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Metal Music Can Teach Us About Business ● Follow Us On Twitter @CountermanMag

July 2013

Replace With Same Or Better Plus, we take a look at: 䡲 Starters and alternators 䡲 Water pumps 䡲 Specialty chemicals 䡲 Clutch kits 䡲 Rotating electric for reader service for reader service


July Volume 31, No. 7

features Tech Features

By Larry Carley

30 Starters and alternators. ......................................................... 34 Water pumps keep it cool. ...................................................... 36 A chemical for every job. ................................................. 38 Spark plugs: Replace with same or better. .....................

Mechanic Connection

By Gary Goms

40 Rotating electric has evolved. ................................................ 42 The nuts and bolts of clutches. ...............................................



40 42

COUNTERMAN (ISSN 0739-3695) (July 2013 Volume 31, Number 7): Copyright 2013 Babcox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved: Published monthly by Babcox, 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333 U.S.A. Phone (330) 670-1234, Fax (330) 670-0874. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH 44333 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COUNTERMAN, 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333-8318. A limited number of complimentary subscriptions are available to individuals who meet the qualification requirements. Call (330) 670-1234, Ext. 275, to speak to a subscription services representative or FAX us at (330) 670-5335. Paid Subscriptions are available for non-qualified subscribers at the following rates: U.S.: $69. Samples and back issues - Domestic - $10, International/via air mail - $15. Canada: $89 for one year, $149 for two years. Canadian rates include GST. Ohio residents add 5.75% sales tax. Other foreign rates/via air mail: $129 for one year. Payable in advance in U.S. funds. Mail payment to COUNTERMAN, P.O. Box 75692, Cleveland, OH 44101-4755. Visa, MasterCard or American Express accepted.


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columns Editor’s Ink


By Mark Phillips....................................................................................

What metal music can teach us about business.

From The Publisher


By S. Scott Shriber ......................................................

What is this all about?



By Mandy Aguilar ......................................................................

Happy birthday Gmail.

Allen & Allan


By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber ......................................

One question: Why?


S. Scott Shriber 330-670-1234, ext. 229 EDITORIAL

Mark Phillips, Editor 330-670-1234, Ext. 299 Amy Antenora, Editor, aftermarketNews Managing Editor, Counterman 330-670-1234, Ext. 220 Larry Carley, Technical Editor

departments 6,7

MarketPlace ..................................................................................................

Every month, MarketPlace showcases the newest automotive product and service innovations your customers are asking about!


Aftermarket News ......................................................................................

Aftermarket News presents news, views and analysis of current trends and events in aftermarket distribution.


NASCAR Performance.............................................................................

This monthly special section takes you behind the scenes of this fast-growing sport.


News extra......................................................................................................... When a car is more than just a car.


News extra......................................................................................................... Alliance members head to San Fran.


Classifieds .........................................................................................................


Mandy Aguilar, Columnist Gary Goms, Commercial Accounts Gerald Wheelus, Columnist Allen Markowitz, Columnist Allan Gerber, Columnist Jerry King, Cartoonist GRAPHIC DESIGN

Lisa DiPaolo, Graphic Designer 330-670-1234 , Ext. 281 ADVERTISING SERVICES

Tina Purnell Advertising Services Manager 330-670-1234 , Ext. 243 CIRCULATION SERVICES Brad Mitchell, Director of eMedia & Audience Development 330-670-1234 , Ext. 277 Pat Robinson, Circulation Manager 330-670-1234, Ext. 276 Ellen Mays, Circulation Specialist 330-670-1234, Ext. 275 CORPORATE Bill Babcox, President Greg Cira, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Stankard, Vice President Beth Scheetz, Controller

ADVERTISING SALES REPRESENTATIVES HOME OFFICE: 3550 Embassy Parkway Akron, OH 44333-8318 330-670-1234 FAX 330-670-0874 Bill Babcox 330-670-1234, ext. 217


PUBLISHER: S. Scott Shriber 330-670-1234, ext. 229 SALES REPRESENTATIVES: Dean Martin 330-670-1234, ext. 225

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Edward S. Babcox (1885-1970) Founder Tom B. Babcox (1919-1995) Chairman Founded 1983. Copyright 2013 Babcox Media, Inc., All Rights Reserved COUNTERMAN (ISSN-0739-3695) is published monthly by Babcox Media, 3550 Embassy Pkwy., Akron, OH 44333. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH and additional mailing offices. Member, BPA International for reader service

MARKETPLACE › visit for reader service Put a Stop to Boring with PlastiKote Brake Caliper Paint

ContiTech Offers Wide Range of Diagnostic Support for Power Transmission Products ContiTech’s Power Transmission Products Group offers a full line of products and services to help technicians easily detect and repair faults in belt drives. The diagnostic products and issues most prominent today include 1) checking for belt wear; 2) a laser tool for alignment measurements; and 3) a belt-tension measuring device. In addition to tools, ContiTech offers complete installation instructions for each product, available on the company website,

With PlastiKote Brake Caliper Paint, you can customize your ride with some really cool colors that can withstand the heat. PlastiKote Brake Caliper Paint is available in five colors: Bright Yellow (CP-250), Bright Red (CP-251), Bright Blue (CP-252), Hi-Gloss Silver (CP-254) and Hi-Gloss Black (CP-253). In addition to calipers, it can be used on brake drums and also works well on external engine surfaces and bolt-on components. The 500-degree Fahrenheit coating is chemical-, chip- and rust-resistant for longer life.

Spectra Premium Offers Premium-Quality Replacement Radiators for School Buses School is out – perfect timing to replace school bus radiators. Spectra Premium offers 25 premium-quality radiators covering popular International and Freightliner buses. Our aluminum radiators utilize a brazed seam with no gasket as an enhanced solution to the OE replacement plastic-aluminum radiator. Tube wall thicknesses also are increased by 35 percent to improve tube to header joint longevity. #KnowWhatYouBuy. More info at


July 2013 | Counterman

MARKETPLACE › visit for reader service Penray Introduces Liquid Tune-Up The Penray Companies Inc. has introduced Penray Plus Liquid TuneUp, an innovative package of proprietary chemicals designed to work in harmony to restore vehicle engines to optimal performance and efficiency which will help consumers to save money at the pump. Penray Plus Liquid Tune-Up is an integrated package containing specially-blended, made-in-the USA chemicals and is designed as a three-step process to fortify the three key fluids in today’s vehicles – the fuel, the lubricating oil and the engine coolant. Optimizing the fuel, lubrication and cooling systems will help extract the best performance and efficiency from your engine, while offering protection for vital systems that will impact service life and resale value.

LUND Thinks Outside the Box with New Line of Truck Storage Systems Keep an eye out this July for expanded offerings from LUND as they bring on additional steel and aluminum truck and utility boxes, as well as hunting and liquid transfer systems. Now, LUND, the industry’s premium automotive aftermarket accessories brand, will be able to offer consumers virtually any storage and utility boxes or transfer tank products for trucks, trailers and ATVs. For more information, please visit

How’s Your Car Running? Check Your Smartphone Actron, a leader in automotive diagnostic and repair tools, recently released the Actron U-Scan, providing vehicle diagnostics directly to a vehicle owner’s smartphone. Plugging directly into a vehicle’s OBD II port, users can instantly communicate with their vehicle via a free app on their iOS or Android device. Using Bluetooth wireless connectivity, U-Scan assists vehicle owners in diagnosing and resolving automotive issues, saving time and money. Compatible with all 1996 and newer cars and light trucks, the U-Scan base model features: ● Emissions info, vital to users in states requiring annual emissions tests ● QuickCheck, summarizing vehicle emissions codes and definitions; erases codes and turns off check engine light ● AutoID, to automatically identify most model year 2000 and newer vehicles ● TrueLink, guaranteed to link to all 1996 and newer vehicles ● Vehicle Activity Log, providing a history of vehicle tests and procedures ● MyGarage vehicle manager for quick and easy access to vehicle data 7


DITOR’S INK By Mark Phillips

What Metal Music Can Teach Us About Business n a previous column, I discussed a book about The Beatles and how if you follow their example, you could achieve business success. This month, let’s talk about metal music. There’s a band from Seattle called Queensryche that’s been around for about 30 years. They were progressive metal gods. They were innovators. I say “were” because at one point, the band was headed for near obscurity because they were losing focus and drifting away from their core fan base (customers). That’s never good for business. For reasons that will likely be hashed out in court proceedings, suffice it to say that the long-time lead singer and the rest of the band parted ways. What happened next could have unfolded many different ways. The “business” could have imploded. Without a singer, the band could have pointed fingers at each other, played the blame game and degenerated into chaos that would have imperiled their future. Instead, the members of the band remained positive and kept their minds open. And then, they met a guy named Todd La Torre. By his own admission on Facebook, La Torre had never before sang on an entire album. Why would a band that’s been around three decades and could have had their pick of just

I The mere combination of La Torre and the other band members...has unlocked creativity that hasn’t been fully tapped for years.

about any household name vocalist take a chance on La Torre? He’d been a drummer in several metal bands around Florida. And, for two years starting in 2010, he was lead singer of a band first founded in 1979. So there wasn’t a resume with a laundry list of bands for which he was lead singer. But, three things stand out with La Torre: Positive attitude, talent and potential. La Torre has all three — in truckloads. The members of the band were smart to recognize this and acted quickly. The mere combination of La Torre and the other band members Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and Parker Lundgren, has unlocked creativity that hasn’t been fully tapped for years. It’s like a mini business and creative incubator. What the band has gained isn’t so much a leader as a collaborator. He’s the Lennon to their McCartney. We could all learn a few things about business through Queensryche: •How you think is everything. •Promotions and appointments should be made based on potential, not necessarily the past. •If whatever you’re doing right now isn’t working, quit doing it and try something else. That doesn’t mean close the band and try a totally different business. Or maybe it does. Perhaps all that’s needed is a small tweak; or a big tweak. Whatever the “tweak” is, find it. •Move quickly. If the members of the band had waited, someone else would have snapped up La Torre. Mark my words, there’s a book to be written about Queensryche and how they reorganized their operations. What they did can teach many other businesses how to think when the chips are down. CM ■ ■ ■

For more information:


Another Solution from LuK, the world’s leading OE clutch manufacturer! chaeffler Group USA Inc. is pleased to announce the release of the 07-202 LuK RepSet®. This clutch kit was developed for the 2005-2010 V6, 4.0L, Ford Mustang in response to a national dealer inventory shortage and high aftermarket demand.


