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Guess the Car, page 8 ● NASCAR Performance, page 45

January 2014

Ignition Wires Are Made To Last

Plus, we look at: Exhaust • Gaskets • Lighting • Calipers • Radiators • for reader service


January Volume 32, No. 1

features Tech Features By Larry Carley

34 Gaskets don’t last forever. ..................................36 Ignition wires are built to last. .........................38 High-tech lighting tips. ........................................40 What’s hot in exhaust? .........................................


Mechanic Connection


By Gary Goms

Reman calipers: Changes in modern brake service. ............................................................

42 Radiators: Cooling system operation. ...........44 42

columns Editor’s Ink


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

Sorry. Do I know you?

From The Publisher


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

The song remains the same.



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

Apps at AAPEX: How did they do?

Allen & Allan


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

What happens when a shop closes.

COUNTERMAN (ISSN 0739-3695) (January 2014 Volume 32, Number 1): Copyright 2014 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.


January 2014 | Counterman for reader service

departments Aftermarket News



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


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

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


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

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


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



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 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

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

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Founded 1983. Copyright 2014 Babcox Media, Inc., All Rights Reserved

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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


January 2014 | Counterman

Subscribe to the Counterman eNewsletter, the industry's freshest twice-weekly, 100 percent free, mobile-devicefriendly eNewsletter. Developed specifically for the auto parts distribution channel, the Counterman eNewsletter delivers timely news, new products, promotions and other special features needed to gain an edge in the marketplace. Subscribe at to receive the Counterman eNewsletter two times per week — every Tuesday and Thursday — in your inbox!


DITOR’S INK By Mark Phillips

Sorry. Do I Know You? Increasingly, sales aren’t all being made on the phone. Many are done through messaging, such as email or other online platforms where the “tone” of a message is more important than ever.

i, I’m Mark, the editor of Counterman. Yes, my face is on this page, it’s on the website. I’ve written many times in this space, so you might think you have a notion of who I am and what I’m about. These notions may or may not be accurate. I get many emails from readers, most of which start out cordially, where the person sending the email tells me who they are and begins the message with something like, “Hello Mark.” Then, there are others. The others who, in corresponding with me, someone who writes frequently about customer service, address me in a way that I’d hope they’d never address a customer. One such email I received began like this: “Really???” (Yes, three question marks.) The person then went on to ask me a question, in a way that you know they’re not really looking for an answer. They just wanted to vent. Venting is fine; venting is good. But the manner in which someone vents speaks volumes about their character. Rather than begin the email with, “Dear Mark, I just wanted to let you know…” they began with an adversarial tone, one that immediately put me on the defensive. Can’t help it. I’m human. My question: Does this person speak or correspond with customers like this? Colleagues?


If so, I would never do business with them again. Firstly, I’ve never met this person. I’ve never corresponded with this person. But somehow, somewhere, this person thought it was appropriate to open an email and address me in a tone that was equivalent to spitting in my drink. Perhaps if one of my friends, who had me as his best man in his wedding, started an email like that, I’d cut him some slack. After all, the guy knows me. Why is all this important? Because increasingly, sales aren’t all being made on the phone. Many are done through messaging, such as email or other online platforms where the “tone” of a message is more important than ever. (I know someone who accepts orders through messaging on his Skype account.) In an electronic message, you can’t see a person’s facial expression. You don’t know entirely what the intended intonation of a message is. In fact, in an email, words aren’t just part of the message, they’re everything. Most of what we convey in conversing with someone, say, in person, is done through non-verbal communication and cues. Are your hands on your hips? Are you rolling your eyes? Or is your posture relaxed, signaling that you’re open to conversation? Strip away all of that and try to have a conversation only through words in an email and you run the risk of the electronic version of a gunfight. It all comes down to common courtesy. Remember the saying, “Do unto others…”? Would you appreciate receiving an email that begins, “Really???” If you wouldn’t, don’t send it. Really. CM

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For more information: Twitter: @CountermanMag

NEWS EXTRA Record-Breaking 4,000 Booths Expected

At 4-in-1 2014 Event Combining TAIPEI AMPA, AutoTronics Taipei, MOTORCYCLE TAIWAN And EV TAIWAN TAIPEI, Taiwan — To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the 2014 Taipei International Auto Parts and Accessories Show (TAIPEI AMPA) will be held alongside the 9th Taipei International Automobile Electronics Show (AutoTronics Taipei), the 9th MOTORCYCLE TAIWAN and the 4th Taiwan International Electric Vehicle Show (EV TAIWAN) into Asia’s one-and-only industry fair dedicated to both cars and motorcycles due to take place from April 9-12, 2014. TAIPEI AMPA is so popular that its booths in TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall became fully booked within the first 24 hours by renowned manufacturers, such as COPLUS, SONAR AUTO PARTS, Eagle Eyes, TYC Brothers and other regular exhibitors, according to show organizers. There will be an expected 4,000 booths with buyers from more than 130 countries. Over the years, Taiwan's car parts and accessory sector has shifted from OEM manufacturing to an R&D-oriented business model, delivering small quantities of diversified products that are praised by brand name international clients for safety, reliability and innovation, show organizers say. Not only did the Taiwanese auto part sector witness annual exports growing over the years to reach NT$194.8 billion (New Taiwan Dollars) in 2012, it also is the world’s top supplier of the majority of au-

tomotive parts (e.g. auto lights, bumpers and rubber/plastic components), currently accounting for 80 percent to 90 percent of the global aftermarket. A 4-in-1 show comprising 10 diverse, exciting exhibits COPLUS, SONAR AUTO PARTS, Eagle Eyes, TYC Brothers, TW RACING PARTS, Taiwan BorChuann Enterprise (BC-racing) and Sirius Light Technology are expected to showcase their products' revolutionary materials and features in the “Auto Parts,” “Auto Accessories,” “Tuning and Restyling” and “Repair & Maintenance” categories of TAIPEI AMPA 2014. AutoTronics Taipei, on the other hand, will exhibit the technological and manufacturing prowess of Taiwanese ICT firms, including PEC, KSS, Tung Thih Electronic and JET, in the "Automobile Electronic Products" and "Automobile Electronic Components & Parts" areas. Industry leaders such as Dinli Metal Industrial, Yijing Industrial, KING TONY and Ming Aluminum are going to participate in MO-

TORCYCLE TAIWAN’s “Parts & Accessories,” “Motorcycles, ATV, Scooter, Big Capacity Motorcycle” and “Motorcyclists’ Accessories” exhibits. As for EV TAIWAN, the event will feature finished vehicles and auto supplies, batteries, motors and chargers manufactured by PIHSIANG, DIJIYA and HONLIN HEAVY INDUSTRIES, as well as an extended test drive program aimed to impress buyers with the competitive prices and quality of Made-in-Taiwan (MIT) products. TAITRA eagerly seeks trade show buyers, promises enhanced amenities in a global marketing effort To effectively encourage global participation at the 4-in-1 event, TAITRA has combined its efforts with its 59 overseas offices and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). Both organizations have contacted potential buyers with annual sales exceeding US$10 million and sent delegations to promote the Taiwanese shows while collecting buyer-related information at the world's prestigious auto parts or electric vehicle fairs, namely the EVEX in Tokyo, Automechanika Dubai, Las Vegasbased AAPEX and Shanghai International Trade Fair for Automotive Parts, Equipment and Service Suppliers. Counterman magazine Editor Mark Phillips traveled to Taiwan in 2013 to report back from the show and will again attend this year. CM 7


Advance Auto Parts celebrates completion of acquisition of General Parts International with the NYSE Closing Bell on Jan. 9.

Advance Auto Parts Completes GPI Acquisition ROANOKE, Va. – Advance Auto Parts announced it has completed its acquisition of General Parts International Inc. (GPI). The transaction creates the largest automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America, with an-

nual sales of more than $9.3 billion and more than 70,000 employees. Advance said the strong combined financial profile allowed for an allcash transaction and supports the company’s commitment to maintaining its investment grade ratings.

According to Advance, the acquisition of General Parts accelerates the company’s growth strategy and enhances shareholder value through a number of strategic benefits. The retailer said that it now becomes the No. 1 aftermarket parts provider in North America with a balanced platform for growth between Do-It-yourself (DIY) and commercial, and also becomes the No. 1 distributor of import automotive parts and the largest automotive aftermarket business-to-business e-commerce platform in North America. The acquisition also provides Advance with complete coast-tocoast coverage with approximately 5,300 company-operated stores across North America. The company says the move expands Advance’s product and category offerings in both core and new

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

Last Month’s Correct Answer: 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 Feb. 6. The winner’s name will appear in the next issue. Stay tuned!

#72 8

January 2014 | Counterman

#71 Chevy Spark Congrats to Edwin Culley, Grove City, Pa.

product lines (i.e. paint and heavy-duty), creates new sales channel with independent customers and broadens ability to grow with attractive customer segments such as larger bay garages, import specialists, national accounts, and fleet and government programs. Another benefit will be Advance’s ability to serve customers through the transfer of CARQUEST’s commercial capabilities and employee parts knowledge into Advance stores while expanding DIY into select company operated CARQUEST stores. Advance said this combination expands key capabilities in customer service through enhanced daily replenish-

ment and customer loyalty programs to a larger truck fleet and a significantly expanded commercial sales team. “We are excited about the completion of this transaction and the opportunity it presents for our customers and the over 70,000 team members,” said Darren Jackson, Advance Auto Parts CEO. “This combination positions Advance as the largest automotive aftermarket provider of parts, accessories, batteries and maintenance items in North America. Strategically, it provides us with a compelling opportunity to expand our geographical presence, channels of distribution and commercial capabilities to better serve

customers and deliver value to shareholders.” As a result of the closing of this transaction, Advance will add to its operations 38 General Parts distribution centers, 1,248 company operated CARQUEST locations across the U.S. and Canada, and will service approximately 1,400 independently owned CARQUEST locations primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Advance also will add WORLDPAC, a leading importer and distributor of original equipment and quality aftermarket replacement automotive parts to import specialists in North America and Puerto Rico operating 105 facilities across the U.S. and Canada, to its operations.

