Running in parallel

The NHS and the aftermarket are not so dissimilar, as Euro 6 looms

Published:  07 April, 2014

By Frank Massey

The argument was in support of focusing on highly skilled specialist hospitals providing care and services more efficiently and more cost effectively. It argued, and I believe correctly, that each hospital could not afford the specialist equipment and the supporting skill sets in sufficient numbers to provide the very best health care in all cases.

I am sure you are ahead of me here in the parallel analogy with our industry. The other remarkable similarity was in the way the different factions, all passionate about providing the best care, were in effect tearing themselves apart. If it continues the NHS we be handed over to the private sector, something I never wish to see.

Wait a minute, have I gone mad or crossed over to the dark side? If you think that, you definitely don't know me! Dealership training currently relies on assessment from serial data, fault guided diagnostics and automated test process. However, access to highly specialist tools, injector test bench, inductive current measurement, electronic profile evaluation, selective PCM programming, induction pressure testing are just some of the skills training we provide and won't be found in dealerships. There is an incredible opportunity - you simply have to reach out for it.

Yet the vehicle manufacturers do have a point in promoting their dealerships. Despite many garages investing and providing an excellent service, there are some tearing it apart. As independents, we cannot possibly provide all of the services across the entire market, we can however embark on a more co-operative outlook. Sharing resources, knowledge and opportunity will only help to improve the independent vehicle repair sector.

Also, in dealing direct with the public, we profile our customers; by understanding their driving habits, type of fuel purchased, servicing regime and operating environment, we are able to formulate not only a durable repair but also a mutual beneficial avoidance programme. More frequent oil and filter replacement, additional treatment and recovery products such as BG, better fuel quality and an understanding of how to best operate their vehicle.

Diesels, specifically small diesels in small cars, create lots of harmful emissions, yet the problem lies with what the EU government is trying to introduce, Euro 6.

So what is the issue? We are, or I should say our future, like the NHS, is facing a crisis. By that I mean the extinction of the small diesel passenger car. Diesel does not and will not burn well. It's a long chain molecule fuel that produces lots of harmful residuals that must be treated in the exhaust system. Post-combustion after treatment is not new and I am sure many of you are fully employed in repairing them. Long may it continue because I am one of them. However, with current average bills ranging from £500 to £1,500 to correctly recover DPF systems (and that statement excludes the cowboys with a Hilti and a one-meter long masonry drill), this will have an impact on future consumer habits.

Given the approaching implementation of Euro 6 selective catalytic reduction (SCR) legislation and its additional cost in hardware, technology and repair and maintenance cost, it cannot be too long before the manufacturers start listening when the general public stop demanding small diesel cars due to maintenance costs. SCR is designed to permit Nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction reactions to take place. The reducing agent reacts with the Nitrogen oxide to convert the pollutants into Nitrogen, water and tiny amounts of carbon dioxide. SCR technology alone can achieve NOx reductions in excess of 90%.

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