Tag Archive | "Automotive"

BEN LAUNCHES ‘GET FIT FOR WORK AND FOR LIFE’

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BEN LAUNCHES ‘GET FIT FOR WORK AND FOR LIFE’


BEN, the not-for-profit organisation, has launched its new project that aims to improve and spotlight the importance of physical health to individuals working in the automotive sector.

The ‘Get fit for work and for life’ initiative will be conducted through a number of activities throughout this year including a series of articles to improve health and wellbeing, some of which have been published on the BEN online News Hub. In addition to this, the foundation will also launch a new health programme that will be available later this year. The inventory will include checks for blood pressure test, body mass index (BMI) as well as body fat percentage and resting heart rate test based on National Health guidelines.

Speaking about the latest campaign, Zara Ross, Chief Executive at BEN said. “By focusing on preventative measures and offering advice on subjects such as healthy eating and exercise, we can help people maintain a good level of health and fitness. As part of this, we’re really excited to be launching our physical health checks later this year to support businesses in helping their employees get fit and stay fit for work and for life”.

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PAYING ATTENTION TO DETAIL

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PAYING ATTENTION TO DETAIL


Pri Chauhan shows us around a recruitment business that has an unusual point of difference.

Pete George and Pri Chauhan (R)

Imagine for a moment that you own a successful recruitment business and you wish to expand, what would the next step be? Perhaps you’d hire more staff and find a larger office? You might want to reach out to more potential clients through social media such as LinkedIn or Google Circles.

PG Automotive, a firm that wanted to expand from a small business suite wished to do all of these, but simply renting a f loor of an office block must have seemed too pedestrian for the management duo of Pete George and Pri Chauhan. Both are huge petrol-heads and the recruitment business that they own is focussed on the aftermarket… So perhaps it wasn’t such a huge leap of logic that they decided to expand into car detailing. The idea for the business was hit on following a meeting with Reep CEO Chris McDonald.

EXPANSION
The industrial unit chosen for the expansion is a lofty building, which PG fitted out with an upstairs area used for the recruitment agency offices. These are what you might expect, but it is the ground f loor that is altogether more interesting. A reception area resembles a boho New York loft, complete with contemporary furniture and lifestyle magazines. This leads through to a number of client rooms, which have floor to ceiling internal windows that look over the detailing bays. These rooms, which are also tastefully furnished can be either used for clients visiting the recruitment consultants, or for people wanting to watch and wait as their vehicle is detailed. “We did a lot of it ourselves” Chauhan recalled. “It cost Pete (George) a bad back and me a double hernia”.

Don’t confuse this operation with the sort of hand car washes you see in closed-down petrol
stations on trunk roads around the country. Reep comprises of some of the highest-end detailing products in the industry including Swissvax UK, Koch Chemie and Gtecniq. Indeed, it does not refer to itself as a distributor of car cleaning materials – the website prefers the term ‘world class surface technology’.

SERVICE
Whatever you want to call the service, the vehicles on the work area f loor on the day of our visit show that PG’s networking skills have resulted in a client base that most independent garages can only dream of. The car nearest the door to us was a mid-1960s Mustang convertible and it was probably the least valuable vehicle in the building. Waiting in the queue were two Ferrari 458s, an Aston and several Porsches and while we were visiting another car, which we think was a Lamborghini Aventador was unloaded from a curtain side trailer.

Ferrari 458 looking shiny

Having the detailing business has worked well for the recruitment firm as Chauhan says it gives the firm a point of differentiation and links it inextricably with the aftermarket. “I’ve enjoyed bringing clients here and they get it straight away. If there is a particular car in that they like we’ll arrange to see them while it is in and they can have a picture with it – though they can’t sit in it!” smiles Chauhan.

The bays themselves are described as F1-themed, though to our mind they more resembled spray booths in a bodyshop. Each one is temperature controlled and evenly lit and none have anywhere for dirt or contamination to build up. Alongside usual detailing facilities, the Gtechniq ceramic protection mentioned by Chauhan has been popular as it is tougher and more durable than traditional paint protection offered by dealerships.

One area where the bosses don’t get their hands dirty is in the detailing itself. As a recruitment company, it wasn’t too hard to find experienced professionals that wanted to work in a place such as this.

