ADAS training needed to ensure it’s not a hazard, road safety charity warns

Advanced driver assistance systems are dangerous unless used correctly but awareness remains low

Vehicle manufacturers, dealerships, DVSA and driving instructors should include a comprehensive lesson for motorists on how to use advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) so they are a road safety benefit and not a potential hazard, by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.

The urgent call has been made following the publication of a highly influential report by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) entitled ‘How to maximize the road safety benefits of ADAS’.

Some of the most widely known ADAS – many of which will become mandatory in new vehicles from July 2022 – include adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking systems, lane keeping assist and driver monitoring for drowsiness and distraction recognition.

However, awareness and understanding of these systems is generally low among drivers.

The FIA’s report finds that most users do not receive any training when first encountering ADAS but have to rely on information from the user manual, and most alarmingly by applying a ‘trial-and-error’ method.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Advanced driver assistance systems have the potential to improve road safety, but only if used correctly.

“If used incorrectly, not least without a full understanding of what the systems are and are not capable of, they can have the opposite effect, with potentially worrying consequences for all road users.

“IAM RoadSmart therefore believes the time has now come to include a comprehensive lesson from every car dealer supplying vehicles and further, for more about ADAS to be included in the UK driving test.

“This is crucial as these tools begin to be supplied as standard on an increasing number of vehicles.”

Meanwhile, further recommendations from the FIA report, which IAM RoadSmart endorses, include a comprehensive explanation to end-users of the systems’ limitations, more consistently accurate functioning of ADAS in practice and the introduction of fail-safe communications to alert users if any of the systems fail, helping to mitigate any potential road safety risk.

Neil added: “There needs to be a much higher emphasis on educating drivers in the best use of technology. Vehicle manufacturers and car dealerships are key, ensuring that when a customer drives off the forecourt they understand and use the various safety systems correctly.

“Until this becomes the norm, IAM RoadSmart is exploring the potential for video tutorials that will plug the current gap.”

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Valeo to reveal top five causes of a leaking concentric slave cylinder in webinar

Live training to cover best practices to avoid warranty related problems

Valeo is set to host a webinar to reveal the top five causes of concentric slave cylinder (CSC) failure on January 27, 2021.

Starting at 10am, the 15-minute training session provides an overview to the many different CSC technologies, fitting methods and tools available.

A Valeo spokesperson said: “As it can be a time consuming, and therefore cost consuming job, it’s important that no fitting errors are made.

“In this webinar we look at how to avoid making the most common fitting error and the best fitment practices when it comes to fitting a clutch concentric slave cylinder and reveal the top causes of easy to avoid CSC failures.”

Webinar veiwers will gain an understanding of the advantages of a concentric slave cylinder over conventional clutch release components and the common causes of failure as seen by Valeo.

Best practices for fitting a concentric slave cylinder to avoid warranty-related problems will also be covered.

The webinar is ideal for motor factors and garages to gain an understanding of how a hydraulic system operates, the make up of each type of system and the latest innovations currently being utilised.

It will also be available to watch on demand one hour after the live session.

Attendees will be in with a chance of winning a Lifestyle Voucher to use in over 120 shops.

For further information click here

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Current lockdown car use at similar levels to May 2020

Eight per cent more breakdowns handled over first four days of January compared to same period in previous years

Car use by drivers in the UK has not fallen to the same extent as it did during the first coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, analysis of RAC data suggests.

RAC patrols had their busiest start to a New Year on record with eight more breakdowns handled over the first four days of January compared to the same period in previous years.

While the cold weather and the fact cars were used even less than normal over Christmas as a result of the coronavirus will both have been major factors, the data confirms that drivers are still deeming it necessary to use their vehicles for essential trips in 2021.

During the first week of the latest lockdown, data from RAC Black Box Insurance customers shows there were on average ten per cent more cars in daily use than during the first week of March’s lockdown, leading to 31 per cent more daily miles driven.

This represents a 22 per cent reduction in car use compared to normal.

RAC data insight spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Despite the whole of the UK now under a further coronavirus lockdown, our data shows the number of cars in use has not dropped to the same extent it did the first time restrictions were brought in last March.

“The feel of this latest nationwide lockdown is very different to that which was first imposed in 2020 with greater numbers of people working in ‘Covid-secure’ workplaces, more shops offering click-and-collect services, and more children of keyworkers attending schools.

“In addition, with so many avoiding public transport, there will inevitably be far more people opting for the safer environment of the car.

“Together, these differences help account for the busier roads.”

The RAC believes traffic volumes are now at a similar level to the middle of last May, which interestingly was the point restrictions first started to be eased, with people encouraged to return to workplaces if they were unable to work from home.

