Autotechnician magazine Jul/Aug 24

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Valuable repair methods divulged at our Workshop Takeover and the UK Garage & Bodyshop Event

Dear reader,

Mark Field, Chief executive of the IAAF, has said: “The life of a small business owner can be lonely, and that state of isolation can leave us unwilling to venture out, to try new things. Therefore, the meeting of others at trade events, a community of likeminded people that share the same challenges and opportunities on a daily basis, has perhaps never been as important to our working lives.” We couldn’t agree more. In recent years, there has been a growing trend to share knowledge – no longer are people holding onto ‘trade secrets’ and reaping the benefits for themselves but actively passing on proven methods and valuable repair advice to help their peers improve. Nowhere is this more evident than trade shows and training events.

The UK Garage & Bodyshop event was a huge success for both visitors and exhibitors, we provide highlights from page 50. Our autotech feature from page 18 highlights details of our fantastic training and social event where we were joined by young and old technicians and workshop owners who were there to benefit from the practical advice but also the connections made. We hope you benefit from all the features we provide for you this month. Have a great summer.

* View and download previous digital issues at:

July/August 2024

The finalists for the British Independent Garage Awards 2024 are…

The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has announced the finalists for the BIG Awards 2024, who demonstrate outstanding excellence in their respective categories, showcasing the very best in the independent garage sector. Autotechnician would like to congratulate each of the finalists and look forward to the awards in September. A full list of finalists can be found at

Best Newcomer: Bear and Bee Garage, Boby Auto, Boss Tuning, CB Automotive, DB Car Doctor, T&E Autolec

Business Improvement: AAK Autos, Bryngwyn Service Station, Mechanic Man, Tytherleigh Vehicle Electrics

Community Hero: Britannia MOT & Repair Centre, C R Allen and Sons, Holmer Green Service Centre, Segensworth Automobiles, Westbury Garage Shrewsbury, Westgate Tyres

Consumer Choice: ACC UK, Amor Auto Solutions, Bakers Garage, Holmer Green Service Centre, Mouths Motor Company

Customer Service: Carite Service Centre, Hillclimb Garage, LM Motor Clinic, Mereworth Motors, Moulton Main Garage, Sandles Car Supermarket, SML Motorsport & Vehicle Repairs

TechFest draws the crowds

GSF Car Parts hailed its first TechFest Garage Technology Festival at Wembley on June 13 as a resounding success, drawing nearly 2,000 visitors, who enjoyed hands-on training, live demos and deals on tools and equipment.

Over 50 suppliers, including Schaeffler, Yuasa, Comma and Delphi showcased their latest products and ran various competitions.

Highlights of the evening included displays of classic and supercars, such as the renowned Ferrari Enzo, the iconic Porsche 911 Targa 2.7E (1972), and a range of luxurious German Mercedes-Benz.

Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, GSF Car Parts Executive Chairman, said: “TechFest was all about saying thank you to our partners and showing them how much we've valued them over the many years we've worked together. For me, the best part of the event was connecting (and reconnecting) with industry peers, as any entrepreneur knows that relationships are fundamental to business.”

Large Independent Garage of the Year: CCM, Carmaster UK, Central Garage (Lichfield), German Autocentre, Hillclimb Garage, Shaikly Motor Company, Stourbridge Automotive, Uckfield Motor Services

Small Independent Garage of the Year: Britannia MOT & Repair Centre, BTN Automotive, Holmer Green Service Centre, Maitland Motors, Oldfields Garage Services, The Garage Shefford, The Garage Warmington

Stuart James, CEO of the Independent Garage Association, said: “We are delighted to see so many deserving finalists for this year’s BIG Awards. Their commitment to excellence and customer service sets a high standard for the entire industry. I would like to extend my thanks to all of the 2024 entrants and our sponsors for their support and participation. Together, we continue to drive the independent garage sector forward.”

The BIG Awards will be held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on September 20th, 2024. The evening will commence with a drinks reception at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner at 7:00 pm. Mark Durden-Smith will host the awards and the night will feature a variety of entertainment.

1TEC Auto Hub welcomes 200th member

Garage concept 1TEC Auto Hub, launched last year by LKQ Euro Car Parts, sets its sights on expansion after welcoming its 200th member, Clarkes Maintenance Engineering in Nairn, Scotland.

The Hub was created to help workshops navigate evolving challenges and deliver a first-class service. Garages that sign up benefit from the latest technical and diagnostic data to promote quality first-time fixes, marketing support and materials, business support to help unlock revenue streams, training including access to the LKQ Academy, and exclusive offers, loyalty platform and events.

Louise Davies, Head of Concepts at LKQ Euro Car Parts said: “Every garage in our community is setting consistently high

standards in the independent aftermarket. We saw it with the first garage to join; the same was true when our 100th member – Ferdotti Motor Services – signed up; and Clarkes Maintenance Engineering is no exception. 200 members is a big milestone for us as we work to build a concept brand known for best-in-class customer service and efficient, effective service, maintenance and repair work.

“We have ambitious plans and hope to grow the network by another 50 per cent by the end of this year, meaning even more independent workshops will have access to the latest tools, training and technical data to help them reach their full potential.

Get involved in REPXPERT video series

Schaeffler has announced a new REPXPERT video series, the first of which will shine a light on apprenticeships.

“We are calling on garages to register their interest in participating and sharing their unique perspectives,” said Matthew Selby, Sales and Marketing Director at Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket (UK). “It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase your personal journey into the trade, just as Colin Denton did at the recent REPXPERT Conference, or to offer innovative ideas on how to engage and inspire the next generation of automotive technicians.”

The first ‘Wrenches and Wisdom’ series is scheduled for filming this autumn and will take viewers on a tour of UK workshops, highlighting real-life stories and experiences from garage owners and technicians.

“Independent garages, technicians and the apprentices that work within them are the backbone of the automotive aftermarket,” said Matthew. “Their stories and insights are invaluable."

“By participating in filming, they have a unique opportunity to raise awareness of key issues within our industry and provide a platform to discuss and develop possible solutions. It’s not just about sharing experiences, it’s also about fostering a community that supports and uplifts one another.”

Garage owners, technicians, and apprentices interested in being featured in the ‘Wrenches and Wisdom’ video series are invited to express their interest by emailing:



For peace of mind always use a Garage Equipment Association member. GEA accredited engineers work to an industry code of conduct. Your assurance their skills and knowledge have been independently assessed.

Get ready for Automechanika Frankfurt

Automechanika Frankfurt is a truly global event and seen as the must-attend exhibition for automotive professionals in Europe

Organisers are looking to entice UK workshop owners and technicians to the vast showcase of technology, services and equipment in the heart of Frankfurt by providing an extensive programme of lectures and seminars, Workshop of the Future 4.0, classic car servicing and repair, networking, with a daily happy hour with live music and drinks!

This year's Automechanika in Frankfurt focuses on the transformation of the automotive industry, not only with themes on sustainability, AI and automation, but also recruiting the next generation – and these topics run through the entire event programme.

From 10 – 14 September 2024, the event will explore the latest industry trends in panel discussions and you can discover new products and solutions in hands-on workshops. Take advantage of the Automechanika Academy's diverse and free programme, which covers a wide range of lectures, panels and tech talks on current topics and developments.

The Academy at a glance:

Sustainability Court in Hall 5.0

Innovation4Mobility in Hall 3.0

Diagnosis & Repair in Hall 8

Body & Paint in Hall 11.1

Car Wash, Care & Detailing, Oils, Lubricants & Fuels in Hall 12.0.

"We have significantly expanded the Automechanika training and lecture programme and developed new networking formats. We are offering all participants the opportunity to update their knowledge, discuss with experts and network with automotive professionals from all over the world on a total of five stages, each located in the thematically related halls."

Take your workshop to the next level with ESI[Tronic] Evolution.

Now updated, Bosch’s ESI[tronic] 2.0 Online diagnostic software, used in workshops world-wide, has been completely revised and expanded to include various new functions, as well as a name change to ESI[tronic] Evolution. Becoming faster and more userfriendly, with a brand new Start Screen presenting a cleaner and intuitive user interface, linking directly to the comprehensive information in Bosch’s globally-proven software.

1. Sustainability court

For the first time, there will be a podium dedicated to the topic of sustainability. The new format with an exhibition area, stage and networking lounge aims to promote dialogue between the various players on the topic of sustainability at the trade fair.

2. Innovation4Mobility

Innovation4Mobility in Hall 3.0 is the central point of contact for innovative topics and technologies for future mobility, looking at hydrogen-powered combustion engines, electric vehicles, software-defined vehicles and much more.

3. Diagnosis & repair

Current market developments will be explored within the stage programme in Hall 8, taking in exhaust emissions, sensors and technologies, the repair of EVs and battery innovations and testing.

4. Body & Paint

The stage in Hall 11.1 is the central point of contact for those who want to find out about future topics in collision

Where passion meets business

management. The presentations and panels will cover topics such as digital parts procurement, tokenisation of classic cars, recruiting new talent for classic car companies and historic motorbikes

5. Car wash, care & detailing and oil, lubricants and fuels

In Hall 12.0, everything revolves around the topics of car wash, care and detailing as well as oil, lubricants and fuels.

Automechanika is inviting classic car professionals and workshops to exchange topics such as digital parts procurement, recruiting new talents, or finding the right paint solution. In addition to panels and presentations in Hall 11.1, visitors can also experience classic and collectible cars live. A highlight of the trade fair will be the “Rhein-Main-Klassik” Rally, which will make a stop at the fair ground.

Register for your ticket here or by scanning the QR code

Recruiting and retaining the best

Top tips from HR specialist and founder of The HR Playbook, Amy Blick FCIPD

As a small business, your people are the foundation for long term success. It makes sense therefore to invest time and a little money into building an optimum recruitment and onboarding process. The days are long gone when posting a vaguely worded advert and giving a recruit your staff handbook as their induction training was enough. Today, if you want to attract the best people you must go the extra mile. The good news is, it’s not that difficult. Here are my top tips…

The recruitment process

Focus on being efficient and delivering a great experience for candidates so they can shine.

Define clear job responsibilities and expectations

This ensures that candidates understand what is required and it enables you to assess their suitability accurately. A detailed job description helps attract candidates who are the right fit for the role and reduces the likelihood of mismatched hires.

Use online channels for your recruitment

Cast a wide net when searching for talent by using online and face to face recruitment channels and you won’t have to rely on a recruitment agency. This includes job boards, social media platforms, industry-specific websites, networking events, and employee referrals. Each channel attracts a different pool of candidates making it more likely you will find the right person without having to spend months on the task.

Prioritise culture and behavioural fit

While technical skills are of course crucial if you’re hiring a technician prioritising cultural fit and soft skills during the hiring process is key to finding the best talent for your business. Look for candidates who share your company values, demonstrate adaptability, possess good communication skills, understand the importance of teamwork and that demonstrate a willingness to learn. Employees who align with your company culture are more likely to be engaged, productive, and committed to the success of your business.


Now you have hired your new talent, it’s time to get their onboarding right.

A personalised welcome

Tailor the onboarding process to each new hire, ensuring they feel valued and integrated from day one. This could include assigning a mentor, providing a New Starter welcome kit, arranging a meet-and-greet with team members and posting a welcome message with photos on your social channels. At the end of the first few days make time to sit down and let them talk freely so you can nip potential problems in the bud and find out what you’re doing right!