LuK is dedicated to bringing a steady flow of product improvements and innovations to both the original equipment and the replacement markets. Every LuK RepSet® is 100% functionally tested and guaranteed to meet OEM performance specifications. The 07-202 clutch kit contains everything you need to get the job done right. The all new components include: clutch, disc, flywheel, release bearing, slave cylinder, pilot bearing, spline tool and lubricant. John McKenna, engineering manager for the Schaeffler Group USA said, “We want LuK to be the brand of choice for clutch repair. Schaeffler is continually adding breadth of coverage for all our brands — INA, FAG, and LuK — and strives to be a system solution provider to our distributors in the North American marketplace.” The 07-202 is available now. Contact your LuK distributor to place your order today. Visit to receive the most upto-date catalog and product information. Schaeffler Group USA Inc. is a leading partner to the automotive and commercial vehicle replacement parts markets in North America. The group, which includes the LuK, INA and FAG brands, offers a broad range of technologies for engine, transmission and chassis applications. 9


The Parts House Trains Battery Specialists, Launches New ACDelco Trucks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida warehouse distributor The Parts House (TPH) recently formed a team of trained specialists who will operate a new fleet of ACDelco battery trucks across Florida, according to Bill Lewis, regional vice president of TPH.

In preparation for the launch of the new trucks, TPH personnel recently attended an ACDelco-sponsored training class in St. Joseph, Mo., for instruction on technical and warranty information and a thorough overview of the skillset required to be a successful battery marketer. TPH’s team of specialists also received train-

ing on battery construction, operation and submission, as well as proper servicing techniques for existing customers. “TPH’s new battery trucks and trained personnel will continue growing this niche market as our business continues to evolve and expand,” said Lewis. “We are confident in our ability to significantly increase our market share with the support of the ACDelco brand and the provision of quality products by specialized personnel.” TPH’s new ACDelco-trained battery specialists are: Don Sherman, Central Florida; Joey Zeaiter; North Florida; Yosvani Lopez, South Florida; and Yunior Monson, South Florida.

Guess the Car / Win $100! This Month’s Puzzle

#66 “Let’s get physical!” 10

July 2013 | Counterman

What vehicle does this picture represent? If you think you know the answer, go to and click “Guess the Car” on the nav bar. Submit your answer and contact information. A winner will be randomly selected by the Counterman staff from all correct answers. The deadline to enter is July 31. The winner’s name will appear in the next issue. Stay tuned!

Last Month’s Correct Answer:

#65 Century (Buick) Congrats to Hugh Stephenson, Belton, Mo. for reader service

Over the Counter By Jerry King


Epicor Parts Portal Certified By ADP To Link Aftermarket Distributors And Dealerships for reader service

DUBLIN, Calif. – Epicor Software Corp. has announced that the Epicor Parts Portal (EPP) has been certified by ADP Dealer Services Inc., a provider of dealer management systems (DMS), to link vehicle dealerships with the nearly 23,000 aftermarket distributors who utilize Epicor Internet AutoParts (IAP) eCommerce software. As an ADP-approved interface, the Epicor Parts Portal solution enables distributors to extend parts information, pricing and electronic ordering capability to vehicle dealership parts and service operations. This information can then be integrated back into the dealer’s DMS. The solution also enables users to more easily look up, order and sell a variety of aftermarket accessories and other products, Epicor says. “The Epicor Parts Portal solution empowers our growing network of distributors to offer dealers far more convenient access to the quality and bottomline value of aftermarket components and related supplies,” said Scott Thompson, vice president, automotive eCommerce for Epicor. The Epicor IAP solution serves approximately 23,000 parts distribution locations and nearly 168,000 registered automotive service locations. By linking to this network and utilizing industry leading Epicor ePartExpert product data, users can electronically interchange original equipment and aftermarket part numbers and provide the other critical product details, including specifications and images, needed to facilitate each order, according to Epicor. In addition to parts needed for specific repairs, the Epicor Parts Portal solution enables users to more efficiently process virtually any special order or aftermarket stock order through their current aftermarket provider, the company adds. For more information regarding Epicor Parts Portal software and other Epicor parts intelligence and eCommerce solutions, contact your Epicor representative, call Epicor toll-free at (888) 463-4700 or email 12

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Epicor Announces Epicor Prism With Integration To Cloud-Based eCommerce Solution DUBLIN, Calif. — Epicor Software Corp. has announced the addition of nearly 20 new features to its Epicor Prism business management software for automotive aftermarket parts wholesalers. The newest release includes enhanced eCatalog functionality and full integration with the robust new cloud-based Epicor AConneX CL eCommerce solution. Among the new features available in the new version of Epicor Prism is Epicor PartExpert Editor, which enables users to augment their eCatalog data with additional information to eliminate lost sales, reduce returns and sell parts that otherwise would not display. The solution now also reads multiple hard-media data formats so users can access the full range of available Epicor PartExpert listings, including powersports applications. For more information regarding Epicor Prism software, contact your Epicor representative, call Epicor toll-free at (888) 463-4700, or email

Saab Automobile Parts North America (SPNA) Marks First Anniversary With Enhanced Warranty for reader service

TROY, Mich. — Saab Automobile Parts North America recently celebrated its one-year anniversary by announcing the addition of limited warranty coverage on labor costs, for a term of 24 months/24,000 miles. This added coverage complements the existing 24month/24,000-mile coverage that is standard on all OE Saab genuine parts and accessories the company sells, according to the company. “Our industry-leading limited warranty coverage on parts and labor is an important addition to the products and services offered to Saab owners and only available through the Saab Service Network,” said Tim Colbeck, president and CEO of SPNA. The company also continues to expand its service network, adding official service centers where need14

July 2013 | Counterman

ed to serve Saab owners; the network now totals 181. A recent addition to the network is a West Coast parts distribution partner, which will improve availability of Saab parts in the important California market. Availability of Saab parts is back to historically high levels, and the warehouse facilities are stocked; ensuring OE Saab Genuine parts and accessories are available to Saab owners and the service network quickly and efficiently. “The company has built an infrastructure for the future. It’s great that we have been able to announce this new program and launch several others, like Saab Secure, that provide added support to Saab owners and the Saab service network. We want to keep Saab cars and owners on the road well into the future,” Colbeck said. for reader service


Mighty Licenses First Master Distributor In Canada NORCROSS, Ga. — Western Dealers Co-Auto (WD Co-Auto) was recently awarded an exclusive master license to distribute Mighty Auto Parts products throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, WD Co-Auto is a buying group for 375 dealer members who collectively operate about 790 dealerships throughout Western Canada. The company was founded in 1981. The new Mighty partnership gives WD Co-Auto members access to additional revenue opportunities by expanding their ability to service automotive brands above and beyond their franchise brands. Member dealers can now take advantage of Mighty’s full range of preventive maintenance products,

including filtration, wipers, lighting products, batteries, brakes, belts, shop supplies and chemicals. “Our company philosophy is ‘Together we’re better’ and that certainly applies to our new partnership with Mighty Auto Parts,” said Mike Reid, president of WD Co-Auto. “In addition to helping members meet their goals of expanding their service and parts business beyond franchise brands, dealers can also enjoy a significant competitive advantage because they’re purchasing products from their own company.” WD Co-Auto’s mission is to work closely with its members to find ways to lower operating costs, share knowledge and expertise and buy as a group to achieve economies of scale.

Network’s National Service Dealer, Jobber Advisory Councils Meet To Help Refine Group’s Programs for reader service

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — The Automotive Distribution Network’s National Jobber and Service Dealer Advisory Councils recently assembled for a joint meeting to provide unique insight and feedback as the association continues to enhance its programs to meet the ever-changing needs of its affiliates at the street level, according to Mike Lambert, president of the Network. “By opening the lines of communication between some of our top jobbers and installers in the field, our Network Headquarters staff can more effectively find out what’s working—and not working to help ensure that our programs remain fresh and relevant,” Lambert said. “From the expanded warranty program to our unique consumer promotions to training initiatives to telematics, the councils shared ideas and their perspectives on what’s happening in their respective markets to provide an interesting cross-section of opinions that will influence our staff’s decisions as we further develop our programs to stay one step ahead of the competition.” Held at the Marriott Town Center in Charlestown, W.Va., the joint council meeting featured a discussion about the future of telematics in the automotive aftermarket, including a close look at Delphi’s beta test model and the technology’s value from consumer and fleet points of view. The Network’s council members also toured the state-of-the-art NGK spark plug manufacturing facility and campus in nearby Sissonville, W.Va., in addition to spending time with their top management team.


