Parts Alliance ‘Too Good To Share’ Promotion Promises Breaktime Rewards

Throughout April, technicians can look forward to enjoying some delicious snacks

The Parts Alliance new promotion, ‘Too Good To Share’ will see garages receive snack bags packed with sweet goodies. Running throughout April, technicians can look forward to enjoying a selection of snacks with every brake caliper purchased from their local branch.

Inside each bag there’s chocolate bars, crisps, a packet of sweets and a soft drink – contents that will provide a timely energy boost and are ideal for consuming at break time, lunch time or simply throughout the working day. 

The Parts Alliance stocks Bendix brake calipers, which are exclusively available in the UK from the distributer. The huge range covers most of the UK car parc and all units are remanufactured to OE Matching Quality.

All remanufacturing uses OE castings, with bleeder screw and rubber parts being 100% replaced. All other parts are inspected and replaced as required, with units thoroughly tested using high and low pressure, with the handbrake mechanism being tested on handbrake calipers as well. The calipers are supplied with rubber parts for easy installation, including a copper washer and grease where applicable.

The range has recently been expanded, with the introduction of Electronic Parking Brake calipers. Over 40 references are now available, covering popular VAG vehicles, BMW 5 series including. Active Hybrid, Mercedes A-Class/B-Class/CLA series/GLA series, Ford Kuga/Mondeo, Land Rover Range Rover/Range Rover Sport, Nissan Qashqai, and many Renault, Citroen, Peugeot applications.

“The Bendix range of brake calipers has been very popular with customers since being introduced a few years ago,” says Simon Moore, Head of Marketing. “The combination of OE matching quality, a wide range covering most applications and competitive pricing has been a real hit with garages.”

The Parts Alliance are also keen to point out the environmental benefits of fitting a remanufactured caliper. Being remanufactured, Bendix calipers save up to 85% of the energy consumption compared to the production of OE units.

The ‘Too Good To Share’ promotion will be running at branches of Allparts, Bromsgrove Motor Factors, BBC Superfactors, BMS Superfactors, Car Parts & Accessories, CES, GMF Motor Factors, GSF Car Parts, SAS Autoparts, SC Motor Factors, The Parts Alliance (South West) and Waterloo Motor Trade.

In addition to calipers, The Parts Alliance has a full braking programme to provide a single source for all brake related repairs. This includes an extensive range of Brembo, Delphi, Bendix and DriveTec pads and discs, along with fitting kits and sensors.   

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REPXPERT videos highlight correct stud and tensioner installation processes for VAG diesel applications

Two new INA technical videos released sharing critical instructions and specifications

The Schaeffler REPXPERT team has produced two new INA technical videos to highlight the correct processes needed to accurately install the timing belt tensioner on popular TDI engines used in multiple VAG applications.

Both videos are short and to the point, but still contain all the critical instructions and specifications needed to carry out a professional replacement.

One of the most common causes of premature belt system failure on 1.9 and 2.0 TDI engines is the incorrect replacement of the tensioner stud.

The stud is steel, whilst the cylinder head to which it attaches is alloy, which can create issues.

Extreme care needs to be taken to ensure there is no damage to the stud hole or thread, and any aluminium deposits are removed so that the stud can be fully inserted.

If the stud extends too far from the block, it can act in a similar way to when you ‘twang’ a ruler on the side of a desk – the more it protrudes the more vibration is created.

Also, if the stud is not installed absolutely square to the engine block, the tensioner will be misaligned, causing excess friction, vibration and premature failure.

The tensioner stud replacement video shows how both the installation angle and depth of the stud can be easily checked by using the INA stud tool available from the REPXPERT bonus shop.

Technicians using the tool to confirm the accuracy of the stud installation can then move on to the tensioner itself, which also needs to be fitted with extreme care.

The tensioner setup video highlights the fact that there are two interchangeable tensioners originally fitted by VAG to 2.0 TDI engines, but that the installation procedure is slightly different depending on the manufacturer – Litens or INA.

