Rotating Electrics: Common Issues

Starters and alternators have never been so important, to ensure the multiple engine starts required on start/stop equipped vehicles) technology and to sufficiently charge the battery and support the power hungry electrical systems. The diagnoses of faults and using quality replacement units is therefore a necessity for the modern independent workshop. Here, Hella outlines some common problems and issues to look out for.


There are several common symptoms that may indicate a fault in the starter, such as no response when actuating the ignition switch: the starter ‘clicks’ but does not engage or it audibly turns without the motor engaging with the flywheel.

A starter malfunction can have different causes, including a faulty electrical connection, the solenoid switch (engaging relay) is stiff or defective, the electric motor is broken or the single- pinion gear, starter pinion or freewheel have been damaged. Battery voltage may also be a factor to consider and/or loose (high resistant) connections.

Dependent on the problem, technicians should look at the starter and decide if it needs to be replaced. It must also be noted that some vehicles have inherent faults such as ignition switch failure, which again can cause problems with the starter.


Symptoms for a faulty alternator can include the charging indicator warning light coming on, starting difficulties due to an insufficiently charged battery, the battery becomes too hot due to charge overload, the headlights get brighter or dimmer in relation to the engine speed or the bulbs burn out more quickly than normal.

Alternator malfunction is not always due to an internal fault, such as a faulty winding, rotor, rectifier, or control unit. So, before replacing the alternator, additional components should be considered as a cause and checked. The cause may be because of a poor performing battery, corrosion or loose electrical connections causing high resistance to the alternator, loose/faulty auxiliary belt or the belt tensioner being too loose or over-tight.

If, after the checks have been made, the unit does need replacing, it’s always best practice to fit an OE quality component. The HELLA core-free programme now encompasses 1,240 references and simplifies life for both workshops, and the wholesalers supplying them, as it dispenses with the need for either party to return the faulty unit and comes without the complication of a surcharge. As a result, neither has to deal with a complicated payment process. Recent additions to the range include starters for applications such as the Audi Q5 and SQ5 TFSI, BMW 2 Series Coupe, Mercedes S-Class and MINI Cooper D, alongside alternators for the Honda Jazz III and KIA RIO III.

Workshop solutions brought to the garage door

autotechnician hits the road with the Workshop Solutions van with Ring Automotive’s Alan Povey to learn about some of the technical issues he’s addressing on the move.

Alan Povey started out on the tools, before moving into automotive retail, customer support and technical roles for major automotive parts suppliers. Now Technical Manager at Ring Automotive, he enthusiastically shares practical advice with technicians and workshop owners across the UK and Ireland from the Workshop Solutions Van. From his kitted-out van, an Aladdin’s cave for visitors, he details the broad range of OSRAM and Ring products with his audience, providing demonstrations and technical advice to help workshops save time, money and hassle.

autotechnician met up with Alan at the Broadstairs branch of their Jayar distributors on a bright Spring morning and
went along to their first stop of the day at Ash Automotive in St Peter’s. Owner John is a self-proclaimed petrol head who began helping out in his dad’s workshop from a young age and went on to work for TVR. He takes on all makes and models but his passion lays with classic vehicles. Chatting with Alan in the van parked up outside is a welcome break out of his busy morning as he discovers its range of dash cams, battery support units and smart chargers, EV cables, inspection lamps, light bars, and vehicle sanitisers. He admits he had not realised the breadth of products available from OSRAM and Ring.

People can buy directly from the van, but many sales happen back at the local distributor, after they ‘try before they buy.’ Alan provides an overview of the products and spends the majority of his time talking about technical issues arising from changing technology, passing on practical, product and business advice that can benefit both themselves and their customers.

“How we deal with batteries has changed dramatically from a basic analogue charger. You can’t use that on an AGM or EFBs,”Alan says, when we ask him to overview the types of products potential customers are asking after. “Well, that’s not entirely right, you can use them, but you’re going to damage the battery. Everything’s moving down the smart charger route. We showcase our new 12/24V SmartCharge Pro unit [that recharges with variable rates of 5, 10, 20 and 30 amps and can also supply 30A continuous charge for battery support functions]. The range will develop this year to the 100/120-amp units, where you’re doing major diagnostics and remapping. Jump packs are now getting lighter, which makes it easier for the garage to haul around rather than a big heavy unit, but we’re also showcasing the rest of the products we do like our multimeter, our battery tester, and showing them how these work. They’re not just testing the battery when it needs it, they’re doing it as each car comes in… The heartbeat of the engine is the battery. They can print out the results too, so they explain what’s going on with the car.

