Lighting the way

Published:  19 December, 2018

The introduction of Xenon HID bulbs has been one of the biggest vehicle lighting developments of the last 20 years. As they become more common and are no longer restricted to just premium or luxury cars, many more motorists are now benefiting from the crisper, whiter colour temperatures, helping them see road signs and obstacles more clearly. In addition, legislation was introduced in 2012 so new vehicles produced after then would use D3 and D4 references, which do not contain mercury. Ring stocks a comprehensive range of Xenon HIDs, including the new D5 reference.


www.ringautomotive.com

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  • Xenon HIDs: Three is the magic number  

    Everything has a point at which it needs replacing, and new research from Ring Automotive says  xenon HIDs should be replaced every three years.

    Garage businesses will be able to help improve safety for their customers and increase revenue by advising drivers to go for replacement according to Ring Automotive, who are behind the findings.
    Ring’s research  indicates  that while xenon HID headlamps may still illuminate and appear white, after three years the light output will have dropped significantly – potentially below legal limits. In tests done in its  beam laboratories, Ring found that the overall lumens light output from four-year-old HID bulbs had dropped by around 17.5% compared to equivalent new xenon HID bulbs – taking them below the legal limits for light output for HID bulbs as set out in ECE Reg 99. The lux output at the brightest point of the beam had dropped by around 59.5% when comparing the old bulb with the equivalent new xenon HID.

    Lumens are used to measure the overall output of a bulb, and this measurement takes into account all the light emitted across the entire beam. Lux is used to measure the light output at the brightest point – or hotspot – of the bulb. This is the point at which the light is focused to give optimum visibility when driving.

    Opportunity
    Carl Harrison, Xenon HID Product Manager at Ring commented: “When a customer is in for a MOT and service, it’s the ideal opportunity to discuss xenon HID bulbs and replacement. We’ve tested the light output of new versus four-year-old bulbs, and can see a significant drop in light output, and based on this and other tests, we are advising technicians to recommend replacing xenon HID bulbs every three years.”

    Apart from the safety angle, there is chance to make some money too says Carl: “It’s a value-added service that provides an opportunity for garages, who can offer bulb replacement, and improves driving conditions for their customers. The driver may not have noticed the reduction in visibility as the change will have been gradual, meaning that advice from professionals is even more necessary to ensure optimal driving conditions.”

    Around 10% of the UK car parc has xenon HID bulbs fitted, and these vehicles offer a profitable prospect for independent garages: “These bulbs need to be installed by trained technician, and must always be replaced in pairs,“ says Carl, “as if they are not, the colour output of the bulbs will be mismatched. With a higher cost per bulb and more time-consuming fit, there is a clear opportunity for garages to profit, while still offering better value and service than main dealers.
     
    “There’s a perception that xenon HIDs must be fitted by a main dealer. This is not the case, and we want to ensure that independent garages don’t miss out on fitting xenon HIDs. There’s even an opportunity to upsell to brighter and whiter options. These upgrade bulbs put more light on the road than standard HIDs, or produce a whiter light for an even more high spec look and a match to LED daytime running lamps. As these bulbs will last for three years, this extra investment can be worthwhile for drivers that want the best in their vehicle.”

    Ring offers a range of xenon HID bulbs, including popular references D3 and D4, plus the newer D5 reference, as well as brighter and whiter upgrade options. For more details about xenon HIDs, plus fitting advice, visit www.ringautomotive.com/webapps/refit-hids/

  • Detecting the opportunity: ADAS  

    Vehicles are being equipped with advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) in increasing numbers. It is predicted that by 2020, more than 40% of new vehicles will have at least two types of  ADAS system fitted as standard.

  • Snap-on diagnostic software upgrade  

    Snap-on has released a new diagnostic software upgrade. Much of the new coverage relates to ADAS systems. Examples of the additions include adaptive cruise control modules on several Alfa Romeo and Fiat models, blind spot monitoring for Hyundai, Land Rover and Mazda variants, Vauxhall Mokka parking assistance and lane keep assist on several Renault and Lexus vehicles. The new ADAS coverage is on top of the wide range of new vehicles and systems added in the latest upgrade. Purchasing the update also back-fills technicians’ tools with all of the information from each previous Snap-on release, bringing the capability to deal with late-model and older vehicles alongside support for facing the new challenges coming into the workshop each day. ZEUS and VERUS Edge users will also benefit from improved management and storage of vehicle photos and diagnostic screenshots, along with faster access on their units to recently-scanned vehicles. Users of the Snap-on ZEUS, SOLUS Edge, MODIS Edge and Ultra platforms, and the VERUS and VERDICT family of products, also get exclusive access to SureTrack with the upgrade.
    diagnostics.snapon.co.uk/software

  • Johnson Controls EFB range 

    90% of all newly produced vehicles have a Stop/Start system, which requires a more comprehensive energy supply than conventional cars with few electrical functions. Stop/Start technology is also used in small and medium-sized passenger cars. You can find the right battery in the new and extended EFB product range for almost all entry level Stop/Start vehicles. The range extension includes three new JIS types for market coverage of vehicles of Asian car manufacturers, one new EN type (H8) for higher coverage of Italian car manufacturers, and 3 upgrades to current EN types (H5, H6 and H7) to optimise cold-cranking performance values.

  • In the heat of the fault  

    At the workshop we cover all kinds of vehicles, old, new, big and small but with all these vehicles we need up to date diagnostic equipment to be able locate faults within the electrical system.
        
    In the workshop this summer was a 2009 Volkswagen Golf that had an intermittent issue which meant the car would go into limp mode, the cruise control was disabled and the climate control wouldn’t work. Understandably in the weather we were having the lack of air conditioning was a major concern to the customer. No one wants to be without air conditioning in 30Cº.
        
    I plugged in the trusty diagnostics reader and came up with four faults. These included turbo boost sensor, manifold pressure, throttle pedal position sensor and ‘fuel system
    too rich’.
        
    In my experience cars can throw up all kinds of trouble codes even when there is no issue with that part. I wouldn’t say some manufacturers are more troublesome than others but if a light does appear on the dash it’s best to get it checked out as soon as possible.

    Issues
    I cleared the fault codes and told the customer to see how it drove and if the issues resolved themselves. The customer had the car for just an hour before they called and said that the problem had reoccurred, as much as this is a pain for the customer I always clear the faults and see if it happens again rather than changing unnecessary sensors. I got the Golf back into the workshop and once again plugged the computer in, which brought up one code. This was the throttle position sensor. A quick call to VW and a discussion with their parts people showed that this particular issue can lead to the cruise and climate control not working.
        
    Next day delivery on the part means the car came back in the following day. One bolt, two plastic clips and an electrical connection later and the pedal was off. Gone are the days of the throttle cable. The throttle response is now done by a sensor on the pedal which works out how far the pedal is being pushed and tells the engine how to respond. It is clever stuff,  when it works.
        
    A pedal replacement on the Golf only takes five minutes and another clear of the fault code before taking the car for a road test. On the test drive cruise and climate control were checked as well as making sure no dash lights had appeared.
        
    Modern mechanics have become very computerised. Dash lights appear whether it is indicating an issue with the airbag systems, ABS or engine and diagnostic computers are so important to narrow down what the issue could be. I dislike the reliance that some workshops put on just trusting what appears on the screen of the diagnostics. It is still imperative that mechanics test sensors and look into live data to make sure that unnecessary components are not replaced and the costs put onto the customer, who will have to pay.


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