P16 human resources workshop checklists
P18 automechanika the big show is back! P20 case study audi a3 alarm fault
P16 human resources workshop checklists
P18 automechanika the big show is back! P20 case study audi a3 alarm fault
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P4 Industry news
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P13 4Focus: New vehicle technology
P16 Human Resources 101 for workshops
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P20 Case Study : Audi A3 2005 alarm fault
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The truth is out there…
The term “fake news” became mainstream in recent years, thanks to the former US President’s media allegations and counter claims, in this issue we turn our attention to an equally hot potato and focus on misleading product claims and also counterfeit goods that have been entering the automotive supply chain.
According to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, the production of counterfeit parts is a rising phenomenon with high profit margins, with criminals targeting premium brand, high volume service parts and using e-commerce platforms to entice workshops looking to grab a deal, that turns out to be too good to be true.
autotechnician’s Rob Marshall tackles ‘Fighting the Fakes’ in the realms of braking, oils, filters and exhausts from page 25 and we look out for telltale signs with spark plugs from page 34 and offer advice on ignition and engine management troubleshooting.
You can put your troubleshooting skills to the test with our brand new autotech online assessment, which provides real data from a recent workshop case study to test your fault-finding process. Turn to page 8 to find out more about the free, confidential test database on www.autotechnician.co.uk and a workshop takeover in June where technicians can tackle real-world vehicle faults together.
We welcome Human Resource consultant Julia Crawford into the AT fold from page 16 who provides HR checklists for workshop owners and there’s plenty of new products, installation tips throughout and a case study from Gareth Davies from page 20 to help hone your diagnostic techniques.
* View and download previous digital issues at: www.autotechnician.co.uk
Subscription to the magazine is free to those who fulfil the publisher’s criteria. UK independent workshops can subscribe at www.autotechnician.co.uk/subscribe
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All material, unless otherwise stated, is the copyright of Aftermarket Media Solutions Ltd and reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration, without prior written permission of the publishers, is prohibited. While all due care is taken to ensure the content of Autotechnician is accurate, the publishers cannot accept liability for omissions or errors. Any written material or pictures supplied by contributors are published in good faith and on the understanding they are free from any copyright or other restrictions.
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Trade associations have rallied against Government plans to extend the period before a new vehicle has its first MOT from 3 years to 4 as a consultation takes place to gather opinion and information from both the public and the industry on the proposed changes.
Any increase in the first test frequency will see the number of defective vehicles on UK roads rise, which could also lead to more road accidents and fatalities, says the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF). It also states that MOT failures are disproportionately high for electric vehicles when they are first tested at three years, in addition, the delayed MOT will mean no official mileage or emissions checks recorded until after four years.
Evidence also shows MOT and servicing are often done at the same time, so a reduction in test frequency means a reduction in servicing, further separating a motorist’s responsibility on a vehicle’s roadworthiness. Mark Field, IAAF chief executive, said: “The DfT has put forward no credible argument for changing the MOT first test from three years to four years. It’s bad for the motorist, the environment, the public and motor industry and we will fight any measures that threaten road safety.”
The IAAF says there is a clear need to educate consumers on the safety benefits of carrying out regular MOT tests, following a mixed response on social media from motorists on the plans to delay the first test.
One user said: “Modern cars are far safer than they used to be so extending the plan is logical.” While another suggested: “Spend a week in an MOT test garage and see the state of some of the vehicles that come in, then imagine them getting another year to drive about unchecked. In an ideal world people would look after their vehicles but sadly this is not always the case. And don't forget that the current UK MOT is minimum standards…”.
An MOT inspector responded: “I have found and seen lethal faults on vehicles that are tested EVERY year… They use the same potholed roads; potholes do an amazing amount of damage to vehicles every day of the year. Modern vehicles still use brakes and tyres that wear out and get damaged, let alone all the electrical ABS, lighting and ancillary components that fail on vehicles…”
IAAF is calling on the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to support MOT stations and garages with their own communication on the importance of roadworthiness checks. The IAAF's Mark Field said: “MOT testing stations and testers need to be better supported in communicating to motorists why the MOT test is in place. Much is done on the importance of roadworthiness but more needs to be done to promote confidence with those that are actually carrying out the test.”
The association argues that changing the test frequency risks driver and public safety and will ultimately cost motorists more money.
“We support plans to modernise the MOT, but we do not believe in a change of frequency. By reducing the frequency, the public will perceive this as being an indication that vehicles are ‘more reliable’, especially in relation to vehicles that use driver style or journey type to calculate when a service is required – which is often every two years. This would be a contradiction to any Governmental message that vehicles need to be maintained more frequently to offset the change in MOT frequency.”
The MOT needs to be modernised
Hayley Pells, Policy Manager at the Institute of the Motor Industry, says the stated goal of the Consultation is to ensure MOTs remain fit for the future; seeking views on proposals to change the date at which the first MOT is required to four years, as well as widening the scope to encompass new automotive technologies such as autonomous systems.
“The advances seen in automotive technology and systems, for improved performance and safety as well as reduced environmental impact, mean the current MOT model is well overdue for review and the IMI welcomes the announcement of this Public Consultation... Although never a substitute for the recommended maintenance and repairs that motorists are responsible for to maintain roadworthiness, the current MOT test could be improved and new methods explored that better fit the current car parc, and the automotive technology of the future.
“The question of MOT testing frequency is also part of the consultation; an important issue that has dominated conversation about testing for some time. What is important to ensure is that a focus on cost-saving does not put road users at heightened risk.”
A petition has been launched by automotive trade bodies to stop the Government’s plans to extend the period before a vehicle has its first MOT and is backed by the Independent Garage Association (IGA) and the Garage Equipment Association (GEA) among others. UK Government will respond to the petition if it reaches 10,000 signatures and will be considered for debate in Parliament (currently has 7,368 signatures). The petition is running until 23 July 2023, however the consultation period for the Government’s proposals to change the MOT frequency ends on 22 March 2023.
Simply enter your name and email address to sign the petition to stop the 4-1-1 MOT at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/631650
UK AFCAR, a coalition of trade associations including the GEA, IAAF, NTDA and UKLA, recently asked independent garages to register any restrictions they face on gaining access to data and repair and maintenance information, or other restrictions in their ability to complete a vehicle repair, via a new online form
Evidence to date shows some concerning issues across a number of vehicle makes and models, including: Mazda, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Range Rover, Porsche, Citroen, Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Peugeot and Vauxhall.
One garage responded, saying: “[We had problems with the] Mercedes A Class radar, [as there were] no fault codes but distance warning and emergency braking [were] not working. [It was] diagnosed as [the] radar control unit. [We were] unable to replace [the part], as [it] requires Mercedes OEM and C5 SCN login.
Another garage could not access a Hyundai vehicle’s online service record, meaning they could not record servicing or repair work, while another had difficulty in finding any information to update a Citroen vehicle’s digital service records, with the problem remaining unresolved. The same problem was reported for a Mazda CX-5.
One technician came across a stumbling block when replacing a diesel particulate filter additive tank to a Peugeot Partner, as they
were unable to programme the part to the vehicle and had to take it to the dealers for secure configuration.
UK AFCAR fights to ensure the rights of the independent aftermarket that are enshrined in MV-BER and vehicle type approval legislation, both of which are upheld in the post-Brexit era.
It looks to allow all multi-brand operators to be able to access technical information, supply spare parts of matching quality to original equipment parts, and perform service, maintenance and repair (SMR), providing vehicle owners with a choice of the supply of SMR services, as part of an open, competitive, and transparent marketplace.
Mark Field, UK AFCAR chairman and chief executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation, said: “The findings have confirmed what we already knew; independent garages are being locked out of repair and maintenance activities by some vehicle manufacturers. It’s imperative that the independent aftermarket works on a level playing field – as detailed in legislation – and can provide drivers with an effective choice of where they take their vehicle to be repaired or serviced, and it’s clear that as it stands, this is not the case in a number of instances."
“We encourage technicians to continue to come forward so we can continue to collate solid evidence and lobby the Government to ensure this ongoing issue is resolved and the aftermarket remains protected.”
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.
The Institute of the Motor Industry is urging workshops to embrace apprenticeships – funding is available through the Government’s apprenticeship levy scheme, yet the latest data in the IMI’s Automotive Education Report suggests this is underutilised, meaning many businesses are missing out.
On average, 65% of all apprenticeships in the UK are supported by levy funds, but just 52% of automotive apprenticeships received such support in 2022, leaving the sector in the bottom third of all UK sectors hiring apprentices.
Starter figures appear more encouraging, with 43% more automotive apprenticeship starts in 2021/22 than in 2020/21. However, this is still 13% lower than pre-Covid levels in the 2019/20 academic year.
“Compared to other industries, automotive had the 6th largest year-on-year percentage increase in apprenticeship starts last year,” commented Joanna Hollingdale, Careers and Student Membership Manager of the IMI. “However, levels have a long way to go before they reach pre-Covid levels, which were already falling. The need to act now is becoming more urgent by the day. We already do not have enough qualified professionals to meet the growing demand for technicians trained to work on the latest and most innovative vehicles –including electric, hybrid and ADAS-equipped.”
With support from the apprenticeship levy, employers with a total annual pay bill of less than £3million pay just 5% of the cost of their apprenticeship training while the Government pays the rest.
The IMI is urging any employer unsure about what funding they can access to contact its support team who can provide guidance and support. To find out more visit https:// tide.theimi.org.uk/apprenticeships-epa/provideapprenticeship/levy
Ben, the automotive industry charity, is inviting the whole automotive community to take on Benathlon and exercise in their own way to raise vital funds and support those who are struggling or in crisis.
The first Benathlon runs from 10th to 24th March. To take part, each participant, or team of up to 4, will cover a total of 1,283 miles and can choose where and how they complete the challenge, walking, cycling, running, swimming, or even by horse riding or skipping – or a mixture of whatever you choose!
It’s free to take part but the minimum fundraising requirement is £75 per person. Those taking part will track their progress online and be able to see their location on the virtual 1,283-mile route which starts and finishes at Ben’s Headquarters near Ascot and visits some of the UK’s most iconic race circuits. Virtual medals and titles will be awarded for various achievements.
Ben’s Matt Wigginton, says: “We are very excited to be launching our new virtual challenge event series, Benathlon! In the current economic climate, Ben needs the automotive industry’s backing now more than ever
so that we can continue to support those who are struggling or in crisis. Many people are looking to improve their fitness and achieve something great at this time of year so now is the perfect time to challenge yourself, challenge your colleagues and support our automotive industry family!
Find out more and sign up at https://ben.org.uk/ benathlon/
The latest autotech test is now available for you to take. This one looks at troubleshooting fundamentals, best methods, and is a logic check for the real-world fault assessments being carried out in workshops up and down the land.
This test has been created by VAG specialist, Gareth Davies, and presents the real data and investigation of faults on an Audi A3 within a multiple choice format. Once completed online, you’ll be sent your results with feedback material on the questions and subject areas. Gareth comments: “There’s a sizeable archive of autotech assessments that are a great way to have a skills brush up, all at a time to suit you and in total confidence. It will help you identify subject areas that you may not have had either the experience or opportunity to delve into and, as a result, create a great pathway to focus on the stuff you want or need to be learning to be the best you can be at the ever complexing rate of technological progression we face in the independent aftermarket.”
Gain free access to free skills tests now!
autotech is an evolving bank of free, confidential online assessments created by independent automotive trainers. All you need to do is enter a few details at https://autotechnician.co.uk/registration/ click an automated email reply and you get instant, free access to the multiple choice tests focussing on various topics and scenarios, including: Energy requirements of similar vehicles; Case Study – P0303; The SCR system; Hybrid & EV; Common sensors used in spark ignition engine management systems; Oscilloscope Quiz; Testing electrical components; Electrical Test; LIN Bus; CANBus; Diesel & Ignition case study!
In association with:
autotechnician’s team of trainers and top-notch technicians will be taking over Cleevely Motors in Cheltenham on Saturday 24th June and invite you to join them to tackle live faults together. Guests can expect various vehicles, including ICE and EVs, and receive ‘just in time’ learning to get to the root of the problem with minimum fuss.
Andy Crook, Matt Cleevely, Gareth Davies, and Eliot Smith of Pro-moto will be on-hand to guide guests through the fault-finding process and potentially join in with some headscratching! All faults will be live jobs and should make for an interesting challenge for all.