“Most people are under the illusion they can carry on doing short distances, particularly with AGM, EFB batteries. They’ll lose something like 3% of their charge a week just stood still. People get in their car and realise the Stop-Start doesn’t work, or the mirrors, or windows… It’s important from the garage’s point of view that they can test the customer’s car, they can give them advice, and if need be, fit a charger, hard wire it in for them. You’ve got batteries in the boot now rather than under the bonnet – most people wouldn’t know where to locate

the battery, let alone how to couple it up. So, the garage can take all that aggravation away from the customer, they can give them advice. AGM and EFB batteries can be anywhere between £100 or £200 pounds. I know there’s an Audi one, that’s around £700… If the garage can help that customer protect that battery, they’re actually saving them money. It’s good, professional workmanship that we want in the industry.”

Simple oversight can result in major cost

A chap from a local garage steps into the van and the discussion turns to the issue of burnout on headlights, a situation where incorrect fitment leads to a needless expense for the motorist and ultimately, a cost in reputation for the workshop.

“There’s a big plastic cowling and you’ve got to lock it in, if you don’t, the earth shorts out. They melt and then eventually the bulb itself will blow and you’ve got to replace the whole unit, which could be a couple of hundred quid. You can’t just replace the bulb anymore and it’s purely and simply that whoever is installing them has not made sure it’s actually keyed in properly. They go to the first where it’s a bit tight and they won’t tighten it anymore because they think they’re forcing it but it actually locks into a key way.

“It’s one of those things where “I know how to fit a light bulb!” But the system has changed. It’s not just about now fitting the light bulb, it’s making sure that it’s fitted properly. Its important garages understand and we’re giving them the information but also the end users understand too. The days of the DIY guy fitting his own light bulbs is over. It’s a bit precarious at the best of times.”

If you are a garage owner or Ring/OSRAM customer interested in the Ring and OSRAM Workshop Solutions Van visiting your site, contact your local Area Sales Manager.

Audi S4 Case Study – Multiple ailments and a host of suspects

Troubleshooting faults in a workshop is rarely a dull moment whether you’re a newbie, beginning your deep-dive journey into modern vehicle fault assessments, or a seasoned pro who thinks they’ve seen it all. I am sure some of you readers can sympathise – my mind can sometimes wander, and I’ve been known to have the occasional brain fart, varying from slight to beyond moderate on the scale!

In preparation for the latest job to enter the workshop I read the job card the night before and made sure to have a brief conversation with the customer at drop off to get a better insight into the reported symptoms.

It was at the point of questioning the customer I felt one eye become ever so slightly lazy, picturing myself wearing a shaggy beige raincoat chewing a cigar and thinking about the ‘case’ in front of me – for those of you old enough to remember, and cherish, the memories of Columbo, detective extraordinaire. The irony here is that I floated the concept in my last piece

for AT that ‘we are analysts more than technicians.’ In some respects, we’re just as much detectives in the case of fault troubleshooting, which I think for a lot of us is the grit that keeps us doing what we do, to a good standard, day in day out. I digress….

Gareth found a useful collection of TPI’s all relevant to random alarm siren activity with no other DTCs stored.

The vehicle in question is a 2017 Audi S4 and had been in with us four weeks previously for a replacement battery. I had not paid much attention to the car in question at its previous visit. The customer’s concern was that the Stop Start system was not working and it never seemed to kick in, the A with a line through symbol would appear frequently when warm, but no matter what the circumstance or length of drive, it did not work. Furthermore, he asked us to investigate the heated rear windscreen not working on cold mornings, but the mirrors cleared quickly when the button was depressed. He also added an additional concern of reporting the alarm going off intermittently.

