customer service by ensuring batteries are installed correctly and fitted in the best possible condition, but also saves time and money, and improves health and safety,” the spokesperson explained.

The online GS Yuasa Academy ensures technicians across the country have access to high quality training which is delivered in bite sized chunks which technicians can complete in their own time and at any location.


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REPXPERT INA and FAG training day gets 10/10 rating

Course covered INA belt system and FAG wheel bearing technology best practice, installation and problem diagnosis

Schaeffler’s latest training day at the REPXPERT Academy in Hereford has been rated ‘10 out of 10’ by one of the attending technicians.

Members were given some practical demonstrations before being set a number of tasks by REPXPERTs Tim Adams and Andrew Vaux.

One invaluable session was how to accurately install an INA timing belt tensioner on either a VAG 1.9-litre or 2.0-litre TDi, using the INA-designed stud alignment tool to help avoid potentially expensive belt system failures.

Tim and Andrew also showed the group how to change the timing belt on a Ford 1.8TDCi, illustrating how using best practice can help avoid system failure.

The pair revealed that the method can also be applied to Vauxhall, Honda, Renault, VAG, Range Rover and Iveco applications.

The delegates were also presented with INA front end auxiliary drive (FEAD) systems, incorporating multi-ribbed belts, overrunning alternator pulleys (OAP) and overrunning alternator decouplers (OAD), as well as the INA crankshaft pulley decoupler fitted to BMW, Volvo and Vauxhall applications.

Another aspect of the training was an analysis of different timing drive configurations, as well as the latest intelligent water pump designs and thermal management technology.

Switching to FAG, the REPXPERTs gave practical demonstrations of the Hub 2.1 (Gen.2) wheel bearing, showing how to use the special tools that are required to guarantee a safe and correct installation.

There was also a presentation about wheel bearing evolution, and how this humble part has evolved to help to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

One of the attending technicians, Gary Butler-Holmes, said: “I learnt a lot, and the course refreshed my memory on key factors.

“Highly regarded by all technicians – a 10 out of 10 from me.”

John Hall added: “The two presenters certainly had a wealth of knowledge between them on the subjects and were more than willing to get stuck in.

“They not only discussed the topics but demonstrated them as well.”

David Painter said: “I do like to have a full understanding of what tasks I am giving my staff, so we can try to avoid making expensive mistakes.

“What was of particular interest to me was the VAG stud tool and the FEAD drive with OAPs.”

Automechanika Birmingham

Schaeffler will be exhibiting at Automechanika Birmingham 2019 between the 4th and 6th June (19S140), and amongst the augmented and mixed reality exhibits, which will offer visitors the chance to experience the ‘garage of the future’, a series of new training dates will be announced.

As well as the popular INA and FAG module, there will be several new sessions that focus on LuK double clutches, which proved successful throughout 2018 and the early part of this year.

All these workouts are designed to prepare technicians for work entering their workshop now and in the future.

For further information about REPXPERT, please click here.

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New 500+ bar GDi system cuts particulates by up to half, reports Delphi

Second paper presents innovations in use of high-pressure natural gas to reduce CO2 from heavy duty vehicles

In a paper presented at the 2019 Vienna Motor Symposium this month, Delphi Technologies has revealed a new 500+ bar GDi system that can reduce particulate emissions by up to 50 per cent compared to state-of-the-art 350 bar system without expensive engine design modifications.

Reducing the number of exhaust gas particulates, including those smaller than 23 nm, will help manufacturers meet increasingly stringent future global emissions standards.

Reducing engine-out emissions cuts tailpipe emissions in the crucial period before catalyst light-off and reduces the need for costly aftertreatment systems, lowering emissions in regulated testing including real driving emissions (RDE).

At the end of 2016, Delphi Technologies entered production with its industry first 350 bar GDi system, which reduces exhaust particulates by up to 70 per cent compared with industry-standard 200 bar systems.

Walter Piock, chief engineer for gasoline systems at Delphi Technologies, said: “The industry has long recognized that increasing injection pressure to 500+ bar could substantially cut engine-out particulates while improving CO2 emissions and fuel economy.”

The challenge has been to achieve such pressures without increasing the drive loads from the pump.

As most engines power the GDI pump through the camshaft drive, a conventional approach would usually require a costly redesign and strengthening of the camshaft mechanism.

“New internal sealing system”

“By designing an innovative new internal sealing system for our GFP3 500+ bar pump, in some applications, we have designed a downsized plunger diameter which prevents increasing the loads in the drive mechanism,” reveals Piock.

With the new Delphi Technologies system, engine designers can benefit from 500+ bar injection pressures without having to make costly changes to the majority of existing camshaft drive systems.

With combined demands for improved urban air quality and lower greenhouse gas emissions, the fuel injection system is an important building block for meeting future legislative targets.

