New legislation ensures UK aftermarket gets continued data access via OBD port

Vehicle manufacturers obliged to keep OBD port open for repair and maintenance information

New Type Approval legislation, scheduled to be introduced in Europe from September 2020, guarantees that the OBD port remains open for repair and maintenance information and that data should continue to be made available in an electronically processable format.

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) lobbied for the key piece of legislation in the Type Approval Regulation (EU) 2018/858 for a number of years.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has now confirmed that under UK law, vehicles will be obliged to keep the OBD port open for RMI and this information must be made available in an electronically processable format.

A statement by the DfT said: “We can confirm that the definition of OBD in Article 3(49) of Regulation (EU) 2018/858 will be applied in the UK, as it is in the EU.”

On the subject of SERMI, the department said: “If the EU agree a regulation and it applies prior to the end of the transition period, it will become part of Retained Law in the UK, possibly with some amendments to ensure it works in a UK context.

“If not, we will examine whether to introduce it into UK law in 2021, noting the comments received here that strongly support such introduction.”

For many years, IAAF has argued that a level playing field should be provided to ensure consumer freedom of choice when repairing and maintaining vehicles, campaigning for the provision of a standard diagnostic port.

As a result of the consultation outcome, when issuing type approvals, VCA will be legally required to act in line with the ruling and manufacturers are also obliged to comply.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “This is a huge step in the right direction for the independent automotive aftermarket and we’re thrilled that the legislative framework now ensures that independent operators can continue to service and maintain vehicles reliably and fairly.

“Not only is this good for competition, but it provides the consumer with freedom of choice when choosing where to take their vehicle for repair work.”

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

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

DVSA staff to wear ‘bodycams’ during garage visits

New cameras introduced in a bid to reduce physical and verbal assaults during site visits and roadside checks

The DVSA is to roll out body-worn cameras to reduce physical and verbal assaults to its frontline enforcement staff.

The cameras, which are being rolled out across the country, will be worn by DVSA staff when visiting MOT test stations.

The move follows a 25 per cent increase in assault incidents on enforcement staff, with 25 cases recorded in 2019/20.

DVSA director of enforcement, Marian Kitson said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

“Whilst the majority of drivers are courteous to our roadside enforcement staff, they need to be able to protect the public without fear of violence.

“We take a zero-tolerance approach to physical and verbal assaults and the bodycams will act as a deterrent.

“They will also enable us to manage, support and respond to any assaults that takes place.”

The move brings DVSA in line with many other enforcement bodies such as the police who have been using ‘bodycams’ for a number of years in their frontline work.

The cameras are small devices slightly larger than a credit card which are usually worn on the chest, and record video and audio much like a personal CCTV device.

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

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

REPXPERT talks switchable water pumps and double clutch training in podcast

Traditional water pumps and switchable units one of many technical topics discussed in GW interview

In a wide-ranging Garage Wire Podcast interview, Schaeffler’s technical manager, Alistair Mason, addressed the practical health and safety issues of getting back to work, as well as several technical matters that are becoming increasingly relevant to workshops, and how the company’s REPXPERTs are helping technicians deal with these challenges.

Starting with how the REPXPERT team has been helping workshops reopen as the restrictions eased, Alistair explains how well the company’s ‘BACK > ON TRACK’ workshop essentials packs have been received by more than 2,000 UK garages.

Schaeffler then also created an e-learning COVID-awareness training module, using advice available from the government and leading aftermarket organisations, which will provide garage owners with simple, easy-to-understand coronavirus best practise and risk management protocols.

Moving on to the technical matters for which Schaeffler is so well known, Alistair brings up the contrasts between traditional water pumps and the latest switchable units, which, as well as being quite different in appearance, often require additional installation procedures.

Thermal management is extremely important to the efficient operation of the engine and to enable it to achieve the correct emissions levels, so bleeding the cooling system is more important than ever.

Alistair therefore also highlights the need for these systems to be vacuum filled, to ensure there are no air-locks left in the circuit.

No Schaeffler interview would be complete without talking about LuK clutch systems, and as Alistair goes on to discuss, double clutch transmissions have now become an extremely important subject in the REPXPERT training portfolio.

