Archive | April, 2016

A MATTER OF MOTIVATION

Forget SKUs, staff are the real asset in your business according to Mike Owen

Mike Owen

As I move around the industry, meeting business owners, managers and staff alike, the subject, however furtively, often returns to salaries; staff members lamenting the lowly stipend they receive and the management and investors are voicing their dissatisfaction at the cost of employment.

Just like the Yin and Yang, where the whole is the sum of the two parts, a modern motor factoring business is the sum of two parts – the first is just that, the parts stock; the second is the staff and just as lousy stock will bring you bad business, so will lousy staff.

The problem from the investors perspective is that salaries are too often used as a reward, ie. work first, reward second and that logic would suggest that lowly promise of basic wage brings you poor quality staff that, in fact, blinkers your horizons.

My brother, something of a maverick in business gave ‘Teddy a trip into the corner’ at a board meeting as those assembled around the table were, in his opinion, ‘not able to think big enough!’ A short period later, and having recruited some new directors, the company started to grow and indeed quadrupled in size; the moral is that your business is entirely in your co-workers hands – not just yours – and you want the best you can get, not the cheapest!

As with any level of business you ‘have front of house’ and you have the ‘worker bees’ – both are equally important; both need motivating and rewards; both form the whole that is the experience your customers receive – and that they judge your business by.

Job satisfactionPEOPLE POWER
I’ve written before about the need to develop staff and this, from which ever direction you look at it, incorporates training – either sales training, your firm’s methods and Unique Selling Proposition and, of course, product. But does it finish there? If you invest in your staff in this way you have two things that you must also do, namely create an environment in which they can use their new found knowledge and measure how much of it they use.

We had some dealings with a well known factor who was almost Dickensian in the way they dealt with their staff with screens about their businesses bearing down on employees who use the phone with such detail as calls waiting, ring times – how long each quality caller waited, in fact an environment in which the caller ‘bought’ and nobody ‘sold’ forcing staff to ditch callers rather than listen to them.

You see, marketing gets the phone to ring; salesmanship decides the volume of the invoice! Related selling is when a salesperson adds value to the initial request and motivated staff who are trained, measured, inspired and rewarded will take a mediocre business and turn it into a world beater.

BONUS
Before you ask, yes, I do advocate performance bonuses but, as with all things to do with staff, salaries it must be simple, very understandable and beyond scrutiny – never let a staff member feel they have been cheated. Daily information about all elements that impinge on the bonus is ultra-important – and no cap!

Some say: ‘They’d be earning more than me’ – good! Just think how much they’ll be earning for the company? There is however a cautionary tale, beware of bonus schemes that roll up, these can put you squarely in a position where-the-sun-don’t- shine. Take any scheme you are considering and extend it to the extreme and look at the effects – just in case.

I advocate some now, some later. Consider monthly, quarterly and annual increments that help build continued interest in performance – clean-book payments create ‘good time to leave’ points; car salesmen always used to leave in September so they could take the commission and run.

BENEFITS
Staff now look for the other benefits in addition to salaries, loyalty often comes from belonging and this can come from involvement in group incentives. These can be as diverse a case of wine sent to the staff members house preferably, or to buying the team a big breakfast or a night at the dogs. Most importantly, don’t forget to emphasise your appreciation for their effort. There is a magical quote that says ‘A business alone cannot be successful – a business will only ever be successful when those who work in it are equally successful’ (No there isn’t – Ed) this may seem trite but it’s also true. Oh yes, you can increase staff volume but this papers over the cracks – it also smacks of Civil Service mentality (just send me another person).

Just as you stock the right quantity of product using your knowledge of the market and using stock management skills you needs to stock people the right type of people to perform the functions of your business exercising people management skills, of course you need to control costs including salaries but you also need to invest and you should look to invest both money and time in educating and enthusing your greatest asset, your staff. Whilst you look for return on investment from your stock the return can be ten-fold from investing in people.

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CAR PARTS PORTRAIT OF THE QUEEN REVEALED

CAR PARTS PORTRAIT OF THE QUEEN REVEALED

Photo credit: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Photo credit: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

A 10 ft. portrait of Her Majesty the Queen created entirely out of car and truck parts has been unveiled to celebrate the monarch’s 90th birthday.