Autologue Acquires Canada’s Partner Data Systems BUENA PARK, Calif. – Autologue Computer Systems, a California-based company, formally announces the acquisition of Partner Data Systems of Ontario, Canada, which includes Partner Data’s “The PARTner” jobber management system and “ViSiCAT” electronic cataloging products. William Ballestrini, former president of Partner Data Systems, will work with Autologue Inc. at its headquarters in Buena Park, Calif. Autologue specializes in automotive inventory control systems including Windows-based products, online ordering and e-commerce solutions, as well as customer relationship management (CRM) tools that help to drive sales upward and improve operational efficiency. All of Autologue’s ecommerce products will be introduced to the “PARTner” customers, including: ● ePartConnection Online ordering ● ePaperlessOffice Online invoices and statements ● eDeliveryManagement delivery driver tracking software ● ePaperlessPayables Online purchase order threeway comparison ● EDI ● Autologue’s newest mobile and desktop applications for business intelligence dashboards and CRM

salesman tools, designed for Android and Apple smartphones and tablet PCs. Today’s automotive aftermarket resellers have many demands that are changing on a daily basis. Autologue says the tools it provides can help them save time, improve service and increase sales. Constant, responsible development by Autologue guarantees the jobber/distributor’s return on investment, and acquiring new and innovative products helps maintain that level of responsibility to their customers, according to Autologue. Jim Franco, CEO of Autologue, said, “One of the areas in the automotive aftermarket that is growing the most is e-commerce. We are committed to helping our customers get through the technical aspects of starting a mobile e-commerce business by offering them products that are user-friendly for their customers and easy to set up and maintain. The satisfaction of our customers, as well as the satisfaction of their customers is priority No. 1 at Autologue, and our entire staff is committed to achieving that goal.” Autlogue estimates that e-commerce business-tobusiness sales are growing at an annual rate of better than 25 percent, validating the fact that more and more installers are using online sourcing and ordering. 9


A & I Parts Center Signs On With Fuse5 STRATFORD, Texas – A & I Parts Center of Stratford, Texas, has signed on to use the Fuse5 automotive aftermarket cloud solution. A & I was founded in May 1973 by Griff Lasley, president, with the plan to “make money, provide a service to customers, provide for employees’ families and have fun along the way.” “We initially made the decision to switch to Fuse5 in order to improve our accounting system and better track inventory,” said Lasley. “System speed in our branch stores was also a consideration. This was not a quick decision. We chose Fuse5 after reviewing every other system we could find. Fuse5 was the only system that stood out from the rest and they have backed up every promise they made, and even a few adjustments I brought up after we went live. “I was concerned that the transition would disrupt our business, but the changeover was quick and simple and has been well worth it," Lasley added. "The way Fuse5 does pricing and manages inventory between warehouse locations is unbelievable.” According to Gabe Davis, CEO of Fuse5, the company is constant-

ly improving in order to meet the ever-growing demands independent businesses must place on their software in order to compete in constantly evolving markets. “We are excited to have A & I Parts Center join the Fuse5 family,” said Davis. “As an APSA Partner, we're grateful for the opportunity to provide true cloud software to a market that's eager for a solution that will take their business to the next level.” The Fuse5 cloud platform offers customers an all-inclusive flat-fee solution, which enables them to grow their businesses and implement new processes without directly associated increases in hardware, software and user fees. “The one thing that is most impressive with Fuse 5 is their sup-

StopTech Announces Five-Year Pirelli World Challenge Sponsorship Extension, Becomes Series’ Official Friction Partner INDUSTRY, Calif. – StopTech Brakes and its parent company, Centric Parts, have announced an agreement with WC Vision to extend the relationship between the two brands for five years through the 2018

Merle’s Automotive Acquires BAP Tucson Locations TUSCON, Ariz. – Merle’s Automotive in Tucson, Ariz., has acquired the Tucson locations of the BAP Import Auto Parts. The BAP Tucson sale closed Dec. 6. Three locations are included in the purchase. Stephen Sattinger, president and CEO of Merle’s Automotive, stated, “The addition of BAP Tucson to the Merle’s family is just another example of our commitment to continuous improvement and innovation


January 2014 | Counterman

port team," Lasley said. "Better than nine out of 10 times when we call support, the phone is answered on the first ring and the problem is fixed right then. They’ve even made upgrades overnight or, at worst, in a couple of days, to make fixes to situations we have had.” The Fuse5 customer support team is available at all times to all customers and included in the Fuse5 flat-fee monthly support. “A & I Parts Center came to us with many requests they desperately needed in order to take their business to the next level. It's been our pleasure to provide a solution that not only solves their needs for today, but will enables them to grow in the future,” said Davis. For more information, visit

designed to keep Merle’s as the premier parts supplier in southern Arizona. The bringing together of these two experienced and knowledgeable teams will help us better serve the Tucson marketplace, and especially improve our focus on the growing import vehicle segment.” Last month, The Parts Authority based in New York announced that it had acquired BAP locations in the Phoenix area.

Pirelli World Challenge Championships Series (PWCCS) season. In addition to the extended partnership that has seen StopTech serving as the Official Brake Upgrades of the series, StopTech also becomes the Official Friction Partner of Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) as it enters its 25th anniversary season in 2014. The five-year extension includes the continuation of a number of the partner elements including the use of the StopTech logo on PWC competitor number boards, and grows the relationship to include all TC/TC-A cars running in the series the opportunity to run a StopTech brake package. In addition, all TC/TC-A/TCB race highlights as part of the series broadcasts on NBC Sports Network will be presented in part by StopTech Brakes. for reader service


Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Gathers In Florida For Winter Meeting By S. Scott Shriber for reader service

AVENTURA, Fla. — More than 400 attendees, including channel partners and shareholders, recently gathered at the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance winter member meeting for a three-day meeting to review 2013 and plan for 2014. The meeting, held at the Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura, Fla., kicked off Dec. 7 with general sessions and a reception, continued through Dec. 12 with collaborative channel partner sessions and an annual awards banquet. The Alliance’s Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper stores are holding a huge promotion, awardeding 24 qualifying technicians (and their guests) with an allinclusive trip for two to a full weekend of racing action at Daytona International Speedway for the Budweiser SPEEDWEEK 2014 event, and tickets to all three races. Three of the 24 lucky trip winners will receive a key at Daytona that gives them a chance to win a 2014 Corvette Stingray. There were a host of other


January 2014 | Counterman

prizes for participating technicians, such as 55-inch LED televisions, iPads, digital SLR cameras and Bluetooth sound systems. Also during the meeting, The Alliance presented a number of vendor awards. NGK Spark Plugs USA Inc. was honored for consistently high shipping performance (95 to 96.9 percent) of NTK Oxygen Sensors and NGK Spark Plugs products. “We are honored by this award and appreciate the acknowledgement of Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance,” said Michael Schwab, senior vice president of NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.) Inc. BBB Industries was again recognized for its outstanding service as a supplier of Rotating Electrical products, with a 95 percent fill rate. “Wow. Another year, another fill rate award from the Alliance members! We truly value our relationship with each and every Alliance member and work diligently to provide world-class service to the group. This really is a great honor,” said Trey Smart, executive vice president of sales. Remy International also was honored for Outstanding Shipping Performance and a 95 percent fill rate. “It is an honor for Remy to be recognized by the Alliance,” said Frank Frederick, vice president, North American Light Duty Sales at Remy International. “We are dedicated to supporting our channel partners and ensuring they have the right product at the right place at the right time. By doing so, we’re helping them better service their channel partners and build a reputation as a reliable resource for vehicle parts.” Standard Motor Products received five awards, including receiving the outstanding training support award for the 12th time. “I’d like to thank the Alliance shareholders for recognizing SMP’s achievement for the best training and shipping performance in 2013,” said Ken Wendling, vice president, warehouse distribution sales, SMP. “Receiving five awards is an extraordinary accomplishment, and we are very proud to share these prestigious honors with all of those who work extremely hard every day to make sure our business and partnership with the Alliance continues to grow and flourish.” Dayco Products received the 2013 Outstanding Manpower Support Award. “Dayco’s field sales representatives are constantly available to provide answers to our customer’s questions and have built long-lasting relationships with customers throughout the United States and Canada,” said Ken Kee, senior vice president of North America sales for Dayco Products. for reader service


Federated Members Help Make It A Happy Holiday With Toys For Tots Activities for reader service

STAUNTON, Va. – A recent donation of $145,000 to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation was not the end of the Federated Toys for Tots campaign for 2013; it was just the beginning. Over the holidays, many Federated members collected contributions and toys at their store locations for Toys for Tots while others conducted contests for customers as a way to thank them for their donations to the campaign. “Our members have made the Toys for Tots campaign a yearround priority and we want to thank them for their efforts and generosity on behalf of Toys for Tots,” said Mike Schultz of Federated Auto Parts. “From conducting contests and special promotions to collecting toys and making monetary contributions, our members and their customers have made it a priority to make the holiday season a little better for those less fortunate.” The following is a list of some of the Federated members that are collecting toys and donations on behalf of the Marine Toys for Tots campaign: ● A.R.P. Warehouse ● APW Div./Gipe Service Parts Warehouse ● Arnold Oil Co., Austin ● Arnold Oil Co., Corpus Christi ● Auto Distributor


January 2014 | Counterman

● Auto Parts Co. ● Automotive Jobbers Supply ● Barrett Automotive ● Brake and Equipment Warehouse ● Canusa Automotive Warehousing ● Cold Air Distributors ● Fisher APW ● Hovis Auto and Truck ● Keystone Automotive ● KOI Warehouse Inc. ● Jobbers Automotive Service Warehouse ● Midway Auto Supply ● Motown Automotive Distributors ● Reliance Automotive ● P&F Automotive Warehouse ● S & S Distributors ● Service Parts Warehouse ● TPH Inc. ● Tri City Automotive Warehouse ● United Auto Supply ● Vaca Valley Warehouse Inc. Participating Federated Auto Parts stores will accept toy donations at their locations. Financial contributions also can be made at, which links directly to the Toys for Tots website. Donors can use their credit card securely to make a monetary donation or print out a form and mail it in with a check made out to Toys for Tots. for reader service


Tri-States Automotive Warehouse To Use Epicor Vision Automotive Aftermarket Solution DUBLIN, Calif. – Epicor Software Corp. has announced that Tri-States Automotive Warehouse Inc., a leading automotive aftermarket parts distributor serving repair providers and consumers in three Southeastern U.S. states, will upgrade to the Epicor Vision automotive aftermarket solution. The move to Epicor Vision software will help the business – which operates three warehouses and 15 company-owned stores – enhance operational speed and efficiency within a single solution, according to Epicor. “Vision allows us to use one platform for all areas of our business while extending the range of services we can provide to our two- and three-step operations and independent jobbers,” said Michael Crews, IT manager for Tri-States. “The software’s hosting capability also enables us to tie our independ-

ent customers into our system, which gives them an attractive upgrade in technology in a far less expensive way.” Epicor Vision includes customer relationship management (CRM) tools, a centralized database, price management and inventory capabilities, “central services” functionality, integrated accounting and other features that help drive sales, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, Epicor states. The solution also includes a three-way match feature that helps users quickly identify and reconcile discrepancies between purchase orders, advance shipping notices, receivers and vendor invoices. Tri-States will integrate the Epicor Vision solution with the JMO warehouse management solution, providing real-time visibility into inventory and order-fill operations. for reader service

Over the Counter By Jerry King


January 2014 | Counterman for reader service


Network's West Springfield Auto Parts Acquires Controlling Assets Of Service Auto Parts for reader service

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – The Automotive Distribution Network’s West Springfield Auto Parts recently acquired the assets of Ansonia, Conn.based Service Auto Parts/ARP Warehouse, according to Mike Lambert, president of the Network. “This is a win-win for West Springfield Auto Parts and the Network as the company continues to extend its reach and the Parts Plus brand throughout Southern New England,” Lambert said. A Parts Plus member since 2003, West Springfield Auto Parts now has nine locations serving the area, including its 100,000-square-foot corporate headquarters at the Crossroads of New England in West Springfield, Mass. The warehouse distributor’s acquisition of Service Auto Parts, a locally owned business since 1929, fills a gap in its Connecticut coverage, said Michael Creanza, owner of West Springfield Auto Parts. “Specifically, the acquisition of Service Auto Parts will enable us to service the Naugatuck Valley, as we continue to grow our market share and geography,” he said.