Citing recent developments in the technology, Alistair draws attention to the move from dry to wet double clutch gearboxes, specifically the DQ500 unit.

This example has new features such as an electric, rather than mechanical pump, which is more efficient as it doesn’t take power away from the engine, and a new bearing design to optimise performance.

Without the advice and training offered through the REPXPERT programme, Alistair reasserts that workshops shouldn’t even attempt to work on these systems, as the risk of a substandard repair and the return of the vehicle will damage the reputation of the workshop.

The full interview can be heard heard in the latest episode of the Garage Wire Podcast.

Technicians can register to the REPXPERT portal to access a wealth of technical support and training.

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

BMW to recall plug-in hybrid vehicles over short-circuit fears

Owners told not to charge plug-in cars for the time being and only run combustion engine

BMW is set to issue a recall notice plug-in hybrid models over concerns surrounding the battery, has reported.

Around 4,500 cars are affected globally, BMW has confirmed.

The issue is reported to have been found by BMW engineers who discovered that welding beads on the high voltage storage tank were not completely removed at the time of production.

Fears that the issue could lead to short-circuiting prompted prompted the recall.

Affected models were built between March and August 2020.

Further details of affected UK cars are to be announced in the coming days.

BMW has urged owners not charge their plug-in cars for the time being and only run the vehicle off the combustion engine.

A delivery stop has also issued on the affected vehicles that are yet to be delivered.

In a statement, a BMW spokesperson said: “BMW has implemented a delivery stop on a small number of plug-in hybrid vehicles as a preventive measure to check the high-voltage-battery.

“4,460 vehicles are affected worldwide.

“Most vehicles have not yet been delivered to customers.

“The specific number of vehicles affected in the UK will be confirmed this week and the recall will be reported to the DVSA.

“BMW apologises for any inconvenience caused to customers affected by this precautionary measure.”

It has also been reported that the problems could extend across BMW’s sister companies with issues also developing in the Mini Countryman.

The German carmaker is in the process of contacting affected owners who are expected to receive updates completely free of charge.

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

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

Consultation launched into advanced lane-keeping systems for semi-autonomous cars

Innovative new ‘automated lane keeping systems’ expected to be rolled out in UK from spring 2021

consultation on how innovative new autonomous technology can be used on UK roads has been launched by the government.

The call for evidence concerns automated lane keeping systems (ALKS), an automated system that can take over control of the vehicle at low speeds.

The technology is designed to enable drivers – for the first time ever – to delegate the task of driving to the vehicle.

When activated, the system keeps the vehicle within its lane, controlling its movements for extended periods of time without the driver needing to do anything – although they must be ready and able to resume driving control when prompted by the vehicle.

ALKS differs from existing ADAS such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, in that while using it, the driver is allowed to “safely delegate the driving task to the vehicle”.

The consultation follows the approval of ALKS Regulation in June 2020 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – of which the UK is a member – and the technology is likely to be available in cars entering the UK market from spring 2021.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Automated technologies for vehicles, of which automated lane keeping is the latest, will be life-changing, making our journeys safer and smoother than ever before and helping prevent some 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade.

“This advanced technology is ready for roll out in new models from as early as 2021, so today’s announcement is a welcome step in preparing the UK for its use, so we can be among the first to grasp the benefits of this road safety revolution.”

The government is seeking views from industry on the role of the driver and proposed rules on the use of the system to pave the way towards introducing it safely in Great Britain, within the current legal framework.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “Automated technology could make driving safer, smoother and easier for motorists and the UK should be the first country to see these benefits, attracting manufacturers to develop and test new technologies.

“The UK’s work in this area is world leading and the results from this call for evidence could be a significant step forward for this exciting technology.”

The call for evidence asks whether vehicles using this technology should be legally defined as an automated vehicle, which would mean the technology provider would be responsible for the safety of the vehicle when the system is engaged, rather than the driver.

The consultation also seeks views on government proposals to allow the safe use of this system on British roads at speeds of up to 70mph.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Over the last 50 years, leading edge in-car technology from seat belts to airbags and ABS has helped to save thousands of lives.