I began to consider the outcomes and fault patterns whilst ODIS was doing its thing conducting a full vehicle scan. Tool choice here was natural given I wanted to look at some key pieces of data and check a function had been conducted post battery replacement. Alarm triggers were going to be my go- to for the one customer concern, quiescent current analysis (battery replacement history, type, serial no, A/H) the next, and rich live data for the rear window concern. I had already created a 3-stage hit list, but I’d also reminisced of previous learnings on jobs and the importance of vehicle behavior patterns when it thinks one thing and is actually another.

In terms of stored DTC’s, there was not a lot to go on, 1- Alarm triggered, and that was it. Where to next? There was no guided fault finding or test plans created because there were no DTC’s. My next port of call before having my sacred brew and read was to put some more meat on the bone. It was unlikely in the time I had that I would get the alarm to misbehave going on the very intermittent frequency reported by the customer, but in terms of a quick road test (car was already warm from drop off ) I set off to observe Stop Start activity, and then a quick check of the rear window heater being switched on at the climate control panel, and a thermal camera to definitively confirm mirrors working, rear window not. The outcomes were as described, Stop Start did not work when I expected it should and the mirrors got toasty within a matter of seconds, with no sign of the window doing anything at all. With the faults confirmed, it was time to take a brief pause to do some research. I set about the following hitlist checks as a baseline start:

• Any TPI’s (Technical Product Index) relevant to any of my fault patterns?

• Current flow diagram of the rear window heater (note the setup is different for Avant and saloon so be careful, and in addition the Germans call it a rear window defogger, remember those search term definitions!)

Ensure data is the latest revision

The information search was useful. I fished a collection of TPI’s, see image above, all relevant to random alarm siren activity with no other DTCs stored, this bulletin has been updated several times. A TPI can have multiple revisions which is useful, but it can mean you come unstuck later if you are not reading the latest revision, as the guidance, or more importantly the SVM code, may have changed. The fix for the alarm was a Body Control Module software improvement, and had been through multiple changes, notably changing the SVM code for use within the ODIS SVM function, every time. I accessed the TPI through Alldata and the SVM code did not work. I rechecked the TPI’s within ODIS and then noted the latest change to the SVM and it applied correctly. Worth remembering when evaluating data and information, if in doubt, send a ticket as it may have changed in a short period of time and could leave you puzzled when you knew you were on the right track.

I was able to locate a current flow diagram, see below. Note the Asterisk marks that refer to a number code, advising on difference between model variants so you can follow the correct path for the control and wiring. I did not, however, yield a result on any relevant Stop Start issues.

Current flow diagram of the rear window heater.

Heading to the car it was time to begin some actual ‘doing.’ First port of call was the Stop Start issue. I headed straight for the battery management side of data. The reason being, I had pinned hopes on the battery replacement we had conducted potentially not being ‘registered’ in the car’s control unit, so it was still thinking it had a discharged poor state of health battery fitted. If this was the case it would validate the Stop Start issue without further troubleshooting, but in addition, may shed light on the rear window issue. ‘How so?’ I hear you cry. Well, little did I know some years ago, I had to investigate a rear window ‘defogger’ not working on a BMW 1 series 5-door hatch back. I ‘dithered’ away hours on drawing a blank on wiring checks, covers and trims off, checking this, checking that, to find that the car had the impression a poor state of health battery was fitted. I found this info eventually and checked the battery state of health data according to the IBS (Intelligent Battery Sensor) control unit log. The car had already had a new battery fitted a few months before being presented to me for troubleshooting. I registered the battery and low and behold, button depressed, windows getting warm! What?! Logical when explained and researched. Battery charge preservation becomes essential when the vehicle

(control supply) side of the circuit. One quick test and much of the circuit confirmed as good. Things then got a little more interesting. There appeared to be a ‘suppressor’ in the circuit, likely to reduce the effect of a high current consumer affecting something else in the rear screen when the high current consumer is activated. I checked the literature again, confirmed the rear screen was a busy affair, not only having the heater element, but also the antenna for the radio embedded within it. Further reading stated on my variant that there was a window suppression unit on the NSR D Pillar and a radio suppression unit on the OSR D pillar. With the NSR D Pillar off I confirmed the location and fitting of the suppression unit. Interestingly, at this stage, my sleuthing nature noted the presence of filler dust and body shop hallmarks, and rechecking in the NSR quarter area where the relay was located, there were also hallmarks of a previous repair. Now I’m not paid to judge, or spoil people’s days. The repair seemed adequate, but it did add an extra element we should always be mindful of when troubleshooting – human interference and disturbance.

