Archive | October, 2013

Free food, Mintex braking advice and 3-D TVs


They’ve just completed their first weeks duties offering advice on braking issue. One visited the Andrew Page branch in Harrogate, 14 local garages and Harrogate College, part of the University of Hull.

Besides coming with an experienced, full-time technical braking expert, each van carries more than 40 different tools, literature on best practice and a 3D television showing videos and demonstrations.

Oh, and free food, of course, with Page’s Pack-up since you obviously need something to grab the attention.

The vans also aim to sign up future technicians as product champion. On the Harrogate run no fewer than 12 technicians signed up to receive on-going technical information and updates about Mintex, discounts on products and training courses and a free t-shirt. Ah, more freebies.

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NAB concerned by Competition Commission research

NAB concerned by Competition Commission research

Repair-workThe National Association of Bodyshops (NAB) has concerns over Competition Commission’s (CC) research and investigation into the private motor insurance market.

The CC commissioned MSX International to look at quality of repairs carried out on vehicles involved in accidents as part of its investigation.

Head of the NAB Frank Harvey, said: “NAB believe that a much larger sample of post repair inspections need to be analysed so further and more definite conclusions can be reached.

“We also believe that it is critical that written off vehicles that have subsequently been returned to the roads should be included within any further post-repair inspection sampling.

“We urge the Competition Commission to facilitate a meeting of interested parties to discuss the report’s findings. In particular to understand the technical output relating to repair methods and to better understand the wider commercial dynamics that may be driving incorrect behaviours including an examination of insurers’ approved repairer contracts and selection criteria.

The investigation saw 104 vehicles inspected between June and October, with 77 cars being repaired by the at-fault insurer and 27 by the non-fault insurer.

Posted in Garage News, NewsComments (0)

Chris Meredith: Are Autodata price increases too much?

Chris Meredith, ABP Motorsport Director

Chris Meredith, ABP Motorsport Director

So how does Autodata repay its loyal subscribers for their support in openly discrediting those garages that are foolish enough to contemplate using counterfeit data and discs?

Simple – it hits them with a nifty little nine percent increase in their annual subscription price. And over the previous five years before this the increases have been three percent, 2.25 percent, 2.5 percent and two years’ of six percent. (See below for Autodata reply which says Meredith is in a minority of users and that 87% of its customers experienced price rises broadly in line with inflation)

No explanation is attempted in the most recent renewal letter and, when called, the subscription team’s programmed response is simply that the data is costing more to compile and this has to be passed on to the users.

Those are the same users who are supporting the brand in difficult times for the industry.

They are the same users who I dare bet haven’t attempted to increase their hourly labour rates for the past three or four years through fear of lost trade.

They are those same users who try to do the job right and actually provide Autodata with its income.

I know if ABP was to increase its prices by nine percent in the current climate a large majority of our customers would take issue with us.

Some may choose to shop elsewhere, some may choose to risk missing a service or two and some might even choose to seek a much cheaper alternative.

Strange how this story goes in a complete circle and maybe, just maybe, I can now start to understand those garages who are seeking a much cheaper technical data alternative elsewhere even when the risks are considered.

I am still in support of Autodata and its offerings, but I do believe the best trade relationships are based around loyalty, support, consideration and basic economics.

In this instance I believe Autodata has mistaken customer loyalty for stupidity and, through greed, it risks driving its customer base into the arms of others.

In response to these pricing concerns an Autodata spokesman said:

“Autodata can confirm that its new, replacement product for Online 3 will be priced just 4% above the current price. Regarding any price rises earlier this year, some customers may have experienced a price rise above that of the majority of subscribers; most of these customers are Online 2 users. This was due to several reasons, such as the amount of support given, the additional content and updates, as well as improvements to the service.

“Online 2/CD2 users account for only 8% of Autodata’s UK subscriber base.  In contrast, 87% of UK subscribers take Autodata’s premium Online 3 application, where prices increased just 3.5% this year, which is roughly in line with inflation.

“UK pricing is a concern to us, as we have to balance the constant requirement of quality and updates along with the ever increasing costs of access to manufacturer data as well as production and distribution costs.”

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Motor Codes and TootCompare join forces

Motor Codes and TootCompare join forces

Motor Codes has teamed up with online service and MOT comparison website TootCompare to further extend its reach in the consumer marketplace.

TootCompareTootCompare will award a star to subscriber garages in its seven-star rating system. Franchised dealers automatically get a star, too, while others are provided for workshops having toilets or having accredited technicians. Up to two stars are award depending on the feedback given by site users.

“By partnering with consumer-facing organisations we’re doing two things: exposing more car owners to the security of the Motor Codes garage network and, through the value people place on our huge bank of online reviews, ensuring that we keep as much car servicing spend as possible within the TSI-approved safe-spend community.  And this means more money in the tills of Motor Codes subscribers.