Clear expectations

Set clear expectations and goals for the new hire, outlining their role, responsibilities, and how their work contributes to the overall success of the business. This helps them hit the ground running and it fosters a sense of purpose. It also eliminates confusion and misunderstanding.

Continuous support and feedback

Provide support and feedback throughout the onboarding period and beyond. Regular check-ins, constructive feedback sessions, and opportunities for skills development will help your new hires feel supported and, motivated to excel in their roles.

Hiring the wrong person has severe repercussions in terms of recruitment expenses, training, and lost productivity. Investing in finding and retaining the right talent upfront will save money and it will ensure you keep those talented team members.

The HR Playbook

Amy is the cofounder of The HR Playbook where you can download essential, up to date and compliant HR documents and templates at a fraction of the usual cost. Autotechnician readers benefit from a 10% discount by quoting AUTOTECH10 at checkout.

Essential Policies for Workshops: https://thehrplaybook. Recruitment Suite: recruitment-suite/

A bundle of documents to enable your business to attract and retain top talent through streamlined recruitment templates.

In this suite, you will receive:

Job Advert Template

Job Description Template

Recruitment Authorisation Form

Onboarding Suite: onboarding-suite/

Efficiently integrate new hires with our comprehensive suite of onboarding documentation.

In this suite, you will receive:

Application Form

Employee Privacy Notice

Induction Checklist Apprentice

Induction Checklist Employee

Induction Plan

New Employee Information (Employer)

Offer Email Template

Onboarding Form

Post Offer Health Questionnaire

Right to Live and Work Checks

Two Weeks at a Glance

Theses Suites will:

Create essential frameworks for recruitment and onboarding

Drive consistency of recruitment and onboarding across the business

Upskill Leaders and Managers to confidently recruit and onboarding new team members

Build a driven culture of talent management and transparent success

Create well-rounded and comprehensive employee experience

Ideal for:

SMEs with between 5 to 250 employees

Organisations that want ensure compliant and legislative minimums are met

Leaders that need reassurance a consistent performance management framework is embedded throughout the business

Organisations that want to embed a high-performance culture

Power Hour

Schaeffler REPXPERT Academy conference: From local to national

Following its regional events success, Schaeffler sought to bring together the aftermarket cream at its first REPXPERT Academy conference, but did it succeed? Rob Marshall ventured to Coventry to find out

Like Hella, Schaeffler has been plugging gaps in its aftermarket offerings. While the company's regional Academy Live events have been well received, Schaeffler wanted to bring everyone together, using its repute as a respected garage support supplier, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry presented an ideal central location.

Unfortunately, the great British weather threatened to thwart German punctuality. The early-morning rainstorms that plagued the M6 and M42 motorways delayed proceedings by 15 minutes but time was soon made up, with over 200 delegates pouring into the auditorium.

If you imagine that spending a morning in a lecture theatre is about as fun as a wet afternoon in Munich, Schaeffler and its team had your back, with a well-planned and varied timetable. While there were sufficient activities to keep everyone occupied, the timetable allowed space for networking. Indeed, there was much to discuss, varying from recruitment, training, tooling and profitability through to the latest trends and vehicle technology.

After a rousing welcome from Matt Selby, the UK Sales Director, the event was hosted by the slightly over-exuberant personality, Abigayle André. It was a good move to start with Mr Stats himself, GiPA's Quentin Le Hetet. This is not because the irrepressible Frenchman is boring but because his passionate update on industry trends is so rich that delegates had to pay close attention throughout the presentation, so they could apply the latest trends to their business strategies.

Monsieur Le Hetet's considerations for independent

Held at the MTC in Coventry on 22nd May, the inaugural REPXPERT Academy conference commenced in an impressive auditorium, with a varied series of talks, discussions and industry updates

Assembling the experts

The expert panel was the last event of the morning and included some familiar faces to AT readers. They debated current and future issues, shared experiences and answered questions from the audience.

Matt Cleverley (Cleevely EV, Cheltenham) explained that he moved into high-voltage repairs because main dealers were terrible at it and he wanted to look after his customers, regardless of the fuel type.

Andy Savva advises garages that the way to keep busy is not to focus on negatives, involve your whole team and be more involved in your locale. He also advised to set labour rates based on operating costs.

Matt Wiseman (Wiseman Motor Services, Solihull) explained that his business has taken on new profitable work from main dealers, such as 2CT clutches, using Schaeffler training and tools. He also explained that reviewing your labour rate may not lose customers, while highlighting his negative experiences with apprentices.

Dean Lomas (DC Lomas Ltd, Winsford) explained that, while his all-makes outfit services everything from a 1991 Nova to new JLRs, he is trying to train each technician to have particular specialisms. That way, they are working on something they love.

Tim Benson (Oldfields Garage Services, Leominster) emphasised the importance of examining data of loyal customers, who may not be profitable. Since profiling customers and not taking on unprofitable tasks, his average invoice value has increased from £220 in 2021, to £335 today.

garages were market seasonality, enticing a new generation of technicians, the zero-emission vehicle mandate, parts availability, plus new vehicle and repair technologies. Pick of the stats were that 22% of all 2023 MOT Tests were conducted during April and 90% of independents and OEM workshops struggle to find staff.

Colin Denton followed, focusing on apprenticeships. His tale ranged from his experiences as a British Leyland dealer apprentice, to his passion for working with young people. His parting gift was a warning to garages to stop chasing unicorns, such as wanting apprentices with at least Level 2 qualifications, or six months' experience. Instead, a more fruitful approach is developing packages to incentivise good apprentices to stay.

Breaking out

After a brief awards ceremony and a very enjoyable lunch, a trio of break-out sessions awaited. As usual, Matt Cleevely's session on EVs was immensely informative – who knew that 57% of new EV drivers changed their workshop, for instance?

Louise Baker, from nearby Sparkhill, spoke of 25 years motor trade experience, from selling aftermarket performance parts to establishing herself as a sole trader technician. Now in her eighth year of trading, her work has expanded into TV, radio and charity work, including participating in bangers for BEN, a charity that Schaeffler was also supporting at the event. Head of Schaeffler Repxpert, Sven Olev Mueller emphasised that doing nothing to prepare for the future is not an option.

Professional additives

A complete range of professional additives and tools from JLM for reducing emissions and improving performance in diesel, petrol and hybrid engines.

A special guest at the conference was the freshly-restored Vampire jet car, which holds the current UK land-speed record holder (300 mph), also the car that left former Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond, with life-threatening injuries in 2006

Even so, Schaeffler will be maintaining the same high level of aftermarket training and repair support with e-mobility options, such as the e-Golf repair, as it does with its 2CT solutions.

Scheffler's first Repxpert Academy conference was an intense day, an informative day but a fascinating day. Every garage owner and technician, with whom we spoke, thought it was very worthwhile, with their main questions being, "When is next year's conference?" We cannot recommend it highly enough.


Part 3: Hydrogen Safety –differently dangerous

In his final article exploring the role of Hydrogen in future mobility, Andy considers the unique safety challenges ahead

The public perception of hydrogen safety is based on historical events, such as the Hindenburg and the Challenger space shuttle disaster. Neither of these are representative of the use case of hydrogen for personal or public mobility.

The Space Shuttle for example used cryogenic Hydrogen/ Oxygen mixtures, the explosion from the ruptured tanks contained many times more fuel than any land-based vehicle.

For widespread hydrogen uptake, the public must perceive that its use presents no greater danger than current fossil fuels. This requires a new safety culture, not based on previous industrial experience, codes and practice, but new hydrogen safety and engineering practices.

The three main areas are safe handling, safe working environments and the knowledge and skills required to work safely on hydrogen vehicles.

Safe Handling and Storage

One of the primary safety concerns revolves around the storage tanks and re-fuelling of hydrogen vehicles. Hydrogen is stored at high pressure (typically 700 Bar in cars and 350 Bar in HGV’s and Buses). The carbon fibre (class IV) tanks are designed to withstand severe impact and temperature extremes. These tanks are subjected to rigorous testing,

including gunfire, puncture, and fire exposure.

Hydrogen fuel stations also employ advanced technologies to manage risks. Nozzle attachments are designed to create a secure connection to the vehicle, preventing leaks. Additionally, sensors monitor for any sign of hydrogen release, automatically shutting down the system if a leak is detected.

Safe Working Environments

When repairing or inspecting Hydrogen vehicles the working environment must be considered, the main hazards are:

Chemical – Flammable and/or explosive atmospheres

Physiological - frostbite, respiratory ailment and asphyxiation

Mechanical – Overpressure and embrittlement

The level of risk must be assessed, and appropriate precautions taken to mitigate that risk. These include, but are not limited to, gas monitors, leak and fire detection, alarms, forced ventilation and safe working practices. The correct PPE (anti-static footwear, and fire-retardant overalls for example) and knowledge of Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations (DSEAR) zones and safe distance calculations.

Knowledge and Skills

As we have seen with Electric Vehicles, there is an obvious need for training to bridge the skills and knowledge gap. At every level, from Hydrogen awareness to research and development, the focus should be on the safety and the differences between hydrogen and fossil fuels.

In conclusion, while safety considerations are inherent to the introduction of any new technology, the use of hydrogen for over 100 years in industry has demonstrated that a proactive and comprehensive approach to managing these concerns through robust safety protocols and training can allow hydrogen to play a critical role in the automotive future. Hydrogen is not more dangerous it is differently dangerous.

What Makes Hydrogen Differently Dangerous?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and, as discussed in the previous two articles, it could offer compelling alternatives to fossil fuels as an energy vector. However, its properties present some significant differences to the fossil fuels we are used too.

Properties of Hydrogen

It is the smallest and simplest molecule. A hydrogen molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms (H2) bonded together, making it the simplest diatomic molecule. Each hydrogen atom has only one proton in its nucleus and one electron, resulting in the molecule's extremely small size. This simplicity and small size influences many of hydrogen's physical and chemical properties.

Hydrogen's molecular size makes it prone to leakage through the smallest openings. This necessitates the use of specialised materials, fittings, valves, and seals in hydrogen systems.

Hydrogen can be absorbed by metals under certain conditions, leading to embrittlement and cracking. This phenomenon affects the integrity of metallic components exposed to hydrogen, requiring careful material selection and system design to mitigate risks.

Hydrogen is 14 times lighter than air, causing it to rise and disperse quickly into the atmosphere when released. This can be a double-edged sword; while it may reduce the duration of exposure in the event of a leak, it also poses a risk for accumulation in enclosed spaces, leading to potential explosive atmospheres.

Hydrogen has a low density, especially in its gaseous state, which necessitates high-pressure or cryogenic storage methods.

Detection Challenges:

Given its colourless, odourless, and tasteless nature, hydrogen leaks can be difficult to detect without appropriate sensors. Leak detection systems are essential for hydrogen safety.

Wide Flammability Range

Hydrogen has a wide flammability range in air, between 4% and 75% by volume, making it flammable over a much wider range of mixture concentrations than fossil fuels. It requires much less energy to ignite a stoichiometric hydrogen mixture in air, (around 10 times less than that required for petrol or natural gas). This necessitates careful handling and storage to prevent accidental ignition.

Combustion Characteristics

Hydrogen burns with a nearly invisible flame in daylight, which can make detecting a hydrogen fire more challenging. Hydrogen has a higher combustion energy per unit mass than most other fuels, which can result in intense fires with a significant release of energy.