January 2014 | Counterman

Network's National Jobber, Service Dealer Councils Visit SMP Headquarters GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – The Automotive Distribution Network’s National Jobber Advisory Council (NJAC) and Service Dealer Advisory Council (NSDAC) recently held a joint meeting in New York City, which included a tour of the historic corporate headquarters of Standard Motor Products (SMP), according to Mike Lambert, Network president. “Our NJAC and NSDAC members gained valuable insight into the rich cultural history of SMP as well as their impressive R&D procedures,” Lambert said. “Representing a cross-section of the Network’s jobbers and service dealers nationwide, the council members routinely meet on-site of one of our manufacturer partners. By opening up these lines of communication, the Network headquarters staff can more efficiently learn what’s working in our toolbox and which elements might be need to be refined.” Larry Sills, SMP’s chairman and CEO, personally greeted the Network headquarters staff and council members and participated in one of the meetings, along with key SMP personnel. “For the CEO of SMP and his staff to take the time to discuss Standard products with us was really impressive,” said NSDAC member Ray Wells, owner of Glen Burie, Md.-based Wells Automotive. “Mr. Sills and his staff really wanted to know our thoughts and opinions on their products. A lot of companies tend to lose that personal touch.” for reader service


AAIA Commissions Major e-Tailing Research Project BETHESDA, Md. – The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) has signed an agreement with IMR Inc. and The Martec Group to develop a new research study designed to measure the online retail market for sales of aftermarket parts and accessories. While e-tailing is the fastestgrowing retail sector in the automotive aftermarket, and becoming a significant revenue stream for auto parts sales, little solid data exists on the size and makeup of this channel, according to AAIA. This new project will serve as the foundation for the association to provide a unified estimate of online sales within the aftermarket. “Our association is excited to

work with IMR Inc. and The Martec Group on this exclusive groundbreaking research, which is of critical importance to our members’ forecasting and strategic planning initiatives,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. AAIA says the results of this project will be used for four broad objectives: ● Provide a comprehensive sizing of the online retail parts sales market ● Understand trends in automotive parts e-tailing ● Set baseline to compare against future category growth ● Provide benchmarks for member companies to determine online share

APH Launches New Commercial Vehicle Division for reader service

ST. LOUIS, Mo. & ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Automotive Parts Headquarters Inc. (APH) is expanding into the heavy-duty market with the creation of its new commercial vehicle division. The division is part of APH’s growth strategy and comes in response to the increasing demand for aftermarket parts in the commercial vehicle marketplace, the company said. To support the new division, APH expanded its distribution center operations, formed a partnership with HDA Truck Pride and hosted a two-day technical training seminar for its employees. “APH has been successful because of their focus on both their customers’ needs and the needs of their employees,” said Don Reimondo, president and CEO of HDA Truck Pride. “APH’s investment in training, information technology and employee development are second to none and mirrors the vision of HDA Truck Pride and our strategic direction.” Team members from across 40 markets attended a two-day hands-on commercial vehicle training seminar at APH’s training center. Facilitated by 10 trainers, from the industry’s leading manufacturers, attendees spent the majority of their time entrenched in product information, navigating catalogs and websites, as well as enhancing their technical systems knowledge. 20

January 2014 | Counterman for reader service


Federal-Mogul Signs Definitive Agreement To Purchase Significant Portion Of Honeywell Friction Business for reader service

BAD CAMBERG, Germany – Federal-Mogul Corp. announced that its European subsidiaries entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire certain business assets of the Honeywell automotive and industrial brake friction business, including two recently established manufacturing facilities in China and Romania. The Honeywell Friction Material business is headquartered in Glinde, Germany, and employs more than 2,000 associates globally. The transaction is subject to customary approvals from regulatory authorities and other stakeholders where required. The parties anticipate closing the transaction during the second half of 2014. “This acquisition accelerates Federal-Mogul’s long-term strategy to strengthen its core product lines, including its global friction portfolio for both original equipment and aftermarket customers. We believe this transaction will generate significant synergies, which will create substantial value for all stakeholders,” stated Carl Icahn, chairman of the board of Federal-Mogul. “Honeywell’s recognized braking technology and its restructured manufacturing footprint make the acquisition a solid addition to our existing global friction business,” added Kevin Freeland,


January 2014 | Counterman

CEO, Federal-Mogul Vehicle Components. “We expect to combine the Federal-Mogul and Honeywell brake businesses to realize significant synergies in all elements of the business. Our customers in all segments and regions will benefit from the transaction as we will be able to provide them with the best of both companies.” The Honeywell business will substantially strengthen the manufacturing and engineering technology footprint of Federal-Mogul’s brake platform with enhanced manufacturing capacity and capability. The combined business will better serve global customers, both OE and aftermarket, with cost-competitive and innovative leading-edge solutions, according to FederalMogul. Federal-Mogul today supplies an extensive line of automotive and heavy-duty original equipment and aftermarket brake components. The company sells the Wagner, Ferodo and Necto brake friction product lines in the global automotive aftermarket. Federal-Mogul is among the first brake friction companies to offer low- and zero-copper brake formulations for original equipment customers, and recently launched low copper brake pads in the aftermarket as well. for reader service


Alliance 2013 Golf Tournament Raises More Than $55,000 For University Of The Aftermarket Foundation SAN ANTONIO — The 2013 Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance annual golf tournament raised more than $55,000 for the University of the Aftermarket Foundation. At the recommendation of the Alliance's Channel Partner Advisory Council (CPAC), the 2013 golf tournament at the Turnberry Isle in Aventura, Fla., was dedicated to the memory of Walter Spence and to raising funds to support the Foundation. Spence made countless contributions to the improvement of the industry during his 40 years in the aftermarket. He served on the Auto Value and Alliance boards for a to-

tal of 21 years, where he was a sitting board member at the time of his passing in April 2013. Spence also was a member of the Automotive Technology Advisory Committee at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., where he contributed greatly to that program's success. "Walter would be pleased with the level of support on behalf of our vendor channel partners," said John Washbish, president and CEO of the Alliance. "We are proud to make this donation to the University of the Aftermarket Foundation in his name, and extend our gratitude to all of the fine companies

who donated to this great cause." The Alliance CPAC members include: ● Doug Arnold, Dorman ● Jeff Blocher, WIX Filters ● Kirt Denman, Federal-Mogul ● Larry Friesner, Tenneco ● Mack Gregory, Peterson ● Doug Kaufman, Anchor Industries ● Doug Kubinak, East Penn ● Fran Labun, DENSO ● Garey Lange, Standard Motor Products ● Rob Larsen, Gates ● Jay McCorry, Robert Bosch ● Scott Street, Valvoline

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT 2014 LuK Diagnostic Guide The 2014 LuK Diagnostic Guide is here, now with even more practical tips and diagnostic information to help you get the job done right the first time. LuK’s complete guide to clutch operation and failure diagnosis, the Diagnostic Guide has been a leading industry reference tool for clutch repairs over the past 10 years. LuK has built upon its strategy for continuous improvement with the latest edition of the diagnostic guide, featuring updated and expanded technical and diagnostic materials, including: ● Diagnostics of the top causes of clutch failure ● Detailed teardown and installation procedures ● Clutch function and components ● Installation and technical tips ● Detailed failure and diagnostic illustrations 24

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Tony Williams, product manager – drivetrain for the Schaeffler Group USA, said of the 2014 diagnostic guide, “We view the diagnostic guide as one of the most important tools in our technical portfolio. The guide provides practical and fundamental information needed to do the job right the first time, thereby reducing unnecessary returns and bay time.” Staffed by ASE-certified technicians, LuK’s technical hotline is continually monitored to identify helpful information for inclusion in technical publications and increased customer satisfaction.

Contact your LuK distributor for a copy of the 2014 LuK Diagnostic Guide or send a request to


Automotive Aftermarket Task Force Announces Copper-Free Brake Pad Informational Website for reader service

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – A collaborative task force of automotive aftermarket associations and leadership representing brake pad manufacturers, distributors, retailers, dealerships and service providers, has announced the launch of an informational website to provide assistance to the vehicle repair industry in complying with the “better brake laws” enacted in California and Washington State. These laws were designed to significantly reduce the amount of copper, cadmium, chromium VI, mercury, lead and abestiform fibers contained in brake pads sold in those states beginning in 2014. The website,, is now live and contains information and links to help suppliers, distributors and service providers know what is expected of them in regard to the manufacture, sale and installation of brake pads in those states. Manufacturers of brake friction materials are required to undergo a “self-certification” process through an approved registrar and to have their materials tested for the level of those contents specified. Ultimately, all brake pads manufactured after 2021 will contain less than 5 percent copper by weight; and by 2025, brake pads sold in the state of California will contain less than .05 percent copper by weight. A similar industry task force is working on implementing a memorandum of understanding (M.O.U) that would make the Washington regulations a standard across all states. Rodney Pierini, president and CEO of CAWA, representing the automotive parts industry in California, Nevada and Arizona, who leads the task force, commented, “We are excited by the fact we have a central industry repository for information regarding the better brake laws. We realize that this is a dynamic environment and the information regarding both states’ regulations should be accessible on one Web page. We will be continually adding materials, including a 'frequently asked questions' page, to the site once they become available or if regulations have changed.” 25


Network Meets With Australia's Automotive Brands Group To Discuss International Industry Trends GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – The Automotive Distribution Network recently hosted Australia’s Automotive Brands Group (ABG) to discuss worldwide aftermarket trends as well as their respective marketing

programs, manufacturer partnerships and IT initiatives. “As part of our ongoing relationship with ABG, we continue to exchange information to strengthen our programs to ensure our mutual

Parts Plus Continues Primary Sponsorship Of NHRA Top-Fuel Driver Clay Millican for reader service

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – Parts Plus has reached an agreement to remain the primary sponsor of Top Fuel driver Clay Millican for a fourth straight NHRA season. “We’re pleased to announce our continued sponsorship of Clay Millican as the Parts Plus Top Fuel team gears up for a championship run in the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Series,” said Mike Lambert, president of the Automotive Distribution Network. “Complemented by a first-rate motorsports marketing program, which includes nationwide hospitality events and promotional opportunities with our primary manufacturer partners, our ongoing partnership with Millican ensures that our Parts Plus members continue to effectively reach the end user — the professional who throws away the box.” This year, the Parts Plus Top Fuel team joined Tuttle Motorsports (TMS) as Dexter Tuttle returns to Top-Fuel Racing. “We are very happy to have Clay driving our Top Fuel car in 2014,” said Tuttle, a motorsports veteran who owns two Texas-based firms near Fort Worth.


