Automechanika Birmingham is calling on independent garages across the UK to enter its  ‘Garage of the Year’ award, returning for its second year and will be bigger than ever before.

The competition is open to all garages across the United Kingdom, with entrants explaining the reasons why they should win the coveted award and walk away with £1000. This year, there are six categories for garages to enter, recognising the diversity of UK garage businesses.

The winner of each category will be announced at an evening dinner to be held at The Director’s Club, Aston Villa FC on 5 June, which all category finalists will be invited to attend free of charge. The overall Garage of the Year winner will then be announced at the show on 6 June from these six category winners.

Last year’s first-ever ‘Garage of the Year’ award was won by local garage MotorServ-UK Solihull, which gained the most votes in the battle for top spot, with Philips Garage Ltd from Glasgow narrowly missing out and finishing second overall, and Shropshire-based garage EAC Telford coming third.

This year’s categories are:

• Best Small Garage
• Best Large Garage
• Best Community Initiative award
• ‘Auto-mechanik’ of the Year
• Technology Innovation Award
• Business Innovation Award

Simon Albert, Managing Director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “The awards this year take on an exciting new development with an evening dinner to name the category winners and celebrate their achievement.

“Last year 75 garages entered – we anticipate that number to significantly increase this year. The finalists will all benefit from a raised business profile, these awards are a great way to reward the hard work and contribution that garages give to the automotive industry.”

The award is being run in partnership with Garage Wire. Interested garages are advised to ‘save the dates’ of 5-6 June and look out for more details in the near future. Anyone interested in entering can get the entry form here

The competition is part of a larger offering for garages at the 2018 exhibition. The organisers have introduced a dedicated Garage Quarter offering over 130 suppliers of tools and workshop equipment, services and innovative products as well as a Garage Social area. End users will benefit from a new specialist demo hub which will showcase live action across body repair and vehicle customisation as well as a Business Services Village giving garages free advice on how to run a business more efficiently. The ever popular Workshop Training Hub will return for 2018, bigger and better than before including expert speakers and free training. The Garage Quarter will stay open on Wednesday 6 June until 7pm to allow business owners and technicians to make the most out of their day out of the workshop.

Garage visitors will also benefit from free parking at the NEC and free breakfast upon arrival. Visitors looking to sign up can register for their free ticket here:

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This summer, Birmingham will again become the central hub for the UK’s automotive industry as it unites with Automechanika Birmingham, bringing thousands of visitors to the region.

For the third year running, the UK’s leading trade exhibition for the automotive industry will be making a welcome return to Birmingham NEC on 5 to 7June, where an increase in visitors is anticipated thanks to a raft of new initiatives, networking opportunities and extended opening hours for automotive repair garages.

With UK manufacturing continuing to climb up the global rankings in a post-Brexit era, it currently helps power the engine of the West Midlands (£17.5 billion) and East Midlands (£15.9 billion), with their strength across the aerospace and automotive sectors.

With this in mind, Automechanika Birmingham represents the ideal opportunity to continue to support this growing market in a central, accessible and relevant location, also bringing the sector to a city synonymous with the motor trade with the region’s heritage immersed in automotive growth and success.

To help leverage this global economic potential, this year’s event is launching a facilitated meetings programme to allow visitors to pre-arrange meetings with exhibitors, ensuring that visitors maximise their time and an increase of business conversations are held on exhibitor stands.

More than 500 exhibitors are due to attend for 2018, with 85% of 2017 visitors intending to return to the exhibition, which will house a newly improved layout.

What’s more, organisers at this year’s show have widened the appeal across the aftermarket sector, including a new, dedicated Garage Quarter, hosting tools and garage equipment suppliers looking to meet the growing number of independent garages attending the event.

The West Midlands is no stranger to the automotive trade with global brands Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC, MG Rover Group and more recently Aston Martin dominating the UK automotive industry’s history.

Simon Albert, Event Director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “After last year’s success with a turnout of around 12,000 visitors, we’ve no doubt that this year’s event will cement Automechanika Birmingham’s’ position as the UK’s most valuable meeting place for the automotive industry, uniting the very best of the UK aftermarket and vehicle production sector.