Currently, some data providers are only showing the setup procedure for the OE Litens unit, but as both of the popular INA timing belt kit options listed for the engine obviously contain an OE INA tensioner, following the correct INA setup instructions is critical.

The video demonstrates clearly and in detail, the procedure and specifications that must be followed when fitting the OE INA tensioner which, when combined with an accurate stud installation, will ensure a professional and reliable replacement of the entire timing belt system.

Information on Schaeffler products and systems, fitting instructions, labour times and much more can be found on the REPXPERT workshop portal or by using the REPXPERT app, which is available free for all iOS and Android devices from the relevant app store.

For further details, please click here.

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Ring launches “on-the-go” tyre inflator

Compact and lightweight design enables Ring’s handheld rechargeable inflator to be stored in a glove box or a bag

Ring Automotive has launched a handheld rechargeable inflator to meet the needs of today’s on-the-go consumer.

The new RTC2000 does not need to be operated via a 12V socket.

Instead, it operates from a rechargeable lithium battery, making it ideal for motorcyclists and cyclists where there is no 12V socket available.

This flexibility makes it truly versatile for use across numerous applications, including cars, motorbikes, scooters, bicycles, air beds and sports balls.

Featuring a built-in LED light and digital display with four programmable settings, Ring’s portable tyre inflator is the latest product addition to its award-winning RTC Tyre Inflator range.

It will inflate a tyre from flat, but the real benefit is its ability to top up the pressure in tyres quickly, wherever you are – 3 minutes to inflate between 25psi-35psi and it can fully inflate a bike tyre in 2 minutes.

Being rechargeable, means that the lithium battery can be used as a portable powerbank for charging mobile devices.

For cyclists, it comes with a handy storage harness, similar to a water bottle holder, allowing it to be carried on the bike.

Plus, two adaptors, stored in the base of the unit are for inflating sports equipment and Presta valve tyres.

For further information, please click here.

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MANN-FILTER is continuing with its junior sponsorship and competing for the first time with Audi at the ADAC GT Masters

The premium filter brand will continue with its junior sponsorship by supporting up and coming talent Luci Trefz in 2021.

Rising star Luci Trefz has been an integral part of the MANN-FILTER motorsport program since 2019. Last season, Trefz narrowly missed winning the final race of the ADAC GT4 Germany. MANN-FILTER is also backing the emerging star in his next step into GT3 racing.

Trefz has repeatedly attracted attention in recent years as a “Mini-Mamba” driver. Already in his very first year in the MANN-FILTER colors, he became champion of the GT4 European Series before battling for the ADAC GT4 Germany title right to the very end last year. At only 19 years old, he will move up a league in the 2021 season. MANN-FILTER is fully behind his decision to compete for the Land-Motorsport team at the ADAC GT Masters. “I’ll never forget the day when my manager Norbert Brückner called to tell me that Land-Motorsport had sent an offer,” says the young racer excitedly about the new challenge. “I’ve been a fan of this team since I was 15. Back then, I watched on TV as Land-Motorsport narrowly won the legendary 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. That was phenomenal! I am especially grateful to my sponsor MANN-FILTER, who has been supporting me for three years now! This great package would not otherwise be possible. I’m going to give it everything so I can be around for a fourth year!”

Experienced Audi Sport driver Christopher Haase (34, Germany) will be Trefz’ new team-mate. He is tasked with providing advice and support to the up-and-coming talent. Among other things, Haase is a two-time champion of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring and winner of the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Junior sponsoring is not just part of MANN-FILTER. Land-Motorsport team boss Christian Land is also excited about his new protégé: “Giving young talent a chance is part of our philosophy. Connor De Philippi and Sheldon van der Linde are but two successful examples from the recent past. Both succeeded in becoming factory drivers after their time with us. Luci Trefz also has a great opportunity to make it in the professional ranks.”