July 2013 | Counterman for reader service


Federal-Mogul’s Fel-Pro Releases Problem-Solving One-Piece Gasket SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Engine rebuilders and automotive repair technicians who have struggled to achieve a reliable seal when re-installing the oil pans on many 20092012 Hyundai and Kia V6 engines now have a fast, easy solution: a new one-piece replacement gasket from Federal-Mogul’s Fel-Pro brand. This problem-solving new gasket design – available in complete oil pan and conversion sets – is among more than 100 new parts recently added to the Fel-Pro line. Fel-Pro gaskets, “The Gaskets Professionals Trust,” are designed and manufactured in the brand’s stateof-the-art facility in Skokie, Ill. Approximately 250,000 3.3L and 3.8L DOHC V6 engines from Hyundai and Kia feature an RTV silicone bead, rather than a conventional gasket, along the oil pan flange surface. Applying a replacement bead and properly installing the oil pan for a leak-free seal can be exceptionally difficult in the aftermarket repair environment. The new one-piece Fel-Pro oil pan gasket is manufactured from a die-cut high-density fiber sheet that is fully encapsulated in a black latex rubber coating. The latex coating prevents engine oil

from wicking through the gasket body to provide a long-lasting, leak-free seal. The new Fel-Pro sealing solution is available for the following applications: ● 2009-2012 Hyundai and Kia V6 3.3L and 3.8L DOHC (Azera, Entourage, Santa Fe, Sonata, Veracruz, Sorento) Fel-Pro oil pan set #OS30822; conversion set #CS26414 ● 2009-2012 Hyundai V6 3.8L DOHC (Genesis, Borrego) Fel-Pro oil pan set #OS30823; conversion set #CS264201 Among the other new gaskets and related components now available through Fel-Pro distributors are 36 additional stock and performance head gaskets and sets, 14 new valve cover gasket sets, nine additional stock and performance intake manifold gasket sets and dozens of other parts for virtually any type of automotive engine. For more information regarding Fel-Pro gaskets and other sealing products, contact your Fel-Pro supplier or visit For the brand’s latest applications listings, technical materials, videos and other helpful resources, visit the electronic catalog. for reader service

DENSO Launches New Rewards Program LONG BEACH, Calif. – In an effort to reward DENSO distributors and professional technicians for their hard work, DENSO Products and Services Americas Inc. has unveiled a sales incentive program for WD counter people and sales people, as well as shop owners and their technicians. This new incentive program, called “My DENSO Rewards,” runs through Nov. 30, 2013, with participants earning rewards points when they sell or install First Time Fit cabin air filters or wiper blades. “We feel that our First Time Fit cabin air filters and wiper blades are second-to-none, and we wanted to give our warehouse distributors and installers an extra incentive to see for themselves,” said John Doran, senior manager, marketing and product management group. The program is open to participants in the United States and Canada. Enrollment and full details are available at


July 2013 | Counterman for reader service


Car Care Council Aims To Take The ‘Unknown’ Out Of Auto Parts Stores With New Video For Vehicle Owners BETHESDA, Md. – The non-profit Car Care Council has launched a new video for vehicle owners that aims to take the unknown out of auto parts stores. Titled “Explore an Auto Parts Store,” this video opens the door to the neighborhood parts store for all vehicle owners. With this new video, the Car Care Council hopes to show motorists that you do not have to be an expert to get involved with car care. “The car plays a large role in the lives of many Americans, yet few truly understand them,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Taking on a DIY project is a great way to learn, have fun and understand your personal vehicle better. This prospect can be daunting for those who may not have worked on their car before, but our new video takes the unknown out of getting started.”

Created to help all consumers understand the DIY options available when visiting a store, this video addresses finding materials for simple projects such as checking oils at home, changing wiper blades, testing the battery and, of course, fun accessories. The counterperson at an auto parts store can assist consumers in finding the right parts and give referrals to a repair shop when a job is too big. For some drivers, taking on a few simple tasks at home can help in understanding and building a connection with their car. A visit to the auto parts store is an easy and rewarding way to begin the journey to longer vehicle life and better car care, the council says. “Explore an Auto Parts Store” can be viewed by visiting the Car Care Council’s website at video-explore-an-auto-parts-store/.

Automotive Parts Associates To Award ‘Drives Of A Lifetime’ To Three WD Customers for reader service

LENEXA, Kan. – Automotive Parts Associates’ summer Scratch & Win promotion has begun. Launched on June 18, the promotion will put three grand prize winners and their guests in the driver’s seat of exotic cars, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches, in an Exotic Driving Experience, in addition to insta-win prizes. As part of the grand prize package, winners get free round-trip airfare to Orlando for two, a two-night stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, park passes, meals, spending cash and an amazing day driving exotics at the track. Winners will have a menu of cars to select from and everyone gets to drive two cars with 16 laps around Disney’s Speedway. The promotion will run all summer at APA’s participating WD locations across the United States and Canada. Customers receive official scratch cards and entry forms when they buy a product from one of the sponsoring manufacturers. This year’s sponsoring manufacturers are: Airtex Fuel Delivery Systems, Akebono, ASC, BBB Industries, Beck/Arnley, Bosch, Denso, Dorman, Exide, Federal-Mogul, Gates, KYB, MAS, Loctite, Permatex, SKF, Smitty’s, UCI-FRAM Group and ZF/Sachs. For more information, visit


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Larry Pavey, left, president of Federated Auto Parts, and Mike Fiorito.

Mike Fiorito Inducted Into Federated Vendor Hall Of Fame for reader service

STAUNTON, Va. – Mike Fiorito, vice president of KYB Americas Corp., has been honored as the 2012 Federated Auto Parts Vendor Hall of Fame inductee. The Federated Vendor Hall of Fame recognizes one individual each year who demonstrates dedication to excellence, helping make a difference for Federated and its members. “We want to congratulate Mike for this well-deserved recognition,” said Larry Pavey, president of Federated Auto Parts. “I have had the privilege of knowing Mike for many years and there is no one who cares more about Federated and our members than Mike. He has personally made tremendous contributions to the success of Federated and our Co-Man operation. In short, Mike exemplifies what the Federated Vendor Hall of Fame is all about.” Fiorito began his aftermarket career in 1981 with Parker Hannifin’s Edelmann Division. He joined Brake Parts Inc. in 1988 and held a variety of sales and marketing positions before being promoted to vice president of key accounts. Following the company’s sale to Affinia, Fiorito served as vice president of sales for the Affinia Under Vehicle Group. In 2006, he joined KYB as director of business development before assuming his current position of vice president. 22

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Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Announces New Service Dealer Advisory Council Members SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance (The Alliance) announces five new members to its 10-member National Service Dealer Advisory Council. The following new council members will fill five seats being vacated by current members whose terms have expired. The new members are: ● Steve Ammazzalorso - Sunny Sunoco, Margate City, N.J. ● Kent Atkins - The Grease Pig, Fayetteville, Ark. ● Lee Lizarraga - ABC Auto Care, Ventura, Calif. ● Steve Morton - Morton’s Auto & Truck Repair, New Albany, Ind. ● Al Sutherland - Al’s Certified Auto Repair, Augusta, Maine The charter of this prestigious council is to integrate and refine the group’s certified service center programs, code of ethics and compliance guidelines. In addition, the council helps research new programs and acts as a sounding board for any program improvements or recommendations. “As representatives of our more than 3,000 certified service centers across the U.S. and Canada, this

council carries the burden of continuous improvement to an already hugely successful program,” said Jon Owens, VP of sales and market development for the group. “But, they represent the best of the best from among our industry’s independent shops, so they’re more than capable of doing so.” The five newly elected members began serving their two-year terms on July 1, and will participate in the annual face-to-face meeting this fall. “The Service Dealer Advisory Council is a tremendous benefit to our group,” said Alliance President and CEO John Washbish. “Over the years, they’ve provided critical input to our very successful technological and e-commerce efforts, and have helped us craft what we feel is the best affiliation program in the industry. In addition, participation on this council is a bit of a ‘gateway’ to industry-wide committees and advisory groups. Our folks consider it an honor to move on from this council and give back to the industry that has helped them build successful businesses.”