Don’t miss out on what will be an enjoyable day with a great bunch of people who are all committed to improving their first-time fix rate.
Tickets to the event are priced £99.99 plus VAT and include parking, refreshments, and lunch. Guests are welcome to head out with the team after the event for a night on the town.
A limited number of tickets are now available at https://autotechnician.co.uk/training/
The complexity of modern vehicles makes it increasingly difficult for car mechanics to determine the cause of a technical problem. To make matters worse, replacing modern electronic components regularly requires extensive procedures. So, what if there’s a partner that can provide you with much needed technical advice and will also repair the component for you?
With this in mind, let’s walk through the remanufacturing process at ACTRONICS, specialists in the remanufacturing of electronic automotive components.
As mentioned above, modern vehicle technology can be quite complex and while training options are endless, you just can’t know every little detail. So, when things get difficult, wouldn’t it be useful to have a specialist like ACTRONICS as a partner, who can help you both diagnose and solve the problem?
It was precisely this thought that prompted us to start making technical documentation. Besides the countless online articles and fault code lists on our website, we’ve also launched two diagnostic guides: A 120+ page book about transmission control units and a 150+ page one about the ABS/ESP braking system. It contains technical information, diagnosis tips and instructions on how to remove and re-install the part properly. Our customers can download or order a copy in their online account. This initiative has been so well received that we are developing other editions as well.
Of course, when documentation isn’t sufficient, you can always call customer service. Our product specialists will help you out.
Or alternatively, choose the ACtronics pick-up service and we’ll have the package collected from your workshop.
From here on, everything is taken care of for you. The current status can be tracked in real time on ‘My account’ on the website and you will also receive status updates by email. Of course, we will always contact you should any issues arise.
Why would you limit to repair if there is a better alternative like remanufacturing? That’s quite the statement, but there are some major differences between the two. Where “repair” could be explained as a single action, “remanufacturing” is more like a whole process. At ACTRONICS, remanufacturing consists of testing, all recommended repairs (not only the one that solves the current problem) and a final inspection.
In general, any weaknesses in an electronic component do not always appear during the preproduction test period, but only after several years of everyday use. Because manufacturers have already shifted their focus to newer products by then, these weaknesses are often no longer corrected. This presents an opportunity for remanufacturing specialists like ACTRONICS, because we can analyse these weaknesses in detail and improve the product where necessary. In many instances, a remanufactured product is therefore even more reliable than a new one. This is also the main reason why we have a testing phase at ACTRONICS, where a part performs an automated script (simulation) that will expose any problems. Any underlying issues will certainly be noticed.
When determined the part is faulty, the next thing to do is pack and send it to ACtronics. Because our process is largely automated, this is a very important part of the process. It consists of four simple steps:
1. Register the part for remanufacturing on our website
2. Print out the Remanufacturing Order Form (ROF)
3. Pack the part
4. Send the package
At ACTRONICS quality is top priority. This is reflected in the way we perform our repairs as well. Each remanufacturing solution has its own protocols and where possible, improvements are made. We’ve even launched two fully automated remanufacturing lines last year, using vapor phase soldering, pick and place machines and glue robots. We are very proud to have come this far, but of course we’ll keep on improving.
No part will be shipped back to the customer unless a successful final inspection is completed. It uses the same automated script as entry testing, but the part must also pass a visual quality control.
And that’s it, just put the part back into the car and the job is done. But is it?
For various reasons, car manufacturers are increasingly encrypting electronic components. This is making it increasingly difficult to replace these parts. Programming a new component often requires special (expensive) equipment as well as specialist knowledge of the procedures to be carried out. In these cases, it is therefore much easier to have the
defective part remanufactured because it preserves existing configurations and minimises the need for re-learning. This saves valuable time as well. So yes, in most cases, putting back a remanufactured part really is plug-and-play.
As is the case with PC’s and mobile phones, the electronics used in the automotive sector are also increasingly provided with software updates. This is common practice to ensure the existing functionality, but also for tightening up on environmental requirements or solving any problems found. Unfortunately, you will lose these updates as soon as a new component has to be installed. Of course, it’s possible to update these parts, but the procedures for doing so can be cumbersome. All of which makes remanufacturing a very interesting option.
However, even putting back a part without programming and updating can be a complex process. To help you further and provide you with information after the remanufacture has been completed, we will supply you an installation instruction if necessary. And of course, you can also use our diagnostic guides.
So, all things considered, remanufacturing at ACTRONICS really is a great solution. Not only do we like to think along with our customers, but choosing remanufacturing is also a good step towards a circular economy. And, as a bonus, remanufacturing also reduce costs in comparison to replacing the part for a new one and this obviously has a positive effect on the overall repair costs: A satisfied end customer. 01206
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While a fair few manufacturers are lumping all of their technologies into one electric basket, many Japanese makers take a more considered approach. Mazda is one such company that believes that diesel is not (yet) dead and is relevant for drivers that require a workhorse that is capable of more than just the school run.
Debuting in this year's CX-60 SUV, Mazda says that the e-Skyactiv D is a further evolution of diesel engine technology. While its 3,283cc and inline six cylinders make the engine appear decidedly unfashionable, and highlights that the era of downsizing is over, it is capable of 44mpg and weighs the same as Mazda's existing 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit. Furthermore, it can be fed on a diet of biodiesel and Mazda is confident that it will exceed all forthcoming emissions requirements. The CO2 outputs of 127g/km (200PS), or 137g/km (254PS) are especially
credible, considering the unit's displacement and power output. The CX-60 also has a 2,500kgs towing capacity.
Much of these achievements are down to the DCPCI (Distribution-Controlled Partially Premixed Compression Ignition). While Mazda is keeping tight-lipped on further technical details, the system relies on multiple fuel injections that enable a pre-mix of the diesel and air upon interaction with the egg-shaped recess on the piston crown.
Yet, this unit is also a hybrid, featuring the Mazda M Hybrid Boost. While the mild-hybrid system's lowly 48-volts rating will limit its abilities, at least technicians will not require highvoltage health and safety training. As the diagram shows, the hybrid system appears to act on the transmission, rather than on the engine's FEAD drive. As such, it should be relatively maintenance-free.
Digital side mirrors are nothing especially new, even to Lexus. The Japanese brand offered them originally in 2018 for its domestic market, a world-first for a mass-production car, prior to offering them to UK customers a little over two years ago. Interestingly, for our market, the system has been revised to ensure that clearer images are displayed in poor light conditions, such as when driving in rain... Lexus claims that safety is the main advantage. The system sees traditional door mirrors replaced with compact, external, highresolution cameras, linked to in-car monitors. They provide an enhanced view of the area behind and immediately alongside the vehicle in all weathers, with Lexus claiming that they are protected against snow, water and dirt. Their wider angles also reduce blind spots. They are also adaptive and change their field of vision, when the car is turning, or reversing. Furthermore, the smaller housings reduce the chance of impact damage. Lexus also highlights aerodynamic advantages that help lower the all-important CO2 emissions. Perhaps, this is the real reason...
Finally, while we do not tend to feature pilot technologies, we thought that this interesting project between Audi and Mann+Hummel filtration was worth highlighting. Audi admits that, regardless of a vehicle’s drive system, 85% of fine dust in road traffic is caused by particulates from the brakes, tyres, or road. These smallest particles, which are virtually invisible, are only a few micrometres in size and these cancer-causing fragments can be inhaled easily.
Yet, in the last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended significantly lower particulate matter limits are set but, according to experts cited by Audi, it would be impossible to comply with these new values in many German towns and cities. This is worth considering, because future Euro VII legislation is targeting these types of emissions.
In any case, a filter is fitted to the front of Audi e-tron test cars to absorb not just its own particulates but also those of other vehicles. The filter is fitted in front of the radiator and is controlled by a switchable cooling air inlet. Using a similar principle to that of an engine air filter, the purifier filter traps particulates from the incoming stream. While the system works using ram air, when the vehicle is moving, the radiator fan also drags air through the purifier, when the car is either stationary, or moving slowly in traffic.
While two years of testing remain, Audi reports that the filters have no negative effect on the operation of the electric vehicle, including on hot summer days or during fast charging. The partners are also investigating working with weather stations and an interior display to allow occupants to control the system and evaluate its effectiveness.
It seems that even the most ardent SUV naysayers have capitulated and supercar manufacturers have realised that mass appeal (and profit) can be made by selling their souls – which, admittedly, may be better than selling out to the Chinese... Anyway, several curious and mightily expensive SUVs have appeared, such as the Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin's DBX and the Maserati Grecale. Now, Ferrari has got in on the act (even though it prefers the term sports car over SUV), with the 725 horsepower, 193mph Purosangue.
Despite its practical advantages, Ferrari ensures that its racing pedigree shines through. While active dampers are nothing new, the Purosangue employs the Canadian Multimatic’s TrueActive Spool Valve shock absorbers (TASV) to optimise the handling. Technically, this is a motor industry first, where an electric motor is coupled directly to the damper rod to influence damping and ride-height.
Each TASV damper contains a pair of spool valves that control compression and rebound motions, which Multimatic states provides precise and predictable
control, by achieving the desired vertical, roll and pitch dynamics at any speed. The valves are controlled by a liquid-cooled 48-volt motor that acts on the damper shaft, via a twin-lead ball screw and gearbox. Each damper possesses a dedicated motor control module that is controlled by the Vehicle Dynamics Controller ECU and associated components. Multimatic says that the system allows the vehicle to attain a performance envelope and level of vehicle control far beyond that which is possible with other electronically adaptive and semi-active systems. Yet, TASV simplifies the suspension system, by negating any need for physical anti-roll devices and additional mechanisms to adjust dynamic ride height and damping rates.
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Within a series of articles, Human Resources expert Julia Crawford from People Pillar will provide practical advice on all things people related –including contracts of employment, employment policies, recruitment, absence management and redundancies. Here, she provides checklists
Running a small business means that you must be a master of everything. That’s even before you have started selling anything. Whether your business is a micro business that is hiring its first employee, is more established, or growing quickly, you need to be HR aware.
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees rarely have any HR support. Instead, it’s likely that it will be an Office Manager who has dabbled in HR over the years, who draws the short straw and takes on this responsibility. Whilst it is great that someone is looking after HR, it also creates a risk that leaves you open to legal challenges if it’s not done correctly. It also takes them away from their ‘day job’.
If you’re not quite big enough to have an Office Manager, then this responsibility likely falls to you and the last thing you want is to be bogged down dealing with responsibilities you hadn’t bargained for. This all takes you away from running your business and doing the work that you love.
Typically, business owners start thinking about HR when:
1) The things on the ‘too difficult’ pile are building up
2) Something has gone wrong and you either have a grievance, disciplinary or an Employment Tribunal claim to respond to
3) You are starting to think about the longer-term plans for your business.
If you have employees, it is vital you stay on top of, and adhere to, employment law. But what does that mean? Simply put, employment law provides legislation on all the areas that affect both employers and employees. This covers things like dismissal, discrimination, pay and even holidays. It’s designed to protect both parties – looking after employee rights and safeguarding employers’ interests – keeping and maintaining a fair relationship between the two.
UK employment law details what should be covered in a contract of employment (we’re talking disciplinaries, notice periods, holiday entitlements etc.) and it protects employers by ensuring that everyone has a clear record of the agreement.
It also works to protect employees by making sure they benefit from fair hiring procedures, pay, and by setting out what is expected of them. Simply put, employment law is a huge area of the legal system and covers every part of the employer/ employee relationship.
From the moment a candidate applies for a job, they are covered by employment law. It keeps them safe from discrimination based on a set of nine protected characteristics (as outlined in the Equality Act 2010). When they move on to employment they are then also protected by health and safety laws too (as per the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974).
You may be surprised to learn that many businesses don’t currently have all the right policies in place to stay protected though. There are more still who have policies that haven’t been updated since they were written.
The problem with this is that if a situation arises where that policy is required, no-one knows where they stand. That can cause even more problems for both parties. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re writing policies in reaction to an event. You want to know that if or when that situation arises all of your policies are legal and up-to-date.
You would be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by the thought of getting your business up to date with employment law. It can be complicated and it’s constantly evolving. But it’s always worth keeping in mind that these laws are in place to protect businesses, outline their obligations to their employees, and advise about the protections you have as a business owner.
This checklist covers some of the most important areas your business needs to be aware of and will help you to take the right actions to abide by rules and regulations, and make sure your people are doing the same. If you find your business falls short on some of these areas, or you think it’s time for a professional review of your policies and procedures, we’d love to help you get up to date.
