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Maintaining the service

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To us, it is logical that, as Autotechnician Magazine services the independent workshop, we have dedicated our first four-weekly issue to the crucial topic of servicing.

We appreciate that routine maintenance is essential on a number of levels. For your business, the relatively quick turnaround of cars, within your workshop, is often critical to maintaining a healthy cash-flow. While an MOT Test appointment is an appropriate opportunity to offer your servicing skills, persuading certain customers that an MOT Test is a basic safety inspection only, and not routine maintenance, can be challenging. By informing the car owner about issues that are either not considered under the MOT Tester’s remit, or assessing a component before it can deteriorate to the point of being dangerous, you are not only looking after their safety but also reducing their risk of prosecution for driving an unroadworthy vehicle, the inconvenience of a breakdown and the expense of a mechanical failure. 

DEFINITIONS 

With the majority of items within a modern motor car requiring some kind of routine inspection at the very least, even this information-packed issue cannot detail every procedure, especially for service schedules that differ so wildly between vehicle makes and models. Obviously, diagnostics, which includes service interval resetting, has replaced the contact breaker gap and dwell angle checks of years gone by, but problems can result from not only using incorrect diagnostic procedure but also forgetting the car’s basic electrical needs. 

Once dismissed by many onlookers as ‘snake oils’, more workshops are telling us about the importance of fuel and oil additives to combat some of the downsides of modern motorcar technology, such as common rail, GDI and extended service intervals. These alone offer significant upselling opportunities and we investigate the claims made by some of the best-known suppliers, as well as looking at their validity, to help you make the right choice. The changing world of lubricants play such a pivotal role that the latest news will be probed in a subsequent issue. 

While we offer our usual invaluable tips, regarding the maintenance of hybrid cars and their plug-in sisters, do not consider that pure EVs will kill your servicing work stone dead. Whether powered by internal combustion, hybrid or pure electric, some kind of filtration will require renewal, the importance of which raises the topic of quality, as well as providing an opportunity for you to upsell and offer your customer extra benefits that they may not have even considered. Obviously, you will have to guarantee any part that is fitted to the car, so having trust in your supplier as well as the parts manufacturer is crucial, as is taking a stance against using customer supplied service parts. 

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOOK 

Again, it can be difficult to convince a customer that extra expenditure now will save them money in the future but the avenues are worth contemplation. This relates not only to
extra items that are mentioned in service schedules but not always carried out, such as brake fluid and coolant changes and FEAD system replacements, but also operations that are critical to maintaining any warranty and long mechanical life. Twin-clutch automated gearbox oil and Haldex rear coupling oil changes may be specified officially, for example, but consider also that certain expensive components, (automatic gearboxes, in particular) that are promoted as being ‘sealed for life’ are shown to benefit from fluid and potential filter changes, despite not being mentioned in official schedules. 

Yet, do not forget the basics. Tyre pressure and condition checks, in addition to assessing battery state-of-health, as well as offering a recharge service should its state-of-charge be found to be low, are extra-value services that builds customer confidence in your business. 

 

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