Indeed, it hasn’t been much trouble in getting anyone through the door as the team found at a launch event on a cold, wet Sunday in February. A capacity crowd turned up at the industrial estate to see some of the exotic cars that had been brought by customers to the gleaming facility. We’ll be interested to see how this hybrid business develops over the coming months.

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SERVING EVERYTHING THAT IS AUTOMOTIVE

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SERVING EVERYTHING THAT IS AUTOMOTIVE


We visit ‘Small Garage of the Year’ winner Simon Taylor

It’s fair to say Taylor’s winning streak has gone in his favour as when we arrived, there was a stream of customers and a logjam of cars waiting for attention on the forecourt. “We weren’t sure whether it was because of Brexit, or the economy or other reasons that we’ve been so busy”, said Taylor “But it seems to be lasting and we are getting more customers from further afield now”.

With a handful of garages and a Honda dealership operating in close proximity, we were curious to find out how this independent has ‘survived and thrived’ while others have been forced to roll down the shutters for good.

UNIQUE SELLING POINTS
While the garage is not selective and will operate on just about anything and everything that is automotive, there are a number of specialisms. For a start, it deals with LPG conversions and all that entails as well as having a skill set and a whole lot of diagnostic equipment for JLR products, and Land Rover in particular. Nonetheless, Taylor’s team will trace the fault on whatever is presented to them. “Although it would be nice to say that we specialise in specific vehicles, our customer base is completely varied. Generally, we work on Land Rovers, classics and even agricultural vehicles including tractors for our farmer customers”, says Taylor, adding that the workshop, on occasions, has taken on work from the Honda dealership who have also diversified its range to remain competitive in the area.

The experienced in-house technicians have played a major role in the garage’s success, according to Taylor, who are equipped with years of industry knowledge and expertise between them.

To complement their skill-set, Taylor makes sure his workforce are fully trained with the latest diagnostic tools and software on the market to speed up vehicle turnaround. “We are part of the Delphi Diesel Network and utilise its DS100 tools for diagnosing faults”, he says. “We also use Autologic and Launch UK diagnostic platforms”, The firm has also upgraded to Haynes Pro’s system to source and install the correct components first time around.

WORKSHOP TOUR
The workshop space is home to both car and motorcycle bays and even a small waste oil burner (SWOB) that wasn’t in operation during the tour. The garage is one of a handful in Leicestershire that can MOT motorbikes. As is common in rural garages, there were vehicles crammed into every available space, with cars ranging from a pretty Triumph TR4, to a number of new looking 4x4s, right down to a couple of Hyundai Coupés from the last century. “The garage’s original structure was a butchers shop and later home to a petrol station”, Taylor explained, adding that an old fashioned law imposed by the local pub still prohibits anyone from drinking alcohol on-site.

Busy morning in the workshop

NEXT STEPS
Winning the Award two years in a row has encouraged Taylor to give the garage a revamp with the addition of a new reception area and roof to be complete in the next couple of months. “I often apologise to customers who are sitting around and explain to them that it’s not as glamorous as the main dealer, but they said just because you take it to a main dealer doesn’t mean you’re going to get a good job”, Taylor continued. “It is a bit chaotic in the reception area but they know they will get a good job done because all they want is a good service and value for money”.

With the emergence of the Connected Car and hybrid technology, Taylor is in the process of enrolling staff onto training courses and considering installing an electric charge point as more of these models enter the parc. He concluded. “At the moment, I’m looking into how we can best deal with the technology that is coming through. Courses for these vehicles are getting better because initially, they were few and far between but over the next five years, we are going to see a lot of changes”.

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PAGID REVEALS ‘BIG’ ISSUES FOR AFTERMARKET 2017 [INFOGRAPHIC]


Pagid has released results of a survey looking at the thoughts and opinions of those working in the automotive aftermarket, revealing the big issues they face in 2017.

Take a look at their infographic below to see the issues that may affect you this year.


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CAT AWARDS 2017: VOTING CLOSED

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CAT AWARDS 2017: VOTING CLOSED


Print

The voting has now closed the 2017 CAT Awards.

The CAT Awards in their current form have been around for ten years, but we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to keep the event fresh and the Awards themselves the must-have trophy for any business.