A second MANN-FILTER Mamba will be “unleashed” at the ADAC GT Masters with an Audi R8 LMS GT3, boasting an impressive 585 hp. Trefz will be on the starting line together with Haase in the well-known yellow-green Mamba design. Using a GT3 race car under the Audi flag fits the MANN-FILTER sponsoring concept very well. Uwe Hartmann, Director of Brand Management at MANN-FILTER reinforces this assertion: “Our proven Mamba design transfers beautifully because it can be used completely independently of sports car manufacturers. That’s why Luci’s request to join him on his way into the GT3 series with an Audi met with great approval from us.”

Team manager Wolfgang Land about the collaboration:
“The MANN-FILTER brand is an established name at the ADAC GT Masters. The image is professional and well-thought-out. That’s why we are looking forward to the collaboration and are proud to become part of the MANN-FILTER family.”

The starting signal for Trefz in his new Audi Mamba will be in mid-May at the ADAC GT Masters season opener at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. 

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Quietest Easter roads in at least eight years predicted, despite lockdown easing

RAC reminds drivers to ensure they’ve checked over their cars thoroughly following lockdown

Drivers are planning just 5.6m trips by car to see friends and family this Easter when Covid restrictions allow, the lowest number since the RAC began tracking motorists’ plans in 2014, new figures show.

Despite the easing of the national lockdown on Monday when the two household and ‘rule of 6’ regulations come in, the RAC Breakdown survey of 1,200 drivers suggests many people remain cautious about meeting up over Easter, with 25 per cent saying they are not planning a trip specifically because of the pandemic.

Of those who will be driving to see family and friends outdoors, Good Friday looks to be the most popular day with the equivalent of 2m separate journeys taking place, followed by Saturday and Easter Sunday (1.3m per day).

The figures suggest however there is a prospect of a ‘late Easter surge’ with a rise in trips being taken during the second week of the school holidays, peaking on Monday 12 April – which is the earliest day that restrictions may be eased further and could see the re-opening of self-catered holiday accommodation, as well as outdoor attractions such as zoos and theme parks.

Between Friday 9 April and Sunday 11 April drivers are planning 5.3m separate leisure journeys, rising to 2.3m alone on the Monday before tailing off during the remainder of the week.

If traffic does increase around this time, data from transportation analytics specialists INRIX suggests that some of the busiest roads could be the A303 near Stonehenge, the A3 and A205 in south London, the A66 near Keswick and the M5 in north Somerset.

The RAC is reminding all drivers who will be out and about over Easter to ensure they’ve checked over their cars thoroughly to reduce the chances of a breakdown, something that is more important than ever this year given the fact many people are not driving nearly as much at the moment.

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Staff and customer service key to success, Dukes Autotech explains

Overall winner of the Motor Ombudman’s Garage star Award makes a significant EV investment

St Austell-based Dukes Autotech, joins an increasing number of independent garages seeking to cater to the needs of a niche that’s looking increasingly likely to soon become a norm.

Within the last few weeks Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that its Jaguar brand will be go ‘all-electric’ by 2025, Ford made its pledge to go ‘electric-only’ by 2030 and Volvo, which is already on its way to achieving a 50:50 split between electric and hybrid sales by 2025, has now also committed to becoming a fully electric car company by 2030.

It’s a trend that husband and wife duo, Gavin and Kerry Dukes of Dukes Autotech is seeing locally too.

Kerry said: “You can see that the percentage of EV sales is shooting up and dealerships in St Austell are really pushing to grow EV sales.

“Many of our fleet contracts are making the switch too, even with vans, and there’s a couple of local taxi firms that are now 100 per cent electric.

“It all seems to be happening much quicker than I think our industry was prepared for – it seems to have caught us out a little bit.

“There’s not many independents around here that can cater to the needs of EVs, so it’s a good business move from that perspective.”

Dukes Autotech is no stranger to business development.

Gavin had long dreamed of owning a business and started the journey with a van, working as a mobile technician built up an invaluable reputation for his specialist auto electrician skills.

Kerry said: “He started to tap into local garages because he had a skill that some just didn’t have and he could fix problem cars that nobody else wanted to do.