PIES Version 6.5 General Release Announced for reader service

BETHESDA, Md. – The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) has announced the release of version 6.5 of the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES). Included in the latest version of PIES is full support for the exchange of coded product attributes, increased capability to express market copy and additions to the recognized media types of digital assets. “The ability to provide robust product information, including images and other digital assets, is a critical differentiator and can provide significant sales and margin lift to those companies that master these techniques,” said Scott Luckett, chief information officer, AAIA. “As more business is conducted online without the benefit of advice from a parts pro, vivid electronic product information is essential to selling the right product the first time and keeping it sold.” The documentation of PIES version 6.5 has undergone restructuring to eliminate ambiguity and inconsistency, according to AAIA. PIES is an open industry standard specification available at no cost at For more information, e-mail 24

July 2013 | Counterman for reader service


Akebono Launches Summer Promotion, ‘Sell Brakes, Get Rewards’ Akebono Brake Corp. is helping its retail counter and commercial phone sales team enjoy the summer by rewarding them with gift cards. The promotion runs through Aug. 15, and will reward retail and phone sellers with a $25 American Express Prepaid Card for every 12 sets of Akebono brake kits sold, including the best-in-class Pro-ACT, EURO and Performance ultra-premium ceramic brake pads, according to the company. Because the promotion provides sellers with a bonus for every dozen kits sold, dealers are encouraged to boost their summer inventories. Details on the program are available at

Magnum Gaskets Offers Triple Bonus In ‘USA FIRST’ Promotion for reader service

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. – For a limited time, WDs can earn a triple bonus with Magnum Gaskets’ “USA FIRST” promotion. Every qualifying order is eligible for a 10 percent discount, a Kindle Fire HD and a $50 charitable donation to help America’s wounded military veterans. “This is a great opportunity for WDs to experience Magnum Gaskets’ quality, service and value,” said Derek Data, Magnum’s vice president. “And, what better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than by saving money, earning prizes and helping our veterans? Everyone benefits!” Magnum’s “USA First” Promotion runs through July 31, 2013. For details, visit


July 2013 | Counterman


Nevada Brake & Auto Inc. Acquired By Factory Motor Parts LAS VEGAS – Nevada Brake & Auto Inc. in Las Vegas, Nev., has been acquired by Factory Motor Parts, based in Eagan, Minn. The sale was finalized on June 4. Nevada Brake had been primarily known as an undercar specialist, selling brake parts, suspension and chassis parts as well as wheel bearings, ride control and other related product categories. Starting in 1995, the company shifted its focus to become a full-line parts supplier for domestic and import vehicles. In a 2003 article in Entrepreneur

Magazine, Nevada Brake was acknowledged for its installation of software that allowed the company to trim 10 percent of the company’s logistical outlay and optimize the customers’ buying experience. A multigenerational family business founded in 1945 as Elliott Auto Supply, Factory Motor Parts has grown from a single Minneapolis location to more than 103 locations in 17 states. The transaction was brokered by Marx Group Advisors. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. for reader service

MAHLE Clevite Relocates Ann Arbor Office

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The MAHLE Group recently relocated the MAHLE Clevite Ann Arbor office to Farmington Hills, Mich., where it now joins the corporate MAHLE family. The move consolidates MAHLE North American headquarters central functions, placing marketing, sales, test systems, engineering and all corporate activities onto one campus. “The decision to consolidate operations onto the Farmington Hills campus creates a synergy among all active functions within the MAHLE family,” says Dan Moody, president, MAHLE Clevite. “Having all of our operations centrally located solidifies our commitment in North America and strengthens our daily interactions as a company, allowing us to better serve our customers and continue our growth as a leader in product continued on page 32 27 for reader service


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

Spark Plugs: Replace With Same Or Better park plug sales have been steadily declining for years. Spark plug service intervals of 100,000 miles or longer are common for most late-model vehicles, though a few are still being equipped with standard spark plugs. Vehicle manufacturers also are downsizing their engines for better fuel economy, using more four- and six-cylinder engines in place of V8s. All this contributes to a shrinking market for replacement spark plugs. Therefore, when a vehicle does need spark plugs, it’s important to capitalize on the sales opportunity. A good rule of thumb is to replace same with same or better. If an engine was factory-equipped with platinum or iridium long-life spark plugs, they should be replaced with the same. If an engine was factoryequipped with standard spark plugs, you should recommend upgrading to platinum or iridium plugs. Yes, long-life plugs cost two to three times as much as standard plugs, but chances are your customer may never have to change plugs again if he upgrades to long-life plugs. This can be a real plus on engines



July 2013 | Counterman

where the plugs are difficult to change; such as those with coil-on-plug ignition systems, transverse-mounted V6 engines with limited clearance between the engine and firewall or accessory-laden V8 engines in tight engine compartments. In most applications, long-life platinum and iridium spark plugs are capable of lasting upward of 100,000 miles. Factory recommended service intervals may range from 80,000 to 120,000 miles or more, but as a general rule, changing the plugs at 100,000 miles will assure optimum ignition performance. In actuality, many of these plugs will often go upward of 150,000 miles or more with no misfires or decrease in fuel economy or performance. Even so, the best advice is to stick with the factory recommended service intervals. Many customers prefer to buy the same brand of spark plugs that was installed as original equipment in their engine. This is a legitimate inclination because OEM spark plugs undergo extensive durability testing for specific engine applications. Even so, another brand of spark plug may work just as well or even better, provided it has the correct heat range, electrode configuration and materials for the application. Always follow the spark plug supplier’s application listings because their engineers know which plugs will work best in which engines. If you don’t see a listing for a particular engine application, there is probably a reason why. Second-guessing what set of plugs might fit an unlisted application is never a good idea because the heat range might be too hot or too cold. A plug that is too hot increases the risk of engine-damage detonation, while a plug that is too cold may foul out and misfire. When a customer is replacing high-mileage spark plugs, new plug wires or new coil-on-plug spark plug boots are also recommended in order to prevent flashovers and misfires. The use of anti-seize compound on spark plug threads is not recommended because it increases the risk of damaging the threads in aluminum cylinder heads from over-torqueing the plugs. Excess compound may also be extruded onto the tip of the plug, causing it to foul and misfire. CM for reader service

AFTERMARKET NEWS for reader service

MAHLE continued from page 27 innovations. The move also demonstrates MAHLE’s commitment to the state of Michigan and the automotive industry.” The address of the Farmington Hills location is: 23030 MAHLE Dr., Farmington Hills, MI 48335, USA. The main contact telephone number is (248) 305-8200. For more information about MAHLE Clevite Inc. and its North American aftermarket activities, visit or contact your local sales representative.


July 2013 | Counterman

Crow-Burlingame Co., Parts Warehouse Inc. Host Conference In Branson, Mo. LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Ozark Mountains surrounding Branson, Mo., set the stage for the 2013 Bumper to Bumper Business & Education Conference presented by Crow-Burlingame Co. and Parts Warehouse Inc. Company store managers and sales personnel, independent jobber store owners, and Bumper to Bumper certified service center owners assembled at the event for training on products, programs and business management topics. The conference spanned three days and was held under the theme of “Automotive Super Stars.” The conference featured John Washbish, Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance president and CEO, as the keynote speaker. Events included an evening vendor expo; breakout sessions on topics such as inventory optimization tools, utilization of the newest sales and management technology and new products and an in-depth general session on brand positioning. Capping a hugely successful ACDelco sales program dubbed “The $50K Giveaway,” 24 stores qualified for the drawing of a 2013 Honda ATV, which was awarded to Peggie Blocker of Westlake, La. From an additional field of 16 qualified operators, a fully loaded 2013 Chevrolet Silverado pickup was won by Armand Burch of Ruston, La. Several vendors were recognized for their exceptional contributions during the 2012 sales year: ● Outstanding Manpower: Gates Rubber Co. ● Marketing Support: ACDelco ● Private Label Vendor: Valvoline ● Best Customer Service: MPA ● Vendor of the Year – Gold Category: Standard Motor Products ● Vendor of the Year – Silver Category: Continental Battery Co. for reader service


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

Starters & Alternators common cause of alternator failure is bad diodes. The diodes are part of the rectifier assembly that converts the alternator’s Alternating Current (AC) output to Direct Current (DC). All of the alternator’s charging output flows through six diodes (three matched pairs) in the rectifier assembly before it goes to the battery and electrical system. Consequently, the higher the charging load, the more current flows through the diodes and the hotter they get. Normal driving and charging loads won’t burn out the diodes, for reader service



July 2013 | Counterman

but prolonged higher-than-normal charging loads can significantly shorten their life. For instance, infrequent driving and short trip nighttime driving with lights and other accessories on can increase charging loads. When diodes fail, the charging output of the alternator drops. If only one or two diodes have failed, the alternator may still produce enough current to meet the vehicle’s electrical needs, but it may not be enough to keep up with higher loads or keep the battery fully charged. This could cause the battery to run down over time.

Diode failures may also allow AC current to leak into the electrical system. AC voltage creates electrical “noise” that can confuse electronic modules and digital communications. A leaky diode also can allow current to drain out of the battery through the alternator when the vehicle is not being driven. A faulty voltage regulator can also cause charging problems. Internally regulated alternators have a small solid state module that controls charging output. Some older vehicles have external voltage regulators, whereas many late-model vehicles use the PCM to control charging output. Like diodes, intercontinued on page 45


Let Federated and KYB Help You Become the ESC Expert o you know what ESC is? If it has not already been part of work load, maintaining and repairing ESC systems is going to become an important part of your service work. Being knowledgeable and prepared to service ESC systems is not only going to make you a hero to your customers, it is also going to allow you to take advantage of a great business opportunity.


