Tag Archive | "Automotive"

CAT AWARDS 2017: VOTING CLOSED

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CAT AWARDS 2017: VOTING CLOSED


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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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JAGUAR XF (2007-2015)


Jaguar_XF

Launched in 2007, the Jaguar XF was a replacement for the elderly S-type. While the
styling divided critics no-one could accuse JLR of producing another retro pastiche vehicle – indeed the car was all about modernism.

In 2008 JLR was bought out by Indian conglomerate Tata Steel Industries. a move which many commentators were sceptical about at the time, but now agree it was one of the best things to have ever happened to the company in terms of design and build quality. The result of this is that the 2007-2015 XF is a popular car in the trade, with values remaining steady after the initial drop-off.

AROUND THE WHEEL
TPMS sensors are prone to corroding and producing the MOT-failing problem of putting the light on. A lot of these cars were ordered with the 20” wheel and low-profile tyre package. These look cool, but do little to improve the ride and the rims often come into the trade with damage that goes beyond just scuffs. It’s a powerful car, so you might expect it to run brake pads relatively quickly, although there are reports that it uses rear pads faster than you might imagine.

REAR SUSPENSION
On XJR and XFRS models there is a possibility that the rear toe linkage could have separated from the subframe if the vehicle has been particularly harshly driven. Other than this, all the usual suspension checks apply.

EMISSIONS
All diesels that don’t go on regular runs can suffer from blocked DPFs, though a search of forums including Pistonheads suggests that this range suffers more than most. A few people have reported cracked DPFs – presumably as a result of forced regeneration.

Diesel is most common power unit on UK cars

Diesel is most common power unit on UK cars

ENGINE
The 2.7 diesel is the only engine in the range to use a cam belt – and JLR recommends replacing it at an optimistic 112,000 miles or 10 years. As always, these numbers should be treated as an absolute maximum. The diesel engine was popular through the XFs run as it was reasonably economical compared with the petrol versions and sat in a low tax group (a situation that is likely to change in the coming years). Cambiare say that technicians investigating a hesitation, or stalling as the engine returns to idle, should bear in mind that the engine oil temperature sensor on these cars relays data to the engine ECU. This is used to determine the viscosity of the engine oil and control the operation of the variable valve solenoid. A failing temperature sensor could cause the valve timing adjustment to be set incorrectly, effecting running. A fault code of P0197 may be recovered.

Owners have reported problems with both Camshaft sensors on some of the petrol engines. Cambiare explains that it would be unusual for two sensors to fail at the same time, so the cause of the problem is likely to be the shared earth via the ECU. Technicians should check continuity of the wire, often Green/Black in colour, before replacing the sensors unnecessarily. Fault codes P1174, P1175 and or P1176 may be present. Fault codes P1106 and P1107 may direct a technician towards replacing the MAP sensor. However, these codes can also refer to the charging reference from the alternator being out of range and require the battery status monitoring software resetting.

LIGHTS
Cambiare mentions that brake lights may sometimes fail to illuminate when the brake pedal is depressed after a battery replacement. Technicians should be aware that suspected brake light switch failure could also be linked to the battery power management system not being re-programmed when the battery was replaced. It advises that this should be investigated before a new brake light switch is fitted.

WIRING
Relatively common faults identified by TecRMI, (the technical service and repair arm of the TecAlliance Group) include the engine dying and a short circuit with a subsequent fire risk. The first cause, which generally affects vehicles manufactured between November 2012 and May 2013 is due to the fuel pump stopping and therefore cutting the supply of fuel and is the result of a problem with the cable harness, which will need to be replaced. The second, which generally affects vehicles manufactured between September 2012 and March 2013, is also wiring related and is caused by the wiring harness being damaged through chafing against adjacent components and requires the installation of protective covers.

INTERIOR
Leather is the only seat covering offered, which is tough for anyone who is repulsed by the idea of sitting on animal hide. This is unusual for Jaguar, as its models have usually been offered with an option of cloth. Generally the interior is good and hardwearing, although the touchscreen infotainment system feels a little dated now and the modules are expensive to replace when they go wrong. Depending on spec, you may find that vehicles come with heated or cooled seats and some models are specified with a Bowers and Wilkins or Meridian sounds system. Note that these vehicles use the fibre-optic MOST network. Don’t try to splice extra equipment into the loom – it won’t work and the car may refuse to start. Some owners report problems with touchscreens freezing – which is perhaps to be expected. However, some other electrical niggles such as ‘boot open’ light remaining on, could take ages to diagnose and fix – or they will result in an unhappy customer returning the car. The clock apparently runs a little slow and loses a minute every couple of months – though there’s not much you can do about this!