The 2017 event will be held on February 10 in the stylish surroundings of the Lowry hotel in Manchester. and we’ve revised the line-up of Awards categories to keep it relevant to the aftermarket.

Come back after the Awards to find out who this years winners are.

Thanks again to our sponsors, whoare:

 

Automechanika

Motaquip

Bosal

Haynes Pro

Haynes

Impression Communications

Mannol UK

PG Automotive Recruitment

 

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IAM ROADSMART LAUNCH BITE-SIZE DRIVING COURSES


urban

Following on from the charity’s 60th anniversary, IAM RoadSmart has begun phase two of its business strategy by launching a range of bite size safety sessions for drivers in the B2B and B2C sector.

A total of six one-to-one courses are available to motorists, fleet managers and their employees of all ages (17-85+); lasting up to two hours to help them develop skills in a particular area of concern, while in the comfort of their own vehicle. The new modules include: Driving on Motorways, Rural Roads, Urban Roads as well as Vehicle Management, Overtaking and Confined Space Manoeuvring.

Sarah Sillars, CEO of IAM RoadSmart said: “We are trying to make sure we stay true to our charitable aims but actually modernising ourselves to become more engaged with a much greater number of people”, she continued: ‘We have changed the messaging by coming up with a different style and approach, which is to become a friend and supporter of the driver but helping them to enjoy riding, build more confidence and by default, reduce the numbers of killed and seriously injured on our roads”.

After carrying out a survey with 7,000 drivers that weren’t actively part of its 92,000 plus membership, most respondents said that training for business drivers was important with online delivery being the preferred choice of development for consumers as well as training that didn’t take employers and staff away from the workplace for more than two hours.

“We know targeted training, which integrates with existing driver risk management programmes is vital when making decisions on how to improve the skills of your drivers and deliver ROI for the business as well as helping to fulfil obligations to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974”, said IAM RoadSmart’s Commercial Director Leslie Upham. “We are looking to help fleet managers and drivers by moving into this space of being a business partner rather than a supplier right at the beginning”.

With 34,000 business drivers using the charity’s services last year, the firm believes these advanced courses will prove a valuable asset to employers and staff, while seeing an increase in uptake of its services going into the new year.

The driving modules will be available to the trade and general motorists in early 2017.

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HELLA RE-ENERGISES ITS BATTERY PROGRAMME


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF HELLA 

hella-battery-range

As one of Europe’s leading original equipment (OE) manufacturers and system suppliers for the passenger car, commercial vehicle (CV) and agricultural industries, HELLA also offers a huge range of aftermarket products that naturally reflect the quality implicit in a major OE manufacturer.

Battery related issues remain the root cause of most vehicle breakdowns with battery performance reduced by as much as 35% as temperatures hit freezing. Therefore, batteries are a particularly important product across all sectors, so as would be expected, the HELLA range is designed around quality.

To ensure its entire range remains at the very top of division when it comes to performance and durability, HELLA has recently reviewed, updated and expanded its range to provide the most appropriate solution for the varying needs of drivers.

The renewed car, light commercial vehicle (LCV) and CV battery ranges are included in HELLA’s latest Power Promotion, which runs until the end of the year and means the more batteries that a wholesaler orders, the greater their rebate.

As well as high quality products supplied by a reputable OE manufacturer, another major benefit for wholesalers distributing HELLA batteries is the no minimum order quantity stipulation and with next day delivery, factors only need to order what they need, when they need it.

The re-energised battery range consists of four models: Classic, Premium, Supreme and AGM, to cater for every conceivable application, from passenger car and LCV to heavy duty and agricultural.

The Classic range is designed for smaller capacity engines and older vehicles, providing a cost effective solution for these applications because of its reliability and maintenance free convenience.

For general purpose applications, HELLA has designed the Premium range for all classes of vehicles. It is one of the top selling models in the range and offers matching OE performance and a long service life, which is why the range proves so popular.

With the Supreme, HELLA provides a higher than OE specification solution for vehicles with extremely high energy consuming demands. Particularly ideal for diesel engines and vehicles with a large number of electronic devices and energy sapping additions, its robust design and optimised performance ensures reliability and a long service life.