Federated Auto Parts 508 Greenville Ave. Staunton, VA 24401 540-885-8460

ESC, or Electronic Stability Control, is vehicle technology designed to reduce accidents and save lives. It is a high-tech on-board electronic system that helps prevent spinouts and rollovers. ESC is now required on all new cars, light trucks and SUVs. Most accidents that involve losing control of the vehicle occur when the vehicle is driven beyond its traction limits, such as oversteer or under-steer conditions, or driving too fast for road conditions. ESC senses the conditions that could cause a rollover and then takes the appropriate action to prevent it from happening. It instantly reduces engine speed and applies one of the individual wheel brakes in just the right amount to keep the vehicle in control. If a vehicle in your shop is model year 2000 or newer, it may have ESC. In fact, the U.S. government has mandated that all 2012 vehicles must have ESC safety systems. Some of the vehicles you service may have an ESC system and you may not even know it, since ESC is sometimes called by different names depending on the manufacturer. A vehicle’s ESC system has an array of sensors providing vehicle operation conditions to one of the vehicle’s on-board computers. When the computer determines that the vehicle is losing control, it

instantly begins reducing engine speed through the engine management system and then applies the appropriate individual brake in just the right proportions to keep the vehicle in control. There are two big reasons to know whether the vehicle has ESC or not. One is that the effectiveness of ESC is limited by the ability of the tires and the vehicle’s suspension. If the tires can’t grip the road, then it’s just like driving on ice and will cause the ESC system to engage when it is not needed. Therefore, it is important to have good tires and ride control components that aren’t worn. The second important reason is that replacement parts (like shocks and struts) must be calibrated to perform within the vehicle’s design. Some aftermarket parts (especially low-cost/low-quality parts) are not as compatible. These parts will affect the performance of ESC and may cause brakes to apply when vehicle owners don’t want them to be applied. Federated and KYB are working together to give you an ESC program that will provide you the training and high-quality KYB parts that will make you an ESC expert. For more information, contact your Federated Auto Parts distributor. 35


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

Water Pumps Keep It Cool hen a water pump reaches the end of its road, don’t hesitate to replace it. The water pump circulates coolant between the engine and radiator to manage the engine’s waste heat and prevent the engine from overheating. Though the pump turns continuously while the engine is running, coolant flow is actually controlled by the thermostat. A thermostat that is stuck shut will block coolant flow and cause the engine to overheat. A good thermostat also can be damaged by overheating, so if a customer is replacing a water pump because the engine overheated, I recommend replacing the thermostat as well. A water pump is fairly simple and con- for reader service



July 2013 | Counterman

leave up to half of the old coolant in the block. Belts and hoses should all be carefully inspected and replaced if any are found to be worn, cracked, damaged or in poor condition.

Hoses that are brittle, aged, cracked, bulging or chaffed must be replaced. New hose clamps are also recommended. High-mileage belts should also be replaced, regardless of their appearance. CM for reader service

sists of a cast iron, aluminum or stamped steel housing, a shaft mounted “impeller” that moves the coolant through the pump, a shaft seal (usually ceramic) and ball or roller bearings to support the shaft. Seal failure will allow coolant to leak out of the pump, while bearing failure will often make the pump noisy. Most water pumps are belt-driven off the crankshaft, but on some engines, the pump is driven by the timing belt. On most engines, the pump pulls coolant in through the lower radiator hose and routes it into the block and heads. On “reverse flow” systems, the pump first routes the coolant into the head(s) and then to the block. Some pumps have additional inlet and outlet ports for heater hose and bypass connections. Many OEM water pumps are capable of going 100K to 150K miles or more, but may fail sooner for a variety of reasons. Cooling system neglect can shorten the life of the shaft seal. Fan imbalance on applications where a mechanical cooling fan is mounted to the front of the water pump also can shorten the life of the water pump shaft bearings and seal. Because of the many differences in OEM water pump designs, make sure the replacement pump has the same mounting configuration, bolt locations and hose connections as the original. Likewise, it is important to compare pump heights, as these may also vary depending on the dimensions of the timing cover or other belt-driven engine accessories. When a water pump is replaced, the cooling system should be drained, flushed and refilled with a fresh mixture of antifreeze and water to restore proper cooling performance and corrosion protection. Merely draining the radiator can 37


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

A Chemical For Every Job he aisles in most auto parts stores are filled with all kinds of specialty chemicals. Whether it be fuel and crankcase additives, cleaners, penetrants, lubricants, waxes or polishes, there are products for almost every kind of conceivable automotive application. One thing these products share in common is that they all are designed for a specific need or purpose. There are general purpose cleaners that can be used for a variety of cleaning applications, but there are also specialty cleaners available for more specific purposes. Some of these include top cleaner to remove carbon deposits from combustion chambers, fuel injector cleaner to keep injectors clean, throttle body cleaner to remove varnish from throttles and intake systems, brake cleaner to remove dirt and grime from brake components, engine degreaser to remove heavy accumulations of dirt and grease on external engine surfaces, driveway cleaner to remove stains from cement surfaces, carpet cleaner and upholstery cleaner to clean up the interior and special solvents to remove bug splatter and tree sap from vehicle finishes. This demonstrates that customers often need a very specific product for a particular purpose. Helping them buy the right product may require some inquiry



July 2013 | Counterman

as to what exactly they want to accomplish. Based on how they respond, your product knowledge should allow you to direct them to the specialty chemical product that would best suit their needs. In some situations, however, a single product may meet a variety of needs. A lubricating/penetrating aerosol spray, for example, can help loosen rusted or frozen fasteners, lubricate door hinges, locks and other sliding mechanisms, quiet squeaky parts and help repel moisture. One specialty product that is often misused is brake cleaner. This product is primarily designed for brakes, but also can be used to remove grease, dirt and grime from other components. However, the ingredients in some brake cleaners may be harmful to certain plastics or painted surfaces. So always read the warnings and directions on the product label to ascertain what the product is recommended for, how it should and should not be used, and any usage precautions that need to be followed. In recent years, the VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content of most aerosols and many other products has been reduced in order to comply with clean air regulations. This change has also made many products safer to use by eliminating certain chemicals that may be toxic or dangerous to breathe. You should also keep specialty chemical products in mind when selling other parts. If a customer is buying brake parts, he could probably use a can of aerosol brake cleaner. If a customer is buying spark plugs, filters or other maintenance parts, you might recommend a can of fuel system cleaner, throttle cleaner and/or engine top cleaner. More specifically, a customer who is buying motor oil for an older, high-mileage engine may benefit from a specially formulated “high-mileage” motor oil or a crankcase additive that contains chemicals to help reduce oil leakage or burning. For an older, performance engine with a flat tappet cam, you might recommend a ZDDP anti-wear additive to help protect the cam and lifters against premature wear. If the customer is replacing internal engine parts, he may need assembly lube, gasket sealer or RTV. As a final point, do your best to identify and utilize related specialty chemical sales opportunities. If you suggest products that can help, solve problems or address your customers’ needs, you’ll often get the sale and a satisfied customer. CM for reader service


ECHANIC CONNECTION By Gary Goms, commercial accounts editor

The Nuts And Bolts Of Clutches ortunately for the automotive service industry, clutch manufacturers began providing clutch repair parts packaged as a kit, generally consisting of a clutch pressure plate, friction disc, pilot bearing, release bearing and alignment tool. In most cases, the clutch parts are new and are matched to the very close tolerances demanded by compact engine compartments and transmission and trans-axle configurations. Let’s look at the nuts and bolts of clutch replacements:


Clutch Operation The clutch flywheel and pressure plate are attached to the engine crankshaft. The clutch disc is at-

Modern clutch kits contain parts that match.

tached to the splined transmission input shaft. When the clutch pedal is depressed, a hydraulic master cylinder and slave cylinder is activated to depress the clutch release bearing, which in turn depresses the pressure plate release levers or diaphragm spring. In mechanical linkage applications, a cable or a bell crank and linkage activates a clutch release lever to perform the same function. When the clutch pedal is completely depressed, the clutch disc should spin freely from the flywheel and 40

July 2013 | Counterman

pressure plate. When the clutch pedal is released, engine torque is applied to the clutch disc. Flywheel Grinding Because the performance of a new clutch kit is directly related to the flywheel surface being smooth, flat and concentric to the crankshaft, cleanliness is essential when resurfacing a flywheel. Even a small grain of dirt on the flywheel grinder’s mounting plate can cause a run-out or wobble problem that lets the flywheel “drag” against the clutch disc. The minimum flywheel thickness for a specific application is important because a flywheel can be ground to the point that the disc’s torsional cushion springs can drag against the flywheel mounting bolts and furthermore, excessive grinding increases the distance that a hydraulic clutch release bearing must travel. All of the above conditions will cause a clutch release complaint. Pressure Plates Clutch pressure plates are either lever or diaphragm spring types that are adjusted at the factory to prevent wobble or run-out at the pressure plate friction surface. As with the flywheel, run-out tolerances on new pressure plates must practically zero to prevent clutch release complaints. Clutch Discs A clutch disc is a delicate assembly that is easily damaged by oil contamination, dropping it on the floor or by allowing the unsupported weight of the transmission to hang by the input shaft as the transmission is installed. A conventional clutch disc incorporates torsional cushion springs around its splined

hub to absorb firing impulses from the engine and to cushion acceleration/deceleration torque. Weakened or broken torsion springs tend to aggravate clutch chatter complaints. When looking at the edge of the disc, it’s apparent that the metal part of the disc has a waved surface that acts as a cushion between the front and rear friction linings. This quality is called the “marcel” of a clutch disc. The clutch linings or facings are riveted to the waved metal portion of the disc to allow the disc to gradually compress as it’s engaged. The marcel feature allows the clutch disc to smoothly engage the flywheel and pressure plate facings. Without correct marcel, the clutch engagement will tend to be very abrupt. Installation Tips Since installing the disc backward will cause the clutch not to release, the clutch disc should be clearly labeled or stamped, “flywheel side.” The disc should slide freely on the transmission input shaft. Oil contamination on clutch linings can usually be prevented by routinely replacing the engine rear main seal and transmission input shaft seal and by wiping off all friction surfaces with brake cleaner prior to installation. To prevent an unpleasant comeback, it’s important to recommend a hydraulic master and slave cylinder replacement with the new clutch. To avoid warping the pressure plate cover, the pressure plate assembly must be incrementally tightened to the flywheel. Cleaning the transmission input shaft splines and lubricating with a dry-type silicone lubricant will ease installation and help prevent clutch release complaints. CM for reader service


ECHANIC CONNECTION By Gary Goms, commercial accounts editor

Rotating Electric Has Evolved or the sake of convenience, most parts professionals categorize starters and alternators as “rotating electric.” Automotive technicians, on the other hand, generally categorize the starter and alternator as part of the starting/charging system. Since the designs of starting and generating systems have evolved during the past decade to include computer controls, the so-called “basics” of each operating system must be constantly revised to promote a better understanding of the product and to avoid an unwanted warranty situation.