“Things got that busy that I joined him in 2013 to help deal with the paperwork and answer the phone while he was out on the road.”

It was a short time later that the couple made the decision to establish premises, taking on a blank-canvas building.

Kerry explained: “It was a daunting prospect but we did a lot of viewings and consultations with companies with regards to equipment and we just got stuck in and designed the layout of the workshop ourselves.

“The night before we opened, I launched our new website, which was a bit of a mistake because the following morning we had 14 cars waiting outside for us but our ramps were yet to be installed.

“So that was an interesting day – I was busy moving everything in while my husband was working on the cars.

“We worked 16-hour days, seven days a week for about eight months but we got it done and have been gradually improving as we’ve gone along.”

Dukes Autotech attracted a unanimous vote by judges and was named overall winner of the 2020 Motor Ombudsman Garage Star Awards, in which customers nominate individuals, teams and garages that have gone ‘above and beyond’ to assist them.

The Motor Ombudsman received more than 800 nominations from across the country, from which 24 finalists were selected and presented before the panel of judges.

Kerry said: “Customer service is very important to us, it’s just a normal part of our day-to-day running of the business.

“To be told that actually what we’re doing is actually exceptional, is really quite humbling.

“We were overjoyed to be nominated, let alone win.

“It has reassured us that our approach works and has given the entire team an enormous moral boost during what has been a very difficult time for everyone.

“We’re lucky that our staff are very proud of where they work.”

Like other independents, the coronavirus pandemic served an enormous impact on business.

As the country went into its first lockdown, Kerry was told to shield.

A member of staff who had recently suffered a stroke moved into the Dukes household under Kerry’s care and the difficult decision to close business was made.

“It was such an unknown scary time,” Kerry reflects. “Closing was the safest thing to do for everyone at that time.”

During its 12-week closure, Gavin and Kerry took the opportunity to build a customer reception area, a luxury that’s now an essential in the battle to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Kerry said: “It involved knocking down some walls, which was fun.

“We also invested in some new equipment and so far we seem to be doing pretty good.

“The way we conducted business before the pandemic meant that we didn’t have to take out a loan – we were very lucky.

“It also gave us an opportunity to take stock of what was important to us; family, friendship, all the people that matter.

“We’ve looked at staff hours, asking if we really need staff to finish at 6.00, and perhaps letting them leave at 5.30 so they can put the kids to bed.”

For now, it’s business as usual at Dukes Autotech and the couple are very much look-forward to welcoming their first EV customers following the completion of their dedicated bay.

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Long-serving Schaeffler UK managing director retires

Schaeffler promotes from within to fill ‘rather large boots’

Nigel Morgan, managing director of Schaeffler’s Automotive Aftermarket division in the UK, has decided to step aside after more than 40 years continual service with the company.

Nigel’s rise to aftermarket fame began as a Sales Manager at Alan A Morgan, his family’s company based in the Midlands, which became the sole importer of LuK clutches back in the Eighties.

LuK liked what Alan A Morgan did so much it bought the company, which then went through several stages of evolution from LuK Aftermarket Service to the present day Schaeffler (UK) Ltd.

Nigel has presided over a phenomenal period of prosperity for the company in the UK, taking annual turnover from £3Mio to around £150Mio and successfully introducing the INA and FAG brands to join their LuK ‘big brother’.

They can also now boast a prominent position in the UK aftermarket, as the preferred brands of many distributors and, importantly, independent technicians.

Schaeffler’s success in the UK can be put down to its philosophy of providing technicians with complete repair solutions, with everything in one box and all in genuine original equipment (OE) quality.

As a trusted technical partner and supplier of components and systems to the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers, independent technicians soon built up their own trust and loyalty to the LuK, INA and FAG brands.

Providing them with free access to the Schaeffler REPXPERT workshop portal and loyalty programme is simply the icing on the cake for many mechanics.

In 2013, at the height of the UK horsemeat scandal, Nigel decided that more also needed to be done to educate the aftermarket about vehicle parts quality, giving installers an informed choice about the differences between OE and non-OE components.