The control relay was easy to access and test.

Human error

At this point I continued with my test plan. What’s happening at point B (the screen element connection) and what role is the suppressor playing? Above, you can see my test light showing a healthy voltage coming into the suppressor, confirmed by the meter, see below, right, and bright test light, but I had
no output at the screen just a stone’s throw away from the suppressor. I took the unit off given it appeared at the previous epicenter of damage/body repairs, checked resistance in preparation for a load test of the suppressor prior to ordering a new one (which at this point I had already found on the parts catalogue and was priced at a very reasonable £12 direct from TPS). My picture shows, I had failed to identify the fitment was incorrect, probably at rebuild stage by the body shop. The output wire for the rear screen was fitted to the centre bolt hole to hold the suppressor to the pillar, and not the output + terminal (ironically marked on the suppressor). No wonder it did not work. I moved the wire connection and cycled the window heater. Dew Dew (pun intended), on a thermal camera the window is now working! Stupid is as stupid does. The reality is this was as honest a mistake as the individual made when rebuilding the car in the first place. But it does show you have to have your mind in the zone and your wits about you when assessing faults. Test and check everything relevant, and always stop to reevaluate where you where, are, and plan to be within the task/process.

I smiled on reflection, and out of curiosity load tested the old and new suppressors. I had differing results so opted for the menial cost to advise and supply the replacement regardless of findings and despite proving the original could work. But nonetheless a useful learning, followed by the warm inner glow that I got the right culprit, I could leave on a Columbo quirky cliché and ‘limp’ off into the sunset. In reality it was pop to the loo with sheer excitement and collect the next job card!

I like documenting my tales and findings from the real- world workshop, as much as I like reading those from other like-minded technicians case studies. We need to keep up the fight, to research, understand, test and be confident in a job well done. Keep going, and never stop being the best you can be.

Delphi Technologies Academy goes from strength to strength

Delphi Technologies’ academy goes from strength to strength, blending virtual training with real-world results.

Amid the pandemic and to a backdrop of a highly challenging time for the aftermarket, Delphi Technologies addressed customers’ rapidly evolving training requirements with the October 2021 launch of the Delphi Training Academy.

Developed over a 12-month period by Delphi Technologies’ in-house training experts, the online platform represented a significant automotive training breakthrough, not only in providing the aftermarket with an easily accessible, industry- leading route to learning new skills but also by overcoming the traditional challenges that garages face when pursuing physical, in-person training.

Convenient and cost-effective, the Delphi Technologies Academy sought to provide a solution to all the issues that garages face when looking to train personnel and which were amplified by the pandemic, including the cost of staff being away from the business, both in terms of lost revenue and expenses incurred through travel and accommodation.

Answered the industry’s growing demand for ‘blended learning’
Additionally, the new e-learning offering provided the solution to the industry’s growing demand for ‘blended learning’ that complements hands-on, classroom-based tuition with virtual training. It significantly expanded the company’s existing training portfolio and, notably, underlined its near unique status of being able to transfer its learnings from being an OEM supplier to the aftermarket.

Six months later, and the Delphi Technologies Academy has gone from strength to strength, as Phil Mitchell, Technical Services Manager, Delphi Technologies Aftermarket explains: “Even before the pandemic we could see there was an urgent need for such a comprehensive online training facility, and we were pleased to deliver it at the perfect time for the industry. As well as offering a convenient and quick way to engage with the latest yet increasingly commonplace technologies, it arrived at a point when garages were finding it incredibly difficult to consider practical training due to playing ‘catch-up’ in terms of work, significantly reduced revenues, and many training providers having a training backlog due to lockdown.”

At launch, the Delphi Technologies Academy was believed to be the most advanced online training facility available to the aftermarket and gave users the choice of over 300 courses and modules, all of which could be consumed 24/7 and accessed anywhere on any device.

In line with how Delphi Technologies constantly evolves and refines its practical training offering to keep it relevant to emerging automotive technologies and legislation, the business has used its OEM-supplier knowledge and vast industry experience to further strengthen its e-learning platform.