Battery Basics When dealing with rotating electrical warranty issues, remember that the reliability of any wet-cell automotive battery rapidly declines af-

ter about four or five years of service. If the vehicle is driven infrequently, the battery’s storage plates tend to sulfate, which drastically reduces the battery’s rated cold cranking amperage (CCA). Similarly, the normal discharge and recharging cycles of daily driving tend to wear the storage plates out, which again reduces the battery’s CCA. Since many rotating electrical problems begin with worn-out batteries and corroded battery terminals, an electronic battery test and visual battery inspection should be done before attempting to diagnose rotating electrical parts. Starter Motor Basics For nearly a half-century, the starter motor was activated by turning the key in a spring-loaded

Worn-out and badly neglected batteries are the most common cause of rotating electrical complaints.

ignition switch that cranked the engine by activating the starter solenoid. When activated, the starter solenoid mechanically engages the starter drive gear with the engine flywheel and completes the circuit from the battery to the starter motor. As soon as the engine starts, the driver releases the springloaded ignition switch from the “cranking” to the “engine run” position. More recent designs have reduced the electrical load on the ignition switch by inserting a starter relay between the ignition switch and starter solenoid. And, most recently, the ignition switch or starter button simply issues a command to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) to engage and release the starter motor as required. Starter motors have evolved from heavy full-field designs to lighter permanent magnet, reduction gear designs. While the fullfield starters often failed due to excessive brush and armature wear, most permanent magnet starters fail because the electrical contacts in the solenoid have worn out, which generally results in a no-engagement starter complaint accompanied by a clicking noise from the starter solenoid. Alternator Basics Since the charging rates of modern alternators are controlled by the Powertrain Control Module, it’s important to check for diagnostic trouble codes before replacing an alternator. In addition, your store’s electronic battery testing equipment might feature an alternator output check that will test the alternator’s response


July 2013 | Counterman for reader service


When A Car Is More Than Just A Car By Amy Antenora

or a significant portion of the U.S. population, except those in metropolitan areas that have easy access to public transportation, the automobile is the average consumer’s second most valuable investment, aside from their home. Yet, for some, it’s not just an investment; it can be a lifeline as well. This was the realization that retired Dana Corp. VP John Tartaglione had one day while talking to his wife, who chairs the West Suburban Jobs Council, an advocacy group for low-income job seekers and the working poor in their county. As Tartaglione and his wife were chatting, he realized that for many Americans, a reliable car is indeed truly a lifeline; a means for getting to that critical interview or job every day, to bring home a paycheck and keep food on the table. Transportation has consistently been cited as the most significant barrier to employment for low-income residents in suburban areas


due to limited public transportation options. This is true especially during non-traditional work hours, which are common for this population that often works in entry-level jobs in the health care, hospitality or restaurant industries. It was this need that Tartaglione knew the aftermarket industry was perfectly suited to help address. And thus, “Care for Cars” was launched in May 2012 in a Chicago suburb. The group’s mission is to help address this transportation barrier that many low-income residents in DuPage County, Ill., struggle with, and to ensure that these job seekers and employees have reliable transportation to get to work on time. While Tartaglione humbly says that most of the credit goes to his partners in the project, it was his 35 years in the industry that provided him with the logistical understanding, and the contacts, to create the basic framework for the concept. As he set out to create this non-profit organization, he called upon NAPA, with whom he had developed a strong, 20-year rela-

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT NUCAP NRS® Equipped Brake Pads have up to a 30% extended life, eliminate vibration and delamination noise, offering drivers a safer, quieter, longer-lasting brake system. NUCAP delivers innovative technology solutions to the automotive aftermarket with its NRS® mechanical attachment system for brake pad backing plates. Research shows that the adhesive (glue) bonded brake pad backing plate is a leading cause of most premature braking system noise, vibration and wear-out issues; they are an accident waiting to happen! NRS® technology was developed to help technicians eliminate brake system comebacks and warranty returns. Brake pads manufactured with NRS Mechanical Bond, will last up to 30 % longer, avoiding the most common causes of pad failures like rust jacking, edge lift and friction material vibration and delamination. They will not fail !


July 2013 | Counterman

tionship before he retired. A few phone calls and his NAPA contacts in the Chicago market were on board. Through Care for Cars, a process was created to provide reducedcost auto repair for low-income job seekers and the working poor. NAPA and Genuine Parts Co., NAPA Auto Parts Stores and NAPA AutoCare facilities agreed to provide reduced costs for both parts and labor. Lang’s Auto Service in Downers Grove, Ill., and Clark’s Car Care in Naperville, Ill., both NAPA AutoCare facilities, agreed to forgo any profit for these repairs, providing quotes at costs that will be economical for clients in the program. Clients are required to pay 20 percent or $200, whichever is less, of the retail value of all repairs. Additional costs have been covered by grassroots community service organizations in the county. Additional funding for the program was provided through Horizon Community Church, the West Suburban Jobs Council and the DuPage Community Foundation. While it’s easy to see how a benevolence program such as this could take off in any number of communities across the U.S., Tartaglione said the group is intentionally starting off slow, working only in one county in Illinois, where he lives. “We wanted to keep it as local as possible so it wasn’t overly timeconsuming for any of our partners,” he said. “In every town – we’re moving into our third city in DuPage County – we have one installer and a NAPA Auto Care Center that employs ASE-certified mechanics. We have each of these partners in three parts of the councontinued on page 54


TECH FEATURE Starters continued from page 34 nal voltage regulators also can fail from too much heat. The best way to identify alternator problems is by conducting a bench test. A bench test will check the diodes and internal regulator and then tell you if the alternator is capable of producing its rated current and voltage. If the alternator fails any test category, your customer needs a new alternator. If an alternator tests satisfactorily, but is not working on the vehicle, the problem must lie elsewhere. It could possibly be a fault in the wiring harness or connector or a damaged PCM control circuit. Misdiagnosis is the No. 1 cause of unnecessary alternator returns. So if your store has a bench tester, make sure to use it. Do not only test your customer’s old alternator to verify it is bad, but also test a new or reman alternator before it goes out the door to verify it is good. It’s the same story with starters. Misdiagnosis can lead to unnecessary replacement of a perfectly good starter. A bench test will tell you whether or not a starter is cranking fast enough for reliable starting and not drawing too much current. CM

Rotating Electric continued from page 42 to load and simultaneously test the alternator’s rectifying diodes. Although the charging rate of modern alternators routinely exceeds 100 amperes of current, remember that alternator life is considerably shortened when operating at or near full capacity. Since the vehicle itself can require as much as 40 amperes of current to operate on-board electronics and exterior lighting, the added load of a worn-out battery can easily cause a new or remanufactured replacement alternator to overheat and ultimately fail. Other than battery-induced failures, most alternators fail either because one of its carbon brushes are stuck or because one or more of its rectifying diodes have developed a shorted or open circuit. Last, but not least, remember that worn or glazed V-type or serpentine drive belts are the most common causes of low alternator output. Modern EPDM rubber serpentine drive belts must be measured with a simple tool supplied by your belt supplier. If the belt is worn, the electrical output of the alternator will be reduced as its drive pulley begins slipping inside a worn EPDM drive belt. CM

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT Autolite® XP Xtreme Performance® Spark Plugs Autolite® XP Xtreme Performance® Iridium enhanced spark plugs are one of Autolite’s most technologically advanced spark plugs ever. With an iridium-enhanced .6 mm finewire design and proprietary V-trimmed platinum sidewire technology, these spark plugs provide better durability* and a more focused ignition for better overall ignitability** and optimum performance. Autolite® XP Iridium spark plugs provide a balanced blend of Iridium, Platinum and Tungsten for protection against ALL electrode wearing factors including temperature, corrosion and oxidation. Autolite XP Iridium spark plugs generate 21% bigger flame, providing more ignitibility in the combustion chamber for better overall performance. Autolite XP Iridium spark plugs fit over 90% of all Asian, European and Domestic applications, meets the growing recommendations of OEMs seeking performance improvements and are compatible replacements for OEM in vehicles of similar design and technology. Autolite is America’s best-selling spark plug!