According to RAC data, the quietest week for traffic since the start of the pandemic was the second week of the first coronavirus lockdown, with a 41 per cent reduction in car usage compared to normal.

This contrasts with the first full week of September when the RAC recorded its highest levels of car use of the year as schools in England returned after the summer holidays, with traffic back to normal levels.

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Next REPXPERT live ‘tea-break training’ event dates confirmed

LuK training to cover latest clutch technology later this month

Schaeffler’s REPXPERT technical training team has confirmed its schedule for its programme of live ‘tea-break training’ sessions.

The next session, entitled ‘Movin’ with the times’, will cover new and upcoming clutch technology, including dual mass flywheels, and is to be held on 26 January and again on 27 January.

The events are proving extremely popular with workshop professionals and, with limited space, technicians are advised to register early.

Module two in the series of INA training sessions on cooling systems will follow a couple of weeks later, 9 and 10 February.

Senior REPXPERT and Schaeffler technical manager, Alistair Mason, said: “Each module should take around 20 minutes, including time for a quick Q&A.

“The idea is that technicians can learn something extremely useful during the time it normally takes to make a brew and take a quick break from the workshop.”

Registration links are available on the REPXPERT website, as well as via social media posts and newsletters sent to members plus anybody who has attended a Schaeffler REPXPERT Academy or any other Schaeffler training event.

For further information and to register your place, click here

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Illegal tyres common on UK roads, data shows

One in four drivers on the roads with a defective tyre

Tyre failure rates increased by up to three per cent between 2019 and 2020 despite fewer journeys being made on Britain’s locked down roads, new data analysis suggests.

Up to 8.5 million motorists could be driving with illegal tyres, data from Evans Halshaw shows.

Analysing almost 400,000 car services over the past 21 months, Evans Halshaw has revealed on average 26 per cent of UK motorists fail with an illegal tyre.

Stockport was found to have the highest tyre failure rate in the UK with almost 40 per cent of all drivers suffering from tyre-related issues.

Bury was found to have the second-highest rate with almost 37 per cent of all road users suffering critical tyre safety issues.

Michael Hunt, group head of Aftersales at Evans Halshaw said: “Our study has demonstrated just how common illegal tyres are in the UK.

“Revealing that one in four drivers are potentially on the roads with a safety-critical tyre each day.

“In particular, residents in the North West of England should check their tyres regularly as locations in this region feature dominantly in the top 10 places with the highest failure rates.

“The data also highlights the importance of inspecting your vehicle on a regular basis.”

Mr Hunt urged drivers to book in their car for “regular health checks” to minimise safety concerns.

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Computer chip shortage halts car production for growing number of carmakers

Audi, Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen among brands disrupted by global supply chain issues

Some of the world’s biggest carmakers, including Toyota and Volkswagen, have been forced to halt or slow production amid a global shortage of semiconductor computer chips.

The component, which is crucial for vehicle infotainment systems and driver aids, is in particularly high demand following a pandemic-driven surge for consumer electronic devices, including games consoles, laptops and tablets.

A Volkswagen spokesman told Autocar: “So far, we haven’t quantified the full volume impact as we continue to work intensively with our suppliers to minimise shortages. 

“However, we expect the ramifications to continue at least in the first quarter, with potential to recover any lost volume later in the year.

“Another issue we’re dealing with is the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s affecting not just our manufacturing operations but also the crucially important supply chain.

“Where employees or supplier staff are shielding or ill, that is of course resulting in pressure on productivity and supply – although of course our main focus is on protecting our own and our suppliers’ staff.

“Like many UK companies, we made intensive preparations for Brexit, including ensuring a healthy quantity of stock in the country to cover any short-term logistic issues.”

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Guide: Vauxhall Zafira clutch replacement

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

This month, REPXPERT’s Alistair Mason replaced the clutch assembly in a 2013 Vauxhall Zafira 1.7 CDTI, which had racked up more than 110,000 miles.

After complaints that the vehicle’s clutch was ‘slipping’ under full load scenarios, a short road test confirmed that a clutch replacement was necessary.

As the clutch was slipping, combined with the heat generation and miles covered, the dual mass flywheel was also replaced.

One of the main concerns when removing the gearbox from a Vauxhall is that the front sub-frame needs to be lowered or removed, but with a little insight, an independent workshop technician should be able to replace the clutch system on this type of vehicle with confidence.

With almost 430,000 Vauxhall Zafiras on UK roads, the chances of a technician working on one is high.

