Autotechnician talks all things INA with Schaeffler REPXPERT, James Mainwaring.
As one of Schaeffler’s renowned REPXPERTs, 29-year-old James Mainwaring provides training and advice to help workshops grow their understanding of developing vehicle technology and the replacement products they are installing. A genuine car enthusiast, whose favourite car is the classic, Japanese old school Nissan 240Z, James is a trained engineer with a huge amount of practical knowledge. He also has a great rapport with technicians, which is obviously a key requirement for every REPXPERT.
James has been with Schaeffler for three and a half years and, in addition to his training responsibilities, he and his REPXPERT colleagues also proactively investigate new applications in order to pre-empt future issues and rectify them before they become major problems. “Schaeffler’s philosophy is to provide the independent aftermarket with a complete original equipment (OE) repair solution that includes not just OE replacement parts, but also relevant technical instructions and unrivalled support through comprehensive education and training.
“So, in common with every Schaeffler brand, the INA programme encompasses all these elements to provide workshops with a complete solution for all their power transmission – timing belt, chain and auxiliary drive system requirements. “The benefits of this approach are many, but in purely practical terms it means that technicians have all the OE replacement parts in one box, including all necessary ancillary components such as studs, nuts and circlips and, where needed, water pumps. This allows them to carry out a professional repair quickly, efficiently, and successfully, and crucially, to the standards stipulated by the vehicle manufacturer.
“However, in order to provide the additional support that technicians need to complete a first-rate repair, alongside its OE quality parts, Schaeffler created the REPXPERT service programme www.repxpert.co.uk. With the catchphrase ‘By experts. For experts’, it’s designed to equip professional mechanics with the information they need to make all repairs simpler and more efficient, from standard belt replacements to more complex thermal management system replacements.
“Utilising REPXPERT, allows independent workshops to compete on a level playing field with the VM affiliated dealer networks because, as well as the full INA timing belt installation instructions for example, it also provides them with data such as correct torque values, sets out any special tools that are required and gives them the VM derived labour times, to accurately cost and carry out the repair.
“Education is a central theme throughout the site, with the online training section providing a huge library of INA installation instructions and videos from my fellow REPXPERT technical trainers. Much of this information comes in response to already known warranty claims and, following the pattern of these failures, and through rigorous investigation, we find the solution to the underlying problem.
“Two good examples that emphasise this point are the timing belt on the Ford Lynx engine and tensioner stud on many VW 1.9 and 2.0-litre diesel applications. “While the Lynx engine appears a simple set up, with just a belt and tensioner, technicians have to follow a strict procedure and use special tools. So, to give them the instruction they need, we purchased an engine and created a video www.repxpert.co.uk/en/online-training/page ds28032 to illustrate the exact fitting process and highlight some of the pitfalls that they can potentially encounter.
“The infamous VW stud, because it is not easy to replace, is often ignored, and sometimes not even included in competitor kits. As the stud is an OE service replacement part, it is obviously included in the INA KIT, therefore we developed a special VAG Stud Tool – https://www.repxpert.co.uk/en/online-training/cmsitem-00097521 – which allows technicians to check the stud clearance after it has been replaced, to make sure it has been fitted correctly. In keeping with REPXPERT best practice, this solution allows technicians to complete a full, VM compliant, timing system replacement.
“REPXPERT is an invaluable platform for professional technicians that want to stay ahead of the game, learning about new and future technologies, and helping to protect the long-term future of their business. It also continues to evolve, with members now able to access many popular features, plus some new and unique ones, directly from their mobile device by using the REPXPERT app.
“App users can search for vehicles by registration number or application, or for specific parts by OE, competitor and Schaeffler references. They can even scan the barcode on any INA packaging to see all of the vehicle application, product and service information available for that specific repair solution. “The REPXPERT app has been a huge benefit to many businesses, giving technicians quick and easy access to technical information directly from their own devices, reducing the need for sharing a PC in the workshop.
“When it comes to training, another area synonymous with Schaeffler, we have experts around the country who attend technical events and training days to help technicians overcome troublesome installations. All of this content is naturally under constant review to ensure they are relevant and addressing the most current and important issues that workshops are facing.
“Before the lockdown, we introduced REPXPERT Academy LIVE, a series of free of charge events that encompasses four 45-minute sessions, designed not only to help technicians tackle more challenging applications, but also allow them to get a grasp of evolving technology in the latest vehicles. This is another demonstration of Schaeffler’s ongoing commitment to the industry.
“It is worth reinforcing the message that everything on the REPXPERT site is completely free, technicians just need to enter their workshop details and then validate their registration in the resulting confirmation email. They will then become a REPXPERT member, with all the privileges and opportunities this provides. “Members can, for example, redeem the bonus points found inside Schaeffler product boxes for an even more diverse range of content, such as P-codes, service schedules, diagnostics, steering geometries and torque values for non Schaeffler- related systems. Points can also be spent in the Bonus Shop, which has a range of workshop tools, clothing, and point-of- sale materials.
“Members also receive regular e-newsletters (make sure you tick the box during registration), updating them on the latest Schaeffler product news, training and bonus shop offers from the OE manufacturer and supplier.”