Delphi Technologies’ 500+ bar system can help vehicle manufacturers meet both challenges.

According to Piock, “Our 350 bar GDi system reduces exhaust particulates by up to 70 per cent compared with industry-standard 200 bar systems and we are going one step further with our new 500+ bar GDi system which further reduces these emissions by up to 50 per cent compared to the 350 bar system.”

To complete the new 500+ bar system, Delphi Technologies has developed all system components including Multec 16 injectors, pumps, forged rail as well as the appropriate engine control system and software.

Engine mods not required for majority of applications

These components, which further improve durability and reliability, also require no or only minor physical changes to existing engines because they match existing packaging constraints and interfaces.

The 500+ bar system could be used in production from 2022 onwards.

A second paper at the symposium, co-authored by Westport Fuel Systems and Delphi Technologies, will describe the innovative Westport High Pressure Direct Injection HPDI 2.0TM system.

This advanced system reduces tank-to-wheel CO2 emissions in heavy-duty commercial vehicles through the use of high pressure natural gas.

The HPDI 2.0 system in the field today delivers a CO2 reduction of up to 20 percent.

In the case of renewable natural gas, the system can achieve a reduction of almost 100 percent.

The Westport HPDI 2.0TM system can be installed on current technology heavy-duty diesel engines and trucks with minimal change to these proven products.

By providing an up to 20 per cent CO2 reduction, the Westport HPDI 2.0TM system provides OEMs with a path to make their current trucks compliant with the EU regulations through 2029.

Delphi Technologies’ proprietary control valve strategy, enables the delivery of a small pilot injection of diesel followed by a larger main injection of natural gas through Westport’s novel duel concentric needle nozzle.

The individual diesel pilot sprays auto-ignite, providing multiple ignition sources that are spatially distributed, ensuring consistent ignition of the natural gas jets.

The natural gas combustion then proceeds in a predominantly non-premixed fashion.

As a result, engine knock is eliminated and the base diesel engine’s compression ratio can be retained.

Because the natural gas is not premixed, load control is achieved by simply reducing the fuel flow, as in a conventional diesel; part-load throttling is not required.

“Combustion of natural gas in a diesel cycle delivers equivalent power density and combustion efficiency to that of conventional diesel,” said James Kewley, product engineering director, diesel fuel injection systems and ICE components, Delphi Technologies.

“This enables the exploitation of the lower CO2 potential of natural gas without the penalty associated with moving to the Otto cycle.

“It will help OEMs cope with the increasingly demanding regulations, particularly as pressure grows to further reduce CO2 emissions from heavy duty trucks.”

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Guy Martin to open The Big UK Garage Event at Automechanika

Mechanic, TV presenter and best-selling author to open most exciting event yet

Mechanic and motorcycle racer turned television presenter, Guy Martin, will officially open The Big UK Garage Event at Automechanika Birmingham 2019, held at the NEC from 4 to 6 June.

In what is shaping up to be the most successful Automechanika Birmingham to date, Morris Lubricant’s brand ambassador will “cut the ribbon” and open the doors to the launch of The Big UK Garage Event at 9.30am, welcoming visitors from all areas of the automotive industry.

On Tuesday 4 June Guy Martin will feature on Morris Lubricants stand K110 and also give a special interview at 1:45pm in the Aftermarket Seminar Theatre.

Lincolnshire born Guy Martin is a British motorcycle racer, truck mechanic and hands-on engineer best known for his successful motorcycle road racing career, and most notably for grabbing the headlines in the Isle of Man TT races.

But, in recent years, his career has taken off in a different direction presenting the series How Britain Worked and Speed with Guy Martin.

During the series Guy broke the British record for outright speed on a bicycle, hitting an amazing 122.4 mph and smashed the world gravity-powered sledge speed record.

2019 exhibition

With visitor registrations significantly up from this time in 2018, Automechanika Birmingham is set to successfully unite the automotive industry again this June.

The event then won’t return to the NEC before 2021.

Comprising main areas for the Aftermarket andThe Big UK Garage Event more than 500 exhibitors will pack into Birmingham NEC as they promote their products and services to the expanding visitor audience of independent garages, motor factors, retailers, bodyshops and dealerships

The Big UK Garage Event, geared towards helping garages grow their business will offer exclusive show deals, big giveaways and competition prizes worth over £26,000, plus celebrity appearances from 7 BTCC drivers and Edd China across the 3 days.

Garage perks

Garages will also benefit from free technical training in the Workshop Training Hub and Bodyshop Training Hub, all accredited by the IMI and enabling garages to add to their CPD points.

Major brands exhibiting include: Schaeffler, ZF, DENSO, MAHLE Aftermarket, Delphi Technologies, Valeo, Bosch, Hella, Bilstein Group, MANN + HUMMEL, NGK and Yuasa.