Hydrogen Production & Demand

The age-old chicken and egg of supply and demand is that production at scale (supply) requires a low-cost fuel (to create the demand), however green hydrogen currently costs approximately three times more than hydrogen made from fossil fuels. Without incentives in place or legislation (a minimum % of Hydrogen in the UK gas network) to kick-start production, the Hydrogen Economy in the UK will remain a pipe dream (pun intended).

In conclusion, while the properties of hydrogen present some unique safety challenges compared to conventional fuels, these risks can be effectively managed through robust engineering controls of safe storage and handling, appropriate working environments, and comprehensive safety training.

By embracing a new safety culture specifically tailored for hydrogen, its viability as a clean energy vector for transportation can be realised. Continued research, investment in green production methods (hydrogen from renewable sources), and public education will be crucial for widespread adoption of hydrogen for mobility. With a proactive approach to addressing the 'differently dangerous' nature of hydrogen, it has potential as a sustainable fuel for the future.

The 2024 autotech campaign

Supporting aspirational technicians

P20 The ethos behind autotech

P21 Workshop Takeover vibes

P23 Test your skills with our bank of online assessments and YouTube training sessions

P24 The Direct Shift Gearbox – How they work, how they fail and how ACTRONICS can help

P26 Alldata explores transformative trends in automotive market

P28 Febi presents a one-stop shop for LCVs

P30 JLM toolkits and products for Top Techs

Autotech Live: Bringing invested technicians together

Getting the team together with AT readers at the Workshop Takeover event is honestly the highlight of my working year. It is fantastic to break out of the normal work routine and spend time with old and new industry friends who are so passionate about what they do and eager to continue their learning and make new connections.

Paul Dearing, Commercial Director of AT , and myself, created the ‘autotech’ campaign to complement the ethos of this magazine – to help technicians build the knowledge and skills required to be a Top Tech, by providing a growing bank of free, online and confidential technical assessments, training videos and cost-price access to live training events. Over the years, we have evolved the format to ensure we’re providing job-useful, practical guidance that can be used back in the guests’ workshops, in an inclusive and enjoyable environment. We are very grateful to autotechnician’s friends and supporters – hosts Matt and Claire Cleevely and their team, workshop owner/trainers Gareth Davies and Andy Crook, and Alistair Finch – who go above and beyond the call of duty to deliver at these events. Last but not least, a big thank you to our sponsors this year – ACtronics, Alldata, febi and JLM Lubricants who subsidise the online assessments and the live events, and shared their expertise during breaks and throughout the campaign, you can find out more about their offerings to independent workshops within this feature.

Test your skills

We have created a bank of online assessments for you to try and you can also access filmed training sessions on our YouTube channel. Details can be found on page 23

“We both really enjoyed the day and will definitely be coming next year. We loved the fact that it's all set in a working garage and it's nice to be nosey. Highlights are probably getting answers to questions that we technicians have built up over time and the textbooks just can't answer. Gareth and Matt were particularly enjoyable and very good at giving a technician’s outlook as well as the business outlook.”

Michael & Dave, Burton Motor Workshop

In association with:

Here, we provide insights into the autotech live event – our Workshop Takeover that took place on Saturday 15 June at Cleevely EV in Cheltenham. We do hope you can join us at a future event.

Workshop Takeover 2024

The night before

For many of the guests, the event began the evening before, joining Autotechnician, sponsors and trainers for dinner and drinks at TGIs a few steps from the hotel. We were joined by an equal mix of technicians and workshop owners, some of which had brought along their newly qualified proteges to get a deep-dive into the diagnostic process. You would have thought by the noise and enthusiastic story-swapping that the group were longstanding friends, some were, but many were making new friends in the trade, which they report is of great value and well worth the expense of a Travelodge the night before. Thank you to the sponsors for subsidising a great evening!

Getting down to the business of finding faults

Between 9.30 and 4.30 within the fine surroundings of Cleevely EV, three groups took in three very different 1hr 45min sessions throughout the day, refuelling with plentiful, tasty food and drinks during a 20-minute morning break and one-hour lunch. Chairs were provided at each bay but guests would often be up on their feet to carry out a test on a vehicle fault or jot down findings on a group test plan.

VAG specialist Gareth Davies brought along a broken 2013 VW Golf 1.6, which guests had to scrutinise and fix so young Gareth could drive home at the end of the day! His session was very hands-on, taking on the role of guide, as the enthusiastic group shared their process back in the workshop and pitched in with suggestions for what the test plan should be after the agreed initial tests were performed. Alongside the testing and confirmation of best diagnostic process, Gareth picthed in his thoughts on diagnostic fees, problem jobs and not being hung up on customer loyalty when being asked to fix other garage’s blunders.

“I like the thought of learning being fun, bi-directional, engaging and easy rather than stressful and too serious. I felt that the guys and girls engaged well and got something from it, and also an opportunity to chew things between them as a group, which was particularly nice to see.”
Gareth Davies, Owner of Euro Performance

Longstanding friend and contributor of Autotechnician, Andy Crook, owner of GotBoost & founder of the Garage Owner’s Network group, went ‘Back to the Future’ with EOBD monitors in his workstation. He cemented their functions and the opportunities they provide and delved into Mode 6, hybrid & EV monitoring and what could be around the corner with Euro 7. His session provided plenty of food for thought and warnings of diagnostic trip hazards.

Guests had a range of experiences with Electric Vehicles, from one young tech who had completed his first level training, up to fully qualified technicians who wanted more hands-on experience and everything in-between. After going over the all-important H&S rules and tooling checks, guests faced a fault on a Nissan Leaf and trainers Ali Finch and Matt Cleevely guided the group through formulating a test plan, evaluations and considerations for the systems involved.

“The event was informative and inspiring and a great opportunity to meet the very best in the industry and network with likeminded garage owners & technicians. The topics covered made you think about your diagnostic processes and how they can be improved and allayed any fears about taking on EV work. It was great to meet the sponsors and discuss business opportunities with them.”

Michael Shaikily, Shaikily Motors

“Josh and I had a great time – from the Friday night social, the venue, the food that was amazing, all the talks were very informative, and you always pick up things. A great day out.”

Adrian Smith, Warmington Garage

Take a look at what you missed!

We’ve made a brief video to give you a snapshot of the Workshop Takeover – talking to the techs, trainers and sponsor involved. Scan the QR code or click here

“I really enjoyed the day – it was well run, and the presentations were very well planned and delivered. It was also good to meet new people who are truly invested in making our trade better. I would love it if there were more days like this to enjoy. Thank you for your hard work in making these days possible.”

Mark Carter, Abacus Vehicle Services

Autotech’s sponsors came along to the event to chat with guests during break and lunch to explain the ways in which they support independent garages, provide goodies, answer any technical queries from existing and potential customers and also have an informal chat over a couple of beers the night before. Thanks to the sponsors who also provided raffles prizes on the day, meaning Adam Shaikily, Soran Ghafour, David Berrington and Jacob Wingett took home an iPad courtesy of ACtronics, a box full of JLM product and gifts, an EV Track Day from Alldata and a £50 Amazon voucher from Autotechnician magazine.

AT’s Paul Dearing had this to say about the event: “It was great to get together with guests and delegates at this year’s Autotech Workshop Takeover. We had a really enjoyable evening at TGI Fridays with delegates and sponsors getting to know new faces and catching up with old friends. The day itself was well received by both delegates and sponsors. Good conversations were had and was really good to see everyone engaging and getting on so well. We are all looking forward to the 2025 event!”

Autotech library of free technical tests and filmed trainer sessions

Test your technical knowledge at your own pace

There are 17 online multiple-choice assessments available, created to test technical knowledge and diagnostic procedures and are available FOC by logging on or quickly registering at registration/

Why not try Test 7 that consists of fifteen questions designed to test your knowledge of LIN Bus systems and your ability to analyse the data and waveforms provided to draw diagnostic conclusions?

Test 13 teases SCR system knowledge from users and presents the case of a VW Crafter, which has an illuminated AdBlue Malfunction Indicator, presenting code 'P202AReductant Tank Heating 2 circuit -open circuit'.

Test 16 is a logic check for the real-world fault assessments happening in workshops up and down the land. Questions centre around a real fault-to-fix scenario where a customer presents an Audi A3 2005 8P model with several faults present.

Test 17 is a fuel pump case study involving a 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport. The vehicle is fitted with the 204DT 2.0L Diesel common rail engine controlled by a BOSCH MEDC17.9 ECU and is presented with a start and cut-out fault. It has been recovered for diagnosis and the roadside recovery agent has included an explanation of the symptoms as follows, ‘The vehicle runs for approximately 20 seconds and then cuts out, after which, it does not start unless the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) are cleared’. You will be required to direct the diagnosis through your analysis of test results and the technical information provided.

Get free, lifetime access to the full library simply by logging in or registering, by providing your email address at

Autotech video library

Access online technical sessions from Matt Cleevely, Andy Crook & Pete Melville on autotechnician’s YouTube channel

In Volume One, Andy Crook provides a live case study on an Audi S3, which is suffering from a running fault within his 28-minute presentation. The customer’s vehicle was stalling occasionally, would not idle smoothly and had a coolant leak.

The fault codes, live data and subsequent tests are explained in this workshop case study to determine the underlying issues.

Matt Cleevely describes three faults he’s encountered on the Nissan Leaf in Volume Two – the car won’t turn off or go into ‘park’; an ECU comms fault on the braking circuit; and faults on the Power Delivery Module. Andy Crook also presents basic oscilloscope techniques, presenting a BMW X5 which has an intermittent starting issue and a fault code relating to the camshaft sensor. He compares the outputs from a scope and multimeter to highlight what information can be gained.

And there are several more video sessions. Access for free at:

The Direct Shift Gearbox –

How they work, how they fail and how ACTRONICS can help

Whilst the production DSG gearbox is a comparatively modern revelation, the formation of the original conceptual development can be traced back to the 1970s, nearly threedecades before they would be supplied on mass into road going vehicles.

Spurred on by the fuel-crisis of the period, the German government endorsed a series of research programs to develop new ways to improve fuel economy. One project worked on by Porsche engineers, determined that there was a possibility to greatly reduce the fuel consumption of vehicles equipped with traditional torque convertor automatic gearboxes. They built a series of prototypes to test the idea, some were built into un-assuming models like the lowly 924, but by 1984, a version of Porsche’s revolutionary design would be fitted to a 956 racer.

The project was not a success at the time. After being plagued with reliability issues the technology was locked away in a back office, we’d like to imagine in a dusty folder. Nearly two decades later, Volkswagen would successfully launch the first production DSG Gearbox.

Despite being fitted into a performance focussed MKIV Golf R32, Volkswagen claimed that the gearbox could be up to 20% more economical than a traditional automatic gearbox with a torque convertor. The first DSG6 units, sometimes referred to as DQ250, utilised a wet clutch system.

In 2008, VW continued to develop the DSG gearbox and launched a development of the original. Now with 7-forward gears, the DSG7 was available in a far wider range of vehicles; everything from the Polo to the Tiguan.

The DSG’s gearbox ability to reduce the compromises of traditional automatic gearboxes resulted in a substantial increase in sales of “Automatic” transmission models. At the turn of the century, Volkswagen reported that more than 90% of all Golf models produced were supplied with a manual gearbox. By 2018, over 40% of all Golf models were supplied with a DSG unit, the rates are higher for other models, over 90% of all Tiguan Allspace models had a DSG transmission.

