Looking back but motoring ahead

Mike from Kalimex, the distributors of JLM Lubricants’ products cast his eyes forward into 2021

Published:  19 January, 2021

Just 12 months ago, the future of the UK aftermarket appeared to be in good shape with the emphasis on moving motorists to newer, greener vehicles. Then along came COVID-19 and everything changed. Although government objectives remain the same, the average motorist now finds themselves looking at a significantly altered work-life balance with new priorities and new challenges.   
Sure, many would like to get their hands on the latest eco-vehicle but now most are struggling to keep their existing vehicle running and in good order. Budgets are tight. Undoubtedly this will have a big impact on the shape of the aftermarket in 2021.
Car sales statistics since lockdown began are already showing a sharp move from new car sales towards used car sales and an ever-ageing car parc; especially in those areas suffering the greatest economic impact. Motorists will naturally avoid spending money where possible and this has inevitably led to routine servicing being put off. The net result of this? Higher costs when their vehicle breaks down due to poor maintenance. It’s crucial therefore that the aftermarket emphasises the importance of preventative maintenance to motorists plus swift reaction to any dashboard faults.

As a result, savvy motorists will save money in the longer term but vehicle manufacturers will not be letting up on marketing their shiny new models. This means the independent aftermarket, from parts manufacturers, to motor factors and workshops, need to up their game when it comes to promoting the benefits of good quality maintenance for used and ageing cars.
The motorist is aware they should be greener in all aspects of life and a well-maintained vehicle ticks the green box. A good service will immediately improve emissions. Introducing a preventative regime with additives will help the motorist maintain lower emissions and it reduces the risk of major mechanical failures such as damaged exhaust filters, blocked injectors, and fouled turbos.

Drilling down to the specifics, what should the aftermarket focus on in 2021?
Diesel Particulate Filters: Ongoing lockdowns have meant that vehicle use has changed, with normality but a pipe dream. Journeys will be shorter and more frequent leading to increasing DPF problems because the filter is unable to regenerate.  Ignore it and the motorist will end up with unwelcome high bills or worse still, an unusable vehicle. The aftermarket must promote prevention which is easily accomplished with a quality DPF additive regime.  For a few pounds every month the motorist will avoid unnecessary bills of hundreds, potentially thousands of pounds. JLM Lubricants, for example, provide superb quality DPF products including a professional cleaning toolkit – the dirtiest of DPFs can be cleaned by a mechanic in situ.  Between services, a high-quality additive will keep the DPF in good shape.
Catalytic Converters: A CAT will often become blocked because of a poorly maintained engine. Keeping the engine clean helps keep the CAT clean, prolonging its life and avoiding unnecessary replacement costs for the motorist.
Turbos: A dirty turbo will strangle an otherwise good engine. Untreated it will lead to poor fuel consumption and increased emissions. On its own this means higher running costs for the motorist, but nothing compared to replacing a turbo.  A professional quality additive will clean the turbo and importantly help prevent further contamination.  

This approach to prevention and cure with additives should not be viewed as doing mechanics out of business, because in most cases it’s the mechanics using the additives as part of their service and servicing regime.  Keeping a vehicle on the road by avoiding preventable DPF, CAT or Turbo issues means that the vehicle is still rolling, rather than being mothballed or scrapped. This means that suspension, brakes, and routine serving still need seeing to. The aftermarket must show it can help the motorist save money and keep their car on the road for longer. It’s likely to be three years or more before we return to anything like pre-Coronavirus normality.
The move to greener motoring should not be put on hold because of the impact of COVID-19 but it will have a different look to what the government initially envisaged.  With the support of the independent aftermarket, motorists can reduce their impact on the environment and save money.  They can keep themselves on the road whether they use their car for work, the school run or for that much-needed staycation.  The government should embrace this approach and incorporate it into their green agenda. They too must accept there is an even tougher road ahead between today’s hard-pressed lockdown motorist and their vision of all electric motoring.
For more information visit www.jlmlubricants.com and www.the-dpf-doctor.com

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