The portrait pays homage to Her Majesty’s work as a trained mechanic and driver in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War.  It has been put together by technicians, including some form national chain Kwik-Fit.

The team behind the sculpture was led by artist David Parfitt.  The Queen herself has previously admired David’s work, signing a sculpture of his in 2011 built to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Crawley New Town.  For this portrait of Her Majesty, David was supported by technicians from South-Eastern branches of the company.

The construction of the monarch’s mechanical mirror image took the crew over 280 man-hours to complete.

 

The giant crown itself includes brake and indicator lights from an original Austin K2 – one of the types of military vehicles that Her Majesty completed her mechanical training on in 1945.

There are over 50m of cables and hoses, 125 spark plugs, 60 gaskets, 150 washers, 24 pumps, 20m of leads, 10 headlights, 6 bumpers and 100’s of springs, nuts and bolts.  This enabled the team to create a highly accurate likeness, even down to the smallest detail.

The final portrait weighs in at 115kg.

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CLASSIC MINI THIEVES JAILED

CLASSIC MINI THIEVES JAILED

CO287-16 mini 2Two thieves who stole classic Minis to break for parts have been jailed.

Stephen Fiddimore and Sam Metten have been found guilty of stealing the cars, breaking them and hiding the parts across a number of lock-up garages. Spares were then offered for sale on websites including eBay.

A Met Police investigation into a spate of thefts of Minis led officers to a lock-up in Horton Kirby, Kent. Further investigations saw police raid two more garages and a unit on a farm where the remains of a number of vehicles were recovered. Police believe the pair stole 40 cars between August 2014 and May 2015.

In addition, two vehicles seized from the criminal’s home addresses were found to be stolen and cloned. The pair recived sentances of three and a half years and three years respectively, following a trial at Inner London Crown Court.

Detective Inspector Caroline Clooney, of the Met’s Organised Vehicle Crime Unit, said: “These men systematically targeted the owners of classic Minis across the south east. Many of the vehicles had been lovingly restored and were the owners’ pride and joy. Discovering that their cars had been stolen obviously caused them much distress and inconvenience”.

“I am pleased with the sentences handed down and hope it sends out a message that the Met is serious about tackling car crime and will always seek to destroy the activities of individuals involved in it.”

The classic car community has reported a spate of thefts of post-war classics in recent months. Apart from Minis, modern classics including rear-drive Escorts, Capris and Peugeot 205s have also been targeted.

 

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F-GAS LOOPHOLE ‘A MOCKERY’ OF CERTIFICATE SYSTEM

Confusion has taken hold in the Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) sector as products containing R134a refrigerant are being sold by accessory shops and over the internet, without the need for the buyer to be certified.

R134a is a highly polluting gas and so it’s sale has been restricted in the UK to professionals that hold a competency qualification known as F-Gas. Part of the training includes the knowledge that it is a criminal offence to top-up a system that is known to be leaking.

However, a number of top-up aerosol products aimed at DIY and very small workshops remain on the market. All of these contain R134a and are sold under various names including AC Pro Cold, EZ Chill and Auto Freeze. Retailers do not need to take any details of the person who it buying it, or the vehicle they are working on, although in each case a £10 refundable deposit is taken for the container.

Despite this appearing to be a violation of the December 2014 F-Gas Record Keeping and Qualification law, documents seen by CAT suggest that Defra and the Environment Agency are well aware of the situation. In the document, a government spokesman states: “When the Regulation was first published, the Environment Agency (England) and Defra followed the advice of the European Commission that suppliers of gas for servicing MAC were required to obtain evidence of certification when selling gas. As the only qualification within the MAC sector related to recovery, this is what was requested by suppliers”.

The suggestion that F-Gas regulations only apply to recovery has provoked fury from professionals who have spent considerable time and money on compliance. Jim McClean, MD of CompressorTech said: “This makes a complete mockery, of the EU December 2014, F-gas ruling for selling mobile air conditioning gas such as R134a”.