Since its inception, the Delphi Technologies Academy has been enhanced with several new courses, modules and case studies. These include an insight into the workings of a high voltage EV battery, an explanation of the link between ADAS and lighting systems, and an introduction to Pass-thru and security gateway technologies.

Courses now earn IMI CPD credits

Notably, a recent development is that every digital course undertaken via the Delphi Technologies Academy now earns credits towards the Institute of the Motor Industry’s Continuing Professional Development (IMI CPD) programme.

CPD is a mandatory requirement for members on the IMI Professional Register, making it an ideal way to ensure technicians’ skills are maintained with the latest techniques and competencies, while delivering confidence to consumers that they are receiving the best possible service.

“Establishing the Delphi Technologies Academy represented a significant investment, so we’re delighted to have seen it receive such a positive reaction and the amount of users continue to grow,” added Mitchell. “It’s done exactly what we planned to achieve and was what the aftermarket had long been asking for, but what’s now important to us and those utilising the platform is that we continue to evolve it and make it even more engaging and accessible.

“We work to introduce new content every 3-4 weeks, while the digital nature of the platform has allowed us to introduce new features that help delegates engage with the course in an interactive way. For example, diagnostic training is aided by an engine simulator that allows users to replace or isolate different components in a virtual environment to help identify the root cause of an issue. More recently, the new module that explained the workings of an HV battery also saw us innovatively create a 3D image of a high voltage battery via a LiDAR scanner that was able to perform a 360-degree scan of the pack.”

Mitchell continued: “Where it’s really proved useful is that it’s enabled us to quickly share our industry-leading knowledge of emerging technologies, such as electrification and ADAS, with the aftermarket. What’s more, because the platform has been developed with no need for users to have prior understanding or qualifications, anyone can start acquiring know-how as and when the need arises. Its instant access also means that users can quickly use it to help them in their everyday jobs, such as where front-of-house motor factor staff need information to answer a customer’s query or where a technician may be at a critical point of a repair and would benefit from an online how- to video to help them complete the task.”

Most popular courses are EV and hybrid based

Unsurprisingly, with the huge surge in electrified vehicles and the need for the garages to be able to service such cars if they are to ensure their long-term survival, four of the five most popular courses relate to EVs and hybrids, and how these vehicles can be safely repaired. The number one course is an introduction to electrics, with Delphi Technologies quickly acknowledging customers’ appetite for such material and subsequently adding a trio of electric courses spanning how to test for bad earths, short circuits and a parasitic drain.

Mitchell concluded: “For anyone in the aftermarket, we are sure that the Delphi Technologies Academy will help you to significantly grow your knowledge in the most cost-effective and efficient way, while also having the potential to help you achieve industry-recognised qualifications. What’s more, a key indicator of its worth to mechanics is that we have found that the assistance required by the majority of customers calling our technical support could actually be sourced quicker via the Delphi Technologies Academy.”

Further information on the Delphi Technologies Academy can be found at:

Garage & Bodyshop event offers plenty of benefits

Garage and bodyshop technicians can expect a whole host of benefits this June at the one-of-a-kind UK Garage and Bodyshop Event, including free breakfast to those arriving before 10am and *free parking, to name a few. 

Kickstarting on 8-9th June at the NEC in Birmingham, the free-to-register, national event is open to the entire industry and organisers have put together a bumper bundle of unmissable benefits, as they gear up for record numbers of visitors.

Visitors will have the chance to interact and engage with key names within the industry and learn about the latest technological developments, with exhibitors already announcing 19 product launches to take place at the show.

The UK Garage and Bodyshop Event has been designed to put the technician firmly in the driving seat and to help futureproof the automotive aftermarket, with over 65 live training sessions available, delivered from more than 45 of the industry’s established and well-known professionals.

This includes exclusive, free expert training for EV, bodyshop and workshops covering skills, recruitment, digitalisation, infrastructure, customer service and how to improve everyday efficiencies. 

There will also be the chance to down tools at the end of each day, with The Bodyshop hosting a summer BBQ the day before the show opens, along with an evening of celebrations at 4pm on 8th June. 