• Do you have up to date job descriptions for all roles within the business?
• Is there a selection and recruitment policy in place?
• Are you up to date on discrimination law?
• Do you have a suitable interview structure?
• Who in the business is responsible for checking references?
• Do all your candidates have a legal right to work in the UK?
• Are you aware of standard probation periods?
• Do you understand current Working Time Regulations?
• Do all employees have a signed contract of employment?
• Does everyone have access to your company handbook?
• Are employee records kept secure and up to date?
• Are your staff paid at least the National Minimum Wage?
• Have all employees been properly inducted and onboarded?
• Is all training completed (or ongoing) and up to date?
• Are your employees aware of reporting procedures for sickness, maternity and paternity pay, and annual leave?
• Do you have the correct policies in place for new and expectant mothers and employees on paternity leave?
• Do your policies cover adoption leave, parental leave, emergency leave, and other types of leave, such as jury service or training?
• Is your flexible working policy available to everyone from 26 weeks of service, and those with children under the age of 6, or disabled children?
• Are you compliant with Health and Safety regulations?
• Do you have processes in place to comply with data protection and GDPR?
• Are there procedures in place to correctly maintain employee records and files?
• Do you have a code of conduct that is available to all employees?
• Is there an equality and diversity policy in place?
• Is there an anti-bullying policy in place?
• Is there a harassment policy in place?
• Is there an anti-discrimination policy in place?
• Do you have grievance and disciplinary procedures?
• Are the correct managers and/or employees aware of and trained in these policies and procedures?
• Do you have a social media policy in place?
• Do you have mobile phone use at work policy?
• Do you set review dates for and monitor pay?
• Do your managers conduct and document regular appraisals?
• Do you have systems in place to help manage long-term sickness and absence patterns?
• Are there procedures in place for employees that are leaving?
• Do you conduct exit interviews?
• Do you limit employees’ post-termination actions with restrictive covenants?
Find out more at www.peoplepillar.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 01303 769700
After four years, Automechanika
Birmingham returns to the NEC in June for the largest UK automotive trade event, bringing an expected 12,000 visitors and 500 exhibitors together to experience the latest innovations in products and equipment as well as the training and support available to overcome the technical and business challenges facing UK workshops today and in the coming years.
Visitors can expect product launches from some of the industry’s biggest brands and the chance to secure the best prices on new equipment with exclusive deals, discounts, and competitions worth over £50,000. Exhibitors include Bosch, Hella, Snap-On, Alliance Automotive Group, Tool Connection, LKQ Euro Car Parts, ZF, Arnold Clarke Autoparts, Liqui Moly, SATA, NGK among many more.
Visitor registration is now open, offering garage and workshop professionals free tickets to the event, as well as free parking and breakfast, plus the opportunity to take advantage of technical talks, discussion on the latest trends and technology to futureproof businesses.
Taking place from 6 to 8 June 2023 at the NEC, Automechanika Birmingham 2023 will be the first UK event since 2019 and will feature a Workshop Training Hub delivering technical seminars, in partnership with autotechnician magazine, on engine fault diagnostics, MOT, diesel, Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) and more. There will also be a new Electric Vehicle
Training Hub discussing EV and hybrid technology, and how garages can make a successful transition to EV repairs.
Show feature: The Modern Garage
The Modern Garage feature will show that you don’t need huge investment to become a good modern garage and will detail the achievable changes workshops can make to enhance profitability and efficiency today and into the future.
The feature will highlight how the most impactful trends and technologies can be effectively incorporated into a modern workshop. In partnership with LKQ Euro Car Parts, the feature will demonstrate practical solutions to cover; Electric vehicle infrastructure, ADAS calibration, digitalisation of the workshop, connectivity, tools and equipment, as well as training options to provide the skills for the best technical solutions.
Andy Hamilton, CEO, LKQ Euro Car Parts, said: “Helping garages and bodyshops prepare for the future has been a key focus for our business over the past few years and will remain so for the foreseeable. Rarely has the sector faced such a significant amount of disruptive change as it does today. And things are not going to slow down.
“The key future trends that the independent aftermarket need to be across are unsurprisingly focused on technology - connectivity, driver assistance systems, digital channels and interfaces, electrification and shared mobility.
“These will not only demand investment into new skills and equipment but fundamental changes to the way garages and bodyshops interact with their customers and how they present their businesses to the world.”
An Aftermarket Conference and Supply Chain conference will highlight the latest news and advice from the sector, plus key debates on legislation for the future of the industry, and a
Talent & Skills Conference will address how to gain, train, and retain talent in the industry.
Visitors can also benefit from a comprehensive programme of more than 192 hours of free skills training, technical talks and discussions on current industry issues and new technology, as well as live demonstrations, all presented by industry experts.
Simon Albert, managing director of event organisers Messe Frankfurt UK, said: “We’re looking forward to opening our doors for 2023 and welcoming visitors. They'll have access to the very best information, training, latest products and services and will get to meet the industry’s leading suppliers.
“Set to be bigger and better than ever before, visitors to Automechanika Birmingham 2023 will be able to get a firsthand look at the latest trends, products and technologies in the market to future-proof their businesses and more.”
The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has announced that it will be hosting its first-ever Garage Awards in partnership with Automechanika Birmingham to celebrate the very best of the garage industry and acknowledge the commitment and dedication independent garages and technicians have made to ensuring affordable mobility in the UK over the past few years.
Nominations are now open for the awards, which will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 7 June at Hilton Metropole NEC. There are eight award categories:
• Garage of the Year
• Best Independent Garage – Single-Site
• Best Independent Garage – Multi-Site
• Best Community initiative
• ‘Auto-Mechanik’ of the year
• Best marketing award
• Best customer service award
• Lifetime Achievement Award
Nominations for each award can be made at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/IAAFAwards (or scan the QR code above). Criteria on each award can be found on the IAAF website www.iaaf.co.uk and multiple entries will be accepted.
Use the following link if you are reading the digital issue (https://bit.ly/AutomechTickets) or scan this QR code with your camera to get your free ticket to Automechanika Birmingham
Shortlisted companies and individuals will receive two free tickets to the awards evening – the event will feature networking, awards and prize giving, plus a three-course meal and entertainment.
Mark Field, IAAF chief executive, said: “Independent garages are often the unsung heroes of our trade, and we hope the event will play a key part in highlighting the brilliant work the sector and individuals have done in recent years to keep UK motorists moving.”
Automechanika Birmingham is officially welcoming the next generation of aftermarket professionals to its summer show on 6th – 8th June, as the event organisers look to help bridge the ongoing skills gap and train the future specialists of the industry.
Along with aftermarket apprentices, Automechanika Birmingham is also encouraging first-year, second-year and third-year students to attend.
Alex Jones, marketing director of Messe Frankfurt UK, organisers of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “The statistics don’t lie, and unfortunately the number of dropouts in the first year of college is frighteningly high for automotive courses. Not only is it important to capture the interest of fresh talent by offering attractive apprenticeship schemes and college courses, once we have these individuals on board, we need to ensure we can keep hold of them.
“A key way to achieve this is by shining a light on the vast scale of technical innovations that our exhibitors offer, as well as the myriad of training opportunities available at the show. There are a multitude of options to explore for people wishing to kickstart their aftermarket career, from getting hands on in workshops, right through to product development at manufacturer level. And with a future based around an alternative fuelled vehicle parc and autonomous driving, apprentices and students can expect a long and fruitful career in the automotive aftermarket.”
Automechanika Birmingham has partnered with School of Thought, who will be exhibiting at June’s show, which was created specifically to address the skills and generation gap and promote all the career opportunities the industry has to offer.
Gareth marked up a current flow diagram from Alldata to help select the easiest and most logical test points
A few months back I was presented with an Audi A3 from a regular customer with a fault that was distressing both its owner and their neighbours as it had developed an annoying tendency to set the antitheft alarm siren off at random periods, but most annoyingly, this frequently happened during the middle of the night.
The vehicle was dropped off on an ad hoc basis given the nature of the fault and this allowed symptom proofing to take place in the background comfort of our car park without too much distress to anyone. It was confirmed in the days leading up to it being looked at in the workshop that the alarm would sound for no apparent reason, and randomly with no documentable pattern.
The vehicle was left unlocked for the remainder of its wait, given after three validations of the symptom it just became annoying. The vehicle subsequently made its way into the workshop for assessment which began in the normal way of following our internal fault assessment procedure here at the garage.
Retrieval of the stored DTCs were pulled in a complete car scan using ODIS and these were the faults stored in the convenience module:
• 1135 Interior Monitoring sensors – No signal/communication intermittentBy Gareth Davies AAE FIMI, Euro Performance
• 323 Vehicle inclination sensor – No signal/communication intermittent
• 1134 Alarm Horn – No signal/communication intermittent
• 323 Vehicle inclination sensor – Faulty intermittent
With this information and confirmation the symptom was replicable I was satisfied I had a good start point for my investigation work. Consulting technical data, I decided that checking any relationship between these components was important, and that a wiring diagram should furnish this answer. Looking at the wiring diagram I concluded that there are 3 separate sensors/units that each share the same root power, ground and a third wire. Studying the diagram, I could see they communicate with the convenience ECU via Lin Bus.
Lin Bus is a single 12v wire, low speed communication method, with a master and slave arrangement. Now at this stage I cannot be sure of a slave or master component failure, a wiring failure, or something more left-field of my peripheral.
I created a quick and simple plan to carry out some tests. My key questions and tests are:
Powers – Where does the supply come from?
Test methods – Fuse condition, volt drop testing, measured supply at components
Grounds – Where does the circuit ground?
Test Methods – Volt drop testing, measured ground at components
Lin Bus – Interpret Lin signal at connected components, what happens connected and disconnected
Basic principles were the foundations of my test plan and in keeping with the theme of ‘Time is money’ I needed to select the easiest and most logical test point(s) to start joining dots on a page that currently has lots of reference points, but no clear picture.
Test 1 – Power supply
I located the fused supply for all three components. Fuse confirmed by test light, removed to ensure integrity (legs/ corrosion) and this is good.
Test 2 – Easiest, least intrusive component of the group to inspect and check
Three tests to be carried out at this test point. Power supply,
ground, and Lin activity. The test point was the interior monitoring sensors, which when referring to the current flow diagram does mention depending on spec this may or may not be fitted – on our car it was. I was able to identify the power supply, which confirmed as correct with no volt drop. I could confirm a good ground, cross checked with a test light validating another 12v supply, and cross checked for volt drop to ground. All good.
Test 3 – LIN Bus evaluation
At this point it was clear a LIN signal was present at the interior monitoring sensors but was not as expected. It was apparent from my limited knowledge of LIN Bus that the signal was corrupt. Familiar in what I should see, and a quick confirmation check with the very useful Diagnostic Assistance program, shows examples of good LIN, and LIN operation. I compared the signal with both the connected and disconnected and observed no change. This is the key test which should have showed some observed change if the network was performing correctly.
The other test that can be running in the background whilst your testing is being carried out is live data analysis. I felt it pertinent given the nature of the non-communicational faults stored to evaluate the live data change of the LIN slaves during my testing. For example, if when disturbing wiring during a wiggle test, or isolating a component suspected of being a contributor to the network transmission issue now detected, I would in theory be able to see a partial restoration of the communication status of these slaves when doing so. Really useful if you have a scan tool that is either Bluetooth connection to the multiplexer interface or has a really long
lead (ODIS does) then you can have this in front of you when performing the tests. It may serve no useful purpose with some faults but could yield another clue with no extra effort being exerted.
At this point I had a useful amount of information from my testing. I had to make a new plan now to look at other points on the system to test. The logic I used here is to test at the next easiest point to gain the most information. I chose the alarm siren. This did require some intrusion, but the interior monitoring sensors were two tabs and two screws in the headlining, which was a piece of cake, the siren is OSF wheel off and arch liner down, whereas the inclination sensor was hidden somewhere up behind the driver’s side dash supposedly. “Pick your battles” is always my approach! You might have questioned my logic at this point and wondered why I hadn't gone straight to the inclination sensor, given one of the fault codes says, ‘inclination sensor – faulty’. I have learned over my time with the brand not to believe these faults and rate them as highly as I once did. My case study regarding an RS6 fuel pump control unit highlights why.