January 2014 | Counterman

success,” said Mike Lambert, president of the Network. “Both groups also gain a much better understanding of how the industry functions in different parts of the world. We share our knowledge of operations in North America, while ABG offers their perspective on aftermarket trends in Australia and the Pacific Rim.” Australia’s largest privately owned distributor and franchise operator, ABG provides independently owned auto stores and service dealers with business tools and marketing elements to more effectively compete, much like the Network’s Parts Plus and Auto Pride programs. This year, executives from ABG met with Network representatives in Tucson, where they toured the facilities of longtime Parts Plus member Merle’s Automotive Supply. “With the Network, we have been able to begin to implement aspects of their Parts Plus Car Care Center program into our toolbox,” said Grant Jarrett, ABG general manager. “We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Network as we both identify new initiatives that will not only better our respective groups but the industry as a whole as well.”


MEMPHIS, Tenn. – AutoZone has reported net sales of $2.1 billion for its first quarter (12 weeks) ended Nov. 23, 2013, an increase of 5.1 percent from the first quarter of fiscal 2013 (12 weeks). Net income for the quarter increased $14.6 million, or 7.2 percent, over the same period last year to $218.1 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 16.2 percent, to $6.29 per share from $5.41 per share in the year-ago quarter. For the quarter, gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 51.9 percent (versus 51.8 percent for last year's quarter). The company said the improvement in gross margin was attributable to lower acquisition costs that were offset primarily by the inclusion of the recent acquisition of AutoAnything (37 bps). Under its share repurchase program, AutoZone repurchased 678,000 shares of its common stock for $292 million during the first quarter, at an average price of $430 per share. At the end of the first quarter, the company had $177 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization. The company's inventory increased 9.1 percent over the same period last year, driven by a combination of increased product placement in stores and new store openings. Inventory per store was $566,000, versus $537,000 last year and $550,000 last quarter. Net inventory, defined as merchandise inventories less accounts payable, on a per store basis was a negative $88,000 versus negative $64,000 last year. "I would like to thank our entire organization for another solid performance this quarter," said Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO. "We are pleased to report our 29th consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings per share growth.”

Pep Boys Reports Third-Quarter 2013 Results PHILADELPHIA — Pep Boys has announced results for the 13 (third quarter) and 39 (nine months) weeks ended Nov. 2, 2013. Sales for the 13 weeks decreased by $2.6 million, or 0.5 percent, to $507 million from $509.6 million for the 13 weeks ended Oct. 27, 2012. Net earnings for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 were $1 million (2 cents per share) as compared to a net loss of $6.8 million (13 cents per share) for the third quarter of fiscal 2012. Sales for the 39 weeks ended Nov. 2, 2013, increased by $11 million, or 0.7 percent, to $1,570.8 million from $1,559.9 million for the 39 weeks ended Oct. 27, 2012. Net earnings for the first nine months of 2013 were $10.2 million (19 cents per share) as compared to $27.4 million (51 cents per share) for the first nine months of fiscal 2012. “Our strategically important maintenance and repair service business grew in sales for the sixth consecutive quarter,” said President and CEO Mike Odell. “As the weather has turned colder, tire sales have started to improve, with mid-level price points and branded tires leading the way. Competitive pressures, however, continue to challenge sales of lower price point tires.” Odell added, “Our ‘Road Ahead’ format is expanding with the 18 recently acquired Service & Tire Centers in Southern California being converted and the grand reopening of six Supercenters and five Service & Tire Centers in Tampa, Fla. The performance out of the gate of the nine new Service & Tire Centers previously opened this year in the Road Ahead format has been ahead of original projections. And while it has only been a few weeks, we are very encouraged by Tampa's results. While monitoring results, we have begun plans to convert three additional smaller markets (20 Supercenters) in the first half of 2014." for reader service

AutoZone Reports First-Quarter Results 27


MSD Performance Group Acquired EL PASO, Texas – MSD Performance Group (MSDP), a global leader in vehicle aftermarket performance parts, has been acquired by Hot Rod Brands LLC, an affiliate of Z Capital Partners. MSDP sells products under the MSD, Racepak, Powerteq, Edge and Superchips brands. MSDP filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection petition on Sept. 6 of this year. Z Capital is a private equity firm with approximately $1.2 billion of regulatory assets and committed capital with offices in Lake Forest, Ill., and New York, N.Y. The firm specializes in investing in companies with a strong product line and top tier brand recognition. The group leverages its operational expertise in actively working with

the management teams of their portfolio companies to enhance enterprise value. “We are excited to add MSDP to the Z Capital portfolio of companies and believe it to be a terrific growth platform," said James Zenni, president and CEO of Z Capital. “We will work with the management team to continue to be a market leader and deliver cutting-edge products to our loyal customer base. MSDP represents substantial brands within the performance segment and we look forward to further solidifying and growing that brand recognition.” MSD Performance says it looks forward to the future as the combination of a stronger balance sheet and focused ownership will allow for an even greater ability to serve

consumers with exciting new products and technology. In recent years, MSD Performance has expanded its portfolio of products and technology including the award-winning Atomic brand Fuel Injection systems, Flashcal brand Jeep handheld programmer, Vigilante brand Harley tuning products and this year’s SEMA Show introduction of Brainwave, the new vehicle management network that allows aftermarket components to utilize a common technology platform for complete vehicle communication. Ron Turcotte, MSDP’s CEO, said “Our restructuring allows us to be positioned for substantial growth through an even greater ability to serve our customers with new, innovative product offerings and a higher level of customer service.”

Uni-Select Added To The S&P/TSX Canadian Dividend Aristocrats Index for reader service

BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec – Uni-Select Inc. has been added to the S&P/TSX Canadian Dividend Aristocrats Index. The announcement was made Dec. 20 by the S&P Dow Jones Canadian Index Services. “Uni-Select has always attached great importance to distribute dividends to its shareholders and has been diligent in allocating some for more than 25 continuous years,” said Richard Roy, president and CEO of Uni-Select. “Our inclusion in the index recognizes our efforts in this respect and allows us to reach a broader range of investors.”


January 2014 | Counterman for reader service


Grand Prize Winner Announced In Davico Manufacturing’s 25th Anniversary Counterman Contest

Jennifer Byerly is Davico Manufacturing’s Grand Prize winner.

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Davico Manufacturing has announced the winner of its 25th anniversary counterman contest: Jennifer Byerly, an as-

sistant store manager with Auto Supply Co. in Kernersville, N.C. Byerly is one of 12 monthly winners selected from hundreds of parts professionals from all over the country who took the time to learn the “Keys to Successful Catalytic Converter Replacements” and register their quiz answers to win Sony S Series Video MP3 Players. For being selected as the grand prize winner, Byerly was presented

with a Samsung 46-inch LED HDTV by Davico Technical Trainer Glenn Hamblett. The winner was surprised with a visit to her store and the presentation on Wednesday Dec. 4, just in time for the holidays. Byerly is an ASE-certified PS2 Parts Professional who joined the Auto Supply family in 2003. She is described by her co-workers as a top performer who goes the extra mile to satisfy her customers needs.

World Discounts Joins Automotive Distribution Network As Parts Plus Member GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – World Discounts of Buffalo, N.Y., has joined the Automotive Distribution Network as a Parts Plus member, according to Mike Lambert, president of the Network. “The addition of World Discounts in Buffalo fits in perfectly with our membership in western New York,” Lambert said. “They are a strong company that will continue to grow in that area.” David Chertoff is the owner and CEO of World Discounts and has been in business since 1982. The company has six stores in Buffalo and the surrounding area, all serviced overnight by the main warehouse. “We feel the marketing, product and IT initiatives available in the Parts Plus toolbox will enable us to grow our business with our primary customer, the professional service dealer,” said Chertoff. “The Parts Plus program will be an asset to our stores, while the Car Care Center concept has always been something unique that distinguishes the best service dealers from the competition. And, with the added quality manufacturers we now have access to, it’s an added benefit for our customer base.”

Uni-Select Acquires Auto Paint And Supply Of Lakeland Inc. Through FinishMaster Subsidiary BOUCHERVILLE, QUEBEC – UniSelect has announced that its FinishMaster subsidiary has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Auto Paint and Supply of Lakeland Inc. (APS), located in Lakeland and Sarasota, Fla. This acquisition will complement the operations of its FinishMaster subsidiary and will strengthen its leading position in the distribution of automo30

January 2014 | Counterman

tive paint, coatings and related accessories. APS has been servicing the local collision repair industry for more than 15 years and includes two locations that will merge with FinishMaster's existing locations. FinishMaster currently operates 27 other locations in Florida and aims to provide superior distribution service and value added information to its customers.

Champion Oil Seeking Master Warehouse Distributor In Middle East CLINTON, Mo. – Champion Oil announced it is seeking a Master Warehouse Distributor in or near Dubai and will be conducting interviews at the upcoming Middle East Business Development Conference sponsored by SEMA in the Unite Arab Emirates this coming March. “International growth will help build our lubricant business,” said Karl Dedolph, director of international sales at Champion. “At Dubai this year, we are adding relationships with WDs, dealers, jobbers and race teams. It’s a wildly active market, and this huge Middle East region is a great hub for high-end synthetic lubricants and motor oils. To properly manage this new business, we are seeking to find a new Master Warehouse Distributor to handle all of our lubricant lines and the growing demand in the region.”