“Once every workshop in the UK hears about this exception ruling, they will simply use it when requested to provide F-gas qualification criteria to every motor factor in the UK selling R134a refrigerant.”

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LOOK AT YOURSELF THROUGH YOUR CUSTOMER’S EYES

Andy Savva It is sometimes difficult to perceive your business the way your customer does, but doing this is vital to making a good first impression

Andy Savva

If you want to run a garage or accessory shop that is perceived as the best in the area then you need to look at the business in a way you have never thought about it before; through the customer’s eyes.

I encourage you to temporarily remove yourself as the owner in order to view your business from an alternative perspective. This is the approach I took with Brunswick Garage; I placed myself in my customer’s shoes. Take a walk from outside your premises, look at your sign: Is the brand image clear, vivid and distinct? Walk through your reception: Is it welcoming, bright and tidy? Do you offer your customer a comfortable seating area with refreshments, a TV, or something to read? Are the toilets clean? It is vital to ask yourself these questions in order to view your business from a different light. This sounds like really basic stuff –and it is– but all too often I’ve seen businesses where the owners are both literally and figuratively on the inside looking out and don’t perceive their businesses the way that customers will.

It is also important to take your new customer perspective further into the workshop. Is it dull, dirty and messy? Are the technicians’ toolboxes organised? Viewing the workshop from your new standpoint may surprise you.

Would you be happy or embarrassed to invite a customer into the workshop to show them their vehicle? An ordered appearance of the workshop is just as imperative as an inviting reception area. Remember that the first impression will be the one that sticks – and it will be reached almost immediately.

On this subject, one of the fundamentals in any business and specifically in the service industry is how you greet your customers and the impression you leave them with. Many in the garage industry seem to overlook the importance of making a good first impression; a disastrous mistake in my opinion. You might still get the work now they are here – but you’ll want them to come back and to tell their friends about this great garage or spares shop they’ve found.

LOOK SHARP
FeedbackWe’ve all heard the old saying ‘dress to impress’ but it does hold truth. Although today’s business environment is much more casual than it was even 10 years ago, it is still important to dress the part. At Brunswick we supported all of staff with company uniform. The last thing you want is to give off a negative impression before you even open your mouth. If you look sloppy, people will assume that you and your business are sloppy as well.

Start by using insight. Mystery shop your own staff and consider any annoyances you encounter. When out of sight, write them all down so you can relay these to your staff later. Also use your own experiences with other businesses: good or bad.

Now you have the insight to train your team members to make a positive impression from the beginning of a call. The greeting and the speed that the phone is picked up can alter a customer’s experience. In many cases, if the phone rings more than three or four times, it is too long. Frustration starts to set in for the customer. On the other hand, employers who answer the phone almost instantly may startle the caller. Try to find a middle ground such as picking up after the first ring, but before the third.

RING OF POWER
Consider the greeting, many people find a greeting such as ‘ABC Garage’ abrupt and annoying. A simple improvement could be to alter the greeting to the time of day whilst introducing yourself and the business, for example: “Good morning , ABC Garage, this is Andy, how may I help you?” Don’t feel you are going outside your remit by encouraging your staff to speak clearly – again it sounds obvious, but I’m sure you can think of a good number of technicians who really don’t. If you are unsure of what the other person is trying to communicate, as often is the case in the automotive environment, remember most customers are not as tech savvy as us. Be patient and attentive. Feel free to ask open questions: how, what, when, why, where?

Finally, do not interrupt when someone else is speaking. Interrupting someone in mid- sentence is extremely rude and will be counter-productive for your business. Remember your manners!

You can find out about Andy’s consultancy services by contacting: savvaautomotive.com

KEEP ON THE CUSTOMER’S LEVEL
A good suggestion when meeting customers is to make an effort to literally be on their level. If they prefer to stand and talk to you, you stand. If they prefer to sit, you sit. Our preference at Brunswick Garage was to use desks rather than counters, the latter are seen as barriers between you and the customer.