*Compared to .8mm finewire, multi-electrode design and standard plugs **Compared to average of other premium brands 45

Track Talk Education, Hard Work Pays Off for Rev Racing’s Sickler Someone once said, “It’s not where you start, but where you finish.” Considering the path to his current career in motorsports, that person could have been talking about 2003 NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) graduate Jonathan Sickler. For the past two years, Sickler has been an integral part of Rev Racing, where he serves as a finish fabricator and drives the team rig that hauls the racecars. All those miles on the road and hours in the garage could take a toll on a person, but not Sickler. “If you’re passionate about

what you do and enjoy it, it doesn’t seem like work,” says Sickler. Even if it doesn’t seem like work, the time and effort Sickler and his team put in has been well worth it. Last November, the No. 6 Rev Racing Toyota team driven by Kyle Larson captured the K&N Pro Series East crown, marking the first NASCAR touring championship for Rev Racing and NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity initiative. More than a decade ago, when Sickler was installing car stereos in Pinellas Park, Fla., NASCAR championship trophies were not exactly top of

mind. However, as he worked more with cars, he developed a passion for them, even beyond the stereo component. Taking on the same tasks, day after day, he was ready for a change, and knew that expanding his knowledge of cars was the first step. At 25, Sickler packed up his belongings, drove across the country and enrolled at the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) Avondale, Ariz., campus and completed the 51-week Core Automotive Program. With a solid mechanical foundation, Sickler was ready for more. “Race City, USA” and NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) was his next pit stop. “The curriculum was really strong, and I was at the age

Jonathan Sickler helped Rev Racing capture the 2012 K&N Pro Series East crown. A UTI and NASCAR Tech graduate, Sickler says education and hands-on automotive experience is the differentiator shops and race teams look for when hiring.

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where I was mature enough to understand what I wanted to do and how I was going to get there,” explains Sickler. “NASCAR Tech provided a platform for me to accomplish my goals.” At 27, Sickler was not deterred from reaching the pinnacle of the racing world. He proves that no matter your age, a career in the automotive industry is possible. “Shops and race teams are looking for qualified, skilled and passionate individuals,” says John Dodson, community/NASCAR team relations director at NASCAR Tech. “Those are the types of graduates we turn out, and they get the job done.” Sickler is talented and motivated, but notes that without the education he received at UTI and NASCAR Tech, he would not be where he is today. “You have to have an education in automotive technology to get into racing,” says Sickler. “It’s really competitive and hands-on experience is the differentiator race teams are looking for.” Sickler realizes how fortunate he is to be in this position and wants others to know that all things are possible. “Whatever you put into life, you will to get out of it,” he says. “If you work hard and believe in what you’re trying to accomplish, you can do it.” For more information about NASCAR Tech’s 10 years of starting careers, visit By: Kimberly Hyde, NASCAR


Alliance Members Head To San Francisco For Summer Member Meeting By S. Scott Shriber

and took the opportunity to outline the upcoming 2013 “Drive to Daytona” Sweepstakes. This promotion will include trips and passes to the 2014 Daytona 500 as well as the giveaway of three new Ford Mustangs. The program will culminate with the awarding of a 2014 Corvette trackside at the race. Wrapping up the meeting, Washbish provided details for the next

vendor expo in Las Vegas during the AAPEX and SEMA shows. The Alliance says it is working closely with the associations to provide excellent content and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for technicians and counterpeople. The week’s events concluded with a “Taste of San Francisco” dessert event held in Union Square. CM for reader service

SAN FRANCISCO – Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance (the Alliance) recently held its summer member meeting in San Francisco at the Westin St. Francis. Members attended various committee meetings and received reports on key initiatives for 2013 as well as previews into the upcoming plans for 2014. Alliance President and CEO John Washbish updated members on new initiatives. Washbish opened the supplier meeting with the announcement that Temot and the Alliance are becoming full channel partners. This move will put the Alliance and its members in a more competitive position and make them part of a completely global organization. Wayne Butts, vice president, product management & vendor channel partner relations for the Alliance, gave a complete review of the product and vendor relations activities and also introduced some of the newest supplier initiatives the group has launched and explained their importance to the membership. Dale Hopkins, the Alliance’s chief information officer, followed with a recap of the My Place for Parts application and its overarching capabilities. Suppliers were given a technology report card that allowed them to evaluate their performance on some of the key My Place for Parts components. Alliance Marketing Director Dan Williford reviewed the results of the “Big Game” contest for 2013 47



What Is This All About? t must be a misprint, I thought to myself. “Millennials Really Don’t Hate Cars” was the headline. Excuse me, “Hate Cars”? That is not a thought that has ever occurred to me. How could anyone hate cars? Cars are our sense of freedom, our individuality, our persona. Now there could be a generation that hates them, huh? The article went on to say that while the millennials, who number about 82 million in the U.S., actually do like cars, they just can’t financially see fit to own one in today’s economy. If they do, it will most likely be pre-owned. That is actually a good thing for us in this industry, because those vehicles are in the sweet spot for repairs, and who better to facilitate those repairs than all of us in the aftermarket? The University of Michigan reports that the number of 16-year-olds with a driver’s license has dropped from 46 percent in 1983 to 31 percent in 2008. That is a trend that has been continuing, and for several different reasons. Some feel it is expensedriven and others feel it is interest-driven. Whichever it is, fewer young drivers are on the road as a percentage of the possible drivers for that age group. Personally, I don’t get it. But why would I? I am a boomer. I love cars. They are a part of my life and where I have spent my entire career. They reflect my personality, and for that fact, they define

I Cars are our sense of freedom, our individuality, our persona. Now there could be a generation that hates them, huh?

my mortal essence. I would never make it as a Generation Yer. I think my iPhone is pretty cool and it does alot of neat stuff, but cooler than my car? You have got to be kidding me. I am, however, enough of a businessperson to know this trend and its 82 million believers cannot be ignored. So how can we marry the two concepts of millennial and automobile together? Well, the automakers are already working on it. Millennials see no purpose for single-use items. Watches need not exist because the phone does that for them. Speaking of phones, they don’t like those either. They want smart devices that do all sorts of things. So, the automakers are designing vehicles that work with these devices and carry inter-functional capabilities. The millennials also tend toward the smaller, fun vehicles. Remember, vehicles can’t just be for getting from point A to B. It needs to be transportation, entertainment, social networking and fun! So, don’t fret. With all this complexity working its way into today’s vehicles, there is a bright future for those who need to repair them. History has taught this writer that the more complex a vehicle gets, the more it needs to be worked on and it takes lots of parts. Good news. In the meantime, I need to get that FM converter installed in my 9mpg non-emission controlled vehicle. CM

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July 2013 | Counterman


Give your customers a game-changer. VDO REDI-Sensor™ Multi-application TPMS Sensor oday, over 85 million vehicles are riding on North American roads with TPMS-equipped wheels. As that number continues to grow daily, so does the need for TPMS sensor service. That’s why it is important for you to offer TPMS service products that can meet the growing demand and help your customers avoid missing out on any service opportunities. VDO REDI-Sensor Multi-Application Sensors deliver a game-changing advancement in TPMS service. With only three VDO REDI-Sensor part numbers, your customers will be able to cover more than 85 percent of all vehicles that pull in to their shops. VDO REDI-Sensor directly replaces over 140 OE sensors and is designed to follow standard OE vehicle relearn procedures. These innovative sensors are compatible with all major TPMS scan tools, including those from ATEQ, Bartec, OTC/SPX, K-Tool (T.I.P.S.) and Snap-on. They come pre-programmed and ready-to-use right out of the box. No sensor programming, cloning, added training or new tool investments are required. If your


customers have the tools and know-how to service OE TPMS sensors, they’re ready for REDI-Sensor. ● Overall coverage includes: Acura, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hummer, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Scion, Suzuki, Toyota and Volkswagen. ● VDO REDI-Sensor Sensors are OE-validated for fit, function and reliability. They are designed specifically for the aftermarket by Continental, a leader in OE TPMS systems, and made in ISO-certified facilities to the same quality standards as parts supplied to automakers. ● Get the latest TPMS application coverage and see the new series of training videos at For additional information, please contact:

VDO and REDI-Sensor are Trademarks of the Continental Corporation. 49


OUNTER-TECH By Mandy Aguilar

Happy Birthday Gmail Gmail captured our hearts and minds with its ease of’s so quick and accurate that we have turned Gmail into a data warehouse...

s the end of email near? Tech media pundits have been heralding email’s demise with increased frequency lately. But I can’t say I agree. While email’s doom might be on the horizon, I have not yet met anyone — not one person, let alone a whole company — who has been able to successfully detach himself from email. On the contrary, we now check our email during every waking hour, on our computers and phones. Perhaps the world’s most-used email system is Google’s Gmail, with more than 425 million active users clicking through their daily barrage of messages in more than 57 languages, including Cherokee, Swahili and Tamil! Despite privacy concerns, Google seems to be betting that we will gladly allow them to continue tracking our behaviors and likes online in exchange for all their free productivity tools, particularly Gmail. Earlier this year, Gmail celebrated their “pottery anniversary” (that’s nine years for


Mandy Aguilar is a regional vice president for Jacksonville, Fla.-based The Parts House.