“The government is right to be consulting on the latest collision-avoidance system which has the potential to make our roads even safer in the future.”

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

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

Rabbit pulled from behind dashboard after customer reported ‘funny noise’

Vehicle owner complained of noise behind glove box

An independent garage in North Wales has rescued a rabbit from behind the dashboard of a customer’s car after the owner complained of strange noises coming from behind the glove box.

Gari Wyn Jones, garage owner at Ceir Cymru in North Wales, discovered the frightened animal after dissembling parts of the dashboard.

Mr Jones said: “A salesman took a phone call from a family concerned that a funny noise was coming from behind the glove box.

“We started stripping the car apart when all of a sudden out popped this little face – of a little baby bunny rabbit.

“No one really knows how the rabbit got there.

“The people who own the car have a lot of pets and a lot of rabbits – and they must have left the car door open for it to hop on board.

“The mystery of the whole thing was that you couldn’t see anything in there until we took it apart.”

Mr Jones confirmed the rabbit was safely removed from the vehicle and kept safely in a box until the owners of the vehicle arrived.

The owners also took the rabbit back home after discovering it was one of their many pets.

The family were said to have been “relieved” when they came back to collect the vehicle.

Mr Jones said: “The wellbeing of our customers and the wellbeing of their animals are all part and parcel of the care we give.”

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

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

Frustration for Halfords Yuasa but celebrations for Matt Neal

British Touring Car legend Matt Neal reached 700 race starts in the British Touring Car Championship. The three-times champion reached the milestone in the second of three races at Oulton Park over the weekend. Matt is now over 100 starts ahead of his nearest rival, Jason Plato, having begun his BTCC career in 1991. 

Frustration beset the Honda manufacturer squad in the third meeting of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park last weekend.

Cammish kept up his record of making the podium at every meeting in 2020 so far with third in race one, whilst Neal incredibly celebrated his 700th BTCC race start in the second contest.

With his Honda Civic Type R wearing the number 700, Neal took fourth on the grid, just quarter of a second behind top qualifier Rory Butcher and with Honda team-mate Cammish alongside in fifth.

Heavy rain just before the start of race one saw the entire field rapidly changing from slick dry to treaded wet tyres. Cammish outdragged his team-mate off the line, to score a podium finish in third.

Sadly Neal’s excellent qualifying performance counted for little when poor luck with a technical issue dropped the Honda Civic Type R down the field. Matt’s 700th BTCC start in the second race of the day would be from 25th on the grid.

The track was still wet but drying for race two and Neal staged another of his comeback drives, climbing 11 places but just failing to produce a memorable result to his 700th race – his 13th place finish was just short of contention for promotion in the reverse-grid race three. 

The grid reversal put Cammish seventh on the grid for the final race; with lead title rival Turkington alongside. The encounter unfortunately proved one to forget for the Honda team as both drivers fell victim to opening lap incidents, Cammish dropping to 17th and Neal forced to pit with a puncture. Finishing positions of 15th and 24th was poor reward for the pace of the two drivers.

The Honda team will have little opportunity to brood after the trying day, however, as for the second time this season the BTCC stages meetings on successive weekends. The series heads north to Scotland for rounds 10 to 12 of the BTCC at Knockhill on 30th August.

“Firstly thanks to everyone for the celebrations around my 700th start,” said Neal. “I must admit I hadn’t been counting them! I’m only sorry I wasn’t able to bring home better results on such a milestone day, especially after such strong qualifying pace.

“Still after so long in this series I know that you get straight back up and go again. I love Knockhill, I’ve taken four wins for Honda there before and I want more!”

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

DVSA reveals postcodes expected to be worst hit by MOT demand

Top 20 areas set to see highest MOT demand in October and November revealed

Glasgow is set to see the biggest increase in MOT demand this autumn with a 68 per cent increase in the number of tests required, DVSA data released today (Tuesday 18 August) shows.

In data revealing the top 20 areas which will bear the brunt of the MOT demand in October and November, all but one postcode across the UK will see demand for tests rise by over 50 per cent.

Falling just being Glasgow with the biggest increase in demand is Edinburgh and Leicester with a 67 per cent and 63 per cent increase on a typical year as motorists granted an MOT exemption try to book their test alongside millions whose MOT is normally due.