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TOTAL RENEWS FIVE-YEAR KIA DEAL

TOTAL RENEWS FIVE-YEAR KIA DEAL

Total Lubricants has renewed its strategic partnership agreement with vehicle manufacturer Kia.

For the next five years, Total will remain the Korean VM’s preferred aftermarket lube supplier for its vehicles. Total branded oils will continue to be available in Kia dealerships in 180 countries, which includes the UK.

Kia and Total will also develop joint marketing service programs aimed at increasing Kia dealers’ profitability, customer retention and customer satisfaction.

 

The deal was signed between Steven Yoon, Vice President, Overseas Service Division at Kia Motors Corp. (left) and Pierre Duhot, General Manager, Automotive Division at Total

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RECYCLING AT THE CORE OF THE OPERATION

Mark Heaps gives us a tour of Mirfield-based core dealer S.S Components

S.S ComponentsEver since he was a child, John Smith always had a passion for cars and dreamt of one day opening his own garage. Little did he know his dream would soon become a reality, setting up a leading auto-parts distributor to supply re-manufactures across the globe. “I started as a dismantler because I wanted a garage and always loved cars as a kid” said Smith. “My friend and business partner used to have a little area at the side of his house where we had five cars. It was unsightly and people complained to the council who chucked us off site”.

It wasn’t all bad news for Smith when his mother’s friend found a solution, renting a plot of land to him for a nominal sum to start up his dismantling business. “Back in 1970, we only had an income of £3 a week because I had a job delivering meat from a butcher shop and my friend delivered groceries. We offered £1 a week rent and the guy accepted it”. Once the land was acquired, Smith’s dismantling business started to grow by purchasing excess stock and selling the core on to remanufacturers.

The operation is very different today with the component supplier now spanning five acres  with a multi-million pound turnover, we were keen to pay them a visit. Mark Heaps, Operations Manager for S.S Components, is a known figure within the re-manufacturing industry, having worked for S.S for over a decade and before that at AMK.

SITE TOUR

Inside WarehouseThe campus was as different as you could imagine from a traditional breakers’ yard with stock organised, packaged and labelled correctly with the part numbers assigned to each customer order. The main warehouses were breathtaking in scale with seemingly never- ending aisles of components awaiting a second chance of life. “The biggest part of the company is the component side that we supply”, Heaps explained. “Our four core products are steering pumps, steering racks, rotating electrics and brake calipers. Brake calipers are in high demand with our current stock totalling 261,911 and selling around 21,000 each month”.

With a large campus to operate, company founder and Director John Smith bought in a dedicated band of 13 remanufacturing professionals to classify and prepare the units accordingly.  They also collaborate with an external independent team who scout the most desirable dismantlers and scrap yards around the world to buy and sell the material onto the company. The fleet was also impressive, comprising two tractor units, two trucks and three vans delivering in and around the Mirfield area.

BESPOKE SYSTEM

As the tour came to a close, Heaps took me through to the main office, where we were greeted by company founder John Smith. Smith was keen to take us through their bespoke system. Through many revisions it has proved to be a valuable necessity for the organisation, keeping track of all the stock, customer orders and deliveries. “The system is unique to us because we’ve designed all of it and made it work”, responded Smith. “The USP of our business is that when people ring up we’ve got it in stock”. The system provides customers with a sufficient amount of time to prepare the correct transportation for picking up stock. Heaps added: “We tend to hit 98 per cent and above each shipment, hitting deadlines, supply fulfilments and material that we supply”.

ENVIRONMENT

The supplier has also been recognised for its eco-friendly practices, winning the gold category for the Green Apple Environment Award in 2014. Heaps elaborated: “The Green Apple Award is a very proud achievement for us. We save tonnes of equipment from going to landfills. Our business is to buy and sell on, but in doing so we’ve helped the environment”.

Finally, Heaps has some thoughts about the supply chain. “We want to educate the guys in the motor factors who sell new rotating electrics without surcharges” he says. Heaps explains that in this instance good core is going to waste because there was no incentive for garages to do anything with the old item. “Instead of scrapping the units potentially they could sell the units to us for far better income than what they’re probably getting” he added. “We’re all becoming more and more aware of being green, efficient and recycling and that’s purely the industry we’re in and I can only see it going one way”.