“People will increasingly use online comparison sites like and TootCompare.  Sharing our online reviews through these sites can only be a positive thing for consumers and those business that are committed to transparency and scrutiny.”

Posted in Garage News, NewsComments (1)

Fast Fit qualifications revamped to keep up with the times

Fast Fit qualifications revamped to keep up with the times

IMI-ATA-Fast-Fit-Technician-AccreditationATA Fast Fits accreditations are the latest training programmes to be redeveloped by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).

The changes have been made to keep the accreditations in line with advancement in vehicle technology and insist that technicians are required to know how to use diagnostic equipment and carry out four-wheel alignment.

Both mobile technicians and those based at workshops are covered in programmes.

The accreditations have been partly funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, and piloted by a number of fast fits including Formula One Autocentres, KwikFit and ATS Euro Master.

IMI Accreditation Manager Ian Gillgrass, said: “The changes to ATA Fast Fit are illustrative of the challenges facing the whole automotive sector. Put simply, no matter what your level or area of speciality in the workshop, you will find yourself facing a rapid onrush of technological developments in modern vehicles.

“These developments have pushed the skill needs of the fast fit sector to new level which need to be reflected in our accreditations if they are to represent currently competent individuals.”

Keith Lee, Training Manager for Formula One Autocentres, added: “The fast fit aspect of the industry has been largely overlooked with regards to qualifications. ATA Fast Fit allows our employees the recognition they deserve.”

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TRW and Denso join forces with garage reward scheme

TRW and Denso join forces with garage reward scheme

TRWEU1913_(DENSO_joins_TRW_Diamonds)_image_IDenso has joined TRW’s Diamonds customer loyalty programme to give garages more opportunities to earn points to spend on luxury gifts.

The new partnership will be rolled out across the UK and certain other European markets including Germany, France and Poland.

The Diamonds programme launched three years ago and has steadily grown. With Denso onboard it will give garages greater access to points across a wider range of categories such as ignition, thermal, electrical products, braking, and steering and suspension parts.

Alexander Knorn, Garage Communications Manager at TRW, said: “We are pleased to welcome Denso as the first partner of the TRW-Diamonds programme.

“The concept behind the TRW-Diamonds programme has always been for garages to be able to benefit from multi-brand purchases; and now they can.”

He went on to say that the scheme is beneficial to channel product and promotional information to technicians, and with more partners it will allow the programme to reach a wider audience.

Knorn added: “It’s an exciting time, with the market showing great interest in TRW-Diamonds. High level talks with other leading OE aftermarket suppliers are in progress.”

This partnership is very similar to the scheme that NGK re-launched at EquipAuto with Philips, Mann + Hummel and NGK products.

Its scheme is currently only being trialed in France, and if successful will see NGK’s loyalty programme rolled out across Europe and the UK.

To sign up for the loyalty programme, simply go to

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IAAF urges the aftermarket to work together or risk unravelling


The IAAF has warned the sector it is at risk of unravelling. Chief Executive Brian Spratt expressed his concern that the fighting in the sector over the matching quality debate, and now with the storm brewing over Unipart’s comparative brake test, will be to the detriment of the aftermarket.

Spratt said: “The industry is in danger of creating a divide that will have repercussions throughout the supply chain. The current issue of parts quality has seen suppliers failing to address the real heart of the matter.

“There is a risk of unravelling and undoing all the hard work the industry did in promoting its unity during the Right2Repair campaign and the current Right2Choose campaign.

“The IAAF has fought for years to protect the freedoms we have available to us under block exemption.

“A key freedom is that motorists don’t have to use franchised dealers for servicing and repair and that using the independent aftermarket will not invalidate their warranty, so long as parts used are of appropriate quality and recorded as such.”

Spratt believes there should be closer attention paid to the quality of parts that are called genuine OE parts, and urged the industry to work through the IAAF to squeeze unsuitable parts out of the market.

One area of concern for the IAAF is the change in definition by the BER, which currently states ‘matching the quality of parts used by dealers’, which Spratt believes makes it more difficult to assess.

He added: “IAAF and parts suppliers can tackle this issue together, promoting the case of parts quality and the exclusion of inferior and dangerous replacement parts from our industry.”

Spratt also commented on the current friction between Unipart and TMD by adding the IAAF is keen for suppliers to properly validate the quality of its products. He said there needs to be better testing programme in place to help confirm the quality of the product and is working with suppliers on a system for springs.

He said: “Without information on the testing methods used by Unipart and TMD it is somewhat difficult to assess the opposing technical statements, but it does highlight the advantage in devising and agreeing appropriate testing methods across the trade and the benchmarks to be used.

“Having clearly defined quality and performance data may help to reverse the market’s current fixation.

“An agreed testing programme is how we are trying to assist some of the spring manufacturers, and we’d be happy to facilitate something similar for friction material suppliers.”