Other exhibitors include Snap on, Sealey, Launch UK, Hickleys, Pichler, Franklin Tools, Morris Lubricants, Hofmann Megaplan, Tool Connection, Stanners Garage Equipment and many others.

Jack Halliday, event director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “It’s fantastic that Guy Martin is officially opening The Big UK Garage Event at Automechanika Birmingham 2019 and only adds to the buzz there is around the event as we countdown to it.

“There’s so much for visitors to see and do at the event – if there is one place to visit this year, The Big UK Garage Event will offer the most valuable day out of their business all year.”

Visitors can now book their free ticket by clicking here.

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ZF [pro]Tech to have dedicated stand at ‘Big UK Garage Event’

Automechanika stand 171 to highlight benefits of technical support and training initiative

ZF Aftermarket has announced that its technical support and training arm – ZF [pro]Tech – is to have its own dedicated stand at the ‘The Big UK Garage Event’, Automechanika, Birmingham at the NEC 4-6 June.

The business is hosting two free technical seminars in the Aftermarket Theatre on the topic of autonomous driving and ZF experts will be on the stand throughout the show giving impromptu live technical demonstrations and providing information about ZF [pro]Tech.

Furthermore, visitors who happen to be on the stand at the right time will have the chance of meeting TV presenter, mechanic and motor enthusiast, Edd China…

The Big UK Garage Event

Automechanika Birmingham 2019 is giving independent garages a boost by launching the new ‘The Big UK Garage Event’ at this summer’s show, providing more benefits to thousands of garages planning to visit.

This builds on the success of last year’s first dedicated Hall for garages which was one of the highlights of the 2018 show.

As part of this event, ZF Aftermarket will illustrate how it delivers cutting edge technical support, information & training to the independent aftermarket (IAM) through its ZF [pro]Tech garage workshop concept at a dedicated stand (Hall 18, Stand Y171).

Visitors to the stand will have the opportunity to talk to ZF experts about membership benefits of its two industry programmes Plus and Start, get the low down on training courses available – including the brand new ‘Introduction to Electrical Engineering’ which debuts in July – and witness live demonstrations on a High Voltage test rig.

In addition, well-known ZF technical expert Wayne McCluskey will be delivering two seminars on Autonomous Driving System Developments. These free seminars will be held in the Aftermarket Theatre on: Tuesday 4th June 14:30-15:00 and Thursday 6th June 12:15-12:45.

Technical training manager, ZF Aftermarket, Wayne explained: “For the industry, it’s truly great news that Automechanika is hosting ‘The Big UK Garage Event’ which will really help communicate the training message.

“Put bluntly, if today’s technicians don’t invest now in the training necessary for the vehicles of the future, they won’t be able to service and repair them – leaving the door open for those who can and compromising the integrity of the IAM.”

Edd China

The business has learned that to celebrate its association with OESAA – of which it is a long-standing partner, OESAA’s special guest TV presenter and automotive aficionado Edd China will be visiting the ZF [pro]Tech stand at some point during the show.

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Automechanika Birmingham unveils largest seminar programme to date

Opportunity for garages to upskill with free CPD accredited training

Automechanika Birmingham 2019 will be hosting the automotive industry’s largest seminar programme when it opens its doors next month, designed to upskill the aftermarket and provide invaluable insight from over 75 expert speakers, trainers and key players.

This year’s programme features forum sessions and technical talks tailored to garages, factors and suppliers, including more than 100 hours of free training seminars and debates for technicians.

Sessions will be delivered over the three-day event, including presentations from industry expert speakers who will be on hand to highlight the latest innovations and provide insight into key issues and challenges for the aftermarket.

Key highlights of the comprehensive programme include The Workshop Training Hub providing expert led CPD accredited technical training seminars from the likes of Frank Massey, James Dillon, Andy Crook and Steve Carter, plus technical seminars from Darren Darling, DPF Recovery, Ecobat Battery Technologies, Actronics and Primalec.

These will cover a range of topics for technicians including electric vehicles and engine fault diagnosis, as well as live demos on ADAS, wheel alignment and high voltage technical training.

The Bodyshop Training Hub will also be showcasing its CPD accredited technical seminars specifically for the collision repair sector, where garages will get to see practical demonstrations provided by specialist training providers including Thatcham Research, The Automotive Glazing Academy and Cornerstone Technologies to name a few.

The Aftermarket Seminar theatre will deliver sessions from industry influencers from IAAF, SMMT, Frost & Sullivan, RMI, DVSA, IGA as well as an interview with Guy Martin.

Returning by popular demand, the keynote panels will focus on the overarching theme of innovation for the event.

Sessions will cover the state of the UK automotive sector, electrification, future mobility, connected and autonomous vehicles.

The free CPD technical training sessions, accredited by Automechanika Birmingham’s Global Skills Partner, IMI, will qualify for a free IMI certificate of attendance, which rewards technicians with CPD credits.

