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How ALLDATA repair works in the real world

ALLDATA UK pays Herefordshire-based Oldfields Garage a visit after Tim Benson subscribed the workshop to ALLDATA Repair.

Last November, ALLDATA Europe Marketing Manager, Julia Marra, struck a rapport with Oldfields Garage Owner, Tim Benson, following a presentation of ALLDATA Repair at Mechanex Tim was persuaded to sign-up. Months later, Tim invited ALLDATA to his workshop to see how he and his colleagues have been getting on with ALLDATA Repair in the real world.

Oldfields background

In 1991, Tim’s parents assumed control of a petrol station, with a built-in workshop at the rear. Tim’s dad was a mechanic, so his parents’ ambition was to forge a path to growing a successful workshop business – and so began the Oldfields journey. Tim, though, took a different career path before returning to the family business a few years later.

He recalled: “Initially, I worked for a Volkswagen dealer, but I moved on to complete my national higher diploma and then a business management degree. I worked in IT, cosmetic surgery and two universities, then ended up back in the area. I was at a crossroads as to what I wanted to do, so I was slowly leveraged into the business.

“Unfortunately, we sustained a lot of damage from a fire; however, that was the catalyst for some life-changing decisions. I decided to go all-in, and we moved to our current premises in 2011. My parents retired three years ago, so I now run the business exclusively.”

Tim is acutely aware of how vehicle technology and repair is becoming increasingly sophisticated. He is a business owner that wants to futureproof his business and be the best that Oldfields can be – after-all, with a tight-knit community of 12,000 people, word can spread fast and can make a huge difference to businesses if it offers a professional or unprofessional service.

Tim has invested significantly in Oldfields’ facilities, infrastructure, training, tooling and equipment. He is an advocate of OE components too. That desire to improve the breadth of knowledge of Oldfields staff and try to tackle every job that arrives in the workshop, not to mention the strive for OE quality, are just some of the reasons why Tim turned to ALLDATA Repair.

An annual subscription to ALLDATA Repair gives instant access to all repair data, as well as Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs), diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) and electrical systems/wiring diagrams. The data is offered with an intelligent search engine (offering text string matching technology) to enable the technician to find the data they need in seconds.

The portal offers 91,950 make, model, engine, year (MMEY) vehicle combinations, which equates to 95% of vehicles on the road today. In the last 12 months alone, 301 models have been published. ALLDATA Repair possesses a library of six million technical drawings and wiring diagrams, including electrical connector views.

The connection between Tim, Oldfields and ALLDATA Repair arose following an encounter at MECHANEX in 2022. Tim and ALLDATA Europe Marketing Manager, Julia Marra, met during the aftermath of a talk Tim was giving – about data!

Tim continued: “Julia approached me and asked if I’d heard of ALLDATA before, which I had, but the perception was that it was complicated to use; however, after explaining the product in more detail, Julia persuaded me to try it and see if my perception was wrong!

“Obviously, using the original and unedited data from OEMs makes life a little challenging in that the manufacturers present and supply data differently; however, that’s perfectly understandable. Vitally, it guarantees that the data supplied by ALLDATA, such as wiring diagrams or TSBs, hasn’t been reformatted or changed. We can have total confidence in what we’re being told.”

ALLDATA UK does offer training to subscribers, to help with set- up, familiarisation of the software and suggest ‘tricks and tips’. And, indeed, Oldfields has signed-up to receive training from ALLDATA Regional Sales Manager, Eric Ware. Tim described the added option of training as “beneficial and adds value” to ALLDATA Repair.

Practical example

Tim illustrated how ALLDATA Repair works in the real-world. What should’ve been a straightforward task turned into a job for ALLDATA Repair’s data.

Tim picked up the story: “We had a fuel filter on a Volvo, a type that we’d never seen before. The fitting was different to ones seen previously. It’s a job that we should be able to complete easily, but there was a particular clip that was unusual – it worked in a strange way: one pushes a bit up, then a bit down to unlock it. Logically, when one of our guys looked it, he pulled it but couldn’t undo the clip. Obviously, with the filter clip being made of plastic, there was the risk of it breaking when trying to force the issue.

“We logged onto ALLDATA Repair and found the exact procedure for replacing the fuel filter. It showed the type of clip and how it opened. Using ALLDATA Repair meant we were able to complete a 30-second job; whereas, before we invested in ALLDATA Repair, we probably would’ve broken the clip and ended up having to buy a fuel line. It’d be our fault and we’d have to explain that to the customer, which would likely be a tough conversation.”

Tim added that ALLDATA Repair has also been useful on more complex jobs, which has allowed Oldfields to go “further along with the process of the job”, thanks to “a test procedure, which is accurate, or a known problem on a particular vehicle that we wouldn’t have spotted previously”.

Perfect for diagnostic work

Tim has the philosophy of “there’s no such thing as too much data” and explained why ALLDATA Repair is a must for certain workshops. He said: “If a workshop is participating in any diagnostic work, I think it’d be foolish to not incorporate ALLDATA Repair into its overall package. Technical information, like testing procedures, TSBs and wiring diagrams, is easy to obtain.”

Focusing specifically on TSBs, Tim pointed out that because ALLDATA Repair’s TSBs have come direct from OEMs, it means they can be relied upon – don’t need to be checked in fear of steps missing or incorrect.

He concluded: “The TSB element cuts down diagnostic time and testing time, and it sends users down a path which is the right one. It’s a useful partner. What’s more, certain repair procedures have also saved us and our customers time.”

Thank you to Tim Benson and the staff at Oldfields for their hospitality and support.

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Find out more

To learn more and discover how ALLDATA Repair works in practice, check out www.alldata.com/eu/en/video-EN The website also offers valuable information and the chance to request a free trial.

ALLDATA will be available for a chat during breaks at autotech’s workshop takeover in Cheltenham on 24 June. Tickets are available at www.autotechnician.co.uk/training

About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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