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Unipart Automotive’s study into the comparative performance of its brake pads against five other manufacturers has caused quite a stir.

TMD Friction has issued a rebuttal of the results and instructed lawyers, while others are considering their positions.

We’ll put every development at the top of this timeline so you can see at a glance what the latest twist or turn might be. Things are likely to develop quickly and we will add them as and when they happen.

Unipart-AutomotiveUnipart respond

Unipart Automotive has issued a short response to TMD Friction actions which can be read here. It has also said that it intends to respond to each point outlined in TMD’s report.

tmd_nissh_blackTMD instructs its lawyers

TMD lawyers ask Unipart Automotive to retract its test findings. The full statement can be viewed here.

tmd_nissh_blackTMD Friction’s rebuttal

TMD report says there are flaws with the tests.

Unipart-AutomotiveUnipart brake test

Unipart carries out a comparative study of its braking products and those of five competitors with Quay Brake Testing. It concludes its products are the best overall in the nine tests carried out – read more here.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer NewsComments (1)

Unipart responds to TMD reaction over comparative brake tests

Unipart responds to TMD reaction over comparative brake tests

unipart stop secret full

Unipart Automotive’s brake comparison tests have kicked a hornet’s nest of feeling in the aftermarket and prompted a stern response from TMD.

A point-by-point reply to TMD’s actions is forthcoming, says Unipart Marketing Director Andrew Jeffrey, but here he makes an initial statement on the reaction to the tests.

“Unipart Automotive’s braking products have always been an important part of our offer to our customers.  With our OE heritage, we understand as well as anyone what it takes to make a great brake pad, and the ways in which they have to perform.  Recently, in a multi-brand test run by an independent testing house, testing brake pad performance across a whole range of situations, the Unipart product performed best. We are proud of that.

“We certainly are not misleading anyone.  Not only were the tests independently devised and performed, using industry evaluation methods, but they were witnessed and verified by the VCA, the government agency responsible for type approval in the UK.  We believe that the debate on quality on the aftermarket needs facts so that garages and technicians can make informed decisions.”

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Inside Line: TecRMI

Brake pedal wrong, missing, loosened components


Reference number 4692D
Fault symptoms: Preventive measure for a brake light switch defect.
Causes: Production defect.
Remedy: Replace stop light switch. If a blue sticker will be present in the area of the suspension strut dome in case the action was already carried out and on this field B6 was checked.
Part number:
Brake pedal switch OE (82 00 276 361)
Label OE (49 39 031 070)



Release the retaining clamp(s). (1) Remove footwell covering(s). (2) Disconnect electric connectors. (3) Rotate switch. (4) Demount switch. (5) Measure and note the dimension A.

Set value: 19mm Minimum dimension
If deviating from target value: Adjust brake-pedal switch.
Otherwise: No further work necessary.
Adjust brake-pedal switch.

Crankshaft sensor combustion knocking, starting problems


Reference number: 4664A
Fault symptoms: Engine does not start. Non-concentric engine running
Causes: Electrical cable broken. Crankshaft sensor is signal faulty.
Replace connector on the crankshaft sensor
Part numbers:
OE (82 00 673 203)
OE (82 00 673 202)
OE (82 00 300 322)
OE (82 00 652 822)


Remove the crankshaft position sensor. Disconnect the crankshaft sensor plug. Cut off electric cable(s) at connector.
Install repair kit. Installation is in reverse order of removal.

Alternator damage, engine warning light is on


Reference number(s): 4582A
Install repair kit. 0,5 h
Fault symptoms: Engine warning light is on, noises in the engine region.
Causes: Pulley of generator defective.
Remedy: Replace pulley of generator. Replace generator. (If required)
Concerns the following vehicles: Clio II, Clio III, Kangoo, Logan, Modus, Megane I, Megane II,Laguna I, Laguna II
Part number Alternator pulley (Old )
OE (82 00 113 636)
OE (82 00 113 636)
OE (77 00 110 616)
OE (77 00 110 616)
Part number Alternator pulley (new)
OE (77 01 476 465)
OE (82 00 113 636)
OE (77 01 477 689)
OE (77 01 477 689)


The pulley and, if necessary, the alternator need to be replaced once the alternator pulley has come loose or is damaged. (2)(4) Alternator pulley, accessory drive belt, tensioning roller as well as the tensioning roller screw need to be replaced if the alternator housing should not be damaged. (3) Alternator, accessory drive belt, tensioning roller and the tensioning roller screw need to be replaced if the alternator housing should be damaged.


Window lifter noises


Reference number: 0892A
Fault symptoms: Window lift generates noises.
Causes: Production defect.
Remedy: Fit washer.
Washers OE (77 03 053 951)


Remove the front door panelling. Unscrew and remove the window lifter screw(s). (1) Fit washer(s). (2) Installation in reverse order of removal.


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