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Getting back to business post-lockdown – Andy Hamilton, CEO Euro Car Parts

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“With so many cars sitting idle for [many weeks], we expect to see garages face a significant backlog of servicing, maintenance and repairs – which is a good thing, as long as they are ready to deal with it. The immediate priority is ensuring that colleagues and customers feel safe in the workshop, by implementing social distancing, alongside regular, thorough cleaning and the provision of PPE.

“The next stage is to ensure that technicians are fully- equipped to diagnose and repair the common problems that are likely to have arisen on their customers’ vehicles. On the workshop floor, technology has an important role to play. New solutions that allow technicians to maintain safe distances from customers include HaynesPro, which gives technicians mobile access to essential repair and maintenance data, alongside guided diagnostics and technical support. We’re currently offering our customers a free 12-month subscription.

“We’re also offering free 12-month subscriptions to VIEWMECH, a personalised customer video solution worth £599 per year, with certain purchases. VIEWMECH lets garages to send customers video footage of any work needed on their vehicles. As well as supporting faster work authorisation, this solution helps to maintain social distancing while aiding customer retention, referrals and work conversions through top quality, transparent service.

Where does Euro Car Parts expect to see high demand post-lockdown? “Flat batteries are likely to be a source of high demand – we’ve seen battery sales up on what we’d normally expect at this time of year. A vehicle that has its battery replaced due to a non-start after a long period of non-use may be wrongly diagnosed as having reached the end of its lifespan. In actual fact, the true cause may be undiagnosed internal faults preventing the vehicle from fully shutting down. These can cause new batteries to run flat again within just a few days, meaning it’s crucial that in-depth diagnostics become standard.

“Air conditioning is another ‘forgotten’ problem of the lockdown, where carrying out checks can lead to noticeable improvements for drivers. There is a natural, gradual dispersal of gas from air conditioning units over a vehicle’s lifespan, typically resulting in a loss of around 5% capacity in a normal year. A prolonged period of non-use can cause air conditioning seals to weaken, worsening refrigerant loss and leading to problems elsewhere, such as engines or batteries overheating, or warning messages due to false pressure readings.

“Our Autoclimate solution provides technicians with full-service technical support when they’re working on customers’ air con systems. This support is provided free of charge over the phone, with the aim to get equipment up and running the same day.”

For more information on the training courses available through the Euro Car Parts AutoEducation Academy, covering areas including MOTs and air con, visit https://omnipart.eurocarparts.com/auto-education. There is also an increased number of free e-learning courses and product videos available to help garages get back up and running.

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