DSG 6 – DQ250 (02E)

Faults related to solenoid valves (N215/N216/N217/N218/N233/N371)

Faults related to sensors

Failure to change gear

Gear changes are erratic

Error Codes: P1740/18148/005952

How do they work?

Mechanically, the DSG 6 gearbox is effectively a manual gearbox with two wet multi-plate clutches, two drive shafts, an input/primary shaft and two output shafts which are secondary. An electronically controlled hydraulic control unit, referred to as Mechatronic, ensures that the gearbox can operate fully automatically. Optionally, the driver can select a manual mode and control the gearchanges by themselves.

A dual mass flywheel connects the crankshaft of the engine with the two clutch housings (outer plate carriers) which together rotate in unison with the crankshaft. The two inner plate supports rotate independently of each other around the same shaft and each drives its own drive shaft via a fixed connection.

Drive shaft one rotates inside the hollow drive shaft two. On drive shaft one are the gears for 1st, 3rd, 5th and reverse gear; the gears for 2nd, 4th and 6th gear are on drive shaft two. When shifting from one gear to the next, the next gear is shifted from one drive shaft to the other, where the next gear has already been engaged on the corresponding output (main) shaft.

When shifting gears, the clutch to the drive shaft of the ‘old’ gear is decoupled in one smooth movement and the clutch to the drive shaft of the ‘new’ gear is coupled in one smooth movement. So, there is an overlap in the drive through both gears.

In normal operation, during upshifts, the engines torque is slightly reduced whilst the engine torque is slightly increased when downshifting. Overall, this ensures a fast and smooth shift with no noticeable interruption in propulsion.

Remanufacturing DSG7

The newer DSG 7 units required ACTRONICS to develop a dedicated remanufacturing line. The goal was to ensure that the process of the DSG 7 mechatronic units runs as efficiently as possible. In order to do so, this remanufacturing line is divided into several sub-lines: a test and control line for all incoming customer units, a line where the remanufacturing

DSG 7 – DQ200 (0AM)

A short circuit in TCU and or blown fuse

Total electronic failure

005636/P1604 – Internal Control Module: Output Driver IC Error

16946/P0562/001378 – System voltage too low

Internal leak: P17BF – Hydraulic pump system overload protection

P189C/006300 – Function restriction due to insufficient pressure build-up

of the HCU (Hydraulic Control Unit) is carried out as a continuous process and a line where the remanufacturing of the TCU (Transmission Control Unit) is carried out.

This split remanufacturing line allows ACTRONICS the possibility to build up stock in advance. This not only makes the process much more efficient, but also ensures a shorter lead time for customers: a defective HCU can be exchanged directly with a remanufactured one from stock, meaning cars return to the road faster.

ACTRONICS Service Points

Our service point program allows private individuals access to our remanufacturing work through our wide range of Service Points. We don’t take on work from private individuals directly, only working with garages allows us to ensure that parts are fitted to an appropriate standard.

We work with independent garages as well as main dealers. Joining the ACTRONICS service point program is quick, simple and easy through you online account. The free program allows you to make potential customers aware that they can access ACTRONICS remanufacturing services via your business.

Why remanufacture?

On average, remanufactured components cost 80% less than a new replacement, save valuable resources, reduce waste and protect the environment.

ACTRONICS remanufactured parts are all supplied to be plug and play with a 2-year warranty. Over 92% of customers would recommend us, which is backed up by over 1,000 Google reviews that rate us 4.9/5!

Telephone number: 01206 849920


WhatsApp: +441206849920

ALLDATA Europe explores future of automotive aftermarket at UK Garage & Bodyshop Event

ALLDATA Europe took centre stage at the UK Garage & Bodyshop Event with an expert panel discussion on the transformative trends shaping the automotive aftermarket. Hosted by Simon Frost, UK sales director, the panel explored critical topics.

ALLDATA Europe, a provider of original vehicle manufacturer (VM) diagnostic, repair and maintenance data, showcased its understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by the automotive aftermarket by hosting an expert panel during the UK Garage & Bodyshop Event.

Hosted by Simon Frost, ALLDATA Europe’s UK sales director, the discussion centred on the critical changes that are reshaping the sector. The topics included the influence of EVs and ADAS, as well as rapid advancements in service and repair methods and exploring how original, accurate repair data, such as that from ALLDATA Repair, is a vital resource to professionals.

The panel also focused on how the industry, collectively, can make it an increasingly attractive one to work in.

Steve Scott, founder of the SimplyDiag network and host of the YouTube channel, Simply Diagnostics, Karl Booth, the head of sales and marketing for Opus IVS in Europe and the Rest of the World, and James Dillon, technologist, diagnostics expert and trainer – also founder of Technical Topics and host of the Harmonic Podcast, all voiced views on their specialist subjects but also listened to the opinions of their colleagues and engaged in a lively but respectful discussion.

What was discussed?

Challenges of new vehicle technologies: Panellists discussed the evolving landscape of automotive repair, emphasising the need for foundational training to keep up with technological advancements.

Steve said: “A workshop’s awareness of these technologies (is the biggest challenge). From front-of-house and technicians to the first-year apprentice, it’s crucial to understand the implications of getting it wrong when working on EVs and ADAS.

“We have a responsibility to work safely, comply with regulations and manufacturer guidelines. We need to ensure

that systems, especially ADAS, are calibrated correctly and fully functional when they leave our workshops.”

Importance of VM data: The necessity of access to reliable VM data, such as ALLDATA Repair, was highlighted as the basis for effective diagnostics and repairs.

Steve continued: “Access to VM data sources, like ALLDATA Repair, is essential for providing functional descriptions, system information, and critical safety bulletins. Training, information, and equipment should be viewed, not as hurdles, but as necessities for efficiently and profitably working on these systems.”

Investment in tools and training: The discussion also stressed the importance of continuous outlay in high-quality diagnostic tools too and ongoing staff training to maintain a competitive edge.

Karl said: “Modern vehicles are equipped with many sensors and computer systems. Diagnostic tools can talk to these systems to retrieve error codes; however, that only will ever give a steer; there is still a lot more work to be carried out at this point – and that’s where data plays a massive part. Both sides are needed to help determine which path you take in problem solving in diagnostics.

“Traditional diagnostic methods often require guesswork or a lengthy process of elimination. Diagnostic tools and data

ALLDATA Europe fuels automotive stars of the future with ‘education

licence’ for ALLDATA Repair

ALLDATA has demonstrated its dedication to nurturing the technicians of tomorrow with the introduction of an ‘education licence’ for ALLDATA Repair.

The ‘education’ licence

Any educational establishment offering City & Guilds level qualifications to prepare students and apprentices for the automotive industry can now acquire an ‘education licence’ of ALLDATA Repair that gives every student access to original repair data from 37 VMs.

Two colleges, Lincoln College and Coleg Gwent in Newport, have signed-up to ALLDATA Repair, recognising its value for their current trainee cohorts. Access to this extensive dataset of genuine VM data, created by the VMs for their dealer networks, is now an essential component of their students’ educational journey.

ALLDATA Europe UK Regional Sales Manager, Steve Robson, said: “I’ve been in discussion with the team at Lincoln for a number of years, and they always recognised the value of what we had; however, the ability to put the data into the hands of every student was a game changer for them.”

Meanwhile, the team at Coleg Gwent were quick to take up the proposition. Eric Ware, another one of ALLDATA Europe’s UK regional sales managers, reported that he was in contact with college staff “as soon as the new licence was made available” and the team “quickly decided to add ALLDATA Repair and make it available to their students”.

The licence has also attracted attention from two more colleges. These are evaluating the content for its mechanical repair procedures and comprehensive wiring diagrams. Both are considering making it available as part of their curriculum.

together in one solution can provide precise and accurate information about the problem, reducing the time needed to identify issues and making the process more effective, which, in turn, will mean the workshop will be more efficient and profitable.”

Staff recruitment and retention: Strategies for efficient recruitment and retention of skilled staff were identified as crucial for workshop profitability and sustainability.

James argued: “Staff retention is key; retaining staff relies, not only on a competitive wage structure, but also on a wellequipped and well-resourced workshop.

“Where a technician’s pay is geared to productive efficiency, a well-equipped and well-resourced workshop is critical to retain staff.

“Factors which slow down a tech’s work rate are bad for the wage packet of the tech and for the profitability of the business. Typical slow-down factors are linked to the availability of the tools required do the job, the type of cars in the workshop and having access to highly accurate technical service bulletins, wiring diagrams and service and repair manuals.”

Comprehensive business strategy: The role of a robust business strategy and targeted marketing efforts in ensuring the success of automotive workshops was stressed.

James advised: “Ditch unprofitable work and replace it with profitable tasks using the CAR/CUSTOMER matrix. Develop a customer proposition to attract profitable work and build a loyal customer base. Then aggressively market it.

"If a phone constantly rings with 'unknowns' seeking price quotes, it signals that word-of-mouth marketing is ineffective. This situation could attract unprofitable customers.

“Measure and manage all aspects of a business rigorously. Without measurement, effective management is impossible. Incorporate a robust business management system and reporting into all management decisions.”

Conversations, leads and sales mark “excellent show”

While the panel session was the headline act of ALLDATA Europe’s UK Garage & Bodyshop Event, Simon reported that the team’s stand was a hive of activity too, with existing customers and new prospects offered a warm welcome; in fact, ALLDATA Europe is delighted to confirm that dozens of professionals signed-up for a month’s free trial, while many also took advantage of the ‘show offer’ of signing up and paying 11 months for the price of a 12-month subscription.

Simon added: “Naturally, our panel was a vital part of our UK Garage & Bodyshop Event; we were pleased that many of the audience found their way back to our stand at the conclusion of it – we had some great conversations. On behalf of everyone, I would also like to thank James, Karl and Steve for their co-operation and support.

“On the stand, we enjoyed meeting our growing customer base. We also gave them the chance to meet the faces behind the Info Centre Service, a great resource that our customers can utilise when in need of extra support when using ALLDATA Repair.”

Toolkits and products for Top Techs

Workshop technicians are the unsung heroes of the automotive sector. They save customers time, money and hassle with their hard-won expertise and experience underpinned by training on and off the job. And with a third of drivers holding onto their cars for longer because of the costof-living crisis, they are more important than ever.

So, earning the trust of technicians so that they choose your brand is the Holy Grail for any supplier like JLM Lubricants UK. With the market saturated with lubricants and additives, which ones can you afford to stake your reputation on? Because that is what it boils down to. You choose the best brands for hard parts. The same must also apply to the ‘liquid tools’ in your workshop.

JLM Lubricants is a well-respected and long-standing brand with a strong trade pedigree, trusted by top tier technicians in almost 50 countries. JLM products are available in the UK via Kalimex, sponsors of this year’s Autotech. As Mike Schlup, MD explains, the professional technician is the beating heart of the JLM brand. “We now see technicians using an additive over a part replacement whenever possible and for good reasons. When times are tough, there’s even greater emphasis on keeping repair and service costs within affordable limits. The high quality, trade tested professional only toolkits and additives JLM develops – incidentally on the back of extensive workshop testing – play a crucial role in the growing ‘repair over replace’ revolution. There are around 30,000 parts in the average car, from the nuts and bolts to the engine block. Every time a technician fixes a car with JLM’s liquid tools and professional toolkits it is one less part to order, one less part for scrappage. And for vehicles where a

repair cost using a part either exceeds the vehicle’s value or the customer can’t afford it, a JLM product can keep that car on the road.

