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.

Draper Tools supports new training centre

Draper Tools has donated a selection of tools and equipment to a new Automotive Engineering Training Centre at Shrewsbury College, which will provide a range of courses for those starting out to experienced technicians who want to learn more about emerging technologies now entering the independent workshop.

The new facility was unveiled by college Principal James Staniforth and was joined by the Draper Tools-sponsored British Touring Car Racing Team, Excelr8 Motorsport, along with team driver Chris Smiley and his Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance.

Andy Lee, Director of Employer Engagement and Curriculum Leader for Engineering and Motor Vehicle, said: “The additional training opportunities we can offer through these facilities will further enhance the Engineering and Automotive facilities we already have. We will be able to provide training in such areas as Electric Vehicles, Advanced Diagnostics, ADAS, Master

Technician, and further develop our MOT and Mechanical Engineering capacity.”

Rugged diagnostic tool – Launch X-431 Euro Turbo

Launch UK has introduced its latest high-end diagnostic tool, the X-431 Euro Turbo, an upgrade from the Launch PRO S, and is specifically designed for challenging workshop conditions.

It boasts wide model coverage, powerful test functions, accurate test data and numerous special functions.

The rugged 8-inch touchscreen tablet uses the Android 9.1 operating system for a smooth and feature-rich experience and the tablet housing features a useful ‘kickback’ stand and a new fool-proof charging port design. It is supplied in a robust, hard case with all the necessary cables, including a wide range of OBD1 diagnostic connector adapters.

Using the latest Bluetooth technology, the tool allows technicians to move unhindered around the vehicle while carrying out diagnostic checks and tests, as the Euro Turbo communicates wirelessly with the latest DBS Car VCI.

It also features Launch intelligent diagnostics, including automatic VIN recognition for over 70 popular manufacturers, loading the correct software by vehicle model and production year, providing a faster, more convenient method than manual selection.

Technicians can select from individual modules or by a whole vehicle health check that interrogates all modules – diagnostic trouble codes are clearly displayed with a full description.

Technicians can search for information on the fault code directly from the tablet using the optional Launch Guided Diagnostic function, powered by Haynes Pro. A further optional feature is the Launch Professional Database that can be integrated in X-431 Euro Turbo software, guiding the user from the DTC reading to the step-by-step testing.

Snap-on Introduces New Diagnostics Website

Snap-on® has launched a new Diagnostics website at to provide even more relevant information to help customers learn about diagnostic products and services quickly. The new website is presented in a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate manner, whether on a desktop computer or mobile device. 

Visitors to the website will notice the homepage is redesigned with a sleek, new look using dropdown menus for viewing diagnostic tools, information and software products, news and training and support. The homepage also highlights Snap-on Intelligent Diagnostics and other areas of high interest, with links for visitors to learn more.   

New features of the website include: 

To learn more about Snap-on diagnostic solutions, talk to a Snap-on representative or visit

About Snap-on Diagnostics:

Snap-on Diagnostics is part of Snap-on Incorporated, a leading global innovator, manufacturer and marketer of tools, diagnostics and repair information and systems solutions for professional users performing critical tasks. Products are sold through the company’s franchisee, company-direct distributor and Internet channels. Founded in 1920, Snap-on is headquartered in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Tool Up!

‘Time is money’ and ‘grazed knuckles bloomin’ hurt’ – truisms that have inspired Nicola St Clair to look at some new tools designed to save valuable workshop minutes and needless hassle.

To achieve efficiency in your work, you must know what tools are best for the task in hand and it’s imperative you know how to use them. Whether you’re undertaking common maintenance and repair tasks or performing an initial diagnosis on a potentially complex fault, take a look through these tools to see if you could be working a little more quickly, safely and smartly. 

Flexible bit spanners can access tight spaces.


The hex-headed, or star-headed, set screw or fastener is commonly used on the modern engine, gearbox and ancillaries, and are often hidden behind pipework, wiring harnesses or other components. With the aid of a workshop light, you may be able to see the fastener you need to get to but may find you can’t get a screw or bit-driver anywhere near. 

This is when a flexible bit spanner comes into its own and Laser Tools has recently added part number 7480 (hex bit) and 7481 (star bit) to its inventory. The ultra slim spanners have a flexible joint, allowing the bit to swivel through 240° and fit into the tightest spaces. There are five spanners in each set, all double-ended, offering ten commonly used bit sizes per set. 

The 7480 hex bit set is typically priced at £88.00 and the 7481 star bit set at £81.98, including VAT, but look out for special offers at local stockists. 

This one-metre long probe helps access part numbers.