The HELLA AGM range is ideal for the growing number of vehicles featuring stop-start functionality, as it is designed to cater for this technology due to its excellent cyclic capacity as well as providing up to 50% more starting power.

For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA or for BEHR HELLA SERVICE, please call the sales team on: 01295 662400 or email: hella.sales@hella.com

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SMART FOR TWO 1998-2014


sf2

Way back in the 1990s, watch manufacturer Swatch had an idea that the manufacturing principle that it used to produce watches could be applied to cars. To cut a long and tortuous development story short, a deal was signed with Daimler Chrysler (as the company was then) and an all-new factory was built in Hambach which became known as ‘Smartville’.

Cars went on sale from 1998 with RHD versions (and official UK imports) from 2000. Having been through three generations, the two-seater model (originally known as City Coupé, latterly as For Two) it is the first two iterations that this guide is concerned with and most of this information can also be applied to the sort-live Smart Roadster. The three-cylinder petrol engine fitted to the vast majority of these vehicles received various upgrades throughout the production cycle, notably a start/stop system from 2008. There’s also a Mitsubishi- powered diesel fitted in some later cars as well as an all electric version, though these are rare.

ENGINE
The elephant in the room with petrol versions of these cars is the engine. Very early cars have a 599cc, three- cylinder twinspark unit, while later ones have 698cc and 999cc respectively. Loosely speaking, the the older the engine is, the fewer miles it will cover until a rebuild becomes necessary. According to specialist workshop Fudge Smart, the problem is with the oil control rings. These become ‘gunged up’ and prevent the oil being scraped back down to the sump. Instead it remains in the top end, causing the valves to burn out.

These engines are comparatively cheap to rebuild, but taking in a vehicle that needs such work is likely to knock out any profit that could have been made. Oil smoke and a misfire due to a lack of compression are the most common symptoms.

Not every misfire is a doomed engine. If you are lucky, it might just be the coil pack or the HT lead insulators – both are common faults on the ForTwo.

As with any forced induction engine, oil starvation can wreck the turbocharger. Luckily, this range seems to have pretty durable turbos as we haven’t heard many reports of them needing replacement.

Tridion cell makes vehicle safer than many believe

Tridion cell makes vehicle safer than many believe

Another common, and thankfully less serious, Fortwo engine part that puts the dash light on is the oil pressure switch. While a failing switch might be the cause of an oil leak, an intermittent illumination of the warning light may be the result of the pressure sensing part of the switch weakening. Technicians should also note that these engines are known to burn oil and therefore the oil level should be checked at the correct temperature and on level ground before diagnosis begins. (While the switch monitors oil pressure, very low oil level and air being drawn into the oil pump, has been known to cause the warning light to come on). An oil pressure check using an external, calibrated, oil pressure gauge should be used to also confirm the correct oil pressure before replacing the switch.

ELECTRICS
There’s nothing particularly wrong with the lights although unless you have pipe cleaner arms the headlamp bulbs are a swine to change.

If the car won’t start and the indicators flash nine times when the key fob button is pressed, then the key needs to be recoded.

Roadsters have a specific issue where the wipers are impossible to switch off. This requires a new motor, but at least you won’t get any parking tickets.

Tridion cell makes vehicle safer than many believe

Tridion cell makes vehicle safer than many believe

INTERIOR
Must and damp in the interior will probably be due to leaking quarter or rear windows as these. Evilution.co.uk suggest that this is due to the original sealant giving up. Simply re-sealing the windows should keep the inside dry.

TRANSMISSION
TecRMI point out that on early versions of the car, a faulty brake light switch can cause problems when selecting reverse while later versions brake light switch, clutch and software issues can cause difficulty in selecting reverse (N flashing on display).

EMISSIONS
Lambda sensors are a popular Cambiare part for these cars, often being replaced to get a car through the emissions section of an MOT test. Technicians should bear in mind that a spilt crankcase breather pipe can allow unmetered air into the engine and cause emissions related problems (causing lambda sensor and/or air flow meter fault codes). A blocked breather can increase crankcase pressure leading to increased oil consumption and again emission related issues. The breathers should be checked before replacing a lambda sensor unnecessarily.