“JLM’s brand mission is to develop and manufacture products that are in sync with the Lean philosophy which promotes the flow of value to the customer through the guiding tenets of continuous improvement and eliminating waste in processes to deliver more value with fewer resources. To meet this mission, JLM works closely with technicians, ensuring they road test every new product, that they act on their professional feedback, and they improve products without haste if the market dictates changes.”

JLM Professional Toolkits – DPF Cleaning with twostage clean and flush treatments

With motorists holding onto their diesel vehicles until their last gasp, keeping the DPF clean is crucial and, good business for the garage. The JLM professional DPF Cleaning Toolkit was developed in partnership with top tier DPF specialists before being launched worldwide. It is now a bestseller in the UK. When used in conjunction with the JLM two-stage cleaning fluid and flush fluid even a badly blocked DPF can be cleaned and regenerated within two hours; no need to remove the DPF. No more taking the vehicle offsite to a DPF specialist. And savvy techs are saving customers big money given a new DPF can run into the thousands.

JLM Professional Toolkits – Diesel Intake Extreme Clean with two-stage clean and flush treatments

This toolkit launched when the new lower-smoke limits were introduced to the MOT test. Again, it was assessed by world renowned technicians on a range of vehicles with problems including emissions failures. As one top-testing tech said: “This kit thoroughly cleans the air intake, combustion chamber, intake valves, gas valve, injectors, and variable turbo vanes. As part of the testing in my workshop, five vehicles with sticky turbo vanes were data logged before and after the treatment. On four of them, boost levels came back into spec and out of limp mode. The other vehicle required a new turbo. Sticking turbo vanes are a frequent problem on modern vehicles due to carbon build-up, so this kit is essential.”

With no high-cost capital equipment necessary, a workshop can be up and running with JLM toolkits without delay –building a new revenue stream. Because within two hours the clean is complete, the car can breathe more easily; performance improves, and emissions are reduced – perfect for an older or high mileage vehicle ahead of its MOT. You simply set the toolkit up and return every 15 minutes to check.

Other JLM workshop rated products include… Emission Reduction Treatment: With powerful cleaning additives that combine to give a deep and thorough clean of the entire fuel and exhaust system of diesel engines.

DPF Regen Plus – contains cerium to support the regeneration process of the DPF at lower temperatures.

Injector Cleaner – cleans the entire fuel system including intake valves and injectors.

DPF Refill Fluid – Premium quality alternative to all OEM regeneration fluids and exceptional value too!

Technician support and training on tap from JLM Lubricants UK

JLM Lubricants’ products are available via a UK wide network of motor factors, but you can still contact the JLM team directly with any questions about the products and the professional toolkits. Product information, how-to guides and technical data sheets are available too.

“We encourage workshops to contact us for technical support,” says Mike. “And we help them to promote the

benefits of JLM to their customers via our JLM Friends programme (which includes JLM point of sale promotion/ marketing materials) and through supporting professional training events such as the Autotech Workshop Takeover. I must point out too that the cost of each toolkit is less than £300, so excellent value for money with a rapid return on investment. We run regular promotions for new customers and existing customers so I would encourage any technician interested in going under the hood of JLM Lubricants to get in touch. You are choosing a brand with products that have been put through their paces by some of the best technicians in the world. Building your workshop revenues with toolkits and products that get it right first time is the name of the game. So, let’s have that conversation!”

01273 891162


Technicians do not want to replace a clutch twice, so why would you take any risks? Rob Marshall looks at how best to avoid the inconvenience, by considering clutch best practice.

Without decent parts, comprehensive instructions, training support and correct fitting procedures, a clutch may as well be left outside the car, instead of within it.

Let's face it, clutch changes are neither easy, nor enjoyable. It is complex and exhausting work. Yet, taking shortcuts may lead to you repeating the operation. The causes vary from selecting low-grade parts and not considering the full task to avoiding training and being too focussed on beating the book time.

From the box

Mistakes can occur before a spanner is even turned. Many garages have strict standards on the quality of their parts and clutches should be no exception. For instance, Schaeffler (LuK), ZF (Sachs) and Valeo produce factory-fit clutches and offer the same quality to aftermarket workshops as the manufacturers. ZF reminds us that labour is the biggest cost

"ZF sees a lot of Sachs clutches returned with distorted covers and excessive scoring around the fixing points. This indicates that technicians are prone to making basic mistakes of not torqueing the bolts in a starpattern sequence."

ZF sees a lot of Sachs clutches returned with distorted covers and excessive scoring around the fixing points. This indicates that technicians are prone to making basic mistakes of not torqueing the bolts in a star-pattern sequence.

involved with clutch replacements, hence why it is wise to focus on not having to repeat the task under warranty. This explains why installing a cheap, or remanufactured, clutch is particularly risky for workshops. Schaeffler says that its clutches are designed to suit the engine characteristics, output and power pulses for that particular application, coupled with engineering and testing to provide optimum performance and service life. Valeo reasons that if a cheaper clutch fails prematurely, it can damage the garage's reputation and lead to dissatisfied customers. Yet, even if the clutch itself does not fail, Sachs says that poor driver experience can have the same negative reputational effect. For instance, a heavier pedal, a sharp bite point, judder, or even slip can be blamed on you, rather than the component.

However, you are not limited to OEM parts; OEM quality is just as important. For instance, Blue Print's clutches are designed and manufactured to be a direct OE replacement and to comply with EU regulation No 461/2010, whereas those from Napa are manufactured in stringently audited ISO9001 and IATF16949 certified production facilities. Consider the warranties on offer too. For instance, Sach's two-year warranty does not seem impressive, compared with Napa's threeyear/36,000 warranty, or Schaeffler's lifetime guarantee against faulty materials but, when you consider that mileage is unlimited, it stands up very well.

Getting stuck in

Naturally, you will have to explain to the customer about 'extra' jobs that will add to the basic clutch change cost. You should also factor them in with your labour rate but do not consider them to be extras. Should you skip replacing worn ancillary

"Naturally, you will have to explain to the customer about 'extra' jobs that will add to the basic clutch change cost. You should also factor them in with your labour rate but do not consider them to be extras."

Borg & Beck's Top Five Tech Errors

1. Contamination – Avoid placing too much, or incorrect, grease on the input shaft, which contaminates the friction material, causing slip soon afterwards.

2. Misalignment – Align the spines correctly with the driven plate during gearbox installation. Use a suitable alignment tool, if possible.

3. Dangle-box – To avoid distorting the drive plate, keep the gearbox supported; never let its weight hang on the input shaft.

4. ... about face – First Line emphasises that its Borg & Beck drive plates possess clear markings, specifying the correct orientation i.e. "gearbox side". Doing otherwise risks release issues, or complete failure.

5. Check it out – Inspect new clutches from the box before installation, especially as they can be damaged, if dropped. Fitting components, damaged in transit, is risking a warranty repair and an upset customer.


A LuK RepSet DMF contains every part you need to carry out a professional repair in just one box, all in genuine OE quality. All components are precision matched to work together for a fast and efficient installation, so you can save time, effort and money by getting it right first time - every time. The box also has a unique ‘OneCode’ label that you can scan to access technical know-how on REPXPERT, our knowledge portal for workshops. This single scan will also authenticate the products and collect bonus points to spend on clothing, tools, and more in the REPXPERT bonus shop. Don’t risk your reputation by using mis-matched clutch partsfor a complete and professional repair backed up by our market leading warranty and technical support system - fit LuK.


UniClutch – doing it differently

As its name implies, technicians need not assemble and align a UniClutch, because all of the clutch components, flywheel included, are integrated. UniClutch's claims are bold; the use of billet steel makes the assembly up to three times stronger than OE and it offers twice the friction surface area. Aside from the ability to transmit more engine torque (engine tuners take note), UniClutch says that its patented radial dampening technology makes it easier on the ears, as well as on the feet, with up to 50% reduction in clutch pedal weight.

If you are interested to see how different they are to fit, check out this installation video of a Ford Focus RS:

parts, the clutch system could fail, which may have to be put right at the garage's expense.

Once the gearbox is removed, LuK recommends that you check the whole system for wear, paying close attention to pivot points, clutch arms and guide tubes. Any suspect parts should be renewed. LuK recommends the best practice operation of replacing the DMF at the same time, because of its finite lifespan. Yet, not all operations have to involve replacing parts. As contamination can reduce the concentric slave cylinder seal, Schaeffler adds that technicians should flush the hydraulic system with fresh brake fluid.

Valeo advises that cleanliness is next to godliness. Therefore, cleaning the bellhousing removes accumulations that could interfere with the new clutch's functioning. While you do so, check for causes of clutch failure, such as oil leaks, or issues that have promoted uneven wear.

While ZF admits that it is not always the quickest method, following the manufacturer's repair data and using the correct tools should be mandatory for any technician, who is serious about following best practices.

Help on the job

Just as many technicians lambast customers for not reading their instruction manuals, even the most experienced

professional should look at the information provided with new parts. Blue Print highlights that every clutch it provides contains a leaflet to remind technicians of best practices, including bolt tightening sequences. Valeo, Borg & Beck and ZF highlight their technical teams standing by that can assist you in real time. LuK customers are directed to Schaeffler's comprehensive Repxpert portal, containing installation instructions, videos and downloadable brochures.

Do not forget the value of training, either. Schaeffler is wellknown for its practical coaching, including holding workshop events on request. It reports that its two-day 2CT course has been so popular that it has arranged additional dates. The first session will be hosted by the South Devon College Skills Academy in Newton Abbot on 16–17th of July. GSF Car Parts in Widnes, Cheshire will host the next session on 2–3rd of October, followed by sessions in Southam, Warwickshire on 26–27 November.

Valeo also has exciting news. While its free online Tech Assist training sessions (accessed through the Valeo Service website) are invaluable for technicians who cannot spare several days away from work, it shall launch Tech Academy, a new training platform, very shortly. Finally, ZF reminds garages that they can register with ZF [pro]Tech free of charge, allowing technicians access to full product and technical training data.

Solid flywheel conversions

Few clutch-related topics invoke such strong opinions as solid flywheel conversions. While some suppliers reason that they have benefits, especially in heavy-duty applications, others are against them entirely. ZF, for instance, reasons that solid flywheel conversions appear tempting, when seen as a less costly alternative to changing a faulty DMF, but the result is less than pleasing.

ZF warns that customers can regret the decision, due to them detecting extra noise and vibration from the cabin, plus the extra gear changes that the driver undertakes to try and avoid driveline resonances.

ZF states that many of these kits are not good for the car, either. The crankshaft is exposed to greater strain, due to many of these kits being not only heavier but also imbalanced. It also states that driveline failure can result, because the harmonic frequencies are not being damped effectively, especially due to the higher number of pre and post-injections used by modern engines.

However, there are OE suppliers that produce single flywheel conversions, ensuring that the debates surrounding their pros and cons are unlikely to be settled, for now. What garages can do is to ensure that an insistent customer is informed fully of the potential downsides of a single mass conversion, before a decision is made.

It is easy to forget just how safety-critical a single steering and suspension component is, so why would you do anything other than follow best practice advice?

Steering towards best practice

Heavier vehicles, ever-deteriorating road surfaces and, dare we say, a lack of driver mechanical sympathy, are all accelerating demand for suspension and steering repairs, leading Rob Marshall to discover how garages can ensure long-lasting repairs with minimum chance of comebacks.

AYou might be the best technician in the world but you cannot perform a decent repair if the parts fitted are made from cheese, the back-up is non-existent, or if there are zero opportunities to advance your knowledge.