A staggering £5,000 of exclusive show deals and discounts on the latest tools and equipment from more than 100 of the industry’s leading manufacturers and suppliers have already been announced. 

And as the event is aimed at helping attendees grow their businesses, a multitude of free giveaways and competition prizes are also up for grabs for technicians to put to use in their workshops. 

With more than 50 fantastic free giveaways, plus discounts and competitions from its roster of confirmed exhibitors, the national event will offer huge savings to those first through the doors.

Visitors will even get the chance to win a classic starter car, courtesy of Lucas Oil, who is holding a charity raffle for the Sepsis Trust UK. The car has been recommissioned by YouTube’s ‘Auto Lass’ Jody Bevan, who will be at the show, sharing her experiences of being a female auto technician and MOT tester in the automotive world.

Grant Elrick, sales director at Messe Frankfurt UK, organisers of the exhibition, said: “Garage and Bodyshop technicians play an integral role in not only keeping the automotive aftermarket surviving and thriving, but also in helping to ensure the UK roads are as safe and secure as possible.

“This event will be a celebration of the entire industry and its hard work, which is why it will be jam-packed with happy hours, entertainment surprises, and the latest in technical training, trends and product updates. The wheels are now firmly in motion, with over 3,000 in-person attendees expected through the doors in June – we look forward to seeing you there!”

Free tickets are available to the show here.

*Free parking will be available to garage and bodyshop owners, technicians and apprentices, with vouchers being sent via email. 

Carwood announces Bosch distribution for UK and Eire

With Bosch new, eXchange and repair parts, Carwood can now offer a full-service solution for today’s diesel- and petrol-powered vehicles

By accessing OE parts, tools and know-how from one supplier, aftermarket companies can save time and money, whilst improving customer satisfaction

Birmingham, 9 May 2022: Leading remanufacturer and fuel systems expert, Carwood, is expanding its service offering with Bosch distribution for the UK and Eire. From this month, Carwood will supply a full programme of Bosch fuel pumps, injectors and spare parts for diesel and petrol vehicles. The extended range, which includes Bosch new, Bosch eXchange and repair components, complements Carwood’s existing line-up of authorised solutions, diagnostic tools, test equipment and technical support. Meaning that aftermarket companies can now access everything they need to deliver a best practice, competitive service on a large vehicle parc, from Carwood.

“With more than 23 million diesel- and petrol-powered vehicles on the UK’s roads equipped with a Bosch injection system, the Bosch parc represents a significant service opportunity for aftermarket companies,” comments Simon Quantrell, Deputy Managing Director, Carwood. “To help them take advantage of this, they can now get the specialist equipment, parts and know-how they need from one supplier – us – helping to improve productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction.” 

As part of its one-stop-shop solution, Carwood have added more than 475 Bosch new and eXchange units for diesel and GDi, and over 1,250 OE spare parts, such as nozzles, valves and rail pressure sensors for diesel car, light commercial, heavy duty and off-highway applications. It also offers a wide range of OE diagnostic tools and test equipment, as well as the ability to diagnose, service and recode pumps and injectors in-house. For a best-practice vehicle repair, a technical hotline manned by experienced professionals, offers technicians on-the-job guidance on all fuel system related issues.

Quantrell continues, “The choice of Bosch new, Bosch eXchange and repair parts, means that service professionals can offer their customers a range of competitively priced solutions, without compromising on the quality of the product or their service. For example, a more economical repair for older diesel vehicles, where maintenance costs are often disproportionately high compared to their value, or a new or eXchange unit, where speed is a priority. Although new is still the only viable option for GDi, by differentiating their offering, and giving customers a choice of options tailored to their needs, aftermarket companies can stand out from the competition. In a fast-paced market, with increasingly discerning customers, this is a must for any business looking to grow.”

For more information on Carwood’s new Bosch programme, contact the Carwood sales team on 0121 543 5266 or

The industry unites for focus on training and technology

Technicians and garage owners looking to enhance their skills and take advantage of business opportunities are invited to Birmingham next month to enjoy free training, business advice and support from the industry’s finest.

The team who works with industry suppliers and trade associations for the Automechanika Birmingham event, which returns in June 2023, and the creators of the online digital platform auto:resource, will bring the trade together for a brand-new event next month at the NEC, which will solely focus on training, tools and technology.