Laser Tools has also released a portable inspection camera with high res 5” colour display, to help locate problems and identify out of reach part numbers with ease. The flexible, semi-rigid camera probe is one-metre long and just 3.9mm in diameter and can be helpful inspecting engines and its components, checking cables and wiring. The very narrow diameter of the camera probe makes it ideal for inspecting combustion chambers in diesel-engined vehicles using the glow plug aperture for access. It will also prove useful when reading the part number of a component buried in the engine-bay, without dismantling. The tip of the camera probe features six LEDs with three brightness settings for use in dark environments. 

The instrument is fitted with an 8GB Micro SD card, so you can save still images and video recordings, plus sound is also recorded. Images or video files can be transferred to a PC or laptop via the supplied USB lead or by removing the Micro SD card from the camera and connecting to the PC via a card reader. The 7604 inspection camera is typically priced at £589.00, including VAT, but look out for special offers. 

A 136-piece ‘Mechanic’s Tool Kit’ is said to be popular with technicians at the moment, and available in Sealey’s Christmas Promotion. The AK7980 kit contains a comprehensive range of frequently used hand tools – including 1/4″ & 1/2″Sq drive 72-Tooth offset comfort grip ratchet wrenches, plus 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″Sq drive sockets, hex keys, spanners, screwdrivers, pliers, bits and accessories. The tools are supplied in a sturdy storage case that features reinforced corners, aluminium trim and lockable metal catches. It is available for £227.94 inc. VAT until 29th February. 


Induction tools are becoming more popular within workshops, removing the H&S issues associated with open flame torches and dramatically reducing the time and hassle involved in a multitude of tasks. 

The Mini-Ductor series of handheld, flameless torches that have been available from Induction Innovations since 2005, use Invisible Heat® to heat ferrous metals in seconds. High frequency magnetic fields release corroded or frozen hardware and other metallic components from corrosion and thread lock compounds, without the damage caused from traditional torches. By using one of the included coils that can flex around corners, the Mini-Ductor heats a 3/4″ nut red hot in seconds. 

The Venom HP is the latest addition to the Mini-Ductor Series, available for pre-order now for its January launch, which is the most powerful yet. Applications include releasing: ABS sensors, Bearings, Brake bleeder nuts, Corroded exhausts, Decals and graphics, O2 sensors and steering/suspension components. A Bearing Buddy Coil Pack is also new, supplying a 41” and 96” flexible coil with a heat resistant mat, which prevents abrasion and overheating of the coil. 


You can build up your own Bit Set when you open all 24 doors of this advent calendar from Draper Tools. The century-old tool specialists are donating £1 from every sale to Care For Veterans. 

The set includes ratcheting, stubby and precision screwdrivers along with 31 1/4″ drive hardened and tempered chrome vanadium steel bits and 20 3mm drive precision bits. There’s also a bottle opener behind one of the doors that may come in handy during the festivities! 

For more information and stockists , please visit: (Advent calendar stock number: 93673). 


Ben reveals new tools to help with money worries

Ben, the not-for-profit organisation that partners with the automotive industry to provide support for life to its people and their family dependents, reveals the main financial worries for people who work, or have previously worked, in the automotive industry.

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 20.06.47In 2017, 42% of people Ben supported had money problems, with ‘low income’ accounting for 52% of this. Other key financial concerns were around debt and money management.

Mental health issues were the second biggest concern for people last year, accounting for 31%. In addition, 17% of individuals who contacted Ben were worried about their physical health and 10% had social health concerns such as relationship breakdowns, isolation and loneliness.



In response, Ben has launched two new online tools to help people get their finances back on track:

  • The Turn2us Benefit Calculator – see what benefits you may be entitled to
  • The Turn2us Grant Search Tool – search for grants to access
  • Budgeting Tool – to help you manage your money and make ends meet


In the UK, it is estimated that working age families and pensioners are failing to claim over £10bn a year in benefits. Ben helped people claim nearly £1m of untapped benefits during April 2016 – March 2017. The benefits calculator available on Ben’s website is free, so it’s well worth individuals checking to see if they are receiving funds they are entitled to. The grant search tool is also free and helps individuals look for funds, by way of grants and other types of financial support.

These new tools have been launched in line with Ben’s current financial health and wellbeing campaign, as money problems are common for people at this time of year, after the excesses of the festive season.

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 20.07.00Zara Ross, Chief Executive of Ben, says: “The automotive industry is going through a challenging time at the moment and this undoubtedly has an impact on its people. Low income and debt are currently the biggest concerns for those we support. At Ben, we are well placed to advise automotive employers of the potential issues currently facing their employees, so they can offer relevant support.