Equipment needed:

  • Vehicle lift, two post lift is preferable
  • Engine support
  • Transmission jack

Prior to the repair, it is always advised to ensure you have the locking wheel bolt tool and radio code if required. 

With the vehicle placed on the ramp, remove the pinch bolt from the universal joint that connects the steering column to the steering rack, located in the driver’s footwell.

Once removed, ensure the steering wheel does not rotate, as this can affect the steering angle sensor calibration.

Open the bonnet, disconnect the battery, remove the battery clamp and remove the battery – then disconnect the wiring looms from the battery carrier and remove the carrier (Fig 1).

With clear access to the top of the gearbox, remove the two gear change cables from the selector mechanism and stow in the bulkhead area.

Clamp the flexible part of the hydraulic clutch pipe and disconnect the clutch pipe from the concentric slave cylinder (CSC) connection.

Figure one

Remove the two engine wiring loom brackets from the upper bell housing – tie the looms against the engine to allow more working room (Fig 2) – disconnect the reverse light switch multiplug and then remove the upper bell housing bolts. 

As the front sub-frame is going to be lowered, secure the radiator in place with two cable ties to prevent it from dropping.

Figure Two

Next, raise the vehicle lift to waist height and remove both front wheels. Disconnect the N/S/F anti-roll bar link, remove the N/S/F hub nut cap and then the N/S/F hub/driveshaft nut, before removing the O/S/F wheel arch splash guard.

Raise the vehicle lift to gain access to the underside of the vehicle, then remove the N/S/F bottom ball joint pinch bolt, the ball joint from the hub assembly and the rear bolts from the front sub-frame.

Figure Three

Detach the exhaust front pipe from the diesel particulate filter by removing the three nuts (Fig 3), then disconnect the rear gearbox pendulum mounting and the front gearbox mounting from the gearbox – it can stay attached to the sub-frame (Fig 4).

Figure Four

Support the engine by using either an engine beam on the top of the engine or a transmission jack from under the vehicle.

Unscrew the front sub-frame bolts and lower the sub-frame to give enough clearance to remove the gearbox between the vehicle body and the sub-frame.

Don’t forget to drain the gearbox oil and then remove the N/S/F driveshaft (Fig 5).

Figure Five

Now remove the top gearbox mounting, which may include the use of a step ladder, if supports are fitted under the vehicle.

Once the mounting has been detached, lower the engine/gearbox assembly to aid gearbox removal.

Support the gearbox using a transmission jack and remove the lower bell-housing bolts.

At this point, the gearbox is ready to be removed, which may require the assistance of a second person.

Ease the gearbox away from the engine, and, once clear, lift the gearbox over the side of the front sub-frame and then place in a safe area.

With the gearbox removed, the clutch and flywheel assembly are easily accessible.

To get a closer look at the clutch, undo the six clutch pressure-plate retaining bolts and then remove the clutch assembly.

On this occasion, the clutch was examined, and it was clear to see that the clutch plate friction material had worn to the end of its service life.

The dual mass flywheel was then removed by unscrewing the eight fixing bolts.

At this point, examine the back of the engine for any oil or coolant leaks that could contaminate the new clutch and flywheel assembly, rectifying if necessary.

Clean the back of the engine with brake and clutch dust cleaner, then mount the new dual mass flywheel.

Ensure all alignment dowels locate correctly, fit the new flywheel bolts, tighten and torque to the manufacturer’s specification.

Replacing the CSC

The CSC must always be replaced when replacing the clutch assembly to ensure a complete repair.

Remove the pipe guide that passes through the bell-housing, then, once that task is complete, unbolt the three CSC retaining bolts and then the CSC.

Clean the bell-housing area, ensuring all the old clutch dust has been cleared, and carefully mount the new CSC, of which the gearbox input shaft oil seal is an integral part.

Guide the pipe through the bell housing, then, once neatly in position, fit the three retaining bolts and torque to the recommended specification. Finally, refit the pipe guide back into the bell-housing.

Lightly smear some high-melting point grease onto the splines of the gearbox input shaft, before mounting the new clutch plate onto it, moving back and forth, as this will confirm the clutch plate fits correctly and will evenly distribute the grease. Remove the clutch plate and wipe off any excess grease.

When mounting the clutch assembly, ensure the clutch plate is facing the correct direction – this is indicated by either ‘Gearbox Side’ or ‘Getriebe Seite’ stamped onto the centre of the clutch plate – by using a clutch alignment tool.

With the clutch plate mounted correctly, lift the clutch pressure plate, insert the six bolts, tighten evenly and sequentially and torque to the recommended value.