Visitors will to be scanned at each session they attend and certificates will be sent via email following the show.

More information on the IMI and CPD can be found by visiting the IMI stand Y170.

Jack Halliday, event director of Automechanika Birmingham, explains: “This year’s seminar programme presents a huge incentive for garages to upskill and grow their business with expert advice from the industry’s leading technical trainers in our training hubs and suppliers in the showcases.

“For visitors who run a garage or a bodyshop; this will be their most valuable day of the year and they can see what’s in store to help improve their business, all for free.

“With the rapid evolution in technology taking place in our industry, there is a huge demand for more technical training and professional development, so it was only natural we address this by offering CPD training opportunities as part of our seminar programme to help technicians stay ahead.”

Visitors can register to attend the event by booking their free ticket here.

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UK’s most and least reliable car brands revealed

Peugeot, Skoda and Hyundai ranked highly as reliable brands but it’s bad news for BMW, Fiat and Audi

BMW has been named as the least reliable brand following research that looked at how many problems drivers reported with their vehicles.

Of the 100 BMWs included in the study, 181 faults were identified – well below the industry average of 119.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, the most reliable brand has been identified as Peugeot, with owners reporting just 77 problems per 100 vehicles.

The study, conducted by JD Power, used data from more than 11,000 car owners to track the number of faults experienced in cars registered between November 2015 and January 2018, reports the Mirror.

Researchers looked at 177 problematic symptoms in eight categories including driving experience, navigation and audio to rank vehicles for the study which is now in its fifth year.

Although the average score slightly improved compared to last year, issues with built-in Bluetooth, built-in voice recognition, navigation systems and poor radio reception continued to infuriate drivers.

Electric and hybrid cars had more issues with their engines, navigation devices and seats than their combustion engine counterparts.

Most to least reliable brands

  1. Peugeot – 77 problems per 100 vehicles
  2. Skoda – 88 problems per 100 vehicles
  3. Hyundai – 90 problems per 100 vehicles
  4. Nissan – 94 problems per 100 vehicles
  5. Suzuki – 94 problems per 100 vehicles
  6. Vauxhall – 95 problems per 100 vehicle
  7. Kia – 101 problems per 100 vehicles
  8. Mini – 103 problems per 100 vehicles
  9. Volvo – 106 problems per 100 vehicles
  10. Honda – 109 problems per 100 vehicles
  11. Volkswagen – 113 problems per 100 vehicles
  12. Dacia – 114 problems per 100 vehicles
  13. Seat – 117 problems per 100 vehicles
  14. Mazda – 122 problems per 100 vehicles
  15. Renault – 122 problems per 100 vehicles
  16. Citroen – 126 problems per 100 vehicles
  17. Toyota – 134 problems per 100 vehicles
  18. Mercedes-Benz – 136 problems per 100 vehicles
  19. Land Rover – 142 problems per 100 vehicles
  20. Jaguar – 159 problems per 100 vehicles
  21. Audi – 167 problems per 100 vehicles
  22. Fiat – 173 problems per 100 vehicles
  23. BMW – 181 problems per 100 vehicles

Josh Halliburton, head of European operations at J.D. Power, said: “When we look at the PP100 scores of relatively new safety technologies, it’s clear that manufacturers still have work to do to perfect those systems — particularly premium brands that use them as a major selling point.

“It’s also going to be vital for vehicle makers to win customer trust in this technology if they are to convince potential buyers that fully automated vehicles in the future will be reliable.

“For example, such buyers are quite likely to question the safety of self-driving cars if brands still struggle with the accuracy of their navigation systems.”


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FTE acquisition by Valeo provides boost for transmission systems

More Volkswagen, Peugeot, Ford and Merecedes vehicles covered by new-to-range items, as over 75% of Europe’s 350 million cars now equipped with hydraulic actuation.

Valeo says the market for hydraulic actuation solution is continuing to increase.

A Valeo spokesperson said: “Thanks [the] to FTE acquisition, Valeo changes the game and is now offering to European independent aftermarket the widest range of hydraulic actuators with OE footprint.

“As OE standards for hydraulics clutch systems grow more numerous and rigorous, Valeo and FTE stand as the most suitable to provide complete clutch kits featuring long service life, high efficiency in operation, tight tolerances, compact, flexible, lightweight design and many more.”

The Valeo range of hydraulic single components is now composed of 647 active part numbers which is today one of the best car park coverages in the independent automotive aftermarket.

Valeo hydraulic components covering 87 per cent of the European car parc.

The Valeo hydraulic range, with over 600 references, includes concentric slave cylinders, clutch master cylinder, clutch release cylinder (CRC), and hydraulic pipes.

The Valeo range of hydraulic single components includes 647 active part numbers.

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