This is true. With ever more legislation on business practices, being mindful of the environment has to remain ‘core’ to all we do.

Mark Heaps

VITAL STATS

S.S COMPONENTS

LOCATION
Mirfield

MANAGER
Mark Heaps

VANS 3 TRUCKS 2 TRACTORS 2

FASTEST MOVING LINES
Brake calipers, rotating electrics, steering pumps and steering racks

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THE BUDGET FOR AFTERMARKET BUSINESS

The March 2016 Budget seemed to offer little to big business but offered concessions to small firms. Richard Wild reports

Richard WildThe Chancellor’s Budget this March was eagerly awaited, not because it was such a rare occasion (it was effectively the fourth in a year if the Autumn Statement is taken into account), but because many expected either radical changes or limited proposals because of the forthcoming vote on EU membership.

Most of the coverage in the mainstream press concentrated on beer, tobacco and of course the sugar tax. However, for businesses – and particularly for business owners.

The main changes from 6 April this year that most will be interested in are the new Personal Savings Allowance, Dividend Allowance, and the higher rates of tax on dividend income. Business owners who pay themselves by a mixture of a salary and dividend will need to review this to see to what extent they are affected by these changes. Indeed, in terms of personal taxation, Class 2 national insurance contributions for the self employed are to be abolished from April 2018.

Further, the Chancellor is to raise the threshold for paying income tax to £11,500 by 2017 while the threshold for paying the higher rate of tax is also to be raised, meaning that the high rate threshold will rise from £43,000 to £45,000 in the tax year 2017/18. There was also a surprise reduction in the main rates of Capital Gains Tax (CGT), which is payable on the sale of assets that have increased in value, such as property investments and shares although investments in residential property will still be taxed at the previous, higher rates. The changes mean that from 6 April 2016 the 18% rate of CGT falls to 10% and the 28% rate of CGT falls to 20%. But there was more in the budget for businesses.

CORPORATION TAXATION
Many will be pleased that the Chancellor announced a range of measures to prevent gaps or deficiencies in the tax rules from providing opportunities for multinational companies to minimise the tax that they pay. However, he also announced that corporation tax was to be to cut to 17% by April 2020.

EMPLOYMENT COSTS
While not a tax measure, the new mandatory living wage will come into effect from 1 April 2016, set at £7.20 an hour for workers aged 25 and above, representing a £900 increase in earnings for a full-time worker on the current national minimum wage. The minimum wage will be increased from October 2016 for workers aged between 21 and 24 (to be £6.95), 18 and 20 (to be £5.55), 16 and 17 (to be £4.00) and apprentices (to be £3.40).
Know How

On the tax front, and while previously announced, there are many changes to the employment taxes rules which businesses need to be mindful of, all taking effect from 6 April 2016.

First off there’s the abolition of dispensations which save the reporting to HMRC of expenses and Benefits In Kind (BIKs) paid to employees. Dispensations will be replaced by an automatic reporting exemption for approved reimbursed expenses. Any existing dispensation will no longer be valid after 5 April 2016. From that date, any fixed rate expenses payments outside the rates set in law will need to be agreed again with HMRC. This even includes where an industry approved rate is being used, such as the Road Haulage Association rate for lorry drivers. Any employer with existing bespoke rates agreed in their dispensation will need to reapply for approval of the rate with HMRC before 6 April 2016. If they don’t, the dispensations will no longer be valid and the amounts will therefore be subject to tax and NIC.

The abolition of the £8,500 limit for BIKs means that all employees, no matter their level of pay, will need to be considered when determining whether it is necessary to report any BIKs received on form P11D.

BUSINESS RATES
Whilst not an HMRC tax, business rates can represent a significant cost to businesses. The Chancellor confirmed that 100% small business rate relief will continue for properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less. From April 2017, 100% small business rate relief will be extended to properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. Businesses with a property with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 will receive partial relief. The Chancellor estimates that 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all, and an additional 50,000 businesses will receive partial relief.

