Garage customer wins luxury family holiday in Servicesure promotion

National competition gave customers chance to win week-long break up to the value of £3,000

National garage network, Servicesure has named Kathryn Spencer of East Grinstead as the lucky winner of a competition to relax in the sun on a luxury Villa Plus family holiday.

The competition gave Servicesure garage customers the chance to win a week-long break up to the value of £3,000 in one of the following locations: Majorca, Menorca, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura or mainland Spain.

Kathryn was prompted to enter after seeing the competition advertised on Facebook.

She said: “It seemed like an incredible prize, and I really hoped that I would win as the locations were perfect for a nice family holiday.”

Running from 1st September until 6th December last year, Servicesure customers were encouraged to enter the competition online or in store at their local branch.

Kathryn added: “I was actually on holiday with my partner, Al, when I found out that I’d won: they’d notified me by email as I had no phone signal at the time, and my first thought was that this can’t be real.

“When I returned home, I spoke to Servicesure over the phone to confirm that I’d won: I couldn’t believe it, I was so happy.”

Kathryn’s family have already decided that they will be spending the week in a villa in Lanzarote during the summer holidays.

Paul Dineen, head of garage programmes at Servicsure, said: “A huge congratulations to Kathryn and her family for taking home such a sought-after prize.

“Competitions like this allow us to give a little something back to regular customers of the Servicesure network and say a big ‘thank you’ for their loyalty, whilst creating brand awareness for the network.”

To find out more about the benefits of becoming a member of the Servicesure network, click here

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Northern Ireland MOT chaos continues

MAHA Ireland scissor model DUO+1 revealed as affected lift

Two independent reviews are currently underway into Northern Ireland’s MOT system after “signs of cracking” were found in 48 of its 55 testing station lifts but it could take months for the situation to be resolved, the Driver and Vehicle Agency DVA has said.

The DVA had asked MAHA Ireland, which supplied the lifts, to carry out repairs, but an insurance inspector was not satisfied with the attempt to fix them.

As a result, testing for cars and light vehicles at all of Northern Ireland’s 15 publicly-owned MOT centres was suspended with immediate effect on Monday 27 January.

MAHA Ireland has declined to answer Garage Wire’s questions but did supply a statement reading: “MAHA Ireland is liaising with relevant stakeholders at present to investigate the condition of all scissor lifts, model DUO+1,  employed at MOT centres.

“On 27 February 2020, DVA suspended use of this lift model as a precautionary measure pending the outcome of inspections.

“The safety of product users is of paramount importance to Maha Ireland and we will continue to make every effort to mitigate potential risks.

“We do not propose to make any further comment pending the outcome of our investigations.”

The DVA has said it could possibly take months to resolve the situation if the defective lifts have to be replaced.

Its chief executive, Paul Duffy, said the agency was looking at a number of options, including repair and replacement.

Giving evidence to the infrastructure committee at Stormont on Wednesday, Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon said work is under way but was unable to speculate on dates for full resumption yet.

She said: “At this moment in time I can’t give the committee a date.

“I have appointed as one of the two independent reviews an engineering expert company.

Independent reviews

“They are currently on site assessing.

“They have been tasked with providing to me independent expert advice on business recovery.

“That will include contingency arrangements in the here and now to maximise capacity but also the steps required to get our MOT centres back fully operable as quickly as possible.

“But I am not and I would not speculate or in any way lead the committee to a position where I can’t stand over it, so at this moment in time I cannot give a date as to when we will have the MOT centres fully and safely operable.”

MOT mess

The majority of the affected vehicle lifts were installed in 2011/12 and the supplier of the equipment was responsible for routine inspection and maintenance, according to the DVA.

Routine checks were carried out every eight weeks and a more in-depth test was carried out every six months.

Owners of cars and light vehicles which are five years old, or more, are currently eligible for a temporary exemption certificate.

Younger cars and taxis are being prioritised for tests which will be carried out in the heavy vehicle lanes in MOT test centres.

Bi-biennial Northern Ireland MOTs?

Nichola Mallon also revealed that she is seeking legal advice on moving MOT tests for private cars and light vehicles from an annual basis to a biennial basis for vehicles under ten years old.

Newry and Armagh MLA, Cathal Boylan welcomed the announcement saying it would be a move that would bring the north’s MOT testing system into line with that of the Republic of Ireland.