You are what you fit

While parts quality overall is a hot potato topic in the aftermarket, steering and suspension components are the most common areas on which technicians vent their anger to us. This is unsurprising. There are few greater irritations in life (aside from a Haribo advert) than finding that a correctly ordered part does not fit. So, what do the quality providers say?

Meyle says that quality was, and will always be, the answer to success. It defines quality as not just ease of fitment but also decent materials that are assembled well, so that the resultant component can withstand the stresses it will encounter.

KYB's stance is that purchasing parts from an OE supplier is a quality guarantee in itself. It justifies this stance, by claiming that aftermarket parts from an OE supplier are made to

Elderly and deteriorated associated parts, such as damper top mounts, should not be installed to new parts. Your customer may insist upon it to save cash but you are the experts and could be dragged into issues, should your repair be criticised later.

Steering You Through Life

With febi Steering & Suspension

Right Range - febi provides one of the widest steering and suspension ranges with more than 13,000 articles to cover all popular European and Asian vehicle types. In addition, due to a Fast to Market approach, febi maintains constant research and development to ensure it provides the right parts at the right time.

Highest Quality - febi is a byword for steering and suspension products that satisfy the highest levels of manufacturing quality and installation reliability. With OE matching quality and intensive testing, febi guarantees that the products inside the box are of the finest standard.

Matching to OE - steering parts from febi precisely match the OE specification without any modifications to the intended and original design. This ensures that febi products are exactly as created by the vehicle manufacturer, providing a full level of comfort and safety to the vehicle owner.

Your No. 1 for Steering & Suspension

Scan the QR code to watch the febi “Steering You Through Life” film or visit


the same quality standards, meaning that they will fit and function as the carmaker intended. Schaeffler concurs and highlights the OEM prowess of its FAG parts range. Yet, even OE quality is not always the answer and Schaeffler reports that some of its components feature advantages over the OE specification, which it calls 'Schaeffler Quality'. Especially if your work involves a limited range of marques, you are likely to notice common wear points, so seek out these better than OE components. Other companies offer parts that boast superior specifications to the originals to make them more durable, such as Meyle with its HD range.

Yet, do not ignore manufacturers that offer OE quality. Napa reports that its components are manufactured to meet, or exceed, OE performance and quality standards. It highlights its Ford Fiesta/B-Max subframe mounting bush (NST8000) that performed 300,000 cycles in a durability test, compared with the OE part that completed just 171,000.

The bilstein group reminds technicians to consider how a part is made and from which materials, when replacing any insulator, or mounting. This is because any variance will affect how the car drives. Should a driver feel anything different, they could perceive it as a negative experience, such as a new vibration, or even an increase in road noise, and they could blame you for it. Yet, do not forget that fitting errors can also make flexible mounts behave differently. A typical example would be tightening bush mounting fixings before the vehicle's weight is supported by the road wheels.

Like Napa, febi possesses an extensive range of rubber-tometal components, engineered to match the OE product, but the bilstein group informs us achieving these goals is neither easy, nor straightforward. Each bearing, bush and damper must meet durability, stress, and installation tests. As

It is not a bad idea to consider replacing ancillary parts on an older vehicle. For instance, renewing removed steering rack gaiters, when replacing an inner rack joint.

production timeframes continue to reduce, the firm reports that having expert knowledge in-house is vital, which explains why febi has consolidated all of the processes into a single and standardised Rubber to Metal Category Procurement Team.

Naturally, the engineering regime is complex and highly scientific. The most important factor is the maximum force that can be tolerated, where the rubber hardness is measured to determine whether, or not, the sample can be used in the same application as the original part. The harder the rubber mixture, the higher the maximum force will be. This and other characteristics are compared against the OE component. However, as with all science, there are compromises. With rubber-to-metal parts specifically, a balance has to be made

Most garages will factor in a four-wheel-alignment after fitting track rod ends but the suspension geometry should be checked after any replacement part has been fitted. Naturally, any ADAS calibration cannot be performed without the thrust angle being verified as correct.

Do not forget that best practices involving replacing components in axle sets extend beyond brake pads, discs and dampers.

between high-force resistance and vibration-damping absorption. Therefore, a cheaper non-OE quality part can be too hard for the application, thus transmitting undesirable forces to the passenger compartment. Its cheaper composition may also not last anywhere near as long as the OE, or an OE quality alternative.

What about support?

You should have a decent data source that provides relevant and practical information, such as the torque wrench settings, and having access to this data should be taken as read within a professional environment. Yet, you can still get stuck. Napa says that its customers are backed by experts, including a cataloguing team to ensure accurate ordering. It also provides technical bulletins to address frequently asked questions. Should you need personal support, Napa has partnered with TechMate, the direct technical support specialist, with full UK coverage. The company reports that TechMate has a thorough understanding of the Napa product catalogue and the finer points of aftermarket installations. This partnership also allows Napa customers access to services including garage workouts, classroom visits and installation demonstrations.

Schaeffler is another example of a high-quality supplier that ensures aftermarket technicians are not left on their own, should they run into difficulty. The firm's Repxpert portal, available online, or via a dedicated app, provides detailed

information about the FAG range, plus diagnostic information and installation tips.

Many suppliers have also invested heavily in their online training video offerings, including the bilstein group (febi) and Meyle. Spring and damper supplier, KYB, reports that its installation videos have seen particularly high traffic, totalling almost eight million views. These products focus on vehicles with known issues and can be viewed on the KYB Europe channel: UCsyuSP8NmsfT2tpkLUBJ5rw

Do not forget that, aside from parts quality, decent brands will help you with other physical considerations, too. Schaeffler says that all fixings, nuts, bolts, circlips, et al, are supplied with all of its FAG-branded steering and suspension parts. Therefore, a fixing that becomes damaged upon removal will be of little consequence. Naturally, all of these ancillary parts are made to OE quality.

Best practice: Coming from within

While advisable, it remains the technician's choice about whether to follow best practices and, in turn, recommend to customers that it is the safest and most economical longterm option. Febi reports that you should not forget to check over the rest of the system, because one worn steering, or suspension, component may have stressed a related part. Yet, a commonality that we found, when researching this feature, was the shared advice of replacing in axle sets.

"As coil springs' elasticity reduces over time, replacing just one spring on an axle will also cause suspension imbalance”

KYB says that replacing dampers as a matched pair is crucial because, when damping rates differ significantly on each corner of the car, handling abnormalities will result because of the variations in body and wheel movement. Fitting a single new damper alone can also accelerate its internal wear levels. As coil springs' elasticity reduces over time, replacing just one spring on an axle will also cause suspension imbalance, with a corresponding deterioration of handling and ride quality. Stopping distances can also be affected. Napa agrees with KYB that any mounting kits, including top mounts and associated bearings, should be replaced at the same time.

Meyle focusses its advice on control arms. It says that, even if it looks a little more timeconsuming initially, it makes sense to replace an axle set of control arms in the long term. Meyle explains its reasoning that the important subsequent work, including wheel alignment and ADAS calibration (where needed) has to be performed once, rather than twice. Therefore, the initial cost for replacing a whole set and not only one control arm may be higher but results in a more reliable and time and cost-efficient repair in the long term. After all, this is what best practice is all about.


KYB is the number one supplier of OE shock absorbers to cars leaving UK production lines.

Trusted by vehicle manufacturers worldwide, you can be sure that you’ll be getting the same world-class quality for your replacement parts.


The future now! – EV suspension

With the Paris Agreement in place to combat climate change globally, many industries must adapt and innovate to reduce emissions output while maintaining profitability. For the automotive industry the concept of “zero-emission cars” was initiated – vehicles that do not emit fuel exhaust or other pollutants from the onboard source of power. While many car manufacturers hesitated in the beginning, the mission to reduce CO2 emissions is leading to a steady electrification of the car manufacturers’ model range offerings. Here, Arnott explains the impact of the increased adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) on air suspension technology.

Differences and similarities

The most obvious difference between a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electrical vehicle (EV) is that an ICE ignites and combusts fuel (spark-ignited for gasoline engines or compression-ignited for diesel engines) while an EV uses a battery-powered electric motor for propulsion. This difference in powertrain impacts the vehicle in several areas, for example there are fewer moving parts in an EV because of the electric motor, no exhaust pipe, or Diesel Particle Filter (DPF’s), etc.

Although EVs are generally heavier and have a lower point of gravity than ICE vehicles, the suspension system of EVs did not undergo dramatic changes. In reality, the conventional coil strut and spring/shock absorber set-up, or air suspension set-up (whether or not accompanied with adaptive damping technology) looks very similar to the set-up used in ICE vehicles. Nevertheless, different set-ups and technologies are still platform-specific, meaning shocks are tuned to optimise for trim level, have different damping curves/shock settings, etc. just like ICE vehicles.

From a practical standpoint, due to the similar suspension set up, a mechanic can repair and replace suspension system components of an EV as easily as on an ICE vehicle. No additional EV specific special tools or training are required since the suspension is not part of the high voltage system.

Benefits of air suspension specifically for electric vehicles

One of the unique characteristics of EVs is their increased weight and alternative weight distribution within the vehicle caused by battery packs, the position of the traction motors, etc. Air suspension technologies have commonly been used in ICE vehicles to combat load differences and to optimize the ride and handling in varying driving conditions. The air suspension’s auto-levelling capability is the reason why manufacturers design their EVs with air suspension to obtain the desired ride and handling features while maintaining a high level of comfort for occupants.

A second challenge for EVs is the travel range, which is affected by the amount of electricity the battery can store and how efficiently it is used. Some factors that influence the range are the driving conditions and ambient temperature, eco/sporty driving style, use of electronic systems such as the air conditioning/heating, the total vehicle weight (including occupants and cargo) and the drag. To maximise travel range capacity, EV manufacturers opt for air suspension because it can contribute to lower energy consumption. Air suspension can lower the vehicle body at high(way) speeds, decreasing the drag coefficient and potentially increasing range.

With the increase in electrification of the car parc, we will most likely also see an increase in the use of air suspension systems as the EV market takes advantage of the beneficial characteristics of these systems.

For Arnott’s expert team of engineers, developing suspension for EVs is a natural evolution from what we have been doing for decades. With an Arnott-owned test lab, test track and fleet, our engineering and prototype teams can take an idea from a whiteboard to a complete concept, producing prototypes and being able to drive those prototypes on the vehicle. Each design is then independently evaluated by other engineers who will do a similar, independent ride evaluation. This feedback loop continues until the perfect ride is accomplished. With a proven track-record in engineering, designing, and manufacturing high quality air and suspension components for the aftermarket, Arnott is now using its expertise to offer high performance, reliable, and long-lasting suspension solutions for EVs.

Want to learn more? Come and visit our team at Automechanika Frankfurt, hall 4.0 stand F10.


Being wary to step over the proliferation of Fake News, Rob Marshall filters out the best practice advice on testing and maintaining 12-volt batteries with help from real experts

Understanding best practice battery testing and maintenance is crucial to gaining customer trust and raising your profitability.

Be careful of self-professed 'experts'. In reality, many of them do not have the insight that they profess. Whether the cause is lazy UK journalists, trying to align pretentious North American technician YouTubers' advice to the UK market, or big corporations employing marketing departments to dish out any free (but often incorrect) advice in exchange for column inches, it is all adding to public misinformation that you have to correct.