MORE TAX
A number of fairly specific measures were also announced, which might impact on you depending upon the nature of your business or how you are structured. These include: Stamp Duty Land Tax, Insurance Premium Tax and salary sacrifice. The latter warrants a little explanation. Salary sacrifice arrangements enable employees to give up salary in return for benefits in kind that are often subject to more favourable tax treatment than if paid by way of salary. The government is therefore considering limiting the range of benefits that attract income tax and NICs advantages when they are provided as part of salary sacrifice schemes, although pension saving, childcare and health-related things such as cycle to work should continue to benefit.

MAKING TAX DIGITAL
In the March 2015 Budget the government committed to transform the tax system through digital technology and end the need for annual tax returns. It has ambitious plans to require businesses to keep digital accounting records, and require them to update HMRC from these digital records at least quarterly. Some of these measures will be introduced from April 2018, with the remaining changes coming on stream in April 2019 and April 2020. Businesses will be able to make ‘pay as you go’ tax payments, to ease the impact of their final tax bill. Whilst this seems some time away, businesses should start planning for these changes now, especially if manual accounting records are currently being kept.

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FIAT DUCATO AND VARIANTS (2007-on)

Fiat Ducato

Fiat Ducato

Way back in 1978 a joint venture between several European VMs lead to an enormous factory being constructed in Atessa, Italy. The factory covered some 3.7m sq ft and was dedicated to producing just one product – an LCV. The product was available in a variety of configurations and weights, but what was curious was the amount of badge engineering that went on. The original model was available as the Fiat Ducato, Peugeot J5, Citroen C25 and even as an Alfa Romeo. However in the UK the range is best remembered as the Talbot Express – the last model to bear the Talbot name and the basis for thousands of motorhomes, many of which are still running.

Fast forward to 2007 and the ‘Sevel’ (an acronym in French that translates as ‘European light vehicle company’) joint venture is still operational with the third generation model entering production. Available in the UK as Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Relay and Fiat Ducato the range still produced, having undergone a facelift in 2014. This guide is applicable to all of this range, though we have focussed on the 2.2 and 2.3 Multijet Fiat models.

REAR LIGHTS
Brake light switches for these models are a popular part say Cambiare. Apparently the routing of the loom around the pedal box causes the problem, so chaffed or broken wires could be the root cause.

The reversing light occasionally goes wrong, which curiously is caused by water entering the gearbox via an incorrectly routed drain pipe at the base of the windscreen. Another symptom of this condition is the corrosion of the gear change linkage, say Cambiare leading to stiff operation. This will require draining and refilling of the gearbox to prevent a recurrence of this and other related problems.

REAR SUSPENSION
There was a manufacturer recall to check and tighten incorrectly torqued rear leaf spring “U” bolts that secured the leaf spring to the rear axle. Motaquip recommends that damaged bolts should be replaced as a matter of course and should be tightened to the recommended torque levels.

STEERING AND SUSPENSION
The high centre of gravity coupled with the use a van gets can cause premature wear of the ball joint according to Meyle. The firm produces a replacement stabiliser link with an over-engineered ball pin diameter to counter this. A lack of lubrication between the steering rack and pinion during manufacture can be diagnosed through increasingly difficult steering operation say Motaquip. The lack of lubrication and excessive levels of strain can lead to premature damage to the steering rack. Top strut mounting and bearings can fail regularly causing the steering to become tight, which can cause poor handling, as well as intermittent squeaking noises. First Line recommended that when replacing the shock absorbers or coil springs that the top mounts are replaced at the same time.

COOLING SYSTEM
Generally, the cooling system on this range is reliable, provided it has been filled with the correct grade of coolant. However, a number of garages have taken in vehicles reading strange temperature levels. The cause is not the temperature sensor (as is often thought) but dry solder joints on the instrument cluster. Another fault on the 2.3 Multijet that leads the driver to think their van is loosing its cool is down to a corroded part of the loom. This manifests as P0482 and should be an easy fix, say RMI.