National Performance Warehouse

Hosts Second Annual Million Dollar Vendor Dinner, Fast Expo and Customer Awards In Miami By Amy Antenora

MIAMI – It was the guests of the National Performance Warehouse (NPW) Million Dollar Vendor dinner who felt like a million bucks by the end of the black tie affair held Friday evening, Jan. 10 at the Banker’s Club of Miami. Vendors that had done $1 million of business or more with NPW the prior year were presented with an engraved crystal plaque after an elegant meal of steak, lobster and bananas foster. As both a performance and traditional warehouse distributor, NPW is a member of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance as well as AAM Parts Pro, and the leaders of both organizations, John Washbish and Tim Odom, respectively, were in attendance at the second annual event. Washbish gave an entertaining speech illustrating how inter-

connected the supplier-distributor relationship is and how everyone benefits when the two sides collaborate “We’re in this together,” said Washbish. “It’s about how can we sell the parts – together – to the people who need them. That’s what we’re here for.” Leaders from each of this year’s million dollar vendors accepted their awards from Larry Pacey, president of NPW. “I want to thank everybody here tonight for all the support you’ve given our company this year, we truly couldn’t be successful with out you,” said Pacey in recognizing this year’s top vendors. Million Dollar Vendors for 2012-2013 were: ● Autometer ● BBB Industries ● Centric Parts ● DEA Products

● Dorman Products ● Edelbrock ● Federal-Mogul ● Holley ● MSD Performance ● NGK ● Standard Motor Products ● WIX Filters Compliments were returned for NPW at the event. “Partnering with you guys makes it easy to be a million dollar vendor,” said BBB Industries’ Joe Felicelli. Mike Musso of Centric Parts, echoed the sentiment. “On behalf of Centric, we want to thank you. I don’t know any other customer that actually recognizes the vendors,” Musso said. “We appreciate you recognizing us.” Continued on page 35 31

MARKETPLACE › visit for reader service Bar’s Leaks Repackages Head Gasket Repair Product For Greater Shelf Presence Bar’s Leaks Head Gasket & Cooling Sealant (P/N HG-1) now comes packaged in a box for greater shelf presence and visibility. Head Gasket & Cooling Sealant still offers the same professional-grade repair capabilities that do-it-yourself customers will be looking for as temperatures heat up this spring. The new Head Gasket & Cooling Sealant box includes the standard 33.8 oz. bottle and takes up no additional shelf space, so current product displays will not have to be rearranged. The box features the same design as the bottle to reinforce the branding messages. The product is compatible with water and all types of 50-50 mix antifreeze, including yellow, orange, pink, red, blue and green silicatebased and non-silicate-based variations. Made in the U.S.A., it is available to distribution in case packs of four boxes.

Magnum Performance Gaskets Join Growing MSI Product Lineup High-performance enthusiasts have a new contender for top-quality performance gaskets. MSI (Modern Silicone Technologies Inc.) has announced a starting lineup of 80 new retail-packaged Magnum Performance Gasket sets. These cover the most popular Chevy, Ford and Chrysler small block and big block V8s, as well as the GM LS family of engines, which are increasingly chosen for high performance buildups.

JohnDow’s Poly Gas Caddies Get New Look And A New Name: Fuel Cart JohnDow Industries has announced a complete makeover of the company’s Fuel Chief poly gas caddy line. The newly renamed Fuel Cart is constructed of high-molecular weight, high-density polyethylene (HMW-HDPE) and carries the UN/DOT and Transport Canada Approval (UN 3H1). In conjunction with the introduction of the new 25-gallon Fuel Cart, JDI also will be introducing a 15-gallon version to complete the poly gas caddy family soon. Portable gas caddies are great for storing and transferring fuel to boats, jet skis, ATVs, landscape equipment and more.


January 2014 | Counterman

Rancho Releases Additional RS7000MT Struts For Ford, Chevy And GMC Trucks The Rancho RS7000MT monotube strut series now includes coverage of popular Ford, Chevrolet and GMC trucks, including 2014 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500 2/4WD and 2010-2013 Ford F-150 truck models. Now available at performance retailers nationwide, Rancho RS7000MT monotube struts feature vehicle-specific valving and engineering, largely due to Rancho’s unique relationship with original equipment manufacturers. Rancho RS7000MT struts can help to quickly dissipate heat to help prevent overheating during extreme use or towing. Maximizing damping efficiency and providing precise control for trucks and SUVs, RS7000MT struts help deliver fast, precise response characteristics when driving on- or off-road. Each RS7000MT monotube strut is brushed and plated. Each strut includes the spring seat and requires the re-use of the OE coil spring and mount.

MARKETPLACE › visit for reader service

ACDelco Introduces Specialty Winter Beam Blades ACDelco has introduced a new specialty winter beam wiper blade line designed to take on snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures. The new line consists of 10 part numbers covering 98 percent of vehicles on the road. The blades – which range in length from 16 inches to 28 inches – combine premium beam blade technology, a heavy-gauge wiper element that resists tearing in cold weather and a sleek, wedge-shaped spoiler that clears away snow and ice.

IDUSA Launches New Premium Guard Extended Life Oil Filter International Distributors USA Inc. (IDUSA), a global supply network of automotive replacement parts, has introduced a new line of Premium Guard Extended Life Oil Filters, created to meet the growing need for filters that are able to meet the performance requirements of vehicle manufacturers’ extended oil change intervals. The new Premium Guard line is designed to deliver engine protection up to 10,000 miles when used with synthetic oil. It is engineered with a high capacity for trapping and holding dirt. Based on a test conducted by South West Research Institute (SWRI), the line offers 98 percent MultiPass Particle Removal Efficiency, which offers more than 98 percent weighted average efficiency through the life of the filter. The new Premium Guard Extended Life line includes 11 spin-on oil filters and 25 cartridge oil filters.

CARDONE Innovation Team Announces New Products CARDONE Industries has introduced several new products to its portfolio of automotive replacement parts. EGR valves, oil rail repair kits and removal tools for Ford Power Stroke applications join the A1 CARDONE Fuel/Air Systems division. Brand-new camshaft position sensors join CARDONE Select Electronics, and remanufactured electronic parking brake calipers supplement the A1 CARDONE Brakes division. Available today through MyCARDONE, the company’s distributor website, these products also will be available through industry e-catalogs by February 2014.

Delphi Product & Service Solutions Announces Eight New Fuel Modules, Pumps And Kits Delphi Product & Service Solutions has announced the addition of eight new fuel modules, pumps and kits to its fuel management portfolio covering more than 2.6 million popular vehicles built from 2000 to 2012, including Toyota, MercedesBenz, Lexus, Infiniti, AMG and Audi applications. Delphi fuel modules and pumps are designed to deliver an immediate, uninterrupted flow of fuel to the engine’s fuel rail and injectors at the specified system pressure, resulting in more efficient operation. Inventory is available now. 33


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

What’s Hot In Exhaust? ufflers and pipes are replacement parts that can be sold to anybody anytime. Though most mufflers and pipes are not replaced until they rot out or are dragging under a vehicle, others are candidates for replacement as soon as a new or used vehicle is purchased. We’re talking about performance mufflers and cat-back exhaust systems. These higher-profit components can be sold to enhance performance, fuel economy and


upgrade the way a vehicle sounds. Of course, not everybody is a potential customer for a performance muffler or exhaust system. Your average driver just wants a nice quiet ride that doesn’t upset the neighbors or drown out the stereo. For this customer, all you have to do is look up a direct fit or universal muffler that will work, along with any pipes, clamps, hangars and/or gaskets that may be needed and you can chalk up the sale. On the other hand, if you have a customer who wants a more aggressive growl that lets everybody know his mean machine


January 2014 | Counterman

means business, you can recommend some type of performance muffler and/or exhaust system that’s within his budget. The more expensive performance systems will be stainless steel (or even titanium!), but aluminumized or coated steel mufflers and pipes also are available for those on a limited budget. Though sound is usually the major selling point of a performance exhaust system, power and fuel economy gains are also included at no extra cost. What’s more, many performance

mufflers don’t have to be excessively loud to deliver a significant reduction in power-robbing backpressure. Careful design of the baffles and roving inside the muffler can achieve more power with a minimal increase in decibels — or not, depending on what the customer wants. A customer who is installing a cold air intake system on his engine to help it inhale more air also should think about what comes out the other end. Backpressure in the exhaust makes it harder for

the engine to exhale, so opening up the exhaust with a free-flowing muffler helps overall engine breathing and power. It’s not unusual to realize gains of up to 15 to 25 or more horsepower on a V8 by replacing the stock muffler and exhaust with aftermarket performance parts. The actual power gains will vary depending on how restrictive the stock parts are, as will any improvement in fuel economy (typically 0.5 to 1 or 2 mpg). Installation is usually the same as with stock replacement parts, though some modifications may be necessary depending on how the system is configured. Street-driven vehicles must retain their catalytic converters to remain emissions legal, but anything goes for off-road or racing applications. Speaking of racing, many race tracks now require race cars to be equipped with mufflers for noise abatement. The mufflers not only keep nearby neighbors happy but also help protect spectators and drivers from excessive decibels. Prolonged exposure to noise over 100 to 110 decibels can damage hearing. Some law enforcement agencies will ticket motorists if their exhaust produces more than 95 decibels. So, recommend a performance muffler that keeps the noise to a safe and legal level if a customer wants a more satisfying sound than a stock replacement muffler can deliver. CM


Growth For NPW NPW started in 1969 and did its first acquisition in 2008. The company has been on a strong growth streak ever since. NPW made three acquisitions this past year alone: CMA warehouse in Los Angeles, Performance Warehouse California operations and Uni-Select’s third-largest DC in Florida. Pacey says they are in discussions with Uni-Select about buying other operations from them as they continue their strategy to divest U.S. operations this year. Three additional acquisitions are planned for 2014, with three letters of intent already signed, he added. The company knows, however that they don’t do this alone and is quick to recognize its valuable partners in success, which is a big part of the weekend events. Following the Million Dollar Vendor dinner on Jan. 10, the next evening concluded with a Vendor and Customer Appreciation Dinner, where more awards were presented. This time, Larry Pacey’s son, Chris, VP of sales and general manager at NPW, presented the honors. Bumper to Bumper Customer Awards were presented in Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Award categories. ● Bronze Award Winners: Jim’s Auto Parts JV Auto Parts Westside Auto Parts