Initial adverts from OESAA, the association chaired by Nigel since its conception, featured horse and cow images and triggered a vociferous response from some quarters.

Seven years later and the organisation is still going strong, recently adding new members such as Brembo and Motul, and still educating technicians at major events, including its own Autoinform Live training weekends held in partnership with Frank Massey.

Nigel will continue to be involved with OESAA, leading the campaign in a consultancy capacity after he leaves Schaeffler at the end of March, saying: “I firmly believe that technicians can benefit most from using the parts and services offered by genuine OE suppliers, which offer the best quality and technical backup available to the aftermarket.

“OE suppliers are simply the best placed to keep technicians up-to-date with new products, systems and repair methods, as they are supplying these high-tech products and systems to vehicle manufacturers for original fitment.

“OE suppliers will also continue to be a key source of education and information, as hybridisation and electrification slowly take hold, so there is still an important role for the OESAA campaign to play over the coming years – one which I hope to remain very much a part of.”

Nigel obviously leaves some ‘rather large boots’ to fill at Schaeffler, so stepping up to the newly created position of ‘Country Manager UK & Ireland’ will be Mark Dolloway, who joined Schaeffler from SKF in 2012.

Mark will, in turn, be replaced as Sales Director by Matt Selby, another Schaeffler veteran who originally joined the company back in 2007.

As always, the final word belongs to Nigel: “I have enjoyed over 40 wonderful years with Schaeffler, with any expectations I had at the start of this journey completely and utterly fulfilled beyond my wildest imagination.

“However, all of my achievements are also that of the amazing UK team, many of whom have been alongside me at Schaeffler for a very long time.

“Their hard work, dedication and passion means that I can leave Schaeffler (UK) Ltd knowing that it is in some very capable hands, but this is not a ‘goodbye’, merely an ‘auf wiedersehen’, as there is certainly a lot more for me to do.”

Information about Schaeffler components and systems, including fitting instructions, labour times and much more, can be found on the REPXPERT workshop portal at www.repxpert.co.uk or by using the REPXPERT app, which is available free for all iOS and Android devices from the relevant app store.

For further information, please click here.

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BMW recalls first-gen 1 Series over fire risk

Models built between 2004 and 2011 affected by air conditioning fault

BMW is recalling 180,000 first-generation (E8x) BMW 1 Series cars built between 2004 and 2011 in the UK over fears that an air conditioning fault could lead to a fire.

The German car maker is in the process of writing to owners of 1 Series models altering them to the recall.

However, due to a parts shortage, drivers may have to wait more than eight weeks before the problem is addressed.

BMW says that a problem with the air conditioning unit has the potential to cause overheating, damage and, in some rare cases, fire.

In a statement it said: “Over time, frictional corrosion can occur at the contacts of the blower regulator due to vibrational stress.

“When combined with high current flow at the maximum blower speed, an increase in temperature can occur, which may result in damage to the regulator connection and wiring.

“In rare cases this may lead to a fire.

“Cars are being recalled to dealers so the wiring to the regulator can be examined and replaced. In some cases, the regulator may also have to be replaced.

“In rare cases this may lead to a fire.”

The cars are being recalled to dealers so the wiring to the regulator can be examined and replaced.

In some cases, the regulator may also have to be replaced.

BMW suggests owners can continue to use their car as normal as long as it does not develop intermittent or complete loss of airflow from the air conditioning system including the max air conditioning or demist functions.

Owners are also advised to be wary of a scorching/burning smell inside the cabin.

The carmaker also suggests owners should avoid using the “max” and demist settings on their air conditioning and owners with manual air conditioning have been told to leave the fan speed at its lowest setting.

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Engine Oils for Hybrid Vehicles From Comma

Stricter environmental regulations to reduce CO2 emissions are putting an ever-increasing pressure on vehicle manufacturers to produce vehicles that don’t fall foul of the requirements.

With that, EV and Hybrid vehicle sales are growing year on year with a staggering 343% increase in 2020 versus the previous year and the Tesla Model 3 being the highest selling vehicle in December of the same year.