Something to remember when troubleshooting faults is a plausibility check of what it is you’re dealing with. Knowing your expected results is key. Can a component that is designed to work on a solid 12v supply function properly if it’s getting 6.8 volts? No, it can’t. Can that green crustiness at a plug connection really be the fault? Of course it could. In exactly the same way, is it the supply that is the fault or a flaky ground that increases resistance with the direction of the wind? All this questioning should remain at the forefront of any technician’s mind when approaching a fault. The basic principles are very often not far away from a route cause of failure. Hence the seemingly casual approach to the control unit faulty DTC being amongst others rather than a standout individual DTC entry.
Fast forward to an exposed alarm horn siren (it’s an antitheft component so remember there may be shear bolts to deal with, which in this case there was) I was able to repeat the same set of tests that I had carried out earlier at the interior monitoring sensors. Sure, enough power and grounds checked out, and with the component connected I still had my bad LIN trace.
However, when disconnecting the component, I observed the Lin behaved differently to before. Instead of showing a virtual flatline 7v occasionally dropping to ground in a nonreferenceable waveform pattern, I now had a waveform operating between 12v and 7v and displaying telegrams. Furthermore, checking my live data PIDs I could now see an observed change to other slaves on the network. They were reporting a status change which said they were now communicating. A further stress test performed here shows that with the ‘bad apple’ out of the barrel can the system work otherwise? The answer was yes, when the vehicle assumed a simulated locked state, the interior monitor sensors reported a working state as did the inclination sensor.
With the diagnostic testing complete I moved to summarise my findings with the customer and quote for the repairs required; a new alarm siren unit and anti-theft bolt with the necessary labour. Notably, the labour content transparently less than the cost of diagnosis. This should be something considered in your fault assessment fee and approach, because if you are not charging suitably for diagnosis, you are likely to be left wanting in certain repair cases due to the effort to apply the fix is significantly less than the effort and skill to accurately troubleshoot the complaint effectively in the first instance.
The repair was carried out and the system operation was checked in a pre-assembled state, checking live data and operation when locked for a longer period in the workshop. There were no further instances of the alarm going off but the vehicle remained with us overnight to be absolutely sure before customer collection. The vehicle has since returned for MOT and was confirmed as fixed by the customer.
A fairly simple fault and case study in this guise, but was it made simpler by a logical approach and execution of testing? I think so, and I think a lot of the time reflecting on jobs before during and after the diagnosis chapter, what is the easiest route. Some jobs we come across for sure are really tricky longwinded affairs, but I think sometimes just a little thought and order to our approach results in the most effective use of time and skill, which we cannot forget are the only ‘things’ we as techs sell.
oils Page 39
The tell-tale signs of a fake spark plug, the importance of quality in stop/start systems and engine management troubleshooting
Exhaust systems seem strange items for fakers to target but Rob Marshall learns from leading manufacturers, BM Catalysts and Klarius, that it is a very real problem
While brake friction components are governed by ECE R90 regulations, the aftermarket should not let its guard down
After establishing that this magazine would tackle the thorny topic of fakery undermining the aftermarket, we were surprised by the mixed responses we received. Some companies were willing to discuss the matter openly. Others were more hesitant, in case we revealed sensitive security information (which is fair enough), but they still trusted us with their insight. Interestingly, some businesses did not wish to discuss the topic, one of whom recommended strongly that we changed our stance entirely.
While AT is not into click-bait sensationalism, this is a delicate topic that we feel should be debated. We appreciate that rising costs are putting pressure on both workshops and motorists but we must not be lured into false economies. Last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce stated that the counterfeit automotive parts industry is worth about $45 billion.
Closer to home, Mercedes-Benz reported that 1.9 million counterfeit products were seized in over 650 raids during 2021. In the UK, we are seeing more fake products appearing, from fuel catalysts to brakes.
Counterfeit products that pretend to be from a credible company are, probably, the most obvious fakes. It is especially amusing to see logos and designs of well-established companies altered mildly, in the hope that a low price would cloud the buyer's ability to read. An example that springs to mind is a fake BOGE shock absorber, marketed in very similar packaging as 'BOOG'. While we can giggle, we should not forget that the fakers are becoming more sophisticated at copying genuine articles, making them harder to identify at first sight. In any case, many larger companies have the resources to identify and fight the fakers that are trading on their good names and they do so. We should be grateful, however, that such forgeries are relatively rare in the UK but the expansion of global online platforms with temping low prices can make garages vulnerable, especially if fitting customersupplied parts.
Another definition of fakery involves false claims made on the packaging. Very often, these boast of the part complying with certain specifications, when they do not. If the deception was intentional, the question has to be asked about whether the item fails in other technical ways. It could even be dangerous. Alternatively, a false claim might be the result of a genuine error, in which case the organisation involved should be judged on its subsequent willingness to remedy the problem.
The quality debate is also one that gets dragged into discussions about fakes. Very often, OEM suppliers insist on OE quality. Alternative suppliers that do not supply car manufacturers counter that they also offer OE quality. Some businesses argue that they go above OE quality, by offering alternatives that address long-term deficiencies in the original part. Other suppliers offer a range of parts that still meet legislative requirements, but offer superior performance in one area at the expense of performance in another. We think that this topic is interesting and useful to discuss but non-OEM supplied parts should not be considered fakes.
Despite fake brake friction parts being unusual in the UK, these top five checks should help to keep you protected, in case any slip through the net:
When examining the box, look for an e-mark approval number. E11 90R-02A01234/46789 is a typical example. Compare that number with the e-mark on the brake pad. They should match.
The box should contain literature that states the material code. While it is unlikely that you will be able to decipher it, the DVSA can tell, should you ask it to investigate. Should you find no code, then the part is not compliant with R90.
Buy from both a reputable supplier and manufacturer, such as authorised distributors and distribution chains. Selecting brands, with which you are familiar, is not a bad idea. Should you not be familiar with the brand (of which there are many in the UK), see if you recognise the manufacturer behind it.
Brake pad boxes must be sealed and tamperproof. Should you find that the box has been opened already or can be opened and resealed easily, suspect that the product inside is either non-R90 compliant, or a counterfeit.
If you cannot find out if the manufacturer complies with R90, contact its technical support team. Be suspicious if no contact details are available...
Bosch Braking Systems. Delivering safety since 1927 Bosch brake innovations have been ensuring road safety for more than 90 years. And we will continue to dedicate ourselves passionately to improving driving safety even further. In doing so, we benefit from decades of experience and comprehensive system expertise. For you, this means that you can fully rely on our products.
What drives you, drives us.
While brake friction components are governed by ECE R90 regulations, the aftermarket should not let its guard down
The DVSA's market surveillance team's findings that several brake friction brands failed to meet the basic ECE R90 requirements indicated the largest potential fakery of safetyrelated parts, since counterfeit brake pads were found on the Northern Irish market in 2010. Almost twelve months after the public announcement was made, the government agency has remained tight-lipped about its findings, because the investigation is ongoing and revealing further information might prejudice ensuing enforcement action. The DVSA could not give us an idea about when it will be ready to make further statements.
Juratec views the DVSA investigation as being a good reminder not to be complacent about the reasons and benefits of being compliant. While it admits that the government announcement sent shockwaves through the industry, both Juratec and TMD Friction confirm that their businesses have not been affected.
Aside from manufacturers, LKQ Euro Car Parts believes that sellers have a role to play. It told AT that it ensures that its suppliers comply with R90; a specialist compliance team at LKQ Europe makes sure of it. First Line agrees, stating that, as long as parts are purchased through authorised distributors and distribution chains, there should be no risk.
Even so, LKQ Euro Car Parts admits that opportunists will always look to exploit the current situation. For purchasers, it advises checking the vendor's details, especially where items seem particularly low priced. Anything that is purchased from within the UK, or Europe, must comply with R90 legally, so knowing where a seller is based should help alleviate your concerns (or not). Should you have further doubt, ask the seller if those parts possess the mandatory R90 numbers before parting with your money.
TMD Friction agrees with this advice but adds that the current system appears to be working in its purpose of keeping the fakes out of the UK market. It reasons that brake component legislation is strict, manufacturers are required to comply and enforcement bodies ensure that breaches do not happen.
While many corporates will argue (with good technical reasoning) that you should fit the highest-performing roadgoing brake pad you can, many of your customers might not be quite so eager. Consequently, the market may direct you into offering alternatives, based on price. Yet, the temptation must not be to try and source anything that does not comply with R90.
Juratec maintains that seeking alternatives should not result in a significant compromise on performance, because all R90compliant parts must be equal to the OE part's performance, with a variance of above, or below, 15%. Yet. Juratec highlights that the legal minimum standards do not test for other parameters, such as noise and wear.
First Line elaborates that, a friction material, specified to the lower end of R90, may wear faster and be noisier. It also may not be able to cope with the same level of heat, compared to an alternative product at the higher end of R90. Therefore, a superior pad will have the ability to recover faster, provide minimal fade and have a more consistent performance.
Naturally, it could be argued that a brake pad with reduced performance in any way, compared with the OEM part, is compromised from a safety aspect. It can also be reasoned that different drivers have diverse needs from their braking systems. Therefore, it is up to the garage to make the customer aware of any compromises that result from the instruction to seek out cost reductions, by purchasing a value brand.
Whether stemming from outmoded practices from the mists of time, or fiction masquerading as truth, we asked the quality brake manufacturers which fake statements they wish to quash. This is what they came up with:
1. "Brake disc coatings must be removed before fitting"
While brake discs used to be protected from corrosion with a thin oil film, and some of them still do, others are painted. This anti-corrosion coating is designed not to be removed. While you should remove any oil and grease from the surface before fitting, coated discs need not be stripped.
2. "Copper grease quietens and lubricates pads"
Although common in the 1980s and '90s, many companies now advise against using copperimpregnated grease on brake pads. First Line reports that some pads, such as those from its Borg & Beck range, possess multi-layered shims on their reverse side. Under no circumstances should copper grease be applied. Despite its excellent high-temperature properties, Copper Slip is a poor lubricant. It also damages rubber and can corrode steel and aluminium. The copper element can also interfere with wheel speed sensor signals. So, what can you use? LKQ Euro Car Parts and TMD Friction offer Ceratec (pictured), which is a metallic-free lubricant that is heat-resistant to 1,000°C. Use only a small quantity on the contact points; one tube is sufficient to lubricate 35 sets of pads.
3. "These new discs are warped"
A customer may return a car to you, complaining of juddering during braking. A snap diagnosis may lead the customer (or you) to blame disc warping. LKQ Euro Car Parts advises that the real cause tends to be dirty hubs. While it is true that heat causes warpage, the amount needed to do so tends to be generated in extreme conditions, such as while negotiating an alpine descent, or when competing on a track day. Warping should not be an issue in everyday motoring on UK
roads – unless the brakes are binding from a different mechanical/hydraulic fault. The best way to avoid this complaint is to clean the hub before the disc is fitted.
4. "New brakes do not require bedding in"
Jurid emphasises that new pads must be bedded in over the first 200-300 miles. When handing the keys back to the customer, technicians should warn against sudden and sustained braking over this period. The more technically-interested car owner may be interested to know that the pads can glaze over and impair the braking, if treated over-harshly, causing worrying brake fade. However, while some suppliers provide an information leaflet that garages can hang on the rear view mirror in the hope that customers will read it, some suppliers include means of reducing the bedding-in period. Delphi reports that its pad surfacing and slots allow for optimal and swift bedding in.
It seems crazy but it still happens – some customers are almost suicidal to cut their motoring costs to the bone. Always replace discs and pads in axle sets. Changing one side only will downgrade braking performance severely. Even so, imbalanced wear should prompt further investigations of the entire braking system, because other components are likely to be responsible.
When applying your brakes every centimetre counts. For this reason the febi braking range only consists of OE matching quality products. We have a core range of components including Discs, Pads, Drums, Shoes and Calipers but febi also has solutions for the remainder of the brake system for all popular vehicle types, with supplementary braking products covering over 415,000 applications.
The vast range includes:
» ABS Rings
» ABS Sensors
» Adjustment Unit for Handbrake
» Brake Cables
» Brake Disc Shields
» Brake Fitting Kits
» Brake Fluid
» Brake Hoses
» Brake Master Cylinders
» Tandem Pump
» Vacuum Pumps
» Wear Indicators
» Wheel Cylinders
You can find the complete overview of febi Braking at: partsfinder.bilsteingroup.com.