● Silver Award Winners: Cam Auto Parts Margate Auto Parts Save on Auto Parts ● Gold Award Winners: International Auto Parts National Sunshine Congress Auto Parts ● Platinum Award Winner (third year in a row): Johnny’s Auto Parts “We thank each and everyone of you here tonight,” said Chris Pacey. “Without the vendors, we could not put on a show for the customers. Without the customer, there would be no show at all. We really appreciate all that you guys do. The Bumper to Bumper partnership has been great for us and will continue to grow. With regard to each of the accounts we recognize today, I just want to say it’s great to do business with these people. I’m very excited to continue to do business with these people. It’s not just another account number. These are all close personal friends, people we have done business with for many

years. They are part of the family.” In addition to the customer awards, NPW recognized its Rep of the Year, this year presented to Joe Evora of Centric Auto Parts, and Vendor of the Year, Standard Motor Products, accepted by CEO Larry Sills. “I think one reason our two companies get along so well is that we’re both family companies,” said Sills in accepting the award. “We’re one of the last manufacturers that is still a family company; I’m third generation, my son is fourth. NPW is a family company. We think alike, we work alike. We think long-term and I am so proud of you guys.” In presenting the Rep of the Year to Centric’s Joe Evora, Larry Pacey said Evora has always gone beyond the call of duty in helping NPW. “All I can tell you is that it is a great feeling to get to do what you like and have great friends to do it with, like the Paceys and all the customers we have built relationships with throughout the years,” said Evora. “It’s an incredible business and it’s a shame that more young people aren’t coming into the business.” Also during the Vendor and Customer Appreciation Dinner, AAM’s Tim Odom gave the audience practical advice from his new business book “Winning Your Share.” The weekend wrapped up with the Fast Expo trade show, an event that’s been going on since 1986, and held for the first time in Miami this year. More than 150 exhibitors and a collector car show were expected to bring in roughly 3,000 attendees from the Miami area. CM 35


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

Gaskets Don’t Last Forever y the time a vehicle is 10 to 15 years old, chances are some of the engine’s original equipment gaskets may be starting to leak. These include valve cover and oil pan gaskets, front cover gaskets, intake and exhaust manifold gaskets and front and rear crankshaft seals. The combination of time, temperature and many miles driven cause many of these gaskets to fail. Oil leaks are a common problem with high-mileage engines regardless of the year, make or model of vehicle. High-end imports develop leaks just as often as more common domestic nameplates. No vehicle manufacturer is immune from the effects of gasket-aging. Most late model oil pan and valve cover gaskets are made of molded rubber (neoprene or other high-temperature synthetic rubbers) and are much longer-lived than the old cork/rubber gaskets of years gone by. Some molded rubber gaskets also have metal or plastic carriers for reinforcement and to control compression thickness. Molded rubber has good elasticity and re-



January 2014 | Counterman

sists taking a compression set. It also swells slightly when exposed to oil, allowing it to fill any gaps that might allow a leak. But durable as they are, they don’t last forever. Eventually, the rubber deteriorates, loses elasticity and cracks or leaks. The first sign of trouble may be oil spots on a garage floor or driveway, or a gradual loss of oil between oil changes. A really bad oil leak may cause a loss of oil pressure if the dipstick isn’t checked regularly so make-up oil can be added to offset the loss. Oil leaks also can drip on hot exhaust pipes and create a burnt smell that may be noticeable while driving or after parking the car. Many leaky pan and cover gaskets can be replaced fairly easily, but others can be more difficult to install depending on their location and accessibility. With leaky crankshaft end seals, a leaky rear main seal typically requires major surgery to replace, though front seals are usually easier to change. Crankshaft repair sleeves are available if the area where the seal rubs against the

crank is worn or grooved. Coolant leaks can be a problem with some high-mileage intake manifold gaskets. These include 1990 to 2005 Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac 3.1L, 3.4L, 3.8L, 4.2L and 4.3L V6 engines, and 1996 to 2002 Chevy 5.0L and 5.7L V8 engines. Corrosion around the coolant ports in the cylinder head and/or deterioration of the gasket itself allows coolant to leak into the valley area of the block, which then dribbles down into the crankcase. The loss of coolant (which often can’t be seen) eventually causes the engine to overheat, and if the problem isn’t fixed, oil dilution and sludging can cause engine damage and possible engine failure. Selling your customer a bottle of cooling system sealer may provide a temporary fix for such a leak. But the only permanent fix is to replace the leaky intake manifold gaskets, which on many of these engines is a time-consuming and expensive job — but much cheaper than replacing an engine. Other applications where intake manifold gasket coolant leaks sometimes occur include Ford 3.8L, 3.9L, 4.0L and 4.2L V6 engines, and 4.6L and 5.0L V8s, also 1990 to 2002 Chrysler 3.3L and 3.8L V6s. A customer who is replacing intake manifold gaskets will also need coolant to refill the cooling system (50/50 mix or concentrate that is compatible with the OEM coolant). GM also recommends using thread sealer on the 3.1L intake manifold bolts. CM for reader service


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

Ignition Wires Are Designed To Last he ignition wire replacement market isn’t what it used to be, but it still an important segment. Distributors disappeared from engines many years ago and Coil-On-Plug (COP) ignition systems are used on most late-model engines. Even so, there are still a lot of older 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s vintage cars and pickup trucks on the road with distributor ignitions and spark plug wires. The biggest segment of the market is the huge number of 1990s and 2000s era vehicles with Distributorless Ignition Systems (DIS) that have coil packs with replaceable ignition wires. As these vehicles continue to age, many will need to have their original equipment ignition wires replaced. Most late-model original equipment ignition wire sets are designed to last 100,000 miles or more. Some do and some don’t. The wires should be inspected when the plugs



January 2014 | Counterman

are changed, or when there’s a misfire problem. As plug wires age, resistance can increase as the conductive core becomes less conductive. The voltage needed to fire the spark plugs goes up and eventually the engine may start to misfire. The protective insulation around plug wires also can burn, chafe and crack, causing shorts and misfires. The same thing can happen to the plug boots. Loose end terminals also can make for poor connections and misfires. On 1996 and newer vehicles, the OBD II system will usually detect ignition misfire, set one or more trouble codes and turn on the Check Engine light. An engine with a misfire problem will not pass an emissions test, so the problem has to be fixed to pass the test. Aftermarket spark plug wire sets are available in a range of styles and prices. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has standards

(J2031) that establish minimum performance criteria for different classes of ignition wires. Class C wires only have to withstand temperatures of 311 degrees F. Class D wire sets must be rated to 356 degrees F, while Class E carries the highest temperature resistance of 428 degrees F. Higher temperature ratings require better (and more expensive) insulation, so most premium wire sets are made with better, more heat-resistant materials, such as silicone. Pure silicone insulation can withstand up to 600 degrees F. The design and quality of ignition wires also varies. Many latemodel engines use “mag” wire, where stainless steel wire is wound around a conductive layer and a Kevlar reinforced core. Mag wire has less resistance than carbon-core suppression wires (500 to 750 ohms versus 5,000 ohms), which reduces the voltage required to fire the spark plugs. Many original equipment and premium aftermarket mag wire sets have 125 turns of wire per inch versus as few as 25 turns of wire per inch for some “economy” wire sets. The cheaper wires many not provide the same Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) suppression as better wire sets, which may lead to radio static and possibly interference with some sensor signals. Some customers may not want to buy a higher-priced premium wire set if their engine already has more than six digits on the odometer. Even so, if they are installing 100,000 mile platinum or iridium spark plugs in their engine, they also should be installing plug wires that will last as long as the spark plugs. CM


Power Steering Fluid Is Just Power Steering Fluid, Right? Not necessarily, especially when it comes to imports. ong gone are the days when a can of ATF was all you needed to top off a power steering reservoir. For years now, savvy technicians have known to use dedicated power steering fluids for the many models, both import and domestic, that call for them. There are still many cars on the road for which ATF is appropriate. However, in recent years, some European automakers including Audi, Volvo and MercedesBenz, have specified a more advanced synthetic fluid for use in power steering systems. This fully synthetic blend is designed with selected esters and certain anti-wear characteristics to assure longevity of the various alloys used in the sophisticated power rack-and-pinion units in these vehicles.


It maintains a very stable viscosity over a particularly wide range of operating conditions, assuring proper lubricity in the extremes of high desert temperatures, as well as remaining free flowing in extreme cold, even down to -40 to -50° F. In addition, the advanced chemistry of these new blends allows for effective lubrication and protection, even with the extended fluid change intervals as specified by these automakers. Mixing this new blend with previous petroleum-based fluids is not recommended. However, replacing the petrochemical fluid in older models with this new synthetic fluid is a viable upgrade, and is easily accomplished with a thorough flushing of the old fluid. Do note, however, that Hondaspecific power steering fluid is recommended for Honda and Acura models. The new synthetic fluid is often identified as CHF11S in owners’ manuals and service manuals. It is also visibly identified by its distinctive green color. So while it’s always best to refer to manufacturers’ reference data, as a general rule, you’ll be safe adding “green to green.” Note that while fluids may be described as compatible with CHF11S, some fluids are blended to exceed the standards of such fluid, sometimes by a wide margin. So, it’s best to check the specs of a given fluid, or choose a brand you trust to meet or exceed OE recommendations. Contributed by Steve Muth, chief chemist, The Penray Companies. CM 39


ECH FEATURE By Larry Carley, technical editor

High-Tech Lighting Tips eplacing headlamps and tail lamps is inevitable as a vehicle ages. The average life of an original equipment halogen headlamp may range anywhere from 500 up to 1,000 hours, or about 3 to 4 years of average driving. The life of the headlamps depends on usage, so if a motorist does a lot of nighttime driving their headlamps won’t last as long as those on a vehicle that is driven mostly during daylight hours. Also, if a vehicle is equipped with Daytime Running Lights, it will reduce bulb life even more (even though DRLs typically run at reduced voltage). An upgrade option for motorists who do a lot of nighttime driving or applications where replacing the headlamps is difficult would be “long life” replacement bulbs. Many claim to last 2 times to 4 times as long as standard halogen headlamps. Incandescent bulbs (all types) eventually fail because heat and vibration cause the tungsten filament inside the bulb to burn out or break. Over-voltages also can hasten the demise of incandescent bulbs. Bulb are designed to operate at a specific voltage, and if there’s only a few tenths of a volt more than normal, it will reduce bulb life significantly. So, if a vehicle has a history of burning out headlamps or other bulbs rather quickly, the lighting circuit may be getting too much voltage. Many late-model vehicles can sense a bulb failure and will illuminate a “Lamp Out” indicator light to alert the driver a headlamp or