SAM CONTROL UNIT
The SAM unit, according to 4smart.co.uk, can be a costly repair if it fails; with the main cause of failure being water ingress although this usually only affects roadsters. As with many parts of the Smart, the SAM is an unconventional design, as it is both a fuse box and an ECU in one combined unit. While it is possible to obtain a brand new unit from the dealer it is very expensive, so most in the trade will send them to a specialist for a rebuild. Note that you’ll need to send the main ECU along with it.

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SALARY EXPECTATIONS: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM


If you are not clear about what you will pay, or what you want to be paid, here is a risk of wasting everybody’s time, writes Pri Chauhan

Pri Chauhan is a Director at PG Automotive Aftermarket Recruitment

Pri Chauhan is a Director at PG Automotive Aftermarket Recruitment

In the automotive aftermarket, the majority of declined job offers are a result of something salary-related.

Of course, there can be other factors that force a candidate to decline an offer; job title, location, benefits package or so much more. In the automotive industry in particular, the choice of company car is so emotive that I have witnessed candidates turn down great jobs on the basis of the brand of car, which isn’t very sensible. The way that some people react, you might think that only four German brands are able to build a car!

However, it has been my experience that salary is the number one reason. As salary plays such a major role in a successful hire, it is important that both the candidate and employer are on the same page about it. If there is a significant gap between the two sides, chances are the offer process will be bumpier than the ride on the run-flat tyres on your shiny new German marque.

STIGMA


Unfortunately, most conversations surrounding salary are viewed as difficult and therefore uncomfortable. As a society we have established that talking about salary feels as taboo as openly discussing politics or religion. As a recruiter, it is important to separate what it’s like to have a discussion at the dinner table with a friend versus gathering information that leads to a successful appointment. The sooner you take away the stigma that goes with ‘what do you make?’, the sooner you will be able to have an effective conversation and understand where everyone stands on the matter.

GET 
IN 
EARLY


Salary information is so crucial to a successful hire; the conversation needs to be had sooner rather than later. A candidate does not want to go through several rounds of interviews taking multiple days off of work and spending hours preparing for tough questions, only to find out the business cannot afford to hire them.

Likewise, recruiters don’t want to spend time prepping and facilitating candidates to interview only to find out the person they are representing has outlandish, unobtainable expectations. The same can be said for hiring managers; no party wants their time wasted for no reason.

salary

MUTUAL 
UNDERSTANDING


For recruiters, it is important to be on top of this, the whole way through the process. Keeping all this in mind, I like to have the salary conversation with my candidates immediately. That means on the first call. I always ensure the candidate that I am NOT trying to lock them down on a salary amount, rather that I would like to know what it would take for them to accept a new role.

It’s important the candidate knows that having this conversation is actually in their very best interests. I always do my best to relay this to the individual. Also, remind them that private health care, holiday allowance and other package factors will impact this number too, so it’s not the be-all and end-all right then and there.

HARD
 QUESTION

I like to prompt the subject by asking: “in order for me to get you the best offer, what would you be looking for in total first year earnings?” It allows the candidate to realise that I am going to work for them to get the best offer I can.

There is no point encouraging a candidate through the interview process that is too much of a reach for them, or not going to fulfill their monetary goals. If their expectations are unrealistic, it’s better to confront the situation head on at the start. Likewise, if our client can’t pay them what they want and deserve, we like them to be upfront about it. Asking them what an unbelievable, excellent, good, okay, unsatisfactory and outright terrible offer would be is also a good way to understand their priorities, appreciate how important salary is to them and recognise how much selling you’ll have to do come offer stage, depending on the amount.


MAINTAIN
 CONTROL


As soon as you realise that you are asking this information for the benefit of the candidate, salary talks no longer becomes an awkward or difficult conversation. It is important to gather all of the information that will impact the acceptance of an offer ahead of time so there are no surprises throughout the process.

Enough can go wrong in the recruiting process, so the more you can limit issues, the easier it will be to hire successfully!

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THE FORD MUSTANG (2005-2014) S197


Ford MustangThere was a fashion for retro-styled cars at the turn of the century. For example, you’ll remember cars such as the Mini, Rover 75, Jaguar S-Type and the PT Cruiser. Perhaps the coolest looking of the lot was the 2005 model year Mustang. It was the much-needed replacement for the SN95, which was itself a re-skin of the third generation built on the ‘Fox’ platform that spanned back to 1978.