Your No.1 for Braking
DRIVEN BY YOU
The tell-tale signs of a fake spark plug, the importance of quality in stop/start systems and engine management troubleshooting
According to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, the production of counterfeit parts is a rising criminal phenomenon with high profit margins, with criminals targeting premium brand, high volume service parts and using e-commerce platforms to entice workshops looking to grab a deal that turns out to be too good to be true.
Unusual packaging, heavily discounted prices and misspelling of brand names and product information are obvious indicators. Here, NGK provides details on how to distinguish between original and fake spark plugs.
• Inspect font type and signs of smudges on the spark plug
• Look out for a machine cutting mark on the caulking (could indicate a counterfeit)
• Check the hexagon for a LOT number and the correct font type
• The C-groove portion show machine cutting marks (could indicate a counterfeit)
• Have a close look at the electrode & compare to a genuine product's electrode.
A study published by the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows that the loss to the European economy created by the presence of fake products amounts to 60 billion euros per year – equal to 7.5 per cent of European sales. Not to mention the individual harm caused to customers who were cheated.
NGK SPARK PLUG’s Technical Service team recently became aware of cases where customers bought CR9EIX NGK spark plugs on the internet, which proved to be fake products. “These spark plugs melted and caused damage to our customers’ engines, which is annoying, costly and avoidable,” says Kai Wilschrei, Manager Technical Services Aftermarket EMEA.
The difference between the original and a fake “Original NGK CR9EIX spark plugs have a centre electrode with an iridium tip. This material has a very high melting point and is extremely hard and long lasting,” explains Kai. “The fake plugs do not have any iridium on the centre electrode. They feature a standard Nickel electrode that was tapered down with a lathe, giving it the same optical impression as the iridium tip,” he continues. “This fake part is very weak and can’t stand the heat. This soft spot causes the centre electrode to melt, inflicting damage to the engine.”
What to do if in doubt?
Refer to the following images and compare each one thoroughly with the suspect product.
1. Inspect font type and signs of smudges on the spark plug
Have a look at the product name on the spark plug. If the font type is different from the one shown in the photo on the left and if the font is smudged in some way, the product might be a counterfeit.
Then look at the C-Groove portion of the spark plug. If you can see a machine cutting mark on the surface of the metal shell, again, this is a sign of a counterfeit.
5. Have a close look at the electrode
Lastly, take a close look at the shape of the electrodes. If yours differs from the left-hand picture, be warned.
2. Look out for a machine cutting mark on the caulking
Take a close look at the crimping portion of the plug. If you can see a machine cutting mark on it, be alert: this is indicative of a fake product.
NGK SPARK PLUG recommends that you always buy from a retailer or supplier you trust. If you have already bought a counterfeit item, take legal action.
Top & bottom left are genuine, Top right & bottom right are counterfeit with the LOT number missing or with an incorrect font
3. Check the hexagon for a LOT number and the correct font type
Next, check the hexagon. If there is no Lot Number and/or a different font type is used compared to the one shown below left, it’s not an original product.
As part of its Masters of Motion series, Delphi Technologies has created a short video detailing the replacement of an ignition coil on a BMW 3 Series. Simply click on the image via the digital issue or enter www.bit.ly/DelphiBMWcoil into your browser.
Stop-start systems have been rapidly adopted by vehicle manufacturers to meet ever-tightening emissions legislation and typically reduce fuel consumption and emissions by between 4 and 10%. These gains in efficiency however come at the cost of extra strain on ignition components thanks to the repeated high frequency stop-start cycles.
Delphi Technologies says it’s crucial to choose quality replacements to ensure reliability. “Today’s ignition systems are far removed from those in cars 20 years ago and they have to work much harder with stop-start enabled, says Julian Goulding, Marketing Manager at Delphi Technologies Aftermarket. “It’s a huge change from single start journeys into multiple high frequency stop-start cycle trips that might take place in cold weather with low engine temperatures.
“Manufacturers have developed the vehicle to handle this but issues can arise when cars grow older and components inevitably fail. Garages need to guide owners towards replacement options that will perform to the manufacturer’s original specifications."
Goulding points out that with the labour involved in replacing ignition coils ranging up to several hours, it’s a false-economy to seek small savings on the component itself. “When installing ignition parts on a stop-start vehicle, it’s essential to use quality OE-specification parts produced by a reputable brand to ensure a long-lasting replacement,” says Julian. "Delphi is an OE-supplier and passes this expertise onto the aftermarket, with an extensive programme of ignition components that are the same specification as the original.
“We recommend more frequent checks on stop-start cars too. A lot of newer cars marry stop-start to smaller engines to generate further efficiency gains, turbocharging is often used too. This can lead to significant heat build-up in the engine bay, affecting how ignition parts perform. Carrying out a regular visual inspection can highlight issues before they cause a breakdown.”
A host of resources for Champion ignition parts are freely available to technicians through the Garage Gurus web platform. This includes self-learning training modules including advanced details of petrol and diesel ignition technology and the diagnosis of problems with petrol and diesel ignition systems. Videos cover installation, new technologies and tips and tricks.
Free-to-download resources include step-by-step installation guides for spark plugs, glow plugs and glow plug control units alongside Champion Troubler Tracer charts that help pinpoint and rectify common faults and avoidable issues which can lead to invalid warranty claims.
MEYLE says that the number of assistance systems, comfort packages and electronic systems in the drivetrain and exhaust gas system is climbing steadily because of the three megatrends of automated driving, energy efficiency and vehicle digitalization. This has also increased the number of sensors and control units as all vehicle components need to communicate seamlessly to ensure efficient vehicle function.
“We at MEYLE have been systematically and continuously expanding our electronics portfolio for several years and will continue to do so in the future,” says Dimitri Knorr, Head of the Electronics product team at MEYLE. “One of our focuses are sensors for the assistance system. Next to our range of ABS sensors, we are currently extending the range of our new
MEYLE-ORIGINAL park distance control sensors. In the area of ignition and glow system, we added the MEYLE-ORIGINAL Pressure Sensor Glow Plug (PSG) to our electronics portfolio. They are available for 2.0 TDI engines of VAG models from 2016.”
"MEYLE electronics solutions are OE-specified to the highest MEYLE standards and 100% functionally tested," states Dimitri. "This means that every sensor has the same electrical signal as the OE version to ensure perfect interaction with the corresponding control unit and correct functioning of the system."
The quality of application data is also high on its list of priorities to enable workshops to identify the correct part quickly.
Insufficient output voltage or energy will cause misfiring and incomplete fuel combustion in the cylinder. When a problem arises, irrespective of the type of ignition coil – single, dual or four-spark or contact/ transistor controlled – the correct fault diagnosis is critical. Hella suggests the following procedure to ensure a thorough assessment.
Visual inspection on the vehicle
• Check the ignition coil for mechanical damage
• Check the housing for hairline cracks and sealant leaks
• Check the electrical wiring and plug connections for damage and oxidation.
Check the electrics using a multimeter or oscilloscope
• Check the voltage supply to the ignition coil
• Check the triggering signal from the ignition distributor, ignition control unit, or engine control unit.
Testing with a diagnostic unit
• Read out the fault memory of the iginition system or engine control
• Read out parameters.
Hella warns that faults established during tests with the oscilloscope are not necessarily faults caused by the electronic system; they can also be caused by a mechanical problem in the engine. This may be the case, for example, if compression is too low in one cylinder, which means the oscilloscope shows the ignition voltage for this cylinder to be lower than that of the other cylinders.
Testing the resistance values using the ohmmeter on disconnected coils
Depending on the ignition system and ignition coil design, the following reference values apply: (observe the manufacturer's specifications)
Cylinder ignition coil (transistor ignition system)
Primary: 0.5 Ω–2.0 Ω/Secondary: 8.0 kΩ–19.0 kΩ
Cylinder ignition coil (electronic ignition system with map-controlled ignition)
Primary: 0.5 Ω–2.0 Ω/Secondary: 8.0 kΩ–19.0 kΩ
Single-spark or dual-spark ignition coil (fully electronic ignition system)
Primary: 0.3 Ω–1.0 Ω/Secondary: 8.0 kΩ–15.0 kΩ
The engine coolant (EC) temperature sensor plays a vital role in engine management, ensuring not only the proper working parameters for the engine and protecting it against overheating, but also its performance, particularly regarding exhaust emissions and fuel consumption. Many modern engines also utilise the sensor's output signal for other engine functions, including to: adjust the fuel injection, regulate the charge pressure, set the exhaust gas recirculation quantity and activate/deactivate the start-stop system.
The EC sensor uses electrical resistance to measure the coolant's temperature, and there are two main types. The most popular is the NTC (negative temperature coefficient) that decreases resistance and the generated voltage when the temperature increases. Older applications may use PTC (positive temperature coefficient), which increases resistance and the generated voltage when the temperature increases.
The readout voltage signal generated by the sensor is forwarded to the ECU, which can then make adjustments. There may be more than one sensor applied by the engine, typically, it is mounted on the coolant inlet on the engine block or the cylinder head.
Symptoms of a malfunctioning EC sensor
• Check engine or service light
• Engine in limp mode
• EC system-related fault codes stored by ECU
• Increased fuel consumption
• Increased engine emissions/smoking
• Uneven/improper idling
• Lowered engine performance
• Engine stalling/starting issues
• Engine overheating
• Radiator fan does not start/stop
• AC compressor does not start
• Various fault codes and sensor-related symptoms may have their root causes in other component failures. So, inspect other cooling system components thoroughly.
> Inspect coolant level
> Inspect the head gasket is intact/not leaking
> Inspect the function of the EC system thermostat
• Inspect the sensor's electrical connection. Possible faults may cause signal interruptions, provoking faulty code generation and erratic temperature readings. Inspect the sensor’s wiring, ensure the connected socket fits correctly, the connector and pins are intact, and are free from moisture or corrosion.
• Perform OBD scanning to find related trouble codes. Read the OBD's live data to control the coolant temperature reading from the sensor.
• Using a multimeter, inspect the function of the sensor and the voltage signal sent to the ECU.
Determine the sensor's signal and ground lines. Connect the negative wire of the multimeter to the chassis ground and the positive wire to the sensor's signal line.
Start the engine and inspect the voltage changes depending on the temperature.
A healthy NTC sensor should read around 2-3V on a cold engine and about 0.5V at a warm engine.
A healthy PTC sensor should read 0.6-0.8V on a cold engine and 1-1.5V on a warm engine.
0V readings may indicate power supply interruption or a short circuit to the ground, and 5.0V will mean an open circuit.
Always consult the vehicle documentation to find the type of sensor and its correct temperature vs voltage values.
• Disconnect the sensor's plug and inspect if there is the correct voltage supply from the sensor (typically 5V)
• Having the sensor unplugged, inspect the sensor's internal resistance, which should be temperature-dependent so place it in water and read the changes in the resistance. Consult the results with the given sensor's type and model documentation.
A healthy sensor should read: in 20ºС > NTC type: 2200-2800 Ohm, PTC type: 28-300 Ohm in 80ºС > NTC type: 270-300 Ohm, PTC type: around 400 Ohm
Most garages are aware of just how sensitive modern engines are to the correct oil but getting it right is not always straightforward. Yet, technician efforts are in vain, if the market is flooded with fakes, or those that do not meet the specifications claimed.
Addressing the former point first: counterfeit lubricants exist. Motul has found that one-to-five-litre packs are the most affected by scammers. It elaborates that, while some counterfeit lubricants wear poorly copied packaging and labelling, some of them are not so obvious. Inside, cheaper and poorer quality base oil can be used, which has no hope of meeting the car manufacturer's requirements.
Liqui Moly finds that counterfeit lubrication formulations can deviate widely from those made to the correct specification. Aside from inferior base oil, low-grade additives can cause serious mechanical harm. It also points out that using pirated oil leads to the loss of the vehicle warranty. This is relevant, because many warranty companies hire specialist oil laboratories that can evaluate samples very quickly.
The VLS confirms that, while anything is possible, counterfeit engine oil is likely to be used lubricant that has been repackaged and presented as a new product, which is unsuitable for its stated application. It could also be lesser-spec oil that is presented with a premium specification. Alternatively, virgin base oil could be blended with a sub-standard additive pack, or no additives used at all.