The two-day UK Garage & Bodyshop Event will take place at the NEC 8-9 June 2022, within Hall 20, housing over 100 exhibitors. There will be three training hubs and three feature areas, enabling workshop owners and technicians to participate in training taster sessions, to highlight areas they want to upskill, and to connect with training and equipment providers to progress their skills and garage business.

Live demonstrations and accredited training will be delivered across three key areas: EV Hybrid, Workshop and Collision Repair, each offering technical seminars from industry experts covering ADAS, MOT, safety/service and repair, collision repair, diagnostics, and more. Kristan Johnstone, Project Director Messe Frankfurt UK, told autotechnician: “We’re looking to almost replicate what has worked very well at Automechanika Birmingham but doing that across different themes so it gives people a really clear structure of where they can go for relevant topics for them.”

There will be a best-in-class Modern Workshop feature that will showcase the latest infrastructure, equipment and tools, to highlight, and provide advice on, business planning and investment priorities. The feature is designed to get workshop managers and owners reflecting on where they are currently and where they need to invest. Kristan sees it as a learning opportunity, so visitors can come away thinking, “These are some of the considerations I need to go back and factor into the management of my workshop – a combination of infrastructure, products and tools.”

VIP treatment

A VIP programme for workshop owners will include a dedicated area for workshop owners to enjoy refreshments and gain business advice from a variety of suppliers. “There’s a huge appetite for business advice but sitting at a 30-minute seminar is not the way they want to digest that information,” Kristan states. “We’ve created this hub ‘The Garage Owners Club’, a lounge within the hall, with all the relevant bodies, associations and suppliers, so people can go and meet on the stands or the networking area and have those discussions”.

“With arguably the biggest shift for the UK aftermarket happening here and now with the presence of ADAS and hybrid and EV technology, increased cybersecurity and access to in-vehicle data, a UK focused exhibition for garages and bodyshops is essential to keeping the industry connected and up to date.”

Mark Field, CEO of IAAF

A resource to take away

Visitors will be provided with a take-home training guide folder, where they can collate the information and options available from each training hub, stand and feature. Chloe Hyland, Automechanika Marketing Manager, explains: “Because we’ve got the three separate training hubs, and the exhibitors will be having training on their stand, we think its quite nice to plan a full day’s training for a visitor… where you can go and visit each of the training hubs or different suppliers, receive either training or taster sessions or information and collect all that information into one place. We know the visitors are coming to get value at a show and I think that walking away with a hard copy of information and knowledge really portrays that.”

Kristan adds: “It will become a reference guide. We appreciate that full training courses can’t be delivered on a stand in a busy exhibition hall. The technical seminars work incredibly well, and people know it’s going to give them a level of awareness and insight, it’s not going to answer all their questions, but the awareness to know they need to go away and find out more about this topic and where they can get more information. Similarly with the sponsors and exhibitors who are offering

the training demos it’s an opportunity to get a flavour of what they offer and ask some pertinent questions to people who are experts in their field, to find out what they know, what they don’t know and what they need to know”.

Free tickets are available at

“We’re delighted! A focused national event for owners and technicians from both garages and bodyshops will highlight
the rapid change towards electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as the challenges and opportunities this brings for the aftermarket. We look forward to seeing you there, meeting face-to-face at last again!”

Peter Melville, Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Repair Alliance

Save the Date! Big Weekend returns to Warwick this autumn

autotechnician will bring a group of technicians, workshop owners, trainers and aftermarket suppliers together again this September to share ideas, inspire and have some fun whilst learning about emerging technology and new opportunities at Delphi Technologies’ training workshop in Warwick.

Job-useful, practical advice will be on the agenda for tackling the latest systems and vehicles, without forgetting the vital theory and knowledge of the fundamentals that underpin success. The event is designed for both technicians and workshop owners.


Visitors to autotechnician’s Ask the Expert’s lounge at the UK Garage & Bodyshop Event at Birmingham NEC June 8-9th will be able to meet experts and trainers presenting over the two days.

Head to the informal lounge area, Stand G36 – a stone’s throw away from the EV & Hybrid hub – and you can also try out autotech’s online assessments – both new and existing users who log in and take the new test, or another multiple choice quiz from the online resource on the stand, will be entered into a prize draw to win £200.