“The fact that financial health is consistently the biggest concern for the people who contact us means that the industry needs to understand this is a key issue. Individuals who are struggling with money problems are likely to be stressed and this is likely to impact on their overall wellbeing. According to the CIPD, 1 in 10 staff say they have found it hard to concentrate or make decisions at work because of money worries. Therefore, it’s in the best interests of employers to be aware of these issues and support their employees as much as possible.”

A socket set for every task!

Autotechnician recently visited the Draper Tools team in Southampton to witness the extensive product testing that takes place there, and it is quality that underpins its huge new range of socketry. Following 18 months of market research, over 600 products have been introduced, joining the company’s vast portfolio of tools and equipment. The socket sets and merchandise displays feature new branding, which will gradually be rolled out across its ranges in due course.

The impressive new range of Draper Expert and Draper socket sets, individual Draper Hi-Torq sockets and accessories ranges from 1⁄4” drive right through to 1” square drive. We witnessed some of the product tests ourselves and every socket and accessory, whether it be Expert or Draper, is made to exceed DIN standards. The Draper range exceeds this standard by 10% or more, the Quality Assurance techs demand at least 20% over this standard for the Expert range. This enables them to confidently provide a lifetime warranty on the products.

There is a socket set to suit every task or project in this extensive range, including Multi-Drive Sets, Go Through Sets and VDE sets – ideal for working on electric and hybrid vehicles.

The range features three different finishes for sockets in micro satin, polished and satin. Plus, there’s several useful features like larger sized markings for easier identification, knurled sections and cross knurling for extra grip.

New Draper Tools socket sets are supplied within a steel case sets with foam inserts and heavy duty carry handles, as well as blow mould case sets with soft grip handles and secure metal latches.

More details to follow in our November Tools feature, plus a chance to win some of the latest tools.

A British success story that you will not have heard about, until now

Autotechnician visits Bartec Auto ID’s Barnsley training centre, to learn more about its tools and vision for the UK Aftermarket.

The British, family-owned company was formed back in 1992, specialising in radio frequency systems and producing tyre pressure monitoring tools (TPMS tools and systems) for the aftermarket under various brands, ever since. Last year, Bartec made the decision to promote its expertise under the Bartec brand in the UK and finally take the credit for its expertise.
Its TPMS products are used on the latest tyre and wheel technology in around 70% of European car
plants, which means its tools work with all OE and aftermarket sensors and have extensive vehicle coverage.
Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 18.40.25
We were shown a number of product demonstrations at Bartec. The TAP100, which is approved for MOT by the DVSA, was clearly very simple to use – assessing tread and pressure as well as tyre condition and tread wear on all wheels within a minute – with results sent via Bluetooth to a PC instantly. A report can then be printed to show customers if any repairs or parts are required. Before the report is printed, a traffic light system on the tool visually shows the user whether tyres are either – safe and legal, legal but need to be monitored closely, or if tyres should be replaced. The tool works with TPMS desktop software, providing vehicle look-ups, software updates, technical updates and a reporting function to store and report audit data to cover the workshop’s liability.
“The Bartec TAP100 is a crucial piece of equipment; tyre shop customers need proof that they need to change their tyres, and tyre shops want to close the sale,” says MD Colin Webb. “The TAP100 enables the tyre shop to save time, maximise its efficiency, scrap the paperwork, and automatically capture the data whilst maintaining that all important relationship with the customer.”
The firm were particularly proud of its TECH500 tool, which is said to be the only TPMS scanning tool in the world that boasts a combination of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, inductive charging and keyless ignition testing.
It programmes sensors, tests passive key entry systems and also detects and diagnoses sensor
faults, which can be caused by a failed battery, mechanical damage or corrosion. It can also recognise whether the vehicle’s ECU or TPMS receivers are at fault. It offers extensive OBD vehicle coverage, including Asian, GM, Ford and French manufacturers and benefits from wireless charging.
The kit includes an OBD cable, Bluetooth dongle, universal charger and tool case. Further accessories and upgrades are also available, including a charging station, fast Bluetooth printer and charging pad.
Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 18.40.39MD Colin Webb explains how its close relationship with the largest valve and sensor manufacturers means it is in a strong position to best help workshops: “These relationships and our leading position of supplying TPMS systems in the car plants enable us to deliver the most up-to-date coverage of cars and sensors on our aftermarket tools. That means more repairs and more revenue for our customers and a high degree of confidence in our quality. Over 95,000 TPMS tool users in action across North America and 28,000 in Europe are exploiting that advantage.”
Call Bartec for more information on its 2017 program of technician training courses at its Barnsley offices on 01226 770 581.