January 2014 | Counterman

taillight is not working. Other things can cause good bulbs to stop working, like wiring and lighting module faults, or corrosion in a bulb socket. High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights (the kind that give off a bluish-colored light) are brighter (2

times to 3 times more lumens per watt) and longer-lived (2 times to 5 times longer or 2,000 to 4,000 hours) than regular headlamps. But they are also more expensive to replace. True HID systems use high voltage (up to 23,000 volts!) Xenonfilled bulbs that have no filament. The high voltage creates an electrical arc inside a quartz tube to create a bright, white light (near 4,200 degrees K, which is close to natural daylight). The light produced by HID Xenon headlamps is about 14 percent ultraviolet, which is filtered but still gives the headlamps a slightly bluish cast. HID bulbs run HOT (up to 1,500 degrees F) and contain up to 30 atmospheres of internal pressure. This creates a potential burn and explosion hazard, so do not attempt to power a HID bulb outside of a headlamp assembly to “test” it. Also, the HID bulb must be in a horizontal position when it is on,

otherwise it may overheat and fail. One way to tell if a vehicle is equipped with HID headlamps is to look at the outer lens cover. If the headlamps are HID, the markings D1R, D1S, D2R or D2S will usually be marked on the lens cover. Replacement headlamp bulbs that simulate the color and intensity of HID headlights are available to upgrade lighting performance and illumination. Some bulbs have a tinted outer coating to achieve the HID look while others use a different mix of gases inside the bulb (including Xenon) to change the color and intensity of the bulb. However, many of these high-performance headlamps have a shorter service life (maybe only 150 to 320 hours). Consequently, they have to be replaced more often than standard halogen headlamps. Also, if one headlamp has burned out, recommend replacing both headlamps at the same time because if one has failed, the other will likely fail soon, too. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are replacing conventional bulbs in the tail lights, stoplights and turn signals of many late-model vehicles, and even some headlights. Most of the frontal LEDs to date are for styling and/or Daytime Running Lights rather than actual illumination, but that will change as this technology continues to advance. LEDs are very long-lived (more than 10,000 hours) and use less wattage than incandescent headlights. Retrofit LED bulbs are available to replace many conventional bulbs, but cost more than standard bulbs. The payback is their longevity. CM for reader service


ECHANIC CONNECTION By Gary Goms, commercial accounts editor

Reman Calipers: Changes In Modern Brake Service f the many changes taking place in modern brake service, replacing parts as an assembly rather than a unit is becoming one of the most important. To illustrate how the brake paradigm has changed, many shops routinely replace disc brake rotors rather than invest the time and resources to refinish them. Given that less machinable stock is available on a modern rotor, a brake technician might save perhaps one out of three rotors. But this happens only at the expense of wasting 30 minutes of valuable shop time during the attempt. So, on a purely statistical basis, the shop will make more money by replacing, rather than refinishing disc brake rotors. The same can be said for the other major disc brake parts like the disc brake caliper.

O for reader service

Disc Brake Calipers Since the disc brake caliper has the least number of moving parts of any major brake system compo-


Disc brake calipers live in a harsh environment of extreme heat, dirt, water and road salt.

nent, it should be the most reliable. Of course, some disc brake calipers can last the life of the vehicle in the arid states west of the Mississippi River. In contrast, disc brake calipers most often live very short,

unhappy lives in the rust-belt areas east of the Mississippi. Similarly, if your customer uses his light truck to regularly tow fully loaded horse trailers over the high Rocky Mountains, you can rest assured that, more than once, his front disc brakes will turn cherry-red as he slows down for a hair-pin curve on a high mountain pass. Not only will brake pad and disc life suffer, the protective rubber boots on his disc brake calipers will begin to disintegrate with each occurrence. Caliper Failure Symptoms Since most production vehicles now incorporate four-wheel disc brakes, the disc brake caliper has become the heart of the braking system. The Continued on page 46

January 2014 | Counterman for reader service


ECHANIC CONNECTION By Gary Goms, commercial accounts editor

Radiators: Cooling System Operation he basic function of an automotive cooling system is to transfer engine heat into the atmosphere. At full throttle, the heat of combustion in a gasoline engine can reach approximately 2,000 degrees F. Of course, the engine’s cylinders are exposed to these combustion temperatures for only a few thousandths of a second per combustion cycle, otherwise the engine’s aluminum pistons would melt.


To remove the heat of combustion, the engine’s cylinders are immersed in a coolant mixture that is typically circulated through the engine and radiator by an engine-driven water pump. Although some import vehicles use electric thermostats, coolant temperature is typically controlled by a mechanical thermostat that relies on the expansion of a wax pellet to accommodate coolant circulation by forcing the thermostatic valve

open as the engine warms up. A coolant reservoir is commonly used with modern engines to accommodate normal expansion of the coolant as the engine reaches its thermostatically-controlled operating temperature, which usually ranges from 180 to 194 degrees F. While heavy-duty trucks continue to rely on engine-driven mechanical fans to draw cool air through the radiator, most modern cars and light trucks now rely on electrically-driven fans to accomplish the same task. Cooling System Failure Patterns Most cooling system failures follow several basic patterns. For example, a slipping water pump impeller or stuck-closed thermostat will stop coolant circulation, which results in a catastrophic overheating condition. In contrast, a clogged radiator most often causes a gradual overheating condition at highway speeds or under heavy engine loads. Keep in mind that the same result can be caused by a radiator that’s clogged internally, which restricts coolant flow, or it can be clogged externally, which restricts air flow around the radiator core tubes. Air flow restriction is quite common in agricultural and other areas experiencing high levels of airborne dust and plant debris. Continued on page 46 The corrosion formed on removable cooling system components like this old thermostat often indicate how badly the radiator is corroded.


January 2014 | Counterman for reader service

MECHANIC CONNECTION Calipers continued from page 42 symptoms of caliper failure include a steering pull caused by a dragging front disc brake, the front brakes pulling during application, a rattling or chucking noise on “tar strip” bumps, and in many cases, a squealing or grinding noise as the brakes are applied. A steering pull or braking pull is usually caused by the disc caliper not fully releasing pressure against the disc brake pad. In most cases, the protective rubber boot on the caliper piston is cracked or perforated, which allows water to enter and corrode the caliper piston bore. As a result, the caliper piston tends to stick in the caliper bore, forcing the disc pads to drag against the rotating disc brake caliper.

Radiators continued from page 42 Overheating also might be caused by leaking cylinder head gaskets which, on a cold engine, can force coolant from the overflow mounted on the coolant reservoir tank. Although belt slippage is rare on engines equipped with selfadjusting serpentine drive belts, it is common on engines equipped with conventional V-belts. In most cases, a slipping drive belt will be accompanied by a high-pitched squealing noise as the engine accelerates. Last, a slipping fan clutch or inoperative electrically-driven cooling fan system will generally cause the engine to overheat at idle or at low vehicle speeds. When To Sell Radiators Assuming normal maintenance has been performed, light-duty automotive radiators most often begin to fail after 100,000 miles of service. In any case, the mechanical condition of the radiator should be determined when it is removed for repairs like timing belt or engine replacements. If the 46

January 2014 | Counterman

Brake Caliper Service Like disc brake rotors, disc calipers are more easily replaced than serviced. Since the caliper’s main casting is rarely damaged, the remanufacturer cleans the caliper and installs a new piston, piston oring and exterior seal. In most cases, the remanufacturer includes new caliper mounting hardware that promotes a smooth release of braking force against the brake pads. In many cases, remanufacturers also supply “loaded” calipers that include new brake pads and mounting shims, if required, and new copper gaskets to seal the caliper against the brake hose. And, speaking of brake hoses, it’s always good policy to prevent a possibly catastrophic hydraulic failure by suggesting a new brake

hose to go with the reman caliper. The condition of the master cylinder should generally be determined by testing the brake pedal for a firm application and by inspecting for leakage and for sediment in the cylinder’s reservoir. If the disc caliper incorporates a park brake assembly, the auto manufacturer’s procedures should be followed if an adjustment in required. When the new disc rotors, calipers and pads are assembled, the braking system should be thoroughly flushed with new, OE-specified brake fluid. So when it’s time to sell brake parts, let’s change our thinking from “brake parts” to “brake assembly.” In the long-term, changing our basic paradigm for brake repairs will result in a safer, more profitable enterprise for all concerned. CM

coolant is extremely rusty, the radiator core tubes can be clogged with rust particles. In some cases, abrasion from rusty coolant can actually wear out the hose connections on the plastic header tanks. If the radiator is seeping coolant from the header tank seals or if the core tubes and cooling fins are seriously damaged, the radiator should be replaced. It’s also important to sell the correct radiator for the application. Some vehicle lines might, for example, offer a heavy-duty cool-

ing or towing package requiring a slightly larger-capacity radiator. In other cases, a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission might require a radiator equipped with a transmission oil cooler. Last, it’s important to recommend new radiator hoses and, if required, new radiator mounting pads. Above all, the cooling system should be thoroughly flushed and fresh OE-recommended coolant installed to prevent internal damage in your customer’s new radiator. CM

Track Talk Battle at the Beach Back at Daytona for 2014 Bent sheet metal, hurt feelings, last-lap action and ecstatic winners. That’s what the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach promised. And it delivered. The event, held on the short track on the Superstretch of Daytona International Speedway, will return to the “World Center of Racing” during Speedweeks 2014 and will highlight a week full of NASCAR racing at Daytona and neighboring New Smyrna Speedway. NASCAR’s top short-track stars will reconvene for another shot at victory, and perhaps a reprise of last season’s fireworks, on the sport’s biggest stage Tuesday, Feb. 18, at Daytona International Speed-way. It comes on the heels of a successful debut on the Daytona Superstretch, in which last-lap contact decided the outcome

of all three races last season. “The UNOH Battle at the Beach is a great opportunity for shorttrack racers from around the country to compete on racing’s biggest stage,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. “We’re looking forward to some intense competition with two exciting main events.” Last year, veteran Steve Park scored a popular win in the NASCAR Whelen The 0.4-mile oval Modified Tour race at the UNOH Battle at the Beach. layout that includes part of the 2.5-mile track’s tours. Both races will be 150 ing about the electrifying backstretch returns to host a laps. finishes.” championship points race for “Fans around the world The race will actually be the NASCAR K&N Pro Series look forward to Speedweeks to the second event of the seaEast and a non-points event kick off the NASCAR season, son for the K&N series, which for the combined NASCAR and we are proud to be able to will kick off Feb. 16 at nearby Whelen Modified and present a week of short-track New Smyrna Speedway, a Whelen Southern Modified action leading up to the 56th run- half-mile track in New ning of the Smyrna Beach, Fla., now in its D a y t o n a second year of affiliation with 500,” said the NASCAR Whelen AllG e o r g e American Series. Silbermann, Tickets and information for NASCAR vice the UNOH Battle at the Beach as president of well as NASCAR’s most prestitouring and gious race – the 56th annual DAYweekly series. TONA 500 on Sunday, “The antici- Feb. 23 – are available at pation for daytonainternationalspeedway. com last year’s or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. first UNOH Fans can follow NASCAR on Battle at the Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay Beach was up to speed on the latest s u r p a s s e d NASCAR news by using hashonly by the tags #NASCAR, #DAYTONA500 The 2014 NASCAR season starts with the 56th annual DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 23. number of and #ROADTODAYTONA and The Great American Race will air live on FOX, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, people talk#NASCARBattle. with additional coverage on