Cluster fault prompted recall

Cluster fault prompted recall

RECALLS
The XF has had more than its fair share of recalls. DVSA first recalled this car in 2008 for rear seatbelt problems. Since then it has had recalls for instrument cluster warning speaker faults, various recalls relating to fuel starvation and fuel leaks as well as power steering failures. These steering failures are down to pin holes appearing from corroded pipes with the resultant loss of hydraulic fluid. DVSA notes that this fluid leaking poses a fire risk. A further recall was announced to sort an engine-cut out issue relating to the charge air cooler hoses and resonator on some models built between July 2012 and September 2013. There was a production issue, which means they can leak leading to a risk of stalling. Most recently, in June 2016 the factory issues a further recall over an engine cut-out issue relating to sudden in-tank fuel pump failure.

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THE RENAULT LAGUNA II (2001-2008)


Renault_Laguna II (2001-2008)

Occasionally a vehicle model will turn out to be the gift that keeps on giving for the aftermarket. In last months magazine we mentioned the number of K-series head gasket sets that were sold when Rover 200s ruled the roads, but we could also have talked about R53 Mini PAS pumps, Vectra alternators or many other part numbers that for a time dominated the replacement market.

One car that was known as being problematic when it came out of warranty is the second-generation Renault Laguna. A few years ago it was famous for numerous small but significant electrical gremlins that would lead to odd instrument readings or limpy running, many of which were eventually traced to a poor design of sensor plug. As these cars range between eight and sixteen years old you might think that survivors would be few and far between, but in fact TecAlliance data suggests that more than 60,000 are still on UK roads. Families continue to hold this range in high regard thanks to the NCAP five-star rating and comfortable ride.

REAR AXLE BUSHES
Rear axle bushes are prone to premature wear and require replacement in all instances. Wear is often identified by knocking from the rear suspension whilst driving over uneven surfaces or through cornering. The Renault Laguna II axle bushes are handed items and Motaquip recommend that they should always be replaced as a pair.


SENSOR CONNECTIONS
The Renault Laguna II can experience what might appear to be a failing crankshaft sensor but is actually poor or corroded terminals in the sensor plug. Elta Automotive explains that there are two versions, a black and a blue version. The original black version was prone to coming loose causing the usual symptoms of crankshaft sensor failure including difficulty starting, stalling, misfires and acceleration issues. The modified blue version was introduced to address these issues. Cambiare offers a kit to overcome this problem; this includes a new crankshaft sensor and multi-plug, since replacing just the sensor will not guarantee to fix the problem.

Cambiare also mentions that a fall of power below 2000rpm and failure of the temperature gauge to register variations correctly, possibly accompanied by fault code P0115- could be the result of a broken wire close to the temperature sensor rather than a failed part and advises technicians to bear this in mind as part of their diagnostic routine. Reader Steve Stokes says that rear electric handbrake wires chafing in the wheel arch often cause problems as do the fan switch and motor.

OIL PRESSURE
Laguna 1.9DCi engines can experience oil leaks from the oil pressure switch. Cambiare recommends technicians to check the oil pressure with an external gauge before replacing a leaking switch as it has been known that a sticking oil pressure relief valve can result in the generation of a higher than specified oil pressure. This increases the risk of leaks via the pressure switch and/or the turbo seals, leading to premature turbo failure.

PEDAL SWITCHES
When checking the non-illumination or permanent illumination of the brake lights, the problem could be the result of the brake light switch detaching from its mounting bracket. The switch is located under the dashboard on the passenger side and could simply be dislodged by a passenger stretching out and pressing on the carpet under the glovebox. The engine speed can vary for a variety of reasons, but one of the first places to check must be the accelerator pedal sensor.

KEY SWITCH
The credit cards style chip ‘key’ for this range caused problems almost as soon as the model was launched. Notably, there is no way to get into the vehicle if the battery goes flat – and that the key can lose its code if left flat for too long. Hopefully your customer will have the spare key, which can be used to restart the car and will recode the main key.

FRONT COIL SPRINGS
Many aspects on the front suspension are known for failing prematurely, including the front coil springs says QH The Laguna II has relatively long springs so it is important to use quality replacements. The suspension arm bushes are also known for wearing rapidly. This wear can cause the control arm to be misaligned and affect camber.

DRIVE BELTS
There’s nothing particularly weird about the auxiliary and drive belts, according to Dayco and INA, though both companies point out that the idler and tensioner should be changed at the same time and the crankshaft pulley should be checked for operation. However, the specified replacement intervals on these vehicles is not a guideline – they will break if left on the vehicle for too long. Corteco say vehicles are likely to require a Torsional Vibration Damper (TVD) upgrade in the near future as these components are near the end of their operational life.