“The importance of the UK automotive industry to the economy is evident, particularly now more than ever. As we believe the sector will provide a key role in our global economic standing, we’re now calling on regional businesses to get behind the event and support the UK automotive industry.”
Many of the exhibitors will announce special show deals, offers and competitions in time for the show. Visitors can benefit from an enhanced programme of live events featuring live technical demonstrations, free training and keynote speakers.

This year’s event at the NEC Birmingham, running from 5-7 June 2018, will welcome vehicle production exhibitors in Hall 6, aftermarket suppliers in Hall20 and a dedicated Garage Quarter in Hall 19.

Visitors looking to sign up can register for their free ticket here:

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Global OE friction manufacturer, TMD Friction, has proved the quality of its Textar aftermarket brakes in an AMS braking test that scored Textar above the competition and original equipment manufactured material (OEM).

An Audi A5 and VW Passat Variant test vehicles were loaded to the permissible gross vehicle weight along with two passengers. The car was brought to a standstill by braking from a speed of 100 km/h ten times in a row. The first and the tenth braking applications were evaluated to provide information about the characteristics of the brake pads when they were cold and hot.

Textar competed against three competitor brands and the respective OEM material, with both test vehicles equipped with ex works. Overall, Textar achieved the best results compared to the competitors’ products and the VW Passat Variant scored even better results than the OEM material. The Audi A5 with Textar brakes performed identical to the OEM material, for cold and hot braking, and was the most stable performer in comparison with its competitors. The difference between the first and tenth braking application was only 0.2 m, the same as the amount achieved by the brake pad fitted as part of the original equipment from the manufacturer. The biggest deviation by a competitor was 2.8 m.

For cold braking, Textar brake pads and all three competitors achieved even better results than the OEM material. For hot braking, nearly every brake pad except one beat the OEM pad in terms of braking distance. Textar was the supplier with the lowest deviation between the first and tenth braking application, only 0.2m, compared to a competitor with 8.7m which corresponds to two vehicle lengths.

The internationally accepted AMS test was originally developed by automobile magazine, Auto Motor Sport. TMD Friction performed the test within the scope of the benchmark series, to secure and expand the high quality and performance of its products based on the results gained.

Vincenzo Di Caro, Product Engineer of TMD Friction, said: “Today, in a time of high-tech, high-performance cars and increasing traffic, brakes have to generate maximum performance with speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour. Significant testing cycles are also very important to us in order to check and improve our products. The AMS test shows one of many examples of Textar placing great importance on safety as well as removing prejudice by demonstrating that aftermarket brake pads can be even better than OE products when dealing with original spare parts.”

TMD Friction launched its premium brake brand, Textar, to the UK market aftermarket earlier this year. The full range of products cover 99.9% of the UK car parc and includes brake pads, discs and accessories, including brake fluid, available for next day delivery. The launch of Textar passenger car provides the aftermarket with a superior braking product, complementing the long-established Textar brand dedicated to the OE sector.

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The largest operating expense for a fleet is fuel costs and any savings made within this sector will have a significant impact for the fleet. As a result, fleet managers are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs and increase fuel economy. Although it may be overlooked, engine oils are a vital part of any operating vehicle, and can also reduce emissions – even a 1% fuel economy saving can help hugely in a large fleet. Although this sounds like a small percentage, when an average annual fuel bill is reviewed, a 1% saving can make thousands of pounds difference by simply changing the engine oil. A potentially large saving for a fleet of vehicles.

Engine oil manufacturers are constantly looking at ways to improve fuel economy in all vehicles. We know that the thinner the oil, the less drag it puts on the engine, and therefore an increase in fuel economy. These oils are now ready to buy off the shelf for passenger vehicles – for instance grades such as 5W-30 instead of 10W-40. However, within heavy duty applications, one of the main concerns with this method is whether lower viscosity oils will protect the engine to the same extent.