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EEPING IT SIMPLE By Gerald Wheelus

Let’s Make Some Goals For 2014 Whatever the facts are, if you plan on staying in business you have to plan for a sales increase or market share increase.

ost of you know from reading my column that I believe in goals. Just the other day, I rode with a manufacturer’s rep and as we began to get to know one another, I was telling him of a time when my goal was to be in the “$100,000 Club.” Not even sure if that “club” still exists but when I had a store in a larger market, it was the goal! Flash forward, and we have goals for 2014. These goals can be as simple or as complicated as you wish for them to be. But, if you haven’t planned for the upcoming year, it’s not too late to start. Depending upon your organization, the goal may be different. If you work for a big box store, it is good for you to have goals and objectives. If you are in a small independent store, it is imperative. The big box store will have goals given to them from corporate. We small guys will have to give it a go on our own. There are thousands of websites, book and videos on planning. You can use any of them to find ideas and how to execute your goals. Our business lives revolve around sales, right? It makes no difference if you have one store or 4,500. Goals have to be quantified and initiated with sales. Only you know what your sales are. Only you know what your “true” objectives should be. Only you know what


Gerald Wheelus is general manager of Edgewood Auto Parts, Edgewood, Texas.


January 2014 | Counterman

your market share is and should be. A recent new acquaintance of mine is in a separate business that has very little similarities to the parts business but she still has sales goal for 2014. Whatever the facts are, if you plan on staying in business you have to plan for a sales increase or market share increase. Those two go hand-in-hand although they are two different things when it comes to planning. If you are planning on a sales increase, there are two things you need to remember: price increases and attrition. Annually, our price increases are about 3 percent to 5 percent, or even higher at times. That translates to an automatic sales increase if you do not add any new sales. So that 3 percent to 5 percent does not really count. If you really wish to have a true increase, typically you have to start at about 7 percent over the previous year’s sales. Attrition though has to be thought of, as you will lose customer base market share over the next year. Keeping the market share means that you will lose some customers due to various reasons: death, taxes, competition and or them just closing the doors. Again, only you know your market and what replacement customers are out there. Either way, there are two things to remember here: “A poor plan poorly executed is better than no plan at all” and “Plan your play and play your plan.” CM for reader service


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The Song Remains The Same hope by the time you read this you’re off to a flying start in the New Year.

I In this job, I’m asked to travel a fair amount, and I often find myself in different locations around our great nation.

In this job, I’m asked to travel a fair amount, and I often find myself in different locations around our great nation. This month’s destination is Butler, Pa. Butler is an old steel town located in the western part of the state. It’s a nice little town with a still-active downtown. Right in the middle of town is Butler County Ford. Like many smaller-town dealers, Butler has stayed in town because that’s where most of the community is. The unique part about this dealer and its body shop is that it has four floors. This facility was a reassembly point for Ford back in the day. Built in 1918, partial cars came into the dealership by rail and would move through the building and be assembled on overhead conveyors that are still in place. There are only a handful of these unique buildings still in operation. The body shop is on the third floor and has three to five employees. Chuck Reeseman is the manager, and he still works on vehicles during busy times. Every vehicle that’s worked on has to make the trip to the third floor via the elevator. Think about that from a logistical point of view! As

you can see from the picture of the elevator, there’s no room on there for a wrecker. Still, Chuck says they manage 10 to 15 vehicles a week and are profitable. They shoot PPG waterborne products and have no downdraft booth (12-inch cement floors won’t allow it). It’s like a trip down memory lane to visit this shop. Cars used to be built at this facility, and new ones and repaired ones still roll off the elevator and into customers’ hands. It’s definitely something to see if you’re in the area. Think about it: The song remains the same. You see this in your parts store every day: A customer walks in and needs a part to keep a vehicle moving. A repair shop calls and a parts pro looks up a part that a driver loads in their vehicle and heads out to drop off. That’s a scenario that fits as well in the 1960s as it does 2014. Sure, maybe there’s a computer or a tablet involved now, but the facts are the same: Someone needs your help and you’re there to make sure they or their customers stay on the road. Some things never change. CM

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OUNTER-TECH By Mandy Aguilar

Apps At AAPEX App utopia would be to create an app that both drives business to you and unifies the customer’s needs — a true multi-tasking app.

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


ow many new mobile apps did you see at this past AAPEX and SEMA? Probably too many to count, am I right? After day one in Vegas, I soon realized I was going to be very busy if I intended to demo every new app out there. By the dawn of day two, I had given up my pursuit; there were just too many new apps to track. Our industry is in a mad rush to secure app space in as many mobile devices as we can, and it’s a great thing. A detailed search of Apple’s iOS app store for the term “auto parts” now yields more than 250 apps available for download for both iPhones and iPads. The same exercise on the Google Play Android store also returns more than 200 apps. Less than three years ago, I did the same analysis for a presentation, and there were only 61 apps on Apple’s iOS store. Clearly, at least in terms of quantity of available apps, our industry is keeping up with the global explosion of creating small, dedicated software applications that run on a mobile device. But what about the quality of the apps our industry is producing? This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Sadly, not all new apps out there are very creative or, even worse, actually useful. Many seem to be no more than a rush job to get out there in the apps market. Industry players feel the pressure to compete in this


January 2014 | Counterman

new digital arena; thus, many are happy just to stake a claim with nothing more than an app that is a link to their existing Web-based site (many of which are just not designed to perform on a mobile platform). Staking a claim in the digital landscape is OK; however, customers love their apps and have become so sophisticated in using them that the benchmark for usability has been raised way up there. Now, we have to reach way up for that bar to ensure customers not only download the apps, but actually use them to buy parts; otherwise, all that work lead to nothing more than eating soup with a big fork. Regardless of the increased memory size of most smartphones and tablets, customers download a limited number of apps. The global average for downloaded apps per device is somewhere between 25 and 30 apps. That means that after customers download the topranked apps they use daily, like Facebook, Gmail, maps, calendars, ESPN and Candy Crush, there truly is a limited shot to get your auto parts app into any mobile device. To ensure success, a better mouse trap needs to be built, i.e. an app that truly makes customers buy more. Easier said than done. Today, we are nowhere near that goal. As we all compete with each other for our customers’ eyeballs, we are creating apps that put a fence around our customers. But, not one of us can deliver every single part customers need, let alone deliver the complete buying experience, from look-up to delivering the parts in their shops.

My favorite show on the Food Channel used to be hosted by a fellow named Alton Brown, a witty character who got down to the science of cooking. One of his cooking quirks was that he hated any cooking utensil that performed only one task (you know, like a garlic press or an electric ice cream maker). He coined the term “unitaskers” to brand in shame such utensils that were good for just one thing and one thing only. I see a lot of unitaskers in the apps that our industry is putting out there and, like Alton, I think they are a waste of time and space. Many apps out there are only good for looking up one brand or one category; classic unitaskers. Do any of us believe that

customers will download and regularly use several different apps to separately look up and research different categories of parts? Probably not. App utopia would be to create an app that both drives business to you and unifies the customer’s needs — a true multi-tasking app. Regrettably, I did not see one such app in Vegas this year. The good news is that we are creating lots of different apps that will help the industry figure out the solution that truly drives business your way. Creating and innovating with apps is a good thing, and we are all the better for it. Now, make sure you create that multi-tasker app before your competitor does! CM

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LLEN & ALLAN By Allen Markowitz & Allan Gerber

When A Shop Closes hile we go about our daily business lives, buying, selling, collecting and most importantly, satisfying our customers’ service needs, every now and then, we see a shop close. This is not a new phenomenon, but it seems to be happening more often and most likely, it is happening in your neighborhood. Recently, two shops closed near one of our former stores and we would like to take a look at their stories. The first was in business for 40 years. Not a bad run you might think, but there was no happy ending here. The owner never re-invested in his business, did not follow a prudent business philosophy and basically just did everything wrong. The two techs were a ragtag bunch and the equipment was not quite up-to-date. In addition, there was no exit strategy — no succession plan. This business paid their bills, but in the end, the owner simply could not make enough profit or keep up with the fast pace of change in our industry. The second shop in our story was only in business for about five years. I actually worked with this shop when they first opened. It was a three-bay service station with lots of potential, if run properly. Unfortunately, they took the price-is-everything approach, did not even come close to understanding customer service or what is required in running a profitable business and started showing signs of stress within the first two years. The last three years were filled with a deterioration of the facility, multiple changes in techs, virtually the disappearance of any usable inventory and the general sense that the end was coming. While we have all seen these scenarios, could something have been done to prevent these two shops’ ultimate demise? Additionally, what is the cost in lost and possibly irre-


We have to do everything within our grasp to make certain that our customers remain in business, after all this is where we actually make a good amount of our profits...

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.


January 2014 | Counterman

placeable business to the servicing jobber? These two shops combined purchased approximately $50,000 in parts from local jobbers. This is a good deal of business. Somehow it does not seem that this amount of business will be made up in any short time frame or ever. Do we, as independent jobbers, have a responsibility to assist this type of customer? The answer obviously is yes, we have to do everything within our grasp to make certain that our customers remain in business. After all, this is where we actually make a good amount of our profits — the independent repair shop. The problem is that many of our customers will only let us into their world to a certain point. While we may surmise the issues they are having, whether it be lack of business, the need for a better marketing plan or improved financial management, they simply will not allow us to be part of the solution. Partly, this is because we are always trying to sell them something, but today there are alternative methods available to assist our customers. Business training is available to our independent technicians. Jobbers who offer modern business training, whether it be a service writer seminar or a financial management business analysis seminar are looked on as the leaders in their markets. These jobbers become the innovators in their markets as they find better methods to work with their customers and offer training other than a tech class. This is a great way to build additional relationships with your customers and while you may feel that only your top customers will attend these seminars, you may be pleasantly surprised by how many of your overall customers will actually sign up, show up, benefit and actually thank you. What a relationship builder. CM

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Counterman, January 2014  

Counterman provides professionals at every level of the parts distribution channel (jobbers, retailers and WDs) with the technical and busin...

Counterman, January 2014  

Counterman provides professionals at every level of the parts distribution channel (jobbers, retailers and WDs) with the technical and busin...