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Fortunately, the UK has a body that checks if oils meet their claimed oil specification and can alert Trading Standards, if the blender does not act. The Verification of Lubrication Specifications (VLS) confirms that, while it has not investigated any cases of fake engine oil to date, counterfeiting is a global problem. Consequentially, it is concerned about a rise in UK counterfeit lubricants, as criminals seek to cash in and sell cheaper but inferior oils.
Understandably, big brands work hard to protect their reputes. The VLS reminds us that, globally, oil manufacturers take steps to protect the products you buy directly, such as introducing copy-proof QR codes and track and trace methods on the packing.
Take Liqui Moly as a typical example. It tells AT that, for its protection and that of its customers, its brand is registered in all markets. Therefore, its global employees keep their eyes open to detect counterfeits. Should any be found, the company seeks prompt legal redress.
While companies cannot reveal all of their security measures for obvious reasons, many of them realise the importance of letting their customers know what they should look out for. Liqui Moly highlights that its genuine packaging is graced with an identification number, used to identify its authenticity. Yet, it also highlights an invisible identifier as well, the location and meaning of which is known only to the company and Liqui Moly's authorised dealers. The company also has more subtle features to frustrate the counterfeiters. This includes elaborate packaging design that is harder to copy.
Naturally, the supplier also protects you. Many oil blenders have dedicated distributors. Motul, for instance, states that its outlets ensure that authentic products only reach the workshop. Liqui Moly also values the close relationship it has with its sales partners, which brings it closer to its customers. This helps the company to show the end user the importance of quality, how it is recognised, and the significance of manufacturer approvals.
An issue with complex products, such as oils, is that a considerable amount of technical expertise is needed to identify whether, or not, there is a genuine problem. This is one reason why the VLS was established, to encourage greater compliance with required standards and to ensure that oils deliver their claims. The organisation assists its members further, by publishing guides about marketing claims that are acceptable and how they should be communicated.
Even well-known businesses with the best intentions make mistakes, especially as oil specifications and manufacturer approvals become ever more complex.
If a complaint is received, the VLS investigates. Should an issue be found, it will engage with the relevant company, because its focus is on education and working on correcting the issue, rather than embarrassing the party involved. Like most credible organisations, such as the DVSA with its R90 brake friction investigations, it does not publicise information about an
investigation without engaging with the company involved and not without independent verification.
Out of the 82 cases it has investigated throughout its history, the VLS reports that the vast majority have complied with the requirements either during, or following, the investigation. If a party fails to act, some cases have been referred to Trading Standards but this situation is unusual. This fact indicates that the UK lubricants market is reasonably free of counterfeit oils –but, again, this is not a reason to be content.
Contact the VLS on 01442 875922 or email admin@ ukla-vls.org.uk. The VLS will then outline the case process, should you wish to progress a concern to a formal complaint.
The complainant purchases two samples to prove that the oil is on UK sale, before sending them to a testing house. These organisations employ VLS-approved test methods to see whether, or not, it fails to meet the stated specification. A case registration form is completed and a case handling fee is paid. The VLS's Secretariat anonymises the complaint and passes the information to the Technical Review Panel, which will evaluate the evidence and make its recommendation.
The Secretariat communicates its decision to the company involved. In most cases, the Named Party takes the required action, provides evidence to VLS, and the case is closed. If the Named Party does not take the action required, the case is referred to Trading Standards for enforcement.
To highlight the process, this case involved an investigation that the VLS handled about a 5W-30 engine oil. The complainant argued that no additive pack existed in the marketplace that could meet all of the OEM claims made on the packaging.
Subsequently, the VLS requested that the defendant provide documentation, including a letter of support from their additive company supplier, to prove that all of the marketing claims that it made were true.
The party cooperated and provided the VLS with a reblend approval to the required formulation from their supplier, along with a copy of the Candidate Data Pack. The VLS worked subsequently with the defendant to rationalise the number of claims made on the technical data sheet.
After six months, the VLS conducted a six-month review and concluded that the 5W-30 lubricant continued to be compliant and concluded that the case had been resolved.
It is unreasonable to seek details of a company being investigated, because this could affect impartiality. Once that investigation is complete, the VLS publicises full case details on its website, including naming the company and brand involved. After six months, the case is reviewed and archived two months later, providing that the product is still compliant.
Liqui Moly reports that it is conducting research into counterfeit lubricants that have originated from Asia and this work is ongoing. Motul reports that it has analysed the content of such imitations. It found that those lubricants do not meet any approvals and even possess different viscosities than those stated on the label. It also says that it found situations, where the bogus products were also contaminated.
However, it is useful to see which brands are making persistent, repeated errors and are being investigated more than others. Sadly, you cannot see this information because, out of the 84 cases investigated in nine years, only three companies are
While draining and refilling sumps are fairly straightforward operations, the chemistry behind oils is extremely sophisticated. We should consider that they perform numerous tasks in modern engines, in addition to lubrication. These demanding requirements have led to many individual approvals by car and motorbike manufacturers, resulting in considerable research and development for the oil blenders. Counterfeit products do not receive this approval, making the lubricant unsuitable for the particular vehicle. If used, serious mechanical damage and high repair costs are possible consequences.
LKQ Euro Car Parts smashes apart common engine oil myths:
1. The ACEA C3 specification is not automatically
applicable to every C3. Manufacturers apply their own characteristic specifications to ensure optimum vehicle performance and keep wear to an absolute minimum.
2. Similary, it is believed that 5W30 oils are all the same but there are more than nine different oils sharing that viscosity, all with different properties.
3. There is not an engine oil available that covers all manufacturer approvals.
named. The rest are archived online (**https://ukla-vls.org.uk/ case-outcomes/**) as 'anonymous'. We queried the VLS why this is the case, arguing that it makes the whole exercise rather pointless. The VLS responded:
"The purpose of this archiving process is to allow sufficient time for those interested to see the outcome of the case without unnecessarily penalising the company for its initial non-compliance, now and in the future."
We hope that the VLS will review this stance, because being named acts as a deterrent and will encourage companies to tighten their internal processes.
As there are no formal standards to which oil additives adhere, they provide an easy route for the unscrupulous to make easy money.
JLM Lubricants elaborates that a fake product can still look realistic and be accompanied by marketing hype. The risk is that, should there be an equal promise of decent profit margins, a stockist may be tempted to promote the product to their trade and retail customers. Such products tend not to be discovered as fakes (that are dangerous at worst and ineffective at best) until something happens to make the headlines. The result sees traders try and disassociate themselves from the product rapidly, while ditching their remaining stock. The subsequent reputational fallout for the supplier can be considerable.
1. Purchase your preferred oil brand through its authorised dealer. Alternately, work with a trustworthy supplier/factor.
2. Be sceptical of extremely cheap offers on the Internet
3. Pay attention to the manufacturer's approvals
4. If in doubt, seek the ID/batch number and approach the manufacturer.
5. Pay attention to the legally required product/safety data sheets. Counterfeit products tend not to have these documents.
While BG products agrees that a wide range of fuel and lubricant additives span the spectrum from effective to worthless, it highlights that there is no policing organisation to ensure that any claims made are true. The onus falls on the garage, or technician to do so, if using it on customers' cars. So, how do you know?
BG Products advises researching whether any test data exists to support the advertised benefits. Meaningless, unsubstantiated and exaggerated statements mean nothing. Third-party, or pertinent performance testing evidence, is more useful. For instance, many fuel products make claims about “fuel injector cleaning” or “GDI cleaning”. Yet, very few products back such assertions up with proof.
There are other factors you can consider, too. How long has the product been on the market? After all, gimmicks that comprise inexpensive base oils, or solvents, have no staying power. A company that has been in the market for over twenty years, for instance, is more likely to be legitimate.
JLM Lubricants adds that, as we have seen in recent months, not only are motorists looking to save money on repairs, but workshops also have to justify their invoice totals. Fueltone Pro has also reported increased nationwide demand for its engine oil flushes. It theorises that this is due to the cost-of-living crisis, saying that garages and technicians are assisting car owners with preventative maintenance by using additives.
Interestingly, while JLM Lubricants admits to guarding its product development, from idea, through to formulation, testing and release, the company is also grateful to professional technicians that help with the final testing stages, just prior to them being launched through JLM's distribution channels. In agreement with many other companies mentioned, JLM Lubricants sees its close contact with these distributors as vital to counteract any chances of counterfeit versions of its products passing scrutiny. Yet, the company admits to not being self-satisfied. Speaking to AT, its founder admitted that his biggest headaches are caused by seeing additives being sold that resemble those of JLM. They might not be fake but it is frustrating to see an unproven company piggybacking off JLM's repute so brazenly for a slice of the same market. The situation, after all, is not good for anybody – other than the fakers.
Providing outstanding lubricants, technical expertise, business support and branding options to independent workshops is central to the Castrol Service opportunity, helping businesses to grow and develop a competitive advantage by joining a recognised and supported network. Tim Benson, Owner of Oldfields Garage Services, immediately felt a boost in all areas of operations when they joined Castrol’s Service Network in 2022.
Customer service has always been integral to the success and reputation of Oldfields since it was founded by Tim’s parents over 30 years ago. The fully branded exterior, along with interior signage and point of sale materials establish a reassuringly professional and distinct image. “We wanted to be affiliated with such a well-known brand - it was a no brainer from a customer point of view - everyone’s heard of Castrol!’ says Tim.
Distinctive Castrol branding runs through many visible aspects of the business, from signage outside the workshop, digital messaging to welcome customers in reception, through to workwear, leaflets and stationery. The Castrol Guarantee provides complete customer peace of mind when engine work has been undertaken using their lubricants “any issue, it’ll be looked after,” states Tim.
“It’s really energised our workshop in terms of how we can get access to information” says Tim, citing specific training opportunities and online product selectors as being invaluable. Sam Peters, auto technician at Oldfields, agrees: “The website’s really good because it allows you to quickly identify what oil you need for what individual car. Racks, jugs and easy pour
dispensers allow you to easily find the oil you need”. Oil delivery products such as the 20l oil stand create a tidy and safe workshop environment, whilst the FastScan application gives rewards to the workshop each time they use Castrol.
Working with Castrol Ambassador Distributor The Race Group also provides essential professional support to workshops like Oldfields. As Tim says, “The Race Group team is knowledgeable and helpful, they even conducted a lubricants survey to ensure we stock the right oils for the wide variety of makes and marques we see in the workshop. The levels of customer service and technical advice they provide are truly first class”.
Every element of the Castrol Service Network offering has been designed to reflect the true needs of today’s independent workshop – including access to marketing campaigns, customer incentives and promotions. Inclusion in the ‘Look Up’ online Service locator drives new customers to their door from the Castrol website. As Tim says, ‘this is another avenue to access customers whilst promotions help us to engage with them’.
“EVs and hybrids are very much in the marketplace,” notes Tim, with Castrol offering specialist training on the specific lubricant needs of these vehicles which now represent an increasing proportion of Oldfield’s customer base. “Growth is very important to our business and it’s important that we look at all areas. Castrol has really given our business a boost – the whole ethos is really good, and customers are prepared to pay more for a better product”.
Castrol is often first to market to develop new products and regards appropriate technician training as being essential. Accessible and immediate online training modules are often released to the Service Network before being released to the wider market, giving those garages the opportunities to quickly capitalise on new trends and products and to be able to talk confidently to customers about the lubricants they are using too.
Tim would certainly encourage other independent workshop owners to find out more about becoming part of the Castrol Service Network as he summarises his personal experience by saying “It’s a winning team. It’s given our business a boost and I’d encourage you to look at it carefully yourselves”.
To find out more about becoming a Castrol Service Workshop, please call 0800 371910 (OPTION 4)
While relatively inexpensive parts, filters are ideal parts to counterfeit, due to their relatively frequent replacement cycles. Indeed, several well-known brands have found counterfeit, low-quality filters being sold illegally under their logos. Unless you are an expert, it can be almost impossible to tell the difference. Again, trusting a well-established supplier will help to mitigate most of the risks, whereas a bulk order from an unknown shop on an online marketplace might not.
Counterfeits aside, filters do not have to comply with standardised type-approval regulations. The exception is reserved for those used in LPG applications (ECE R67/01).
Mahle reports that filter specifications are set by the vehicle manufacturer, during the engine development process. These include filter flow rates, duty cycle, size, construction and capacity. Naturally, this does not limit you solely to main dealer parts counters (although their cost can be surprisingly competitive), but what can you do otherwise?