The clutch assembly fitted to this vehicle is a ‘Travel Adjusting, Self-Adjusting Clutch’, which can be recognised by the adjuster mechanism (Fig 6).

Figure Six

A critical part of this repair is to locate and remove the small rubber ‘top hat’ seal from the end of the CSC pipe (Fig 7).

Figure Seven

It will either be attached to the CSC pipe or in the connector that attaches to the pipe (Fig 8) and must be located and discarded, as the new pipe has a new seal pre-fitted.

Figure Eight

The last task to carry out before refitting the gearbox is to flush out the old clutch fluid and replenish the system with new fluid, achieved by placing a drain-tray under the hydraulic pipe, releasing the clamp and allowing the fluid to run through.

The reservoir can be topped up as required, until the new fluid is running through, before re-clamping the pipe.

The gearbox is now ready to be installed.

To ensure the gearbox alignment dowels are located correctly in the engine, a second person may be required.

Ease the gearbox into position and locate on the dowels; once located, fit a bell housing bolt, which is easily accessible, and tighten to secure in position.

Installation is carried out in reverse order of removal.

When the gearbox is located on its mountings, bleed the clutch to confirm correct operation and remember to refill the gearbox with the correct quality and quantity of gearbox oil.

Always remember to reset electrical systems after the battery has been reconnected and carry out a good road test to ensure a quality repair.

Information on Schaeffler products, fitting instructions, repair times and much more can be found on the REPXPERT garage portal, or calling the Schaeffler technical hotline on 01432 264264. 

For further information click here

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Man caught red-handed dumping tyres fined £400

Covert CCTV cameras caught the offender in the act

A man who fly-tipped worn-out tyres in Harborough, Leicestershire has been fined £400 after he was caught red-handed.

The offender was filmed in the act on covert CCTV cameras.

The offender, who hasn’t been named, claimed someone had borrowed his car to dispose of the waste.

He was fined despite his claims because he is the ‘registered keeper’ of the vehicle involved.

Cllr Jonathan Bateman, Harborough council’s Cabinet lead for environment and waste, said: “We have said it before, and we’ll say it again, if you fly-tip in this district you never know who is watching.

“We deploy mobile CCTV cameras at fly-tipping hotspots and also get tip-offs from the public about incidents.

“They have resulted in a number of fines over the previous few months.

“Huge credit to our enviro-crime team for securing another fine.”

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NGK’s BoxClever loyalty scheme offers incentive to fit glow plugs

Fifty prize points for each purchase in February instead of usual twenty

Ignition specialist NGK is making it even more rewarding for UK workshops to fit its glow plugs to service their customers’ diesel-powered vehicles this winter.

The company is giving members of its BoxClever independent garage loyalty scheme a special incentive to fit its glow plugs by awarding them fifty prize points for each purchase in February instead of the usual twenty points.

Glow plugs are not a service replacement item in an engine and no mileages or time recommendations for change are made by the vehicle manufacturers, but NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd advises the replacement of sets of glow plugs this winter.

Mark Hallam, marketing manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “There’s never been a better time for workshops to fit NGK glow plugs.

“Not only will they satisfy their customers‘ requirements, but BoxClever members will also receive more points when purchasing them in February.

“Reliability is key to NGK glow plugs‘ success.

“They meet or exceed vehicle manufacturers’ specifications which ensures improved drivability during engine warm up and the reduction of emissions.”

The company believes distributors should educate garages on the importance of maximising glow plug sales by advising that instead of changing one faulty glow plug, they should ‘upsell’ by replacing all of them.

If one plug has failed, it is extremely likely that the remaining plugs will shortly suffer a similar fate.

By replacing the vehicle set, not only will the tight emissions legislation be complied with, but as the glow plug is now an integral part of the engine management system, the starting and cold drive quality will be kept at its maximum.

The company is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to many vehicle manufacturers with the same parts being available in the UK aftermarket.

For further information click here

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Volkswagen confirm update for Golf 8 software glitch

More than 7,000 UK models affected by issue with infotainment system and reversing camera tech

Volkswagen has announced a ‘voluntary software update’ to fix problems which can affect the onboard infotainment system and reversing camera technology on some Golf 8 models.

Just over 7,400 Golf 8 models in the UK will receive the new software at their next service.

Volkswagen says the updates are a service campaign with vehicles benefiting from a new software update.

They said the updates were in the interests of “continuous product improvement” for vehicles.

The changes will not be mandatory and will not affect the driver’s ability to use their models.

Deliveries of the new Golf were halted in May 2020 due to issues with the cars emergency call system.

The launch of the new Golf was initially delayed in 2019 while engineers fixed software development problems.

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