Shanahan Auto Services, Ireland
We catch up with Keith the founder and head technician of Shanahan Auto Services to discover his approach to customer care, why he became a DPF Doctor and his thoughts on the growing numbers of Damaged beyond Repair DPFs.
When was Shanahan Auto Services founded?
In 2008. After a successful career in the motor trade, I decided to strike out on my own. In 2011 I moved the business to our current location in the village of Ballyedmond, ten miles from my hometown of Gorey in Southeast Ireland. My focus has always been to provide a superb service to our customers; to undertake proper work and be honest, no ‘quick buck.’ I had minimal equipment but bags of experience and training plus a talented team behind me.
Tell us about your team
My team is Maurene (my mammy!), Jim (head mechanic), Renato (mechanic) and Cameron (apprentice mechanic). Jim joined in 2011 after I moved the business to Ballyedmond. He brings a cast iron work ethic and a dedication that enables me to fulfil many roles. Maurene joined us a few years ago as the first point of contact for all our customers. She is also a whizz with the admin. Renato joined us earlier this year, fulfilling a key role as a general technician bringing his own experience to the table. Cameron also joined us in 2021 and is very keen to learn.
You’re renowned for customer care
We believe in building ‘old school’ relationships with our customers. We want them to get to know us, trust us and talk to us. Customers want to know who they’re dealing with when they entrust us with their vehicle maintenance and repair. We have to instil confidence that the safety of everyone in their vehicle is top of our list. So, we spend time with our customers, talking them through what we’re doing and why. We are on their side!
We keep up to date and stay ahead of the training, technology, and information that modern vehicles require. We have associated ourselves with and/or use the services of several organisations. This includes The DPF Doctor Network, (we are fully paid-up members) and JLM Lubricants. For training, info and equipment we use Tech Topics, The Simply Diagnostics Network, The Garage Inspector, HEVRA, Avon Tuning and Autoinform, Our Virtual Academy, Ryans Automotive, SIMI and more.”
We believe in the Lean philosophy of doing things right first time, on time, every time. This embraces everything from insurance and tax compliance to waste management, training, equipment and only ever using quality oils and parts.
You are a proud flag-flying DPF Doctor Network member and a JLM fan
A few years ago, Darren called in to my garage to determine if we were suitable to join his DPF Doctor Network. (Darren has more applicants than places). It turns out we were! That was in March 2019. The training I have received plus the support and the people I’ve met through The DPF Doctor network has been brilliant.
Another added bonus of membership was the fact that The DPF Doctor network is linked to JLM via the JLM training academy and Darren is the JLM brand ambassador. I had used JLM products for years but the training on best use of their products was excellent. We are immensely proud to wear their logo on our clothing and on our signage. We receive our JLM products from Autoparts Gorey (thanks to George, June and their team who have been a great support to me from the very beginning). They get their stocks from the Irish distributor J & S Automotive, another incredibly supportive crew. We are really proud to be part of the DPF Doctor Network and to fly the banner for the network and JLM.”
Talk us through your approach to DPFs and the growing trend of DPFs being damaged beyond repair
Our starting point is the DPF Doctor initial assessment. This is not a diagnostic plug in and ‘best guess,’ but a tried and tested set of small tests and inspections that takes time to complete, yielding a massive amount of information and clear direction for our next steps. We will not necessarily promote a DPF clean to a customer. Like all DPF Doctors, we are honest in our assessment and don’t oversell any services. When we need to use cleaning products or additives, we use JLM. Their tried and trusted DPF products are not just ‘magic juice’ in a can but a range of solutions to the different issues encountered in a modern engine.
This recent job illustrates why correct assessment and accurate diagnosis saves money overall and builds customer confidence. It also shows a lack of knowledge from some mechanics when presented with a vehicle that may have a faulty DPF. This vehicle had a history of several parts being changed including glow plugs, a turbo and four new injectors. Every time another part was changed the same fault codes and symptoms reoccurred. The customer wanted a second opinion having found us via the DPF Doctor website.
I questioned him gathering information regarding the history of the fault, the repairs to date, additives used and the driving routine. I then conducted the assessment. It became clear that a fault had been overlooked. Assessment complete I contacted the customer for authorisation to do further tests. This confirmed my suspicions. I found and repaired a boost pressure leak in one of the turbo pipes. I then conducted the JLM Lubricants on-car DPF clean. The subsequent test drive confirmed a first-time fix. As always when a customer collects their vehicle, we offer a free two-week check-up. As is often the case, the DPF has been neglected for some time so we must ensure it is likely to perform as it should in the long term.
Ford Transit Custom
This had done the rounds with several garages. The common recommendation? Use lots of additives with hard driving to regenerate the DPF. The van was now struggling to drive. In the end the customer decided to come to us and try what he’d previously believed was the expensive option. As usual, we ‘interrogated’ the customer. Alarm bells began to ring about the additives used and the methods employed by the other garages. To cut a long story short the DPF was irreversibly damaged due to extreme temperatures caused by the type and amount of the additives used. We did further investigation at the customer’s request to see what may have caused the original problem and found several minor issues that, from experience with these vans, would have cured the original blocking of the DPF before it had got to this damaged beyond repair stage.
You’re reporting a rise in the number of irreversibly damaged DPFs
We have seen a massive increase in the number of vehicles coming to us with thermal damaged DPFs. Most have been associated with the overuse of fuel additives. How do we know this? We have simply asked the customer and they have confirmed the use of the additives and the rough quantities. This also highlights the critical importance of asking the customer questions about the vehicle before undertaking any work. The JLM products we use do not cause excessively hot temperatures in the DPFs, but we never use them unnecessarily or at the wrong time. We are seeing ‘fast buck’ technicians whose first course of action is to remove the DPF which is shocking when you see cars with minor issues and a cut out DPF. Look at the two comparison photos. One exhaust has the DPF system removed, the other doesn’t. I’ll let you guess which one.