Speak to a member of the team to also find out more about the Big Weekend training event in Warwick, taking place Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th September.

Both one & two-day subsidised tickets are available now at

Brake pads tested by DVSA fail R90 standards

The DVSA’s Market Surveillance Unit has begun testing the compliance of OEM and aftermarket braking components performance and labelling in accordance with UNECE 90 Regulation.

The DVSA tested eight different brands of aftermarket brake pads. Using the registration number of a host vehicle, the compatible components were selected. Each brake pad was then tested to R90 standards and associated performance requirements, where there is a tolerance of +/- 15 percent of the OEM. In performance tests, three out of the eight brake pad brands were found to be non-compliant, failing to meet requirements. Approval documents and labelling for the three failed components were also found to be false.

The three brands have been instructed to withdraw the brake pads from sale until the proper approvals have been granted. The DVSA will not disclose the three brands while investigations are still underway.

Mark Field, IAAF Chief Executive, said: “It’s clear that more work needs to be done on re-educating parts of the market on
the requirements of regulation R90, both for pads and discs, something which IAAF will look to support the market with

in the coming months. It’s also evident from DVSA that every business in the supply chain – garages, motor factors, suppliers – has a responsibility to ensure the parts they sell and fit meet the regulations for which they were intended.”

Delphi Technologies new diagnostics

autotechnician spoke to Delphi Technologies about its new diagnostic device that could be a real game-changer for workshops looking to enhance their diagnostic capabilities and ‘take the faff’ out of integrated security gateways.

Delphi Technologies has developed its latest diagnostic tool, the BlueTech VCI, to enable independent workshops to tackle maintenance and repair tasks that would otherwise be passed on to a dealer or diagnostic specialist – featuring integrated DoIP, security gateway, ADAS calibration, and Passthru support. The DS180/480 (without/with a tablet) also provides support with trouble codes with its DTC Assist – guiding technicians though fault-finding procedures thanks to a database of thousands of real-life workshop repairs and displays expected live data values on screen so you know what to test and what results to expect. It gives the probable causes of over 1,700 fault codes across many marques.

The hardware on existing DS tools provides DoIP via an external adaptor, with the DS180 it is integrated, a third CAN channel has been added and this device is remote diagnostic compatible. A flight recorder enables you to perform a one-man road test; by selecting your parameters and hitting ‘Record’ you can review the data when back in the workshop.

One of the biggest USPs of the DS180 is the integrated security gateway access. Since 2018, Fiat began producing vehicles with a new Secure Gateway Module, removing direct scan tool access from the OBD-II connector for any of the networked modules not related to OBD-II emissions, restricting maintenance and repair functions. Upon clearance with the VM, normal duties can resume, such as clearing fault codes and resetting service information, component activation and programming adaptations. Workshops must sign up with each manufacturer and pay each of them, each time access is required. With the BlueTech VCI, Delphi plays the middleman – by purchasing a one, two or three-year license, authorisation is automatic, and you can open up as many gateways as you like within the Delphi subscription. Delphi’s Technical Services Manager, Phil Mitchell, told autotechnician: “It’s going to make life easier on so many levels. Technicians aren’t going to have to claim back any receipt claims (Phil has spoken to many technicians who are using their own money to fund gateway access as it’s too laborious to claim the odd few euros back each time), and you’re not going to end up running down a rabbit hole with a fault code…”

“Here’s the odd thing about fault codes, you plug it in and get a Cam sensor, you click ‘erase,’ and it won’t erase, and you don’t get an error. I said to our engineering team, surely, we can give an error message saying, ‘Software gateway locked vehicle, cannot erase.’ They said, here’s the weird thing, when you go to erase an error, if the car’s got a security gateway you get the same message back from the ECU as if it’s a permanent error. The ECU doesn’t know the difference, so the error message you get back from the diagnostic will just say I can’t clear the code, we can’t display anything as we don’t know if it’s a secure gateway or not. I said that could be a potentially big problem for people who don’t have a DS180 or something with automatic gateway because you get a cam sensor fault, go to clear the code and it won’t, so you think that must be a permanent fault, let’s go work on that problem.”