ROTATING ELECTRICS
On Petrol 1.6 petrol models the alternator pulley rubber damper insert can fail due to tensioning issues, resulting in a noisy unit, and on Diesel 1.9DCi models fluid ingress can cause failure of the alternator according to Autoelectro.

INSTRUMENTS AND DASH LIGHTS
The RMI-F say that all variants can have the ABS light on, but mysteriously have no fault codes stored. This is traced to water damage to the ABS module, which is situated behind the front bumper on the left hand side. The Federation also points out that models with the DCi engine can suffer intermittent loss of all instruments. This is usually traced to a poor earth connection bottom of the A-pillar from the instrument unit. The 2000-on Laguna was one of the first vehicles to have a TPMS system as standard, but the technology behind it is best regarded as ‘experimental’ – they rarely work.

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ANGER FROM AFTERMARKET OVER NEW ZAFIRA RECALL


Recall for Zafira B models

Recall for Zafira B models

Vauxhall has announced a recall for Zafira B cars after an electrical problem caused some of the vehicles to burst into flames. This follows on from the VM’s voluntary check earlier in the year, for which it blamed the problems on ‘improper repairs’.

The latest call back has caused more confusion for who’s to blame for starting the fires with the VM’s previous claims highlighting third parties had carried out improper repairs to the vehicle’s blower motor resistor.

According to the VM, the recall will focus on “improving the robustness of the system” instead of replacing the resistor and its fuse, which the firm started doing last year. The recall will also involve replacing the current ‘soldered fuse resistor with a wax fuse resistor to reduce the opportunity for manipulation’ according to a statement.

When the recalls are complete, all vehicles will have a new wax fuse resistor, a new blower motor and a new moulding at the base of the windscreen to address water ingress.”

Stuart James, Director of the Independent Garage Association, responded to the allegations: “I have not seen any evidence that indicates that it’s a third party repairer fixing the faults. They’ve made an allegation but no evidence has been produced at this stage”.

Although the aftermarket has come under fire from the previous allegations, James is confident that this shouldn’t affect independent garages going forward: “Whilst the media have picked up on repairs being carried out by the aftermarket, I don’t think most consumers will take much notice. It’s just one party blaming another and I think consumers are smarter than that”.

Comments on social media seem to back this theory up. One poster on the Mail Online website said: “My local ‘stealership’ hardly has the motivation to do what’s on the service schedule let alone go off on a tangent and play around with the electrics. Vauxhall, your excuse is rubbish! I think the words you’re struggling to find are ‘poor design on our part.’

Vauxhall advises all drivers who haven’t had work completed from the first recall to take their cars to their nearest dealership for servicing.

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NEW SCRAPPAGE SCHEME DEBATED FOR DIESEL VEHICLES


Scrappage SchemePolicy Exchange, a non-government organisation, has suggested that a new scrappage scheme be introduced for almost all diesel cars.

The think-tank suggests that such a scheme would be the fairest way to get motorists to give up derv-fulled vehicles.

“If we are to clean up air pollution, then Government needs to recognise that diesel is the primary cause of the problem, and to promote a shift to alternatives. This needs to be done in a way that does not unduly penalise existing diesel drivers, who bought their vehicle in good faith, and gives motorists sufficient time to respond” said Richard Howard, Head of Environment and Energy at Policy Exchange.

This report follows a suggestion by the Commons Select Committee for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that some major cities could introduce extra ‘congestion charge’-style levy’s on anyone entering proscribed zones. The areas mentioned by the committee are Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton.

The outpourings of an NGO or that of a select committee rarely make it into the popular press, but The Sun has picked up on the document and has launched a reader petition to campaign for a scrappage scheme to ‘compensate drivers seduced into buying diesel cars – and now face fines over their killer fumes’.

The Policy Exchange proposals also include a higher rate of purchase tax on diesel vehicles – and parliament select committees often debate its ideas that in turn can eventually be passed into legislation.

So far the aftermarket’s response to the suggestion has been relatively muted. However Quentin Wilson, speaking on behalf of the Fair Fuel UK pressure group said: “While we definitely need to improve air quality in our cities we worry if local authorities are given powers to create congestion charge zones they’ll approach the process with the same leaden-handed zeal they’ve applied to parking. The last thing we want is to diminish the public’s enthusiasm for cleaner air. Taking old, worn and badly maintained diesel vehicles off our roads should be an urgent priority and we at FairFuelUK will support a fully thought out, workable and cost effective scrappage scheme.”

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