Tag Archive | "diagnostics"

DIAGNOSING AND FIXING FAULTS FIRST TIME AROUND

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DIAGNOSING AND FIXING FAULTS FIRST TIME AROUND


Dinos Christoforou takes us around his family-run garage business, ‘Spiros Motors’ in North West London.

Ex-F1 technician, Spiros Christoforou, opened his garage business in North West London 35 years ago, and has enjoyed steady growth ever since. “We have got contracts with HR Owen Sports Car, which means we get a lot of prestige sports cars coming through from the dealership” said Spiros’s son Dinos – who is also a master technician at the firm. “This includes Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati. We have our own USP of fast cars that we service on a regular basis”.

While some garages have been known to still use older diagnostics, coupled with the newer technologies coming into the market, technicians should be regularly updating their skills both in terms of equipment and training, according to Dinos. “It’s hard to stay up-to-date in this industry because everything is changing” he said. “If you don’t keep up then you will start falling behind and I think many garages find it difficult because they’re always trying to cut down their prices”, adding that his staff are fully up-to-speed with tooling, training and the technical know-how to repair these models correctly.

WORKSHOP LAYOUT
This was evident from the workshop layout, which has a new automatic tester lane (ATL) installed for MOT on the right hand side with five dedicated service ramps lined up on the left. The site also contains an engine room as well as a dedicated car park space outback, which Dinos notes, is the only independent to possess one in the Park Royal area. With a handful of garage networks operating in close proximity and JT Car Repairs next door, we were curious to find out if this has impacted business. Dinos said. “There are around eight to 10 local garages in this area but we’re all in different leagues with one another so there is no cross over or competition between us”.

DIAGNOSTICS
Being a diagnostic specialist for most car models, means the team is well equipped for whatever enters the ramp. For troubleshooting and detecting fault codes, Spiros technicians will use Launch UK diagnostics and for more complex issues, the Autologic or Bosch KTS tool is the preferred unit of choice. Being a Bosch Car Service member also has its perks, according to Dinos, which is noticeable in the foyer area where many Bosch training qualifications are framed and hanging on the walls. “The Bosch training is world class”, he said, “They provide us with training from diagnostics up to service and master level technician”, adding that himself and his uncle are the two qualified master technicians on site.

Workshop contains five service ramps

SERVICES
To say the garage only conducts MOT and general repairs would be an understatement as there are many other services within its remit including air conditioning, bodyshop repair and fitting AlloyGators, which we were lucky enough to see Dinos fit to a BMW Z3 fresh off the track. Explaining his reasons for offering this service, he said. “It started with my mother who had a Porsche Carrera. She kept hitting the kerb and had to change her tyres nearly every two to three months as a result. They should normally last up to 12,000 miles on that vehicle.” He adds. “We told her to get rid of the car because it’s costing thousands on tyres a year, but someone from the racing community suggested AlloyGators and we have been impressed with them ever since”.

However, after fitting AlloyGators for nearly 10 years now, the master technician has found a number of fitment errors among some tyre fitting centres. He elaborates. “I have found people have failure of alloys because they have gone to a tyre fitment centre, where they have pumped up the tyre, handed back the keys but haven’t gone back around them for the final fitment”. Dinos makes sure that every AlloyGator fitted has ‘sunk in’ properly by applying pressure with a rubber mallet around the wheel, once they’ve been trimmed and fitted accordingly.

Although there’s been discussions between Spiros and his son about opening a second garage, they have decided to put it on the back-burner for now due to the growing demand of vehicles entering its current site as Dinos points out. “The way our business operates, it’s very hard to open a second garage because me and my father are hands on. Every job that goes through the garage, goes through us so we will carry out the quality controls and road test the vehicles when jobs have been completed”. He concluded. “It’s difficult to expand for these reasons however, we want to continue providing that high level of service and be there for our customers”.

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KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES


With so many diagnostic tools available, when is the right time to upgrade? 

Nowadays with advanced vehicle technology, diagnostic tools have become an essential
piece of kit for garages whether the job involves re-f lashing ECUs to pulling out fault codes However, with the wide range of products and updates on the market, are workshops keeping their tools in check?