In June 2.7 million motorists had their MOT test done in June, including 442,724 retests, and 3.1 million MOTs were completed nationally in July, including 549,489 retests.

In August so far, 20,000 more motorists a day are getting their MOT done, compared to the same period last year.

However, there are still currently almost four million MOTs due each month in October and November.

Chris Price, head of MOT policy at DVSA, said: “Now exemptions have ended, millions of motorists will be making sure their vehicle is safe by getting an MOT done.

“Garages across the country will see demand start to peak during September, with almost double the number of MOTs due in October and November.”

Areas set to see highest MOT demand in October and November

AreaForecast expiries in Oct and Nov 2020Typical tests in Oct and NovExtra MOT tests requiredIncrease on a typical year
9Newcastle upon Tyne122,43076,54145,88959.95%
16Tunbridge Wells103,01665,18037,83658.05%

The DVSA’s ‘Beat the Rush’ campaign, is encouraging motorists with an MOT exemption to get their test done this August when demand is generally lower, to ensure their vehicle is safe to drive and to beat the rush.

The peak will see garages facing unprecedented demand – but the Independent Garage Association (IGA) says the challenge could present an opportunity.

Stuart James, chief executive officer of the IGA, said: “The Independent Garage Association supports DVSA’s Beat the Rush MOT campaign.

“MOT slots will be more difficult to book in the next few months, so we recommend that garages communicate this to their customers and advise them to book their MOT at their earliest convenience.

“Independents will rise to the challenge to address the demand for MOTs and ensure vehicle safety. It will be an opportunity to increase their customer base for future years if they can satisfy wider customer demand at this challenging time.”

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

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

Guide: Fiat 500 Abarth clutch replacement

REPXPERT step-by-step guide talks GW readers through the process

Fiat 500’s sporty little offspring set a challenge larger than the car itself.

With a book time of 5.5 hours and a manufacturer recommending the engine should be removed to change the clutch, we felt that was a bit traumatic (and impossible) so we set out with a more conventional approach even if it was going to take us longer.

When it was comfortably on the ramp (take care of the Arbath body kit on the ramp legs), we realised we were going to have to modify a standard socket if we wanted to remove the driveshaft nuts.

A generous radius in the cavity (figure one) prevents us from using a standard socket, so we decided to leave the wheels on and swing the complete strut assemblies with driveshafts attached to release the CV joints from the gearbox.

Figure one.

After more observation it was clear the battery and tray needed to be removed to gain access to the gearbox mount and upper bell housing bolts so we set to.

First, disconnect the battery terminals and strap to lift the battery out of the car.

With the Fiat being such a small car, most things under the bonnet were attached to the battery tray (figure two) by a myriad of clips and they all need to be removed.

Figure two.

Disconnect and remove the diverter valve with its flashy red filter (figure three) then disconnect the two ECU plugs.

Figure three.

There’s quite a few cables, hose retaining clips and then the three fixings, the battery tray can be lifted free (figure four).

Figure four.

Needing a break from ‘clip designers heaven’, we ventured underneath the car and released the bottom ball joints and the three bolts retaining the driveshaft support bearing (figure five) in its housing.

Figure five.

The gearbox was entombed above the subframe but with the left-hand subframe side leg removed we may tease it out, however this required the removal of the left-hand wheel arch liner and the front bumper cover.

Both are retained with nuts and screws.

Don’t forget to disconnect the spotlights and indicators when you can see the connectors.

With the bumper cover removed you can see the left-hand subframe leg retaining bolts are shared with the bumper armature (figure six), so these were removed too.

Figure six.

At the rear of that leg are two additional fixing which also need to be removed.

Exhaust pipe support bracket was in the way of some bell housing bolts so that needed to be removed.

At this point it became clear the whole subframe needed to be lowered, except the right-hand leg.

So, after disconnecting the oxygen sensor lead multiplug and unclipping the lead, the subframe bolts needed to be loosened.

The steering rack and anti roll bar can be left in place, so we removed the bolts retaining them to the subframe.