Carlube’s Triple T range for commercial vehicles, meets the needs of Truck, Transport and Tractor engines. This range covers over 99% of commercial vehicle engine applications, allowing extended drain intervals of up to 80,000km and reduced engine wear. Triple T products carry formal approvals from leading commercial vehicle manufacturers such as Mack, Renault, Scania & Volvo.

Carlube Triple T 5W-30 UHPD E6/E9 is rigorously tested to provide premium protection against engine wear and fully protect vital components. In the ACEA E6 engine tests, it has been proven to offer over 40% more engine wear protection than the test limit. The formulation is one of Carlube’s most comprehensive offerings for on and off road vehicles in the marketplace.

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The use of induction heating in the workshop is on the rise and we asked Induction Innovations Inc., manufacturer of the Mini-Ductor® Venom™ handheld induction heating tool, to compare the advantages of using induction heat vs the traditional approach of using an oxy-acetylene torch for removing problem parts.

There are some key advantages of using induction heat, outlined below. But first, here’s some key questions to ask yourself:

o Have you, or a colleague, ever caused damage with a torch?
o Does removing parts take up a lot of time and would a new solution make your lives easier?
o Do you regularly have to replace parts that you could have kept?
o Do you need to improve safety in the workshop/bodyshop?

Top tips: Why is induction heating technology a viable alternative to Oxy-Acetylene?

Using Oxy-Acetylene is risky
The use of a torch in a confined space vastly increases the consequential fire risk – plastics, wiring, trim etc. around the part to be removed can catch fire, causing potentially costly damage. Replacing damaged wiring can be very expensive.

By contrast, induction heating is a safer, more reliable, flameless heat, created by high frequency magnetic fields, which heat ferrous metals.

Reduced Overheads and Insurance premiums
The cost savings from not using Oxy-Acetylene is striking. On average, insurance premiums are 10-30% less (depending on use and insurance company). Added to the average cost of £150 a year to rent a gas bottle and with the majority of parts having to be replaced, the overheads start to mount up.

Works quickly, helping improve productivity and ultimately profits
Flexible coils, supplied with the Mini-Ductor wrap round the nut and heat it in seconds for easy removal. For example, a 19mm nut is heated red hot in just 15 seconds for easy removal.

As the flameless heat is localised on the part and not the surrounding area, collateral damage to the part is minimised, so parts can often be re-used.

Most importantly, using induction heating as a viable heating alternative to a naked flame means technicians are safer in the workshop.

The market leading Inductor® product range, from US company Induction Innovations, Inc., is a high performance invisible heating solution, ideal for automotive mechanics. The range includes the user-friendly Mini-Ductor handheld unit (available in 240V, 110V and 12V versions) and the Pro-Max™ 2kw trolley or work bench mounted inverter.

These CE marked, easy-to-use tools can cope with a variety of heating needs. To find out more, call + 44 (0) 1953 859138, email, visit or watch a wide variety of application videos at

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Hella Hengst portfolio

HELLA, a leading original equipment (OE) manufacturer and system supplier to the global automotive industry, has recently added antibacterial carbon activated cabin filters to the HELLA Hengst range of OE quality filters.

The 38 new-to-range (NTR) references are available for a variety of vehicles, including Ford Focus C-Max, Mercedes Benz A and C class, and Sprinter, as well as Audi A3, A4 and A5. The range also extends to the majority of VW and SEAT models. These additions, which will be available from early 2018, can be easily identified with the letters ‘LB’ marked on the end of the HELLA Hengst part numbers.

The main difference between the HELLA Hengst carbon activated cabin filter and the new antibacterial version is that while both have excellent odour reduction properties, the latter can also reduce allergy problems caused by contaminants such as bacteria and mould fungi, which enter the passenger compartment through the ventilation system, thus tackling one of the growing issues facing road users by directly addressing the health concerns of vehicle occupants.

Today, modern vehicles have cabin filters located in a variety of places and that are sometimes challenging to fit, making it difficult for installers to service or replace them. To further assist technicians, HELLA Hengst provides easy-to-follow installation instructions for all cabin filter types, including their locations, in every product pack.