TOOLING UP
“There’s a lot more realisation now with anyone possessing old kit that they’ve got to look into upgrading” said Dave Richards, Managing Director at Launch UK. “The older kit predates the electronic park brakes where service resets were just a part in the dashboard. But on a Range Rover, it’s a programming function where you have to re-program five ECUs to reset all the service lights.” Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager at Delphi, points out that there are some older devices being used by technicians. He says, “There are still old and out-of-date tools out there, however, with the coverage we provide, that is dependant on the workshops updating to the latest software”, adding that the firm is continually stressing the importance of using modern units to trade customers.

HGS Mega Macs tool

From a tyre dealer perspective, Colin Webb, MD at TPMS firm Bartec Auto ID, advises technicians to consistently update their diagnostic equipment and software, due to the ongoing growth of new passenger cars and sensors making their way off factory lines. “The market is moving very quickly so tyre shop technicians need to have their tools updated as soon any new car comes onto the roads, otherwise, they will have trouble repairing the next car coming over the threshold”, highlighting that this could incur loss of business to OE franchise dealerships.

PRICE DRIVEN
Neil Hilton, Head of Business Development at Hella Gutmann Solutions, notes that many technicians are driven by price when it comes to upgrading their toolbox and do not necessarily understand the differentiations and benefits between what a budget and a premium tool can bring to the workshop. A challenge the firm is consistently educating garages and bodyshops about, as Hilton explains. “The comparison is you pay a little extra and buy a better quality machine that has more capabilities from day one and also has a longer lifetime”. He continued. “A customer who buys price driven compared to a customer who buys one of our HGS devices, the HGS customer has spent less in the long term because he’s purchased a machine that’s seen him through five years plus whereas the alternative customer has brought two or three more in that space of time and had less coverage”.

Delphi’s Julian Goulding agrees and expands: “There are still some technicians driven on price and this feeds through to diagnostics. What we try to stress to people is look at return on investment, what price you pay and the capabilities it gives you across a wide range of vehicles”. Similarly, Bartec’s Colin Webb says the firm has developed a method to take the hassle out of reminding tyre technicians and fast fit centres through regular wifi updates. He explains more. “We offer wifi updates so the technician doesn’t have to remember to do the update so they will always be ahead”. He elaborates, “The TECH500 is our latest tool containing wifi and software updating on it as well as wireless charging”, adding that the gadget also allows users to detect vehicle faults and re-program universal sensors on a range of vehicle models.

BUYING TRENDS
Launch UK’s David Richards said the firm has spotted a buying pattern between technicians who are keen to upgrade their apparatus. Speaking about his findings, he said. “One of the trends which we are trying to address is that technicians are wanting to up their game but don’t want to wait around for the boss’s tool. Most of those guys are not looking to spend £2,500 so we have products in the £500 to £1,000 range, which are affordable for them because they’ll usually spend around £500 on a set of spanners”. He continued, saying, “We’re already seeing some cases where you almost get the tablet for free but you’re committed to five years of software updates. Launch UK doesn’t operate like that and instead, offers two years free software for the customer”.

Launch UK’s X-431 PRO 3

ADAS DIAGNOSTICS
It’s all well and good having a unit that performs general diagnostics, but garages may struggle if the system can’t detect faults on ADAS systems, according to Hilton, who says many workshops are unaware of the business implications this could cause in the future. “Through our ADAS awareness seminars, it is clear from the shocked faces that most of the workshops, bodyshops and to an extent, glass companies, are still not aware of these systems on the vehicles they’re working on and the risks it poses to their business by not carrying out the correct processes or procedures”. He concluded. “All of our HGS Mega Macs equipment is capable of calibrating ADAS systems (some vehicles require additional hardware). We also offer a diagnostic tool that is purchased as a standard tool but also incorporates the required software at no extra cost to have the capability to calibrate ADAS vehicles”.

Although suppliers seem to hold a certain level of responsibility to encourage workshops to keep up with the times, it is crucial in this day and age for technicians to take charge by familiarising themselves with not only the diagnostics and software available, but not allow pricing to get in with the way of potential ROI opportunities.