The first step is to prioritise not just OEM suppliers but also those that offer OE quality. UFI Filters, for instance, argues that its aftermarket range benefits from OEM-integrated processes, which cover R&D, quality and testing.
Comline's filtration products might not be used in car manufacturer factories and dealerships but they fulfil the quality requirements, by following block exemption regulations. Additionally, Comline reports that all of its filters are produced in certified factories that follow the relevant standards, such as ISO9001, ISO14001 and TS16949.
Should you be unsure about filtration quality, you may wish to question the supplier and manufacturer. While there are no type-approval stipulations, you could also ask for evidence that the filters meet the established worldwide test methods which are:
Air filters: ISO 5011
Diesel fuel filters: ISO 4020, ISO 19438, ISO 16332.
Oil filters: ISO 4548
LKQ Euro Car Parts confirms that every filter it sells, including those under the in-house Crosland brand, is examined and compared against OE-quality. Any product that does not comply is removed from the company's listings.
With reports indicating that some motorists seek to reduce running costs, by skipping routine maintenance, the temptation is for independent garages to cut their servicing charges.
Mahle reports that it has witnessed motorists purchasing filters and requesting garages to install them. This situation presents several issues. Firstly, without knowing from whom it was supplied, the customer part could be fake. This introduces a risk to the garage because, if it installs the part, it is taking
responsibility for its quality. Therefore, regardless of what is stated on the invoice, Mahle says that any future claim will fall on the garage.
UFI adds that buying and fitting a cheap aftermarket filter can seem like a good idea at the time and can save a motorist a few pounds initially, but it can cost more over the time it is installed. It elaborates that low-grade filters can cause wear and a power reduction, caused potentially by pressure drops in the oil and fuel supply circuits.
Comline agrees that low-grade filtration products are available, the quality of which might be jeopardized by low-quality materials, or produced in factories that may not have any quality accreditations. Even so, Comline emphasises that its remit focuses on offering OE-quality filters at affordable prices.
UFI Filters reports that, although there is little to differentiate between fake and genuine filters on the outside, pressure control, filtration performance, leakage protection, sealing ability, et al, can deviate enormously. The cutaway comparisons of a genuine UFI-branded diesel filter (suited mainly for Stellantis/PSA/FCA vehicles) against a counterfeit alternative reveal clear differences. The top five variations include:
1. The filter media is produced from an unknown material and so the water separation abilities from the fuel could be compromised.
2. The non-composite filter material within the fake risks not just debris being released into the rest of the filter but it could also break apart, when exposed to diesel fuel.
3. The filter medium lacks a centre support, risking it collapsing under pressure.
4. The lack of a base spring reduces internal filter stability, increasing the risk of dirty, or unfiltered, diesel being released into the injection system.
5. The lack of a magnetised section on the base means that a water presence warning will not be activated, should the level of separated water reach a critical level – whatever quantity that might be on the fake filter.
" The cutaway comparisons of a genuine UFI-branded diesel filter against a counterfeit alternative reveal clear differences"
UFI explains the challenges of developing a diesel filter for the latest Alfa Romeo Tonale. It has a filtering efficiency of more than 90% for particles up to 4 μm, according to ISO 19438 and must have a 95% water separation capacity from the diesel fuel according to ISO 16332. A fake filter is unlikely to be specified to the level required by the vehicle manufacturer.
We asked LKQ Euro Car Parts, Comline and UFI to counter the most popular misconceptions about filters. This is what they said:
1. "The same filtration media is used for both, cheap and more expensive filters, because, there is only a handful of filtration media manufacturers in the world"
This is untrue. There are multiple manufacturers globally. Yet, not all of them are accredited factories supplying quality media.
2. "The quality of air filters is almost the same and not as important as that of oil filters"
Again, this is fake news. Modern engines are becoming more and more efficient, increasing demands on the air filter for optimum fuel combustion across filter service life.
3. "Air and cabin filters can be cleaned using an air compressor to extend their lives”
Even the highest quality media suffer from fatigue in normal use. Cleaning with compressed air could damage the structure of the filter. It can also cause filters with cellulose media to absorb humidity, reducing efficiency further.
4. "Should the size and thread match on two oil filters, they are interchangeable"
Many internal specifications are dependent on the application. These include media type, anti-drain back valve designs and
pressure bypass valve opening/closing pressures. Therefore, just because a filter fits, does not mean that it is correct.
5. “Cabin air filters are luxury products, meaning it is not necessary to change them”
Cabin filters are important for vehicle occupant health. They filter airborne particles, preventing them from entering the interior. Carbon-activated upgrades also absorb exhaust gases and strong odours. Anti-bacterial cabin air filters have even better performance, because they can inhibit microbial growth. This is especially relevant, should the vehicle carry vulnerable passengers.
UFI Filters reports that it has tightened its surveillance measures, by extending its Internet Business Intelligence activity.
This has resulted in the successful removal of over 9,000 commercial advertisements, posted on 36 global e-commerce platforms, preventing a potential turnover of more than €5 million in counterfeit goods sales.
The work has also resulted in the interception of over 2.5 million illegal parts transactions on the major marketplaces.
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Fake exhausts tend to be those with catalysts that do not comply with type-approval. UK exhaust pipes/silencers do not have to comply, although it is best that you fit systems that do – like this Klarius system.
from leading manufacturers,
Exhaust systems tend not to pop up in the news very often. Aside from reports of unscrupulous scrotes cutting catalytic converters from parked vehicles to weigh-in, they tend not to be seen by the mainstream press as sufficiently interesting to deserve prominent column inches. Yet, barely a day passes without an air pollution story hitting the headlines, with the motorcar pilloried as a major offender.
Unknown to many people, the entire exhaust system has an essential role to play in suppressing harmful emissions, not just the system's catalysts. While a poor quality exhaust system can have anti-social implications, the car owner is likely to have less of a chance of passing the MOT emissions checks.
LKQ Euro Car Parts reaffirms that type-approval rules apply to not just replacement catalytic converters on post-March 2001 cars but also DPFs and SCRs from Euro 5, onwards. While there is no UK legal requirement for type-approved exhaust systems, LKQ Euro Car Parts confirms that its exhaust supplier, Klarius, manufactures exhaust systems with typeapproval, so customers can be confident in their quality.
LKQ Euro Car Parts also says that its customers can request a copy of the relevant type-approval certificate for absolute assurance of their compliance.
We aim for nothing less than the highest standards when manufacturing our catalytic converters, DPFs and front pipes. Our advanced techniques ensure everything from sub-components to finished products are designed to the highest possible quality and fit. From laser mapping, to automated welders, and CNC technology. In everything we do, we try and be the best we can be.
Make us part of your quality standard.
Discover how our world-class manufacturing can help your business. Visit: bmcatalysts.com
Call: +44 (0)1623 663 800
Reducing the precious metal content within exhaust system catalysts is an obvious way for fakers to gain cost advantage at the expense of air quality. Without some kind of regulation, governments found that stringent exhaust emission legislation for new vehicles risked being undermined by relatively poor quality parts, as the cars aged.
Therefore, the United Nations applied regulations for motor vehicle exhaust systems, which most of continental Europe adopted, although the UK has done so to a lesser degree. UN ECE R103 is the appropriate ruling for replacement pollution control devices, embracing not just catalytic converters but also DPFs and SCRs. The edict stipulates that replacement systems are tested to ensure that they can deliver the required anti-pollution standards. In the UK, this requirement is limited to vehicles registered after March 2001. BM Catalysts confirm that, because the regulations relate to the UN and not the EU, they are not associated directly with EU membership.
Exhaust pipes and silencers are governed by separate UN legislation – Regulation 59 and 70/157/EC before then. In any case, the UK has not adopted these rules. Yet, as Klarius produces complete exhaust systems, it reveals that exhausts can be sold legally in the UK that have a detrimental effect on noise, emissions and even fuel economy. The company reveals that, although not necessary for the UK, it complies with the UN rules anyway, because it exports exhausts to the EU. Klarius highlights that this is important technically, and is beneficial to car owners and society overall, because all parts of the exhaust system must work in harmony to work properly.
While exhaust pipes are available that are not type-approved and, therefore, are unlikely to work as well as those that are, they are not illegal in the UK. Yet, non-compliant catalysts are.
BM Catalysts highlights enforcement as an issue. While the DVSA's Market Surveillance team has worked hard to ensure that the regulations are being followed, non-compliance remains a notable problem. While some of these instances could be due to genuine mistakes, such as distributors not using the correct cataloguing, or not interpreting manufacturers' data correctly, some instances can be more invidious. Poor internal processes can result in products approved to the incorrect EURO emissions rating, or unsuitable parts being supplied for a vehicle. Yet, it appears that some
Trusting recognised brands and well-established suppliers will help you avoid fake and low-quality systems
"The United Nations applied regulations for exhaust systems, which most of Europe adopted, although the UK has done so to a lesser degree"
instances of type-approval non-compliance are designed to deceive, such as exhaust components wearing fake approval numbers.
BM Catalysts' internal research has uncovered that fake exhaust components tend to be more prevalent among Internet sellers. One such issue is a component wearing no markings. Both Klarius and BM Catalysts share their findings of exhausts sold to UK customers that do not meet the required standards, such as catalytic converters that do not comply with certain rules of the legislation, especially around heat-shielding, which could increase the risk of a vehicle fire.
"Fake exhaust components tend to be more prevalent among Internet sellers"
The sole attraction with low-quality and fake parts is cost. This price advantage is possible, because they are built to a lower specification, or they have not been tested against any particular standard. Manufacturing costs can also be shaved by, for instance, reducing precious metal content in catalytic converters. Yet, this is very hard to identify by sight alone. Without cutting the unit open, comparing the weight between the removed and new system may be a clue. Look also for identification markings, especially on the catalytic converter, and quiz your supplier if you cannot find any.
Klarius reveals that, with exhaust systems, budget brands shave costs on the silencer size and internal design complexity. This results in greater back pressure and higher noise levels. Not only are harmful pollutants the upshot but also the customer faces increased fuel consumption, making non-compliant exhausts very much a false economy.
Quality companies developing and producing type-approved exhausts must follow the stipulated standards. Their products are tested independently and issued with type-approval certificates. The typeapproval number (including the e-number) must be marked on the product.
Companies can be spot-checked at any time. An annual Conformity of Production Audit sees an approval authority inspecting production and stocks, to check that quality standards are being followed. If successful, a Conformity of Production certificate is issued.
"Budget brands shave costs on the silencer size and internal design complexity - this results in greater back pressure and higher noise levels "
HELLA’s lighting range – Standard, Performance, Design, Long Life and Xenon – feature icons and QR codes to give additional information on service life or light colour, as well as showing the correct applications and vehicle types. Its Standard bulb is aimed at the driver who values safety at affordable pricing; ideal for customers with family cars, for instance. These halogen bulbs are available for nearly all types, including H1, H4, H7, H11, H15, as well as the up-and-coming H18 and H19 versions.
Performance bulbs are available as Performance +60% or +120%, providing 25 or 50 metres more visibility where needed, with references H1, H4 and H7.
For the professional driver, Hella recommends workshops suggest HELLA’s Long Life range, as it has an extended lifespan, lasting up to three times longer than is required by ECE regulations, which reduces the need for maintenance. These bulbs are available in H1, H4, H7 and H11.
White Light combines style and comfort, with up to 30% more light than a standard halogen lamp and last up to 300 hours. The White Light range is available in H1, H4 and H7.
HELLA’s Xenon range provides a like-for-like substitution.
The problem with using LED replacements for traditional halogen bulb applications is that, unlike the upgrade examples mentioned, LED bulbs do not currently qualify for R37 approval and therefore carry no ‘E’ mark, making them illegal for road use.
When it comes to actual LED headlights, as it presently stands, the only viable option should they need to be replaced, is to change the entire unit, rather than an individual light source.
A new automatic transmission cleaner, CAT-601S, is available from Launch Tech, helping workshops effectively and profitably maintain vehicle automatic transmission systems.
The Launch CAT-601S features remote technician control, automatic transmission fluid (ATF) sampling, and an optional Automatic Transmission Flush (ATF) database to help identify the right connector and fluid for the vehicle. The machine is supplied with a range of vehicle specific connectors.
Flushing cycles are key to maximising lifespan of automatic transmission. Prior to exchanging the old fluid, CAT-601S performs an automatic flush cycle, purging all accumulations and deposits from the entire transmission, and refills with new ATF throughout the transmission and associated torque converter and oil cooler lines.