The Sinn Fein representative said: “This would greatly alleviate a lot of the backlog pressures that MOT centres currently face, by allowing for a more efficient testing system in the north.

“It could also help everyday drivers who would have to spend less on MOT tests every year.

“However, any change should not decrease road safety standards and I remind drivers to service their vehicles routinely.”

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

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Delphi releases brake pads for new Defender 110 ahead of car’s UK launch

First to market with pads for Land Rover that’s yet to be launched in UK

Delphi Technologies has announced the launch of brake pads for the all-new Land Rover Defender 110, which is yet to be launched into the UK market.

Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019, the latest addition to the Land Rover line-up is currently available for pre-order only, with the first deliveries not expected until Spring 2020.

A Delphi spokesperson said: “We pride ourselves on being first-to-market on braking.

“The Audi Q8, Ford Fiesta ST and Focus and Toyota Supra all being great examples.

“But sometimes, we exceed even our own high expectation by not only being first-to-market but also quicker than the vehicle manufacturer too.

“And that’s the case with our brake pads for the brand-new Land Rover Defender 110.”

For further information about Delphi, click here.

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

REPXPERT Academy goes LIVE for second time

Basingstoke College of Technology hosts latest training event attracting over 70 technicians

An eager but patient queue of technicians and workshop owners could be seen snaking out of the doors of Basingstoke College of Technology 20 minutes before the official registration time on Saturday, as Schaeffler held its latest REPXPERT Academy LIVE event – the first of 2020.

In collaboration with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), plus guest exhibitors, Laser Tools and TechMan, more than 70 technicians sampled the latest Schaeffler technical training modules, covering timing belt drive best practice, an introduction to double clutch repairs and modern thermal management systems.

Hayley Pells, owner of Automechanika Garage Of The Year, Avia Sports Cars, was full of praise for the training day: “I am a strong advocate of the need to normalise continuous professional development (CPD), and I was not alone with my attitude, judging by the strong visitor numbers and the quality of the training seminars provided at REPXPERT Academy LIVE.

Thermal management systems

“I was particularly intrigued by Alistair Mason’s lecture on thermal management systems.

“I was surprised by the number of seemingly retro ideas that were employed to create elegant solutions to the age-old quandary of the nuisance of heat and how this affects power.

“Coupled with the particularly hot topic, emissions standards and how to meet them whilst not compromising the motorist’s experience, has led to some cooling systems utilising solenoids and vacuums integrated with signals from the accelerator – enabling, as one delegate summarised, to ‘dump the pump’ when a demand for hard acceleration was introduced.

“I am quite comfortable with the idea of solenoids, and Alistair’s fault-finding tips for these systems were easy to understand.

“The REPXPERT platform is an enormously useful tool, but nothing compares to the opportunity to hear the information straight from the experts, to see and handle the components, and ask questions ensuring a full understanding is achieved – I would highly recommend attending REPXPERT Academy LIVE.”

The Garage Inspector

REPXPERT brand ambassador, Andy Savva, was also in attendance, as he presented a business seminar.

The Garage Inspector, who is a former workshop owner and now aftermarket commentator, delivered a session on how workshop owners can ‘empower their business’.

DMG Autocare Owner, Dean Peters, was one of the attendees, and he was particularly impressed with Andy’s delivery: “REPXPERT Academy LIVE was a very well organised event that was compact enough for some great interaction but big enough to have plenty going on and lots of information available.

“The sessions were full of content and Andy Savva, in particular, gave me a lot of information that gives me a lot to think about when looking to move my business forward.

“I can see REPXPERT Academy LIVE growing into a sought-after event, complemented by the fact it is free-of-charge.

“I’ve never attended an event as good as this for free.”

At the conclusion of the day, there was a draw for a variety of prizes: IMI veteran, Glyn Watkins, can now sit in both style and comfort after winning the star prize, a rally-style office chair, courtesy of Laser Tools.

Rob Obourne walked away with a Schaeffler IMI double clutch training day, including achievement certificate and IMI affiliate membership, worth £175, while Dave Ashby, of A.N.D. Autos, was the recipient of a Leatherman Wingman multi-tool after posting the best score during the INA torque challenge.

Future events

The next event will be held in May, at a venue to be confirmed, where yet more technicians and workshop owners will be offered the opportunity to absorb the very latest in technology and innovation from Schaeffler, and to enjoy the whole REPXPERT Academy LIVE experience.