For instance, you might wonder why a price comparison provider would dish out car maintenance advice but Uswitch did just that, when it decided to reveal which car checks owners are neglecting in late June. To be fair, it is not a bad premise – we all know that many car owners fail to make even basic checks. What caught our eye was the statement:

"A staggering 67% of drivers don’t know how to check their car’s battery health".

The insinuation is, of course, that battery health is a straightforward check. So, we asked Uswitch how it advises drivers to check battery health. It turns out that Uswitch

does not know, either. Its price comparison expert told AT that car owners can check the battery visually for wear (?) including leaks and a substance on the battery terminals may indicate corrosion. This advice is rather vague and somewhat old-hat but just about acceptable for this old sceptic. What is unacceptable is that Uswitch presumes that battery health involves checking the charge level with a voltmeter; neglecting completely that battery state-of-health is measured by its capacity in amps, not charge in volts. As we know, you can have a fully charged battery but, if its state-ofhealth is low, it can still fail to start the engine.

Assessing state-of-charge, as Uswitch states, is relatively simple, if you are handy with a voltmeter. State-of-health is more complicated to assess and demands special equipment to measure the battery's internal resistance and calculate the remaining capacity in amps. Admittedly, some higher-end DIY battery chargers can perform this analysis surprisingly accurately but few car owners are aware of the difference between state-of-charge and state-of-health, let alone that of amps and volts.

Ecobat offers a good quality battery tester, part number EBT780. This includes a printer so that the test result can be fed back to the vehicle owner with an explanation.

Correcting the Fake News

Therefore, garages would be wise to consider Uswitch's findings about the large proportion of car owners that do not check their batteries but not its battery-checking advice. Listen to battery and charging specialists instead, rather than click-bait advertorials from non-experts. As 12-volt batteries are the main cause of vehicle breakdown call-outs, Ecobat emphasises that technicians should test every car that enters the workshop. Apart from offering a potential sales opportunity, consider that a battery that fails soon after a garage visit will reflect badly on you.

Banner Batteries agrees that this uni-testing approach is solid workshop best practice but it adds that, given the simplicity of how today’s battery testers operate, it is an easy discipline to adopt. Yet, you can go further. Banner says that workshops can not just use these tools to assess state-of-charge and health but also the complete charging system.

Summer vs winter

Testing is especially important at this time of year, before the winter arrives. A common misconception is that most battery degradation occurs during the winter but this is more fake news. While it is true that greater loads are imposed upon a typical 12-volt lead-acid battery in the cold, it may have been weakened over the summer. As Ecobat explains, internal self-

"Cars with electrical air conditioning compressors place extra summertime stress on the battery, emphasising the need for checks"

discharge accelerates during warmer months, because of the direct relationship between atmospheric temperatures and the rate of self-discharge. Additionally, cars with electrical air conditioning compressors place extra summertime stress on the battery, emphasising the need for checks.

The right equipment = best practice

While the weather influences battery voltages, so do driving conditions. As low voltages are battery killers, you may decide to offer an overnight battery recharging service. For professional use, Banner recommends nothing less than a 10amp smart charger. The company reasons that, If you have a 70amp battery that has discharged fully, it will need seven hours with a 10amp charger. Anything less will put a surface charge into the battery that will dissipate overnight and give the impression that the battery is not holding charge.

Should a customer suffer multiple battery failures, attributable to their drive cycles rather than a vehicle fault, Sealey recommends that the battery should be connected to a smart charger permanently. It recommends its SPBC8 model, which will monitor the battery continually and deliver charge only when required.

Banner's Top Five reasons for battery failure

Ultimately, a battery that spends long periods with a low state-of-charge will reduce its capacity, once charged. Banner explains how technicians and owners can be to blame for reduced battery life:

1) When a battery is not being used in the application for which it is designed.

2) The battery has to support excessive electrical accessories.

3) The terminals and cables are unclean.

4) The battery cables have not been adjusted properly to fit the battery terminals.

5) Exposure to extremes of temperature – both hot and cold – detrimentally impacts a battery's performance, as do short driving distances.

Banner Batteries introduced its 15 and 25-amp Accuchargers range in May. It can charge 12 and 24-volt batteries, including lead-acid (not forgetting EFB and AGM), plus GEL and lithium technologies. This flexibility permits garages to charge not just cars but also certain quadricycles, e-scooters, and e-carts safely.

incompatible with the battery support needs, so do not be tempted to use one, unless it possesses a dedicated support mode.

keeping the battery connected permanently to a smart charger is a wise idea - but this would not be wise with a


trickle charger, because they do not switch off. Should your customer's car possess an EFB/AGM battery, a trickle charger also risks damage – only a smart charger will do.

Ecobat elaborates that smart chargers consume less electricity and are more compact than their forebears. They also can help to reverse sulphation and restore some battery capacity, thanks to bespoke algorithm-based charging processes that trickle chargers cannot deliver. Ecobat also reasons that, because these features promote superior charge acceptance, battery life is extended, too. Therefore, do not underestimate the sales opportunity of selling them to your customers.

"We're all going on a summer holiday": Leisure batteries

Should you maintain motorhomes, or caravans, do not forget to test the leisure battery. While they share the same basic construction of a typical flooded car battery, leisure batteries differ in more subtle ways. While car batteries tolerate short, but intense, loads to crank the engine, they are damaged by prolonged, deep discharges. Ecobat told AT that leisure batteries tend to possess thicker internal plates to tolerate these cyclic discharges, although it highlights that advances in car battery technology might mean that an EFB, AGM, Gel, or Lithium battery might last longer than a lead-acid leisure battery. Banner reasons that its leisure batteries last longer than its competitors. For instance, the company's all-new Energy Bull Dual Power product range delivers around 300-400 cycles against a more usual figure of 80 and can even tolerate high current starter discharges without suffering extreme internal degradation.

UK Garage & Bodyshop Event hits the mark for visitors and suppliers

Over the two days, the UK Garage & Bodyshop Event 2024 welcomed an impressive 5,125 industry professionals through the doors, consisting mainly of garage and workshop owners, technicians, and bodyshop experts. Autotechnician magazine had a fantastic couple of days speaking with suppliers, technicians and industry friends to learn more about the challenges readers face and the innovative products & services this wonderful industry has created to help independent workshops succeed when the goal posts seem to constantly move. Scan the QR code or click here to view our brief video overview.

Held from 5th to 6th June 2024, guests were provided access to dynamic training, cutting-edge technologies, a plethora of new products, equipment and essential tools. Visitors participated in interactive exhibitions, live demonstrations, and workshops, with more than 100 hours of seminars led by 80+ industry experts, covering topics such as engine fault diagnostics, MOT, diesel, ADAS, and more.

Common themes of conservation included upskilling the workforce and helping to plug the skills gap by utilising training and recruitment strategies. Other topics included best-practice business management and efficiency advice, monetising new technology, maximising garage profitability, and preparing for future mobility. A total of 180 suppliers took part, including ZF, Bosch, Hella, Alliance Automotive Group, Snap-On, Comma, LKQ Euro Car Parts, Niterra (formerly NGK) and Castrol. Many exhibitors chose the UK Garage and Bodyshop Event as the place to launch more than 25 new products to support service and repair and fault-finding.

A new key feature was the Modern Garage, sponsored by LKQ Euro Car Parts, designed for business owners and managers to equip themselves with the tools, technology, and expertise to service and repair modern vehicles effectively and profitably.

Joanne Knowles, event director, said: “The second edition of the UK Garage and Bodyshop Event has surpassed all expectations. The growth in attendance and the overwhelming positive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors demonstrate the event's importance in the automotive industry. It’s clear that garage and bodyshop professionals very much welcome the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge technologies, expert training, and invaluable networking opportunities in the alternate Automechanika Birmingham years.”

“The life of a small business owner can be lonely, and that state of isolation can leave us unwilling to venture out, to try new things. Therefore, the meeting of others at trade events, a community of likeminded people that share the same challenges and opportunities on a daily basis, has perhaps never been as important to our working lives.”

Mark Field, Chief Executive of the IAAF

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Industry talent recognised

The event also welcomed the second edition of the Automechanika Birmingham Garage Awards, hosted by the trade association, Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF).

The winners of the Automechanika Birmingham Garage Awards 2024 were:

Garage of the Year: Shaikly Motor Company

Best Multi-site Garage: CCM Garage

Best Single Site Garage: DC Lomas

Best Community Initiative: Fix Auto Leicester

Best Marketing: Walsall Wood Tyre & Service Ltd

Best Customer Service: Uckfield Motor Services

Auto-Mechanik of the Year: James Price, James Price’s Garage

Inspiring Female Award: Sophie Lyden, Fresh Drivers UK

Young Mechanik: Callum Ramsey, CCM Garage

Content Creator Award: Baz Meredith

Lifetime Achievement Award: David Fry, Bee Cool ACS.

Mark Field, chief executive of IAAF, praised the calibre of the finalists and the difficult decisions faced by the judging panel: “The level of talent and dedication displayed by all the finalists was truly remarkable. It was a challenging task to choose the winners given the outstanding contributions made by each nominee to the automotive aftermarket. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists and thank you for your unwavering commitment to bringing the industry forward.”

Autotechnician Meet the Experts

Visitors could access free business clinics at autotechnician’s Meet the Experts area and enjoy a oneto-one with technical trainers following their sessions at the Workshop Technical Hub. Louise and Chris from Purple Frog Signs gave advice on workshop branding, signage and vehicle graphics and are offering readers a discount on their services. Email for details.

Internationally renowned marketer Dee Blick, author of ‘The 15 Essential Marketing Masterclasses for Your Small Business’, rated ‘an excellent read’ by The Sun, answered visitors’ marketing and sales questions and was joined by AT’s new HR contributor Amy Blick, who specialises in helping businesses harness the power of their people. Dee speaks with autotechnician Editor Nicola St Clair and introduces the mag's new HR & training columnist Amy Blick in this brief video

‘Show makers’ gain work valuable experience at event

The UK Garage & Bodyshop Event introduced a ‘SHOW MAKER’ initiative as part of its participation in School of Thought's Ambassador Programme, which saw 15 enthusiastic students gain invaluable work experience by taking on various tasks and roles throughout the show.

Alex Jones, Marketing Director of Messe Frankfurt, organisers of the event, said: “A huge thanks to Sandwell College for helping give these 15 students the chance to participate. All of the SHOW MAKERS were a valuable addition to the team, and I’d like to thank them for their support on behalf of Messe Frankfurt. This initiative not only supports the students' growth but also highlights the importance of bringing fresh talent into the industry.”

The ‘SHOW MAKERs’ included: Barry Alhassane, Akeel Ali, Ryan Bradshaw, Ebrima Ceesay, Connor Day, Marwan Hussein, Kelechil Ifendu, Rishab Langi, Prince-Armani Mbuyamb, Stephen Odiase, Sahil Pal, Callum Riley, JuanCarlos Srango and Jasvir Singh.

Marketeer Dee Blick, AT Editor Nicola St Clair & HR expert Amy Blick
«Editor Nicola St Clair with Louise & Chris of Purple Frog Signs

Dave Reece, founder of School of Thought, emphasised the significance of such initiatives: “Attracting young talent into the industry is crucial to help plug the skills gap. By offering these students a platform to gain practical experience, we are investing in the future of the automotive sector.”