After removing the engine tie bar mounting bracket bolt and strapping up the steering rack to ensure it stayed where it was, the subframe bolts were removed and it was carefully lowered (figure seven).

We could now go back up top to release more clips, starting with the water temp sensor plug and all the other multi plugs preventing the harness from being stowed safely out of the way of the bell housing bolts.

Figure seven.

The intercooler pipe is retained by a bracket and nut that needs removing.

The clutch concentric slave cylinder can be disconnected and the pipe stowed safely after removing its clips.

After removing the upper bell housing and starter motor bolts, you’ll need to support the engine and gearbox.

We used two transmission jacks, one for each, and then removed the driveshaft CV joints from the gearbox.

We had a split boot on the left-hand joint so it came apart when pulled.

The gearbox is supported by a mount on the left-hand side with three bolts conveniently on the end of the gearbox in the wheel arch.

Remove these and then the lower bell housing bolts can be removed, leaving the gearbox and engine to be split.

Before removing the old clutch, always observe the direction the clutch plate is fitted (figure eight),.

In this case ‘Lato Cambio’ – Italian gearbox-side – but ideally sit the cover and plate together in the correct orientation until you have the new parts fitted in a similar fashion.

Figure eight.

After cleaning the bell housing and carefully replacing the CSC following any instructions in the box, the new clutch can be fitted with a clutch alignment tool on the dual mass flywheel.

Ensuring the gearbox dowels are in place, the gearbox can then be replaced and the rest of the car can be reassembled – remember to refit all of those clips.

Information on Schaeffler products, fitting instructions, repair times and much more can be found on the REPXPERT garage portal by clicking here.

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

Insurance industry sets out ADAS requirements for safe repairs

Insurer established requirements bring much needed clarity to the safe repair of vehicles with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

A set of ‘insurance industry requirements’ (IIR) for the safe repair of ADAS-equipped vehicles has been released by Thatcham Research.

The IIR confirms that inspection, realignment and calibration must be considered in all situations where parts likely to affect the operation and functionality of ADAS and the vehicle’s geometry is included within the repair, service or maintenance procedure carried out by a workshop.

The requirements come as the number of ADAS-enabled vehicles on UK roads reaches 4.5 million, a figure that is set to grow exponentially as carmakers increasingly fit the latest driver assistance technology to new models.

Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer, Thatcham Research said: “The correct procedures for the safe repair of vehicles with ADAS, and in what scenarios calibration of the systems themselves is required, is a well-established challenge for the automotive repair industry.

“Today the IIR brings clarity to repairers and enables the long-term sustainability of ADAS-equipped vehicles.

“Sensor calibration requirements vary greatly from one vehicle to another.

“But no matter what model is being fixed, it’s essential that manufacturers’ technical specifications are met to reinstate ADAS features safely, without compromising performance.”

New workshop requirements

Thatcham’s new requirements establish the key steps repairers must follow to ensure that ADAS continue to function.

Workshops should identify the presence, or not, of ADAS on the vehicle and ensuring this is recorded.

Thatcham requires technicians to complete all relevant inspection, realignment and calibration activities as detailed within the repair procedures.

In addition, repair procedures should clearly identify if inspection, realignment and calibration are required and why; repairs must be carried out by a ‘currently competent person’; and fully verifiable and auditable records should be produced, with a copy provided to the asset owner or work provider.

“It is of paramount importance”

Steve Nash, chief executive officer at The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) said: “Both the ADAS guidance and insurance industry requirements for ADAS align to the IMI belief that, it is of paramount importance to enable the sector to deliver on its obligation for safe repair and in addition to build trust with consumers.

“Furthermore, both initiatives align to the IMI campaigns for change and TechSafe initiatives, which provide clarity for all stakeholders with an interest in ensuring competence during vehicle maintenance and repair activities, including ADAS.”

Neil Hilton, head of HGS, Hella Gutman said: “Following the rapid increase in vehicle ADAS fitment it is paramount that the automotive industry has a unilateral approach to the repair and calibration of these vehicles, as pioneers of aftermarket ADAS calibration equipment and a long-standing relationship working with Thatcham Research in this area, it is great news that we finally have the IIR to facilitate safe and accurate working practices on ADAS vehicles.”

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

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