Numbers are limited so technicians are urged to register for a ticket as soon as full details of the event are released.

For further information about REPXPERT, click here.

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

MANN+HUMMEL releases 2020/21 MANN FILTER catalogues

4,900 filter elements for more than 58,400 vehicles and machines in European spare parts market

MANN+HUMMEL has released its 2020/21 print catalogues for its MANN-FILTER filtration brand.

Finding products there is quick and easy for workshops and dealers with 4,900 filter elements for more than 58,400 vehicles and machines for the European spare parts market.

114 new filter types for the latest cars, trucks, and off-highway models complement the already wide range of filters in original equipment quality.

This year’s version includes new editions of the categories ‘passenger cars and transporters’, ‘trucks and buses’, and ‘off-highway applications and industry’.

The digitally available cross reference list has also been updated and now contains over 210 000 recodifications.

Here, workshops and factors can find the corresponding MANN-FILTER product using original manufacturer’s replacement part numbers or article numbers of competitors.

The new catalogue are also available now online, as well as via the MANN-FILTER app and shortly on DVD.

Workshops and dealers can obtain the new catalogue free of charge from their MANN-FILTER partner or directly from MANN+HUMMEL by emailing

For further information about MANN-FILTER, click here.

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Garage owner sacks apprentice for taking customer’s car to Greggs

Apprentice and mechanic made stop for lunch while taking customer’s car for test drive

The owner of Causeway Garage in Gateshead claims to have sacked his apprentice and issued a final warning to another employee after a customer discovered the pair had taken his car to pick up lunch from Greggs.

The owner of the Fiat Punto made the discovery while reviewing footage caught by his dashcam.

During the video, one of the technicians can be heard saying “feel the power, feel the f*****g roar” before noticing the dashcam and adding “he’s got a dashcam, he’s probably hearing everything we’re saying…he’s seeing us getting our dinner”.

The car was left in a disabled parking space while the pair went into Greggs.

“They decided to kill two birds with one stone”

A spokesperson for the garage said: “The lads went on a test drive with the car and they decided to kill two birds with one stone and go and get their dinners.

“When I saw the dashcam footage I pulled the lads into the office and went ape with them.

“The apprentice has been sacked because of his attitude and the mechanic is on a final written warning and he is not allowed to do test drives anymore.

“I have offered to do other work for the customer and not charge him for labour, I think he is looking for something for nothing.

“We are gutted that this has happened”

“We have built this business up for many years and we are gutted that this has happened through no fault of management but down to individual staff.”

Owner of the Punto, Carl Ivers said: “It took two to do a test drive and they didn’t have their seat belts on as you could hear constant bleeping on the dashcam footage.

“They hammered over speed bumps and it appears they were speeding in a 20 mile an hour area, they didn’t even slow down when they went over the speed bumps and you can hear my car hit off them.

“They parked in the disabled bay and they didn’t have a blue badge so I could have got a fine.

“I rang the garage and went off it with them.”

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

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Innovative Valeo AquaBlade gets aftermarket range extension

Coverage extended for number Mercedes applications

The revolutionary and exclusive Valeo AquaBlade wiper system designed and produced by Valeo is conquering the aftermarket with key range extensions.

In January 2020 the Valeo Aquablade range extended aftermarket coverage to Mercedes E-class, GLE-Class, S-Class and SL-Class applications.

The core spirit of Valeo Silencio has been to make the exact same OE cutting edge technologies available for the aftermarket as quickly as possible.

In addition to its conventional, hybrid, flat and rear wiper blades, exclusive Valeo AquaBlade innovation, winner of the PACE Award and Automechanica Motortec innovation Award in 2019, proved its worth.

While traditional wiping systems spray the washer fluid from the engine compartment bulkhead or hood the Valeo AquaBlade wiping system distributes fluid along the entire length of the blade.

A Valeo spokesperson said: “The entire surface covered by the wiper is uniformly cleaned, whatever the speed of the vehicle.

“This is particularly important for vehicles with large windshields such as minivans and some city cars.

“With the Valeo AquaBlade wiping system, the right amount of fluid is provided right where it is needed, thereby halving fluid consumption and significantly reducing weight.”

For further information about Valeo, click here.

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Autotech Recruit publishes guidance on overcoming garage staffing problems

Free guide shares tips and advice for garage owners undergoing the recruitment process

Autotech Recruit has published guidance for garage owners on how to overcome automotive talent shortages.