July 2013 | Counterman

all of us husbands who do not keep track of traditional anniversary gifts beyond silver, gold and diamond). That’s it? Just nine years ago there was no Gmail? It’s hard to believe, as they are so present in our daily tech routines today. In our company, we traded our email servers years ago for Gmail under Google’s Apps for business service. A very savvy move, which saved us a ton of money and made our IT guys giddy with the freedom that came from letting Google be the administrator of all our email tech-headaches, thus liberating all of us to sell more parts. Gmail captured our hearts and minds with its ease of use; but, the killer feature was its ability to search through old emails using Google’s search technology; it’s so quick and accurate that we have turned Gmail into a data warehouse where any message or file attachment can be recalled in seconds — often while you’re talking on the phone with the person who you sent the email to originally, but who never read it! While we find Gmail’s search feature essential to

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COUNTER-TECH run our business, I can see how this aspect of the service can become one of the shortcomings of email. I’m certain no email system was ever designed to become a data warehouse; but, leave it to us users to reconfigure systems based on our needs! Usability trumps purpose, yet again. We use Gmail as a data storage repository for fast recall; many of our colleagues save their files right on Gmail, as they find it far easier to find the files later than on their PC’s filing directories. Not to mention, there is really no practical way to save a file on our smartphones other than storing it on email. Google clearly nudged us into this behavior with Gmail’s gargantuan free storage in the cloud, now pegged at 10GB. For most users, that’s years and years of accumulated emails with no need to delete them.

For many of our collaborators, Gmail is indeed a data repository and a very good one. I’m certain many IT experts will raise flags with security concerns and certainly some public companies can’t even use Gmail due to trading and commodities rules; but, from our experience of using Gmail since day one, we have seen it provide us with optimal usability to save data that can then be recalled from any computer or phone around the planet. We have been able to do this, with no downtime and, knock on wood, with not one security concern so far in nine years. I often find myself emailing files to myself, just to know that they will be waiting for me on Gmail when I need them in the future. Clearly there are many aspects of using email, or more to the point,

of abusing email, that are detrimental to the communication efficiency of any company or organization. Oftentimes, we simply use it to assign tasks to one and another instead of doing the actual work ourselves. Moreover, each of us must have our own workflow to manage the unending hourly stream of emails (Have you heard of Inbox Zero?). Truth is, I can easily live with all of this. Our company is widely spread over many states, with customers and suppliers all over the planet. Email keeps us in contact with one another, and better yet, it keeps the data we need to collaborate with each other at our fingertips for instant recall. For that I say: Happy pottery anniversary Gmail, hope to use you when silver and gold rolls around (hint hint, might need more than 10GB free storage by then). CM

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AAPEX Advance Auto Parts Professional Affinia Undercar Group Airtex Corp. Aisin World Corp. Amsoil Inc. Autolite Bar’s Leaks BlueDevil Products Carter Continental Corp. DEA Products/Pioneer Inc. Denso Products & Services America Inc. ExxonMobil Federal Process Corp.

11, 43 31 33 20, 21 37 Cover 2 28,29,45 12 34 24,25 49 19 3, Cover 3 Cover 4 27

Federated Auto Parts Gabriel Lisle Corp. LuK Melling Engine Parts Moog Steering & Suspension NUCAP Industries Packard Industries Penray Peterson Manufacturing Co SAAB Parts North America Solv-Tec Inc. Specialty Products Co. Timken TYC/Genera Corp.

13, 35 32 22 9, 41 36 16, 17 44, 23 26 39 15 1, 51 18 47 14 5 53


The CARE for CARS volunteers from left to right are: William Burchardt, GPC NAPA District Manager; Matt Weber, Clark’s Car Care; Ray Mazeika, Lang’s Auto Service; and Bruce Petrie, NAPA Naperville, Ill. Not pictured is Brian Downing of NAPA Downers Grove, Ill.

CARE continued from page 44 ty, as well as three human service organizations that assess the need of each applicant to be sure that the individual needs to get his or her car fixed to either maintain employment or find a job. Then, we look to see if it’s feasible to repair the car. When I say ‘we,’ it’s either somebody from the NAPA store or the owner of the repair facility.” When asked how he found the right shops and technicians for the job, he said he relied on recommendations from the NAPA store partners in the area. “Other programs have probably tried to do this from the bottom up. We’re doing it from the top down,” Tartaglione said. “Letting everyone know that everybody has a piece of the action, so to speak.” It was Brian “Waldo” Downing, sales manager for the Downers Grove NAPA Auto Parts Store, who recommended Ray Mazeika, of Lang’s Auto Service in Downers Grove, as the right partner to help with repairs. “When John asked me for a shop recommendation, I immediately picked Ray. Right away, I 54

July 2013 | Counterman

knew he was the man for the job. Why? His professionalism and honesty and just the way he handles the shop. The job is done right the first time and he doesn’t do what’s unnecessary, and doesn’t oversell people on stuff. We knew he would be honest,” said Downing. “It makes me feel great that we can help someone who is truly in need,” he added. “We hear stories of people out there taking advantage of the system who could work, but there are people who are trying to work, they are doing everything right, but they are just having a hard time. Sometimes, people just can’t get ahead in life. Getting help to fix your car is not getting any cheaper. It’s not like the old days.” The clients themselves are selected based on motivation, personal responsibility and financial need and are located through an application process with three DuPage County community-based agency partners: Naperville Cares, Naperville; Walk In Ministry of Hope, Downers Grove; and People’s Resource Center, Wheaton. Once the Care for Cars board of directors receives an application,

they review the request based solely on the viability of the repair to be sure it is a worthwhile investment based on the age, mileage and type of repair needed. Almost half of all requests are rejected, and those applicants are referred to another non-profit program called “Ways to Work,” which provides low-interest car loans to purchase pre-screened used cars. In just a little more than a year, the group has assisted approximately 50 individuals. Mazeika estimates that he has personally been involved in roughly 15 of those repairs, so far. “We like helping people who really need help,” Mazeika says. “It’s a great thing to get people back on the road, and you can see how happy they are. It’s a good thing. And we do gain as well. We’ve had some people come back when they see how great our customer service is. We’re not going to adjust our customer service level because they are a customer, too.” Matt Weber, owner of Clark’s Car Care in Naperville, says he was honored when Tim Scanlan from NAPA and Tartaglione asked him to be involved as well. “We have been very involved in the community since we opened our shop in 2001,” Weber said. “Various car clinics, church cars programs, moms clubs, garden clubs, various goodwill repairs for community, fundraisers for a local animal adoption shelter, repairing cars for donations to the facility. I believe that if you give to your community, your community will take care of you. “I love being involved (with Care for Cars). It’s part of business,” Weber added. “It’s a winwin situation for all. Though days at the shop are not always smooth, when I think of the families we have helped, it makes the day go a little smoother.” CM for reader service


LLEN & ALLAN By Allen Markowitz & Allan Gerber

One Question: Why? s children, we start with a simple question: Why? Why this? Why that? These three letters combined help explain why our thought process does not accept a statement as fact unless the statement is explained and understood. As counter professionals, we are asked numerous questions daily. Often these questions seem limitless — questions from customers, questions from suppliers, questions from management. While questions from customers and suppliers are, of course, incredibly important, we are going to focus on management. Management questions may be about customer service, inventory control, and of utmost importance, sales and profit concerns or issues. Typically, the questions are short and to the point. Why did it take so long to get the part to the customer? Why don’t we have this part in stock? Why are Steve’s Tire (no particular Steve’s Tire) purchases up or down? Why are profit margins up or down? Yes, management should ask why profit margins have increased or decreased; they need to know what is working and what is not. This is the information that promotes new ideas; new marketing programs and monitors our competition. When these questions are asked, it is our job to provide simple, but accurate answers. There’s a saying my friend John used long ago that we still employ today: When asked a question, give the appropriate answer, not an excuse. Believe me, this is a good deal more difficult than it sounds. Counter professionals are on the front lines communicating with the customers and then reporting to management. The counterpro speaks to the customer sometimes numerous times throughout the day. What type of management does your company have? Conventional? Store per-


There’s a saying my friend John used long ago that we still employ today: When asked a question, give the appropriate answer, not an excuse.

Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop.


July 2013 | Counterman

sonnel speak directly to management and concerns and issues are discussed and addressed? Yes, questions are answered, but remember, you, the counter professional, have to accept the answer even if sometimes the answer is not what you expected. In many instances, management is nonchalant. Many times they will hear the question but there is no reaction, sometimes they do not even indicate that they will look into the issue and get back to you. Your position should be to ask, “When can I expect an answer?” Unfortunately, if nothing happens and they do not reply, we become gun shy. We eventually stop asking questions. This is an incredible morale killer, when you or your fellow co-workers stop asking pertinent questions or stop caring about the company. In recent years, a different style of management has emerged — we call it strip mining management. It’s management without maintaining or replacing the company’s natural resources. Companies usually start by asking employees to do more with less (sound familiar?). Less inventory, fewer support personnel (staff), employees working fewer hours, etc. These polices are generally put into place due to issues affecting sales and profit. Unfortunately, the lingering question ultimately remaining revolves around the key elements of our businesses: Does the store have necessary personnel to properly service the customer? Does the store have adequate inventory? While there is no question that computer-generated reports are an important and valuable tool in analyzing sales trends and gross profits, they are simply not an acceptable substitute for proper store staffing, proper inventory levels and a wellrounded line of communication between us, the counterpro and management. CM

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Counterman July 2013  
Counterman July 2013