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AUTODATA LAUNCH MOTORCYCLE APPLICATION


Motorcycle application

Motorcycle application

Autodata has launched an application specific to motorcycles. The launch happened at Automechanika and in common with all of the firm’s current data products it will be cloud based only.

Indeed, the brand has confirmed that the days of handing out CD discs are all but at an end. Tom Endean, Head of Marketing, said: “The problem with CDs is they are limited to the amount of data they can store and they go out of date very quickly”.

“The online product means that at any time you’ve always got the latest information especially for garages because they need that business protection. If it says to do a certain procedure at a certain mileage they need to know that, that is the current recommendation set by the manufacturer”. Endean also notes that the complexity of bikes used to be relatively simple however, this is no longer the case meaning there is a heavier demand for more technical information and procedures when servicing these vehicles, something a CD can no longer facilitate.

Endean explained that the firm’s next priority is pushing its custom Application Programming Interface (API) for users of large data. “We also have a lot of developers working on more technology for our API solution that isn’t coming to market just yet”, he concluded.

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SOLVING DIAGNOSTIC AND REPAIR CHALLENGES WITH ALLDATA REPAIR


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF ALLDATA

Independent garages are increasingly facing the same challenges; lack of complete and accurate service and repair information, complex automotive technology, cost and time to get information from the manufacturer, acquiring and paying for technical skills, competing with authorised dealerships, and low revenue and profits.

ALLDATA Repair meets automotive business needs

More than 300,000 technicians worldwide use ALLDATA Repair on a daily basis. As the only source of original OE diagnostic repair information, ALLDATA Repair provides garages with access to the most comprehensive and in-depth level of repair information saving time and money, and improving profitability.

ALLDATA Repair is a single-source of OE licensed information containing 22 vehicle brands and more than 23 million articles, wiring diagrams, and dynamic service intervals. With an easy-to-use common navigation structure and search function, technicians can quickly find trouble codes or search for any vehicle part or diagnostic test chart. By using ALLDATA Repair,garages and their technicians can fix vehicles faster, increase productivity, meet manufacturer quality repair standards, and improve customer service.

Getting results

A garage recently spent six hours to strip a vehicle and trace wires to an anti-theft system fault.After contacting ALLDATA, the solution was identified in 10 minutes, and the repair was completed in less than two hours. ALLDATA has 30 years’ experience in helping the automotive aftermarket complete heavy diagnostic work required to stay competitive, improve customer satisfaction, and increase revenue.

With over 85,000 customers worldwide, ALLDATA understands the independent workshops’ needs, and provides solutions to everyday automotive business challenges.

To learn more or to request a free trial, visit us at www.alldataeurope.com/CAT, or call 01216982068

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ECP SIGNS EXCLUSIVE SUPPLY DEAL WITH AUTOLOGIC

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ECP SIGNS EXCLUSIVE SUPPLY DEAL WITH AUTOLOGIC


Component supplier Euro Car Parts has signed a deal with diagnostic tool maker Autologic to distribute the new AssistPlus platform.

The agreement augments Autologic’s own sales team, which will continue to sell the product. However, it does not cover Autologic’s better-known Blue Box platform, which is no longer on sale. Existing Blue Box customers will still be supported by Autologic’s technical team.

Oxon based Autologic has previously won a Queens Award for Enterprise for International Trade and has recently gone through a corporate rebrand following a number of internal changes.

Jeremy Fry, CEO of Autologic, said: “The Autologic Assist fix and support capabilities enable UK garages to repair more cars, faster and more profitably. Customers report that it saves them at least an hour a day, representing an annual saving of £16,500. This prestigious supply agreement with Euro Car Parts will put Autologic Assist in front of thousands of new technicians, where the quality of the product will speak for itself.”
Martin Gray, CEO of Euro Car Parts, said: “We are delighted to announce this exclusive distribution deal with Autologic, particularly with Pass Through so vital to the success of the aftermarket. The Assist product is proven to increase vehicle through-flow, customer satisfaction and revenue. It is exactly the kind of high-end diagnostic equipment that garages should be investing in.

 

Ed’s note: Updated 12/10 to include the fact that Blue Box is no longer on sale. 

 

 

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