The specialist recruitment agency says the guide in the first publication of its kind and identifies the different solutions available to employers.

The brochure features articles by industry expert, Andy Savva; Quentin Le Hetet of GiPA; Paul Binks of European Tyre Enterprise; James Osborne of The Recruitment Network; and Autotech Recruit’s own Gavin White and Mandla Ndhlovu.

For further information and to download a free copy of the guide, click here or email to get a printed version.

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

OSRAM picks up Auto Express ‘Best Buy’ win for Night Breaker Laser

Bulb tests included Auto Express’ Figure of Merit calculation which combines light readings at two points

Night Breaker Laser, the next generation of automotive upgrade halogen bulbs from OSRAM, has been named the Auto Express Best Buy Car Headlamp Bulb 2019.

Key standout features are the headlight bulbs’ innovative laser ablation technology and the highly engineered filament, as they enable the bulbs to shine up to 150 per cent brighter, while providing up to a 150-metre long beam and 20 per cent whiter light compared to the minimum legal standard.

Terri Clark, marketing manager at OSRAM, said: “We specially designed these bulbs to provide more light and significantly improve visibility, helping drivers to identify and react to traffic hazards more quickly.

“This recognition from Auto Express reflects our commitment to going above and beyond to maximise road safety.”

Bulb testing

All products were put through their paces, with thorough tests being carried out, including Auto Express’ Figure of Merit (FOM) calculation, which combines light readings at two points: 50 metres in front of the car, and another 75 metres ahead.

Ten sets of H4 twin-filament bulbs were all tested.

The beam length and the brightest spot were also measured. 

Results from an average of two bulbs were then converted to percentages to accurately reflect performance.

Auto Express commented: “It’s the beam that secures its win here.

“It was noticeably bright with a wide hot spot and a sharp cut-off.” 

Maximum output was also taken into consideration to ensure ECE regulations were met. 

To find out more about the Night Breaker Laser bulb, click here.

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Thief crushed to death while stealing catalytic converter

Astra stored in locked garage compound was left in neutral causing it to roll off jack while would-be thief was underneath

A man has been crushed to death while attempting to steal a catalytic converter under the cover of darkness after breaking into a garage compound in Swindon, Wiltshire.

The jack supporting a blue Vauxhall Astra while Gary Gray was underneath slipped, causing the full weight of the vehicle to slam down and suffocated him.

His body was discovered the following morning by Vilfredo Fernandes, an employee of JB Autos, as he opened up for work on November 15 last year.

The shocked assistant manager of repair garage JB Autos saw the 38-year-old’s legs sticking out from under a car stored in one of the company’s two locked compounds.

Mr Gray’s hands were covered in dirt and oil, a torch he had been using was still on and a cutting tool was gripping part the car’s exhaust.

Nearby were mole grips and a backpack containing spanners, cooking foil, a watch, and a bottle of methadone.

In a statement read out at Mr Gray’s inquest this week, Mr Fernandes said: “I arrived around 8am and I could see a pair of legs on the floor sticking out from under a car which had a black car-jack near the front wheel.

“I called my boss, told him what happened, and he told me to call an ambulance.”

Paramedics pronounced Mr Gray dead at the scene.

£60 re-sale value

Police later established that he had been trying to steal a catalytic converter, thought to have a re-sale value of around £60, from the vehicle,

JB Autos manager James Brown said: “There is a six-to-eight feet-high fence around each compound and I keep scrap cars for spare parts inside the second.

“Over the years I have had a number of thefts, so I keep the vehicles unlocked to stop people damaging them and smashing the windows before they realise there’s nothing valuable inside them.

“The vehicles are left in gear with the handbrake off to stop the brakes seizing.”

Fatal consequences

It is believed that this caused the car to move while Mr Gray was fiddling with the Vauxhall’s underside, with fatal consequences.

Sgt Scott Anger, who investigated Mr Gray’s death, said: “He was in the process of stealing a catalytic converter but his chest had been compressed.

“He had gained entry illegally overnight.

“This was not an industrial accident and was filed as a non-suspicious sudden death.

“The car jack had been dislodged.

“He had placed a wooden panel under him to prevent him lying on the cold ground.

“This raised his body closer to the car, which was left in neutral and would have rolled off the car jack because it was not secure.”

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

Auto Torque
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.