It’s therefore little wonder that according to engine oil manufacturer Comma, 23% of the garage technicians surveyed recently* stated that the growth of EV and hybrid vehicles would be the biggest issue they face in the next three years. What was once the next generation’s issue is very much a here and now one.

With a fine line between reducing emissions without losing power/longevity of the battery, hybrid vehicles are widely considered to be a perfect balance between the standard combustion engine and the fully electric models. The electric motor will generally be used when the combustion engine comes under enhanced loads and pressures, like when accelerating. By switching the power source, it allows the vehicle to act much more efficiently, therefore reducing the CO2 emissions.

Whilst many believe the requirement for engine oils will decrease, it has in fact allowed for an increase in very vehicle specific, sometimes niche grades for each vehicle’s requirement. This is due to the vehicles still using, in part, the combustion engine where oil is, and always will be, absolutely essential. Not only that but the stop-start demand on these vehicles makes it increasingly important to make sure the right products are used, within the necessary guidelines.

“With EV and Hybrid vehicle sales growing year on year, it’s now more important than ever that workshops are prepared to support the servicing demands with the correct products available,” explains Comma Sales and Marketing Director, Mike Bewsey. “We pride ourselves on ensuring the latest technology grades are available and have developed oils specifically for hybrid plug-in and hybrid-electric cars.”

The Eco-T oil is a fully synthetic 0W-16 grade, whilst the Pro-NRG oil is a fully synthetic 0W-20 grade, which can be used for servicing hybrid cars. Both grades are available from The Parts Alliance. The Comma range of Performance Motor Oils is OE approved, covers 99% of the vehicle car parc and is backed by their 100% compatibility guarantee, when using CommaOil.com.

Comma are participating in The Parts Alliance current Original Experience promotion. Throughout March garages will receive a scratch card with every 5L bottle of Comma Performance Oil.

There’s the chance to win a variety of prizes, such as snack boxes, t-shirts, mugs, cool bags and chocolate bags with each card. The top prize is a Red Letter days experience, in which the lucky winners can enjoy their choice of experience such as supercar driving, spa day, hot air ballooning, a hotel stay and much more. 

To find out more about the Original Experience promotion visit www.theoe.co.uk

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One-third of UK cars suffer pothole damage

Nine per cent of the road network is considered to be in poor condition and likely to require maintenance within 12 months

As many as 32 per cent of motorists have had their car damaged by a pothole, new research by Citroen reveals.

The average repair bill for this type of damage is £141.95, with 11 per cent of drivers having to cough up more than £251 for a pothole-related repair.

In a UK-wide survey of 2,000 drivers, almost a quarter of those whose vehicle had been damaged by a crack in the road had attempted to claim back the repair cost from their local council.

Pothole-related repairs cost local authorities a total of almost £6 million in compensation in 2019/20, latest data from The Asphalt Industry Alliance ALARM report shows.

The ALARM report found a pothole is repaired every 21 seconds in England and Wales.

However, with authorities facing carriageway maintenance budget shortfalls of around £826.6 million a year, 9 per cent of the road network is considered to be in poor condition and likely to require maintenance within 12 months.

Eurig Druce, managing director of Citroen UK, said: “It is concerning to find that potholes have caused damage to nearly a third of drivers’ cars across England and Wales. Local authorities have a lot of issues to solve and this will take time.”

The Citroen study, conducted in March 2021, also shows 42 per cent of drivers wish their car had better suspension to deal with rougher roads

In January, the RAC revealed it had attended almost 1,500 pothole-related breakdowns in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Speaking at the time, RAC head of road policy Nicholas Lyes called on the government to put aside 2p from the existing 58p-per-litre duty on the sale of petrol and diesel, which he said “would generate nearly £5bn of additional funds for local roads over five years”.

Lyes added: “The government’s approach of allocating funding to councils from various pots on an annual basis means authorities are always having to play catch-up by fixing potholes rather than focusing on preventative maintenance.

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