Service functions include old oil sampling, which extracts a sample of oil from the gearbox for testing before commencing the oil exchange process. The system can also automatically start cycle cleaning on engine ignition once detergent is added.
The transmission cleaner’s exchange function will add new oil into the gearbox and automatically drain the old oil to the oil tank. CAT-601S can support filling or draining fixed transmission oil, and empty new or recovered oil tanks.
SMP Europe’s new range of NOx sensors, consisting of 26 part numbers that cover a wide range of popular European vehicle manufacturers, add to a programme that already covers a wide selection of high failure parts.
Most engines feature two sensors, one upstream and one downstream. Commonly NOx sensors fail due to a build-up of soot, ECU water intrusion and/or damage to connecting cables. SMP Europe’s enhanced testing ensures that components are capable of performing to high standards over a long service life in the harshest of operating conditions. The company has invested heavily over recent years in its testing laboratory, with machinery that can simulate a wide range of conditions,
including temperature degradation, salt mist and vibration. This is combined with on-vehicle testing to guarantee product performance capability.
Partsfinder, the online parts search engine from the bilstein group, provides quick access to 62,000+ products from febi and Blue Print, from ABS Sensors to Water Pumps.
Users can enter a few keywords to access detailed product information including repair kit references and safety data sheets, and existing customers can order online. It is free to use, with no registration required, although registered users can access additional functions such as an expert filter.
Users can now easily share information on individual parts with others using the WhatsApp sharing button. Simply click the icon on the article detail page. A ‘Parking Space’ facility allows you to store up to 99 vehicles for quick access and you can add information to ‘Favourite Articles’ if there is a spare part you need frequently.
Technical support specialist to the trade, Colin Benzie from Kalimex, the UK distributors for the JLM Lubricants’ range of additives, tells autotechnician how quality fuel system cleaners can help motorists save money by preventing contamination issues and warns readers of the rise of cheap ‘Fire Juice’ that contain no active ingredients.
“Driving patterns undoubtedly influence the need for a fuel system cleaner. Vehicles used for short distances and/or stop start journeys will struggle to meet their full operating temperature. As any mechanic will tell you from an inspection of these vehicles, key components such as injectors and valves become contaminated. Millions of motorists will fall into these driving categories yet they are unaware they’re unwittingly building up expensive- to- treat problems further down the line. Contaminated injectors and valves cause fuel inefficiency with failed components adding to the workshop bill. Whilst a premium forecourt fuel may be a solution, using a high-quality fuel additive roughly every two to three months or, every 2,000 to 3,000 miles will do the trick nicely.”
“As always, the mechanic is the crucial person in these situations when a motorist is none the wiser about the role their driving patterns are playing in valve and injector contamination. The mechanic is a trusted expert, able to advise on subtle changes to driving patterns and why a quality additive should be used on a regular basis – at vehicle servicing and repair and in between workshop visits. High quality additives such as the JLM Lubricants GDI Cleaner and Emissions Reduction Treatment, will, if used on a prescribed regular basis, help extend the life of the
engine – in particular, critical components such as injectors and valves. For the professional mechanic, they offer another regular repeat income stream.”
“Recent years have seen the rise of 'cheap as chips' lubricants and additives – something that Darren Darling, founder of the DPF Doctor Network refers to as ‘Fire juice’. And fuel system cleaners have not escaped this roster.
“But it’s a fact proven by independent testing and of course motorist dissatisfaction that budget brands cut back on key ingredients to save money. We have seen fuel system cleaners with zero cleaning properties. An Extreme Clean (Petrol/Diesel) additive such as the one developed by JLM Lubricants has the highest concentrations of the key cleaning ingredients. There’s a reason bargain basement products exist but it’s not to offer a proven solution to the motorist or maintain the good reputation a mechanic has built over many years.”
New-to-range fuel pumps, injectors and turbochargers and enhanced service support available from Carwood can provide business growth opportunities for workshops on late-model vehicles.
The OE-approved remanufacturer says that significant new-torange introductions, new programmes from Bosch, Garrett and Mitsubishi, and the launch of its online catalogue and ordering platform provides garages with access to quality, yet affordable, parts and services needed to service the very latest vehicles.
In 2022, the company launched more than 1,400 Carwood remanufactured parts across its wide-ranging programme of diesel and petrol fuel injection systems, turbochargers and DPF cleaning for car, light commercial and heavy-duty applications. For fuel, important new-to-range reman units covered late models for Audi A3/Q2, Citroën Relay, Seat Ibiza/Leon, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Crafter/Golf/Polo/Transporter. On the turbo side, highlights included Audi A1/A3/A4, BMW 1/2/3 Series/X1/X2, Citroën C3/C4, Ford C-MAX/Kuga/Transit, Hyundai i30/i40, Kia Ceed/Sportage, Peugeot 208/308/Expert/Partner, Seat Ibiza/Leon, Skoda Octavia, Volkswagen Golf/Polo and Volvo V40, with a growing range of hybrid applications, such as BMW 5/7 Series/X3/X4, Hyundai Tucson and Mercedes Benz A Class.
Whilst remanufacturing is still its core business, the company now distributes a full Bosch programme for diesel and GDi, including OE new and eXchange units and repair components – adding more than 3,400 parts to its range. In addition to its existing BorgWarner programme, Carwood became an authorised reseller of both Garrett and Mitsubishi turbochargers.
“Now more than ever, our customers want choice,” explains Quantrell. “With new, exchange and repair solutions from some of the leading OEMs, on top of our own OE-approved remanufactured range, aftermarket companies can access a choice of high-quality, competitively priced solutions, tailored to their customer’s needs. For example, a new OE unit, sometimes the only viable option for the latest generation technology, a more cost- and eco-friendly exchange unit, or the spare parts for an even more economical repair on diesel vehicles.”
To help its customers identify the right parts, it launched a new online catalogue, available at www.carwoodecat.co.uk , providing access to the latest cataloguing data and product information. Furthermore, Carwood account holders can use the tool to access live stock feeds, pricing and place both next-day and stock orders, 24/7.
Castrol has launched a new, free-of-charge technical support service, so that workshops and can gain advice and resolve queries with a dedicated team of technical specialists.
It is open to current and prospective Castrol Branded Workshops across the UK, eight hours a day, five days per week at no cost by emailing at UKTechService@castrol.com, or by calling +44 (0)1932 775644.
Rising prices across the board has seen a rise in demand for own brands at the supermarket but Autoelectro warns garages of switching to a ‘value’ alternative when it comes to starter motors or alternators.
There are telling signs, according to its UK sales manager, Nick Hood, when a rotating electrics product has been made to a “small budget”. “In an alternator, for example, stator windings can be reduced, which will likely produce the output required when analysed on a test bed; however, because the windings are shorter, apply that to real-world driving conditions in the middle of winter, it’s unlikely to maintain that output over a long drive, when on-board electricals and accessories are in full use.
“Likewise, in the starter motor, the windings can be shortened, while quality can be reduced on the gearing and the bearings too. The combination of these factors, particularly in a winter period when the starter motor is likely to be put under maximum strain, can shorten the life of the part.”
In the short-term the customer may save some money but could well be back in the workshop a few months down the line facing another bill and this is where the importance of quality should be explained to the motorists and is value for money in the long-term.
“At Autoelectro, we have full control over our manufacturing process – from traceability, remanufacturing and testing in-house – so we know that we produce parts that meet or exceed OE specification.” www.autoelectro.co.uk
The Sun MCL1000 heavy-duty Motorcycle Scissor Lift and workbench has been created specifically for use with class I and II motorcycles up to a maximum weight of 1,000kg.
It is designed for workshops that specialise in motorcycles, from the smallest scooters to the largest touring and performance bikes.
The MCL1000 has an adjustable wheel-clamping system to safely fasten motorcycles to the lift and driving on and rolling off is made simple by a low, angled ramp. It also has front and back hinged plates that make it possible to remove for wheel maintenance and removal.
The MCL1000 joins the existing Sun Motorcycle MOT Testing Bay and Sun Headlight Beam Tester.
TMD Friction UK’s braking brand Textar delivered 167 new references throughout 2022 offering wider vehicle parc coverage – of these, 61 were newly developed brake pads, with 42 ABS sensors, 36 brake discs, 18 wear leads, six accessories and four new brake fluid products.
In the Textar range of brake pads, new additions include part 2258601 fitting Mercedes-Benz C-Class, E-Class, EQC, and GLC models, part 2614501 for DS 3 Crossback and Peugeot 2008 cars, and 2626801 for Volkswagen vans including California T6, Transporter and Multivan models.
New additions to the brake disc range offer fitment across 25 different vehicle manufacturers, including new disc 92326805 fitting BMW 2 Coupe, 3 Series and 4 Series cars, 92327403 for Ford Puma models, and 92300505 for Jaguar F-PACE, XE, XF and XF Sportbrake, and Range Rover Velar models.
As well as the new parts, it also introduced a new range of Textar low-viscosity (LV) DOT4 brake fluid, now available in 250ml, 500ml, one litre and five litre quantities.
Technicians can find out more about the latest products online via the Textar Brakebook online catalogue (https://textar.com/ en/brakebook/). Customers can also use the Textar Brakebook app to view its product range on-the-go.
TOOLS & TIPS
A new add-on product for ALLDATA Repair is now available that provides quick access to OEM labour times that correspond to repair information – both mechanical and body – as well as maintenance procedures for a specific vehicle.
“Our customers have been asking for a resource that delivers trusted OEM labour rates alongside the repair and collision information in ALLDATA Repair,” said Karol Englert, Managing Director for ALLDATA Europe. “ALLDATA Labour Times does that and more. It also enables garages to plan technicians’ schedules and allocate resources for maximum efficiency.”
The labour times are provided by TecAlliance.
As of December 2022, over 511,000 Qashqai’s are estimated to be on Britain’s roads, constituting more than 1.5% of the UK car parc and has claimed the crown as the nation’s best-selling new car several times. Consequently, Klarius Products has developed a range of replacement exhausts for the model and produces original equipment supply exhausts for the Nissan Value Advantage range in Europe.
It supplies exhausts to fit petrol and diesel 1.2, 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0 Qashqai models from 2006 to 2022, all available with a 2-year standard warranty and a ‘Fit First Time’ guarantee.
“We test exhausts in-house on vehicles of correct make, model and production
year. Where applicable, we get products type-approved with the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and the TÜV. This means an OEM quality replacement offering miles of happy motoring,” adds Doug Bentley, Head of Research and Development. www.klarius.eu
BM Catalysts has expanded its product range with 24 new references, introducing 14 new DPFs – seven of which are Premium silicon carbide (SiC) references for higher thermal and strength endurance – three catalytic converters, five new front pipes and two pressure pipes.
The new references cover 158 different vehicle fitments. Three of the products are also Euro 6 compliant. www.bmcatalysts.com
The digital April issue of autotechnician will focus on air con, DPF & engine cleaning, and Diagnostics.
If you would like to share your views on the products and equipment you use in these areas, email Nicola@autotechnician.co.uk. We'd also love to hear from you if you have recently upgraded your workshop, been impressed by some technical training or would like to have your business and technicians recognised!
Mintex has been at the forefront of braking since 1908 and continues to push the boundaries of engineering new brake products.
One such innovation is the Mintex FIT Shim, designed and developed for the aftermarket to effectively dampen brake noise. Utilising floating isolation technology (FIT), the product is based upon a decoupling and absorption mechanism to deliver superior noise and vibration isolation.
Our commitment to engineering is an unbroken strand in our DNA, weaving its way through past, present and future generations of vehicles. Engineering isn’t just what we do at Mintex, it’s who we are.
LuK, INA and FAG innovative precision components and systems are not only fitted by leading vehicle manufacturers, they are also the first choice of professional mechanics. But Schaeffler is about more than just OE parts, we are also the ‘Repair Experts’, with a dedicated technical team to back up our world class products with world class service, training and tools - such as REPXPERT.
REPXPERT is Schaeffler’s free workshop knowledge portal, with built-in TecDoc catalog,TecRMI fitting guides and specs, labour times, bonus shop and much, much more. There is also a fully featured REPXPERT app available as a free download for Android and Apple mobile devices. The REPXPERT app makes finding the info you need even easier with its unique VIN and barcode scanning function - which also makes bonus point collection quick and simple!
Download now, or register at www.repxpert.co.uk!Updated scanning function reads VIN numbers, barcodes and bonus vouchers