As these additions demonstrate, the HELLA Hengst range is consistently growing and with a complete range of 1,500 premium quality filters across 90,000 applications for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, the company is showing its commitment to deliver the very best in terms of quality and availability to support the independent aftermarket.

For more information about the new HELLA Hengst filtration range, contact our sales team on 01295 662324 or email

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With the UK currently enduring some fairly hostile weather conditions, for the country’s motorists, it’s the battery that takes the brunt. This fact was underlined by the RAC as it issued a stark warning this week stating that they expected to receive more than 3,000 battery related callouts on the first day back after Christmas alone.

The weather is however an opportunity for HELLA customers as its supply agreement with ECOBAT Battery Technologies ensures that the HELLA battery offering meets the challenge, because alongside excellent availability, it is both comprehensive and incorporates the latest products to reflect current technology. In addition, with the market-leading Hella Gutmann Solutions (HGS) mega macs range of diagnostic tools, which possess the software required to correctly install the batteries used for start/stop enabled vehicles, HELLA has all the necessary elements to provide a full battery replacement programme.

Bearing in mind that battery related issues remain the most common cause of breakdown, whatever the season, battery health should be a priority for workshops. Therefore, as a matter of course, technicians should carry out a battery check on every vehicle that enters their premises, which allows preventative maintenance to be undertaken. Alongside this practical action, technicians should be recommending that customers who use their vehicles infrequently or make only short journeys, charge the battery on a regular basis, which will substantially reduce the risk of electrical related breakdown.

Due to the competitive nature of the sector, proactivity is the watchword for batteries, so it is vital for factors to make sure they are supplying the correct replacement for the vehicle, which is why an accurate application guide is a must. However, it is good practice for counter staff to check whether any extra high demand electrical equipment has been added to the vehicle, as this could affect the specification.

As the number of vehicles incorporating a start/stop function will only increase, the demand for AGM/EFB batteries is projected to grow rapidly and these must be installed correctly to prevent their premature failure. Unlike the traditional SLI battery, AGM/EFB batteries require a specific fitting procedure and the use of a specialised tool to integrate them into the vehicle’s complicated electronic system. Moreover, as vehicles become evermore reliant on electronics and the demands on the battery subsequently increase, the correct diagnosis of the cause of electrical related issues is vital.

This is where HGS users benefit, as all mega macs diagnostic tools have the capability to introduce an AGM/EFB battery into the battery management system (BMS) of a start/stop enabled vehicle, to correctly initialise the replacement. Without this process, the battery will fail prematurely.

Further advantages come with their ability to diagnose other battery related problems, such as issues with the IBS (intelligent battery sensor), which is a vital component in the BMS and, will sometimes also need replacing. Usefully, in addition to its aftermarket range, HELLA is an original equipment (OE) IBS supplier, so has particular expertise with this increasingly used product.

In short, as a respected supplier of premium quality components and diagnostic equipment, HELLA’s battery programme naturally reflects the requirements of the market and provides the solution technicians need to undertake every battery related challenge.

For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA, please call customer services on: 01295 662400 or email

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Aisin braking portfolio

The Aisin group is a diversified global conglomerate with special expertise in materials processing, precision engineering and manufacturing technologies. While the principal activity is the design and manufacture of automotive parts and systems, the group also produces household appliances such as fuel cells and other products related to the energy, lifestyle and wellness sectors.

Guided by the founder’s commitment to “quality first”, Aisin has developed a strong position as a global supplier of premium automotive parts and systems to vehicle manufacturers. In addition to Toyota, which has taken a 24% equity in the company, Aisin is a major supplier to the Volkswagen Group, BMW, Volvo, General Motors, PSA Group, Renault-Nissan, Mitsubishi, Honda, Suzuki and Changan Group.

Aisin Seiki group
Japan-based Aisin has been processing materials and manufacturing premium precision products for more than 70 years. Founded as an aircraft parts manufacturer, the company has now developed into a Fortune Global 500 company with more than 190 subsidiaries and affiliates around the world. The Aisin group is a strong top-10 supplier in the automotive OE and aftermarket industries, and recorded net sales of over 29 billion Euro in the 2016 financial year.