Apart from the styling, buyers loved the traditional front-engine rear-drive layout, although reviewers noted that the live axle coupled with thin interior plastics made the car feel unrefined and tiring to drive. The normally aspirated V6 or V8 engine line up felt pretty old fashioned by modern standards too.

The car wasn’t officially sold in the UK, so the majority on the roads have been imported used from the USA and other countries. Ford never made a RHD S197, although there are a few out there that have been converted, notably for the Australian market.

IGNITION
Strangely, it seems that the spark plugs fitted at the factory on early cars were prone to breaking on removal. The plugs in question are Motorcraft PZT 2FE featuring an unusual two- piece design. Website aa1car. com explains that the crimped lower electrode shell that becomes coated with carbon, causing it to stick in the cylinder head. Rust and corrosion on the lower plug shell can also cause it to stick. When you attempt to unscrew the plug, the lower shell can twist off and get stuck in the head. If you are going to be looking after a number of these vehicles it might be worthwhile investing in a small tool that has been developed to extract it. Snap-On produce one in the US, if you ask your local rep, they should be able to order it for you. Once you’ve got the Motorcraft plugs out, don’t refit like-for-like. Use one piece items (NGK, Denso, Bosch and Champion all produce good quality plugs that won’t break).

ENGINESDSC01701
If you have a customer who brings you a newly- acquired V6 and complains that it is sluggish, then he is probably right, but that’s how these cars are designed. In standard form the 4.0 V6 (which is not dissimilar to the Cologne unit you might remember in the Capri) is not as sprightly as the on-paper figures suggest. Unlike earlier versions of this engine, the 4.0 is of SOHC design with a jackshaft in place of a camshaft to drive a timing chain to each cylinder head. 2011-on V6 models used the far more modern Duratec V6 engine. It is more likely that cars you encounter have a version of the venerable Ford V8. These mills are tough and straightforward to service (other than the aforementioned issue with two-piece spark plugs). However, access is a little tight.

GEARCHANGE

FM part missing on stereo

FM part missing on stereo

Unusually for an American car, the sporty Mustang is often specified with five on the floor.

The gearbox is not a problem in itself, but many used examples feel loose and notchy. This is easily sorted as it is usually down to worn bushes, bent linkage etc. However, the problem is symptomatic of an example that has been thrashed: bear this in mind if you are preparing it for resale.

SUSPENSION
Cart springs and a live axle were old hat when the marquee was first introduced in 1964, so it is perhaps not surprising that 40 years later Ford scored a fair amount of flak from the motoring press for continuing to use them instead of indepen

LIGHTS

Lights need to be modified

Lights need to be modified

As with all imported LHD cars, the lights need to be converted before the car can be registered in the UK. As with most cars imported from outside of the EU, the vehicle will have needed to go through an SVA test before it can be registered. There’s a number of specialists that can help with this, but as it is always a DIY job, the results can be patchy.

Like most American cars, the S197 benefitted from various year-on- year changes, and as you might expect from Ford, the options list was as long as your arm.

INTERIOR
Suffice it to say that 2005-2008 cars had fairly rattly interiors, where later models enjoyed a notable improvement in fit and finish. Standard stereo systems were pretty good, though most customers ticked the option of a ‘shaker’ sound system. If your customer’s goal is just to listen to the Archers, they might be disappointed as US radios only tune on ‘odd’ FM frequencies (94.3, 94.5, 94.7 etc). There’s also no RDS/TP or TA etc. As the dash supports a standard double DIN, your customer might prefer to update the head unit to a modern touchscreen model.

SERVICING
US-market cars are designed to be serviced every few months and don’t demand the high- performance oils that we are used to writing about. That said, the V6 and V8 in the 2005 cars are designed for a thin 5w-20 oil which can be hard to come by in the UK. Several of the Mustang owner’s forums show that many owners use a cheaper and more commonly available 5w-30.

ROTATING
Diode pack failure in the alternator is relatively common, and as it is not an off-the-shelf part you would be best advised to have the customer’s existing unit rebuilt. Fortunately there are a number of specialists such as Autoelectro that will be prepared to undertake this
for you.

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