School of Thought encourages all companies within the automotive industry to open up work experience opportunities. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Dave Reece at

Show news

Alldata was joined by Steve Scott, founder of the SimplyDiag network, Karl Booth of Opus IVS and James Dillon of Technical Topics to explore the challenges of new vehicle technologies, the importance of VM data, investment in tooling and more in a lively panel session, see page 26 for more details. Dozens of visitors signed-up for a month’s free trial on its stand and also took advantage of its show offer of getting a 12-month subscription to its repair data for the price of 11.

BM Catalysts introduced two new garage initiatives – BM Garage Pro and BM Rewards Pro. The first is an e-learning platform to boost product knowledge through video content and provides access to technical information and news updates to help technicians stay ahead of evolving emissions control technologies and regulations. BM Rewards Pro enables garages to earn points, or an extended manufacturer’s warranty, when installing and registering its products. Points can be redeemed from thousands of items, including the latest technology to branded merchandise.

Holly Brailsford, Marketing Manager at BM Catalysts, said: “These initiatives are the result of extensive research and development to ensure they meet the needs of installers and we’re confident that they will help bolster knowledge and ultimately enhance businesses throughout the aftermarket.”

HELLA had a successful two days at the event with its diagnostic-led stand, demonstrating its mega macs X, alongside the Hella Gutmann MT-HV, which extends the capabilities of mega macs X for hybrid and electric vehicles. “Our variable software and licensing models that give workshops the option to upgrade their licence to unlock

AT ed with contributor Des Davies

additional new functionality at any time received a definite thumbs-up from visitors,” said Julian Goulding, Head of Sales.

Maverick Diagnostics unveiled its new Mobile ADAS Recalibration System, MARS for short, which is due for release soon. It boasts a compact design and has a collapsible stand that reduces to a 36” frame. It is fully compatible with OEM service information, enabling exact calibrations of front radar and blind spot radar systems using both OEM and aftermarket scan tools. Although it is quick to set-up and pack away it is very robust, made from anodised aluminium and stainless steel. MD Laura Hall commented: “The kit also comes with multiple targets that are space-saving, as they can be rolled up. Ultimately, M.A.R.S offers a practical, efficient solution for ADAS recalibrations, meeting the needs of technicians and workshop owners who require reliable, easyto-store equipment.”

Niterra provided a seminar on why precious metal spark plugs are more than ‘just’ an upsell, which covered the impact on new vehicle functions. Its stand provided various competitions for visitors to take part in and hosted its sponsored British racing star driver Max Coates who went head-to-head in a reaction time challenge with guests. Marketing Manager Becca Knight commented: ““We always want customers to speak to us about the products they know and love, but we also want them to discover something new with us such as the real-world benefits of precious metals and how many sensor solutions we offer. It was a great show, and we want to thank everyone who came to see us.”

Ring Automotive’s stand was filled with timesaving, customer service enhancing and profit boosting products, a few of

which are shown in our event video. Its new battery analyser was popular with visitors, providing a complete health check of the battery and electrical systems in both 12V and 24V vehicles. Suitable for 12V lead acid, AGM, EFB, gel and LiFePO4 lithium, as well as start/stop batteries, the unit tests the battery, alternator, starter and vehicle earth, with results printed using the built-in thermal printer.

The Motor Ombudsman launched its ‘Make Time for Tyres’ campaign alongside road safety campaigner Sophie Lyden, which emphasises the importance of tyre maintenance and regular checks by motorists. A suite of eye-catching posters available for display by garages, and social media graphics, themed around the concept of ‘time’, have been created to promote the campaign to drivers.

Over 50 workshops registered for ZF [pro]Tech at the show, and trainers delivered demonstrations on its new Nissan Leaf training vehicle, to highlight its EV, hybrid and ADAS training. Darren Lloyd, Technical and Training Manager at ZF Aftermarket, commented: “It was fantastic to meet so many forward-thinking garages and technicians. Ongoing training is crucial for technicians to stay updated with the latest developments, effectively diagnose and repair modern vehicles, and continue offering high-quality service.”

Automechanika Birmingham will return in 2025 and the UK Garage and Bodyshop Event returns in 2026.


New products, fitting tips & technical advice to ease fault-finding and installation

Merecedes tops remote diagnostic requests

Mercedes-Benz accounted for the most remote diagnostic tickets in the last 12 months via Hella Gutmann’s macsRemote Services, with the majority relating to the replacement of front radar and headlight modules.

Its analysis shows that thousands of remote diagnostic jobs were completed across 240 vehicle models, from 41 VMs in the last 12 months. Volkswagen and Ford ranked second and third most ticketed VMs.

Hella Gutmann’s macsRemote Services gives workshops the OE capability to undertake calibrations and coding on vehicles via remote connection. Independent garages facing blocks due to lack of data, access authorisations, or because the vehicle is too new for their usual diagnostic tools, can now call on Hella Gutmann's remote experts.

“We’ve removed the VM hoops that independent garages have been expected to jump through,” said Alex Magee, Hella Gutmann Technical Specialist. “They can now complete jobs which previously seemed impossible or uneconomical. It’s instantaneous too, just plug-in and raise a ticket. Within a minute of requesting support, workshops will be in direct contact with us.”

Castrol Edge gains widespread VM approval

The new Castrol Edge 0W-20 low viscosity engine oil, suitable for use in petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles, has simultaneously secured approvals from BMW, MercedesBenz and Volkswagen – widely regarded as among the most demanding in the industry.

Rigorously tested for over 10,000 hours, Castrol EDGE 0W20 LL IV works to reduce friction, increase efficiency and reduce harmful emissions.

Ralf Wobben, Brand and Product Specialist, comments: “Castrol EDGE is our most advanced range of engine oils that can meet the most demanding specifications. To be at the forefront of a fast-paced industry is an example of Castrol’s leading work with vehicle manufacturers to engineer engine oils that can unlock performance and increase efficiency. This world-first low-viscosity ‘combi’ 0W-20 lubricant demonstrates how we’re taking the latest technological advances and delivering them in a product that is suitable for numerous applications.”

Boost EV Confidence

Garage owners and technicians are being urged to secure their spot on Cleevely EV’s ‘At Ease with EV’ training course on July 20th – to help boost the confidence and skills of those who have attained IMI Level 2, 3 or 4 qualifications.

Matt Cleevely and technical trainer Alistair Finch will delve into practical sessions using a 2018 Nissan Leaf and Tesla Y Performance, covering essential topics including interlocks, charging faults, high voltage battery testing and repairs, EV

servicing, common EV faults and a comprehensive Tesla service mode demonstration.

“It’s a really informative course,” said Michael Shaikly of Shaikly Motor Company in Colchester, having attended earlier this year. “It opens your eyes into how Matt’s doing it, how you can take-on this work and that you don’t need to be scared of it.”

Register for the course by emailing claire@cleevelyev.

Major scope update

A major update has been released for the PicoScope 7 automotive software, adding support for new vehicle and powertrain types, Waveform Library Favourites and Sharing, guided tests and Waveform Library linking, new Measurements, Math Channels and Serial Decoders!

Pico Technology has introduced new Vehicle Details options in PicoScope 7, so that technicians can easily store all the correct data from any vehicle and have it quickly available for later recall and reference. In addition to new vehicle types, powertrain types and their respective options, the update includes new options for mileage and hours, and separate vehicle registration and vehicle identification number fields. All the updates are mirrored in Pico Technology’s free Waveform Library service, meaning technicians can upload, store, and retrieve relevant waveforms using all the newly available details.

As technicians increasingly collaborate when pinpointing faults, the update has Waveform Favourites and Sharing i.e you may wish to store a specific waveform recommended by a TSB and you can share a unique waveform IF or a link to others. A recipient of a Waveform ID can search for the corresponding waveform directly within the library, whereas a recipient of a link can click on it and directly view the waveform within the Waveform Library. Where available, the Guided Tests now provide a direct link to relevant waveforms within the library, including a count of

the matching waveforms. This Test Linking feature helps users when they suspect the test vehicle’s waveforms might not match the Guided Test’s generic example waveform and they want to find an alternative reference waveform. The Guided Test application also now remembers your place within it so when you return to it from the Waveform Library you will continue where you last left off, making your workflows even smoother.

The new PicoScope 7 Automotive software can be downloaded from


A logical approach to GDI issues

Brin Kline and Brandon Steckler are returning to the UK and Ireland to deliver a brand-new course entitled: 'A Logical Approach to Port Injection and GDI Driveability Concerns.' This course will feature scan tool tactics to offer diagnostic direction, as well as oscilloscope advice, when it's time to head under the bonnet and pinpoint that root cause fault. The event takes place in the following venues in just a few weeks’ time. The classes start at 9am and finish at 5pm, lunch and course notes will be provided.

Monday 22nd & Tuesday 23rd July

Downpatrick, Northern Ireland

Wednesday 24th July

Bosch Training Centre, Motherwell

Friday 26th July

ADS Automotive, Preston

Saturday 27th July

Elite Automotive Diagnostics, Taunton.

Tickets can be purchased online at

Textar brand adds first-to-market parts

TMD Friction introduces four new brake discs and one new brake pad to its Textar range of braking product. It states it is first to market for brake discs on the Kia Niro, Jeep Renegade, Hyundai Kona and Jeep Compass, and first to market for brake pads on the Renault Kangoo.


Ben reveals details about its two big events this year

Automotive industry charity, Ben, has announced details about its two biggest events of the year - Ben’s Big Breakfast and Ben Ball. These events need to raise £150,000 to help fund Ben’s life-saving support for automotive industry people who are struggling or in crisis.

Ben’s Big Breakfast encourages its automotive family to organise a breakfast get together during the week of World Mental Health Day on 10th October. According to the charity’s recent research, 1 in 4 automotive people are struggling with their mental health and 29% are experiencing loneliness, so this event is the ideal opportunity for colleagues to catch up with a coffee or bond over a bacon butty.

Automotive companies or groups are invited to host a breakfast event during the week of 7th-13th October and encourage colleagues, customers, friends and family to bring, bake or make a spread and then sell their goodies to raise money.

Matt Wigginton, Director of Partnerships, Engagement & Income at Ben, said: “Breakfast is definitely the best meal of the day and our Big Breakfast is an easy way to raise funds, as well as being a great opportunity to get people together. Having a chat over a cuppa can make such a difference –some people are suffering in silence right now, thinking they have no-one to turn to. So, get involved, have some fun and connect with your colleagues, all while raising vital funds for your charity.”

Grab a slice of the action with Ben’s Big Breakfast:

The Great Gatsby experience at the Ben Ball Ben is excited to reveal the entertainment for this year’s 1920s themed Ben Ball on 11th December – a Great Gatsby experience by the Electro Swing Project, an awe-inspiring West End show. This will feature aerial performers, acrobats, dancers and West End singers.

Matt Wigginton said: “We’re very excited to announce our entertainment for Ben Ball 2024, which will embrace a roaring ’20s theme and is set to be a night of glitz, glamour and vintage charm. The Electro Swing Project wowed our Ben Ball

audience back in 2020 with an incredible Greatest Showman performance, so we can’t wait to welcome them back to Ben Ball 2024 to perform their Great Gatsby show! It’s going to be an incredible night, so don’t miss out!”

“Ben is on a mission to help more people each year; three times as many by 2030. That’s a bold ambition, but one we know we can achieve with the help of our industry. Events like this are crucial and these are our two biggest events of the year, so we hope you’ll join us and make a real difference to the lives of those in our automotive family.”

If you are struggling to cope and need to talk, we are here for you, day or night, 24/7.

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