Drive, turn, stop…

The Aisin automotive product range is comprehensive, covering all the principal vehicle functions – driving, turning and braking – and includes drivetrain, clutch, brake, chassis, engine and cooling systems, in addition to vehicle body parts.

The group strives to anticipate customer needs and has invested heavily in the last few years to meet the changing requirements of the automobile industry. Using its expertise in diverse metals and processing technologies, Aisin is now producing lighter vehicle parts – including cast parts for the engine and related areas – helping car manufacturers meet lower fuel consumption and emission standards.

Strong R&D resources

For these new trends, Aisin is able to draw on its impressive worldwide research and development assets. Back in 1970 it was one of the first auto parts manufacturers to construct its own vehicle proving ground equipped with test tracks. Aisin now has three proving grounds worldwide with a variety of track surfaces.

In parallel, state-of-the-art indoor testing facilities enable Aisin to evaluate a wide range of vehicle performance areas including electronic devices, fuel economy exhaust emissions, high-temperature environments and vehicle stability control systems.

Going forward, Aisin aims to continue working with its subsidiaries and customers to anticipate future requirements and fulfil its mission to contribute to the creation of a better auto society and higher standard of living.

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As a respected original equipment (OE) manufacturer and systems supplier, HELLA is already at the forefront of automotive technology with its involvement in areas such as ADAS (advance driver assistance systems) and LED lighting solutions. However, unwilling to sit on its laurels, the company is now looking further into the future to redefine the limits of present and future camera evolution.

So, as well as current ADAS innovations like lane departure warning systems, which are based on radar sensors that constantly monitor the area behind the car when passing other vehicles or changing lanes, HELLA is developing products that continue to enhance its reputation as a leader in the market.

Working alongside independent associated business Brighter AI, HELLA has been increasing the quality of existing camera systems by pushing the boundaries of technology with a cloud-based application that has allowed the development of new safety and comfort-related functions.

The solution has already been implemented in the security sector, but can be adapted for automotive applications and uses infrared night photography to create realistic daylight images.

In layman terms, the team is developing the technology that will enable the driver to look into the rearview mirror at night and the view reflected will appear to them as if they were driving in daylight, thus solving a basic problem of driving in the dark – limited sight and slower reaction times.

Greater illumination of the area around them will significantly increase driver safety as they will be able to see more of the road behind, leading to less accidents and potential fatalities.

Currently in its pilot stages, HELLA is confident that the realistic colour image technology will pave the way for further uses in the industry such as optimising camera-based driver assistance systems, as well as applications in aviation and aerospace.

For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA or for Behr Hella Service, please call customer services on: 01295 662400 or email

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The website, is free of charge to users, available round the clock and kept up-to-date, giving workshops a genuine advantage, allowing them to develop a greater level of technical competence, which will contribute to the overall success of their business. HELLA, one of the world’s leading original equipment (OE) component and system suppliers, created the easily accessible portal to provide technicians with complete online support, including the latest range extensions, which are updated monthly, technical product information and HELLA Online Training – in short – to assist workshops to future proof their businesses.

TECH WORLD also links to the company’s online catalogues enabling them to browse all that HELLA, Behr Hella Service and Hella Gutmann Solutions has to offer. In addition, briefing notes are available, which give detailed information on product features and specifications, as well as links to supporting Apps, such as the ELIVER light comparison App and Behr Hella Services Compressor App.

Technicians can also access a range of practical technical training modules for lighting, electric and electronics and thermal management, and take advantage of the detailed technical information, with access to a know-how tool in which HELLA reveals how components work.

With this insight, they are able to more easily identify the cause of a fault and through this technical background knowledge how to rectify it. What’s more, technicians have the option to view technical clips and diagnostic tips to assist with the repairing process. To optimise the whole repair process, HELLA has continued to invest to provide excellent product availability and depth of range to help technicians complete their work to the highest possible standard. HELLA’s commitment to make the workshops day-to-day business life easier, faster and ready to face the future, demonstrates that the company really is the ‘workshop’s friend.’

To experience HELLA TECH WORLD please visit – For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA, please call customer services on: 01295 662400 or email

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