ENGINE MANAGEMENT
Cambiare mentions that the JTD engine in Ducatos can be susceptible to the failure of the crankshaft sensor after approx. 50,000 miles. The engine cutting out intermittently after it has reached the operating temperature and failing to restart until it has cooled down again often accompanies this. Failure to start from cold may also be the result of a faulty crankshaft sensor, generally indicated by the fault code P0335. Engine hesitation, failure to start and irregular idle speeds can be attributed to a faulty EGR Valve. Motaquip recommends the replacement of the EGR Valve rather than the temporary solution of cleaning the faulty item.

CLUTCH AND GEARBOX
When changing the clutch on these vehicles it is vitally important to check for any signs of oil contamination from inside the gearbox say LuK. Any leaks should then be rectified before the new clutch is fitted. Failure to rectify these leaks could lead to the new clutch slipping. When the old clutch components are removed from the gearbox carry out a visual comparison of the old clutch and Concentric Slave Cylinder (CSC) against the new. Don’t be tempted to ignore the CSC replacement when changing the clutch; remember it’s a bearing and the last thing you and your customer wants is to be removing the gearbox again.

BELTS AND PULLEYS
On the Ducato 2.0D, 2.2D and 3.0D, check the Over Running Alternator Pulley (OAP), if excessive Front End Auxiliary Drive (FEAD) tensioner movement, or belt squeal is evident. The 2.3D has a TVD, and this should be checked regularly according to INA.

ENGINE HARDWARE
There’s nothing particularly odd about the lubricants for this range, though Comma point out that long service intervals and multi-drop driving can lead to engine oil needing a couple of top-ups between services – a fact the user might need reminding of. Long-life servicing often appears on these pages as the basis of faults. These vehicles often appear at garages with the oil pressure light on – a fault that must be rectified immediately. Cambiare note that garages will often reach for a new pressure switch, but the problem is often that the structure of the oil has collapsed. This can be checked with an external gauge. Forté recommends an engine flush with one of its products if the oil has been allowed to deteriorate this far. This range doesn’t just lose oil by burning it. Cambiare advise that oil leaks could be the result of a leaking oil pressure switch. However, technicians tracing leaks should also bear in mind that Ducato-based motorhomes in particular can experience corroded or porous sumps due to long periods of non-use.

INSIDE CAB
Sticky windows are a problem common among infrequently used motorhomes. If there is a rotating, clanking or crunching sound when the switch is operated or the window is sticking and requires a knock or push to start moving, then the regulator mechanism is likely to be at fault say Lucas Electrical supplier Elta Automotive. Corrosion causes the sticking and explains why a knock can send the window on its way. If left like this, cables may break and the mechanism will fail completely. No noise or movement when the switch is operated can point to motor failure but always check the fuses and switches before replacement. Motors usually fail due to excessive strain caused by corrosion in the mechanism or trying to lower frozen windows. If the central locking fails it is probably due to the module under the facia say RMI, while Motaquip points out that rapid an unexplained battery drain is often due to an alarm module under the seat shorting out due to water ingress. Rust is less of an issue on these vans compared with their predecessors, but silver paint (as used on the Ducato) has an odd tendency to peel off.

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SAXON SIGNS DEAL WITH MOTIP DUPLI

Motip Dupli products

More Motip Dupli products on UK shelves soon

Accessory brand Saxon has signed a deal with Motip Dupli B.V. of The Netherlands. The contract means they will become distributors of Motip branded automotive paint and products across the UK.

Motip Dupli also produces the Dupli-Color and ColorMatic brands among others. Saxon is best known for distributing Little Trees, Ctek and Sonax.

Neil Haines, CEO of Saxon said “Motip Dupli is number one in the European aftermarket paint arena. This agreement will enable Saxon to introduce the Motip brand to the UK market. We see this as fantastic opportunity to work with a premium partner and further develop our strategy of distributing market leading quality brands”.

Otto Vallinga, International Sales Manager of Motip Dupli said “Partnering with one of the market leading automotive distributors in the United Kingdom is another important step in our growth strategy. Working with a major distributor such as Saxon further reinforces our position in the UK paint market and it’s our expectation that this partnership will prove long-lasting and fruitful.”

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