MOT Workshop 31 – News, New Products and Services

• CANbus can do more for your business: Actia Muller explains…
• New and advanced Trademaster Brake Testers launched
• Don’t ‘beat about the bush’
• Stenhoj Lifts: “simply the best!”
• Car suffers catastrophic wheel failure only 6,000 miles after MOT

CANbus can do more for your business: Actia Muller explains…

In the current financial climate, vehicle visits to the garage are becoming less frequent as drivers try to reduce the cost of keeping their car on the road. Cars over 3 years old often only see a garage for the mandatory annual MOT. It is therefore essential for test stations to advise customers of their vehicle’s state over and above the level of the basic MOT if they are to survive, let alone thrive!

Actia Muller’s Bilanmatic (automatic test report) concept forms the heart of their Class IV/VII ATL packages, providing a simple and affordable option to be able to complete additional advisory tests for the customer.

Actia Group’s electronics experience (which extends even to aeronautical standards) and their use of multiplexed CANbus technology in Bilanmatic, means additional test beds can be added to standard ATL packages to provide unique shock absorber testing and tracking (toe) readings with little or no additional time or effort.

Easy to up-sell, and build customer confidence

“These results, when passed on to the customer as a free of charge ‘added benefit test’, allow the customer the opportunity to fully appreciate his/her vehicle’s condition,” explains Actia Muller General Manager, Simon Stone, “along with the opportunity to invest in either rectification (new shocks, wheel alignment), additional investigation (labour) to correct the condition, or consider replacing the vehicle.”

Consumer trust leads to loyalty

From a safety aspect, replacing defective shock absorbers and rectifying wheel alignment problems will reduce braking distances and aquaplaning, improve cornering and stability, as well as extend associated part life (e.g. tyres, bearings, bushes). This reduces expensive on-going maintenance costs, whilst improving the drive ride quality.

“We know our use of the latest CANbus technologies can secure additional profit for garages, while increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty – elements which don’t always go hand in hand in this business,” concludes Simon.

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New and advanced Trademaster Brake Testers launched.

Hand-Held-Device-The Trade Group has launched the Trademaster T5000 series of Brake Testers; they maintain this provides a step change in technology which, combined with the proven reliability will deliver significant operational benefits to any MOT Station.

John Martin, Trade Group spokesman on Brake Testers explained, “Above all other requirements, the brake tester is a costly but vital part of any MOT facility. When making your choice, it’s important to ensure that the equipment is CE approved, has a traceable pedigree and that the long term service support is demonstrably evident. Additional consideration should always be given to ensure that it can be upgraded easily and that it has a range of useful options that will allow it to provide additional profit opportunities, or, at the very least, allows you to extend the quality of service you are able to offer to your customers”.

Martin continued, “With this in mind we have introduced the Trademaster T5000 series of PC controlled brake testers. Housed in a space saving, elegant and functional control cabinet, the powerful central control system allows the complete range of MOT tests to be integrated into a fast and easy to use system.

NewT5000Even the entry level Class 4 system features class leading graphics displayed on the 22″ LCD screen, fast MOT testing and wireless remote control.

From this base, the T5000 series systems builds to allow additional functions to be added including ATL functionality, either using the brake tester or a separate suspension tester to provide the weighing facility, a wireless colour printer, which can be housed safely in the office, wireless communication to the gas analyser and smokemeter and a side slip tester for a rapid check of wheel alignment. As a real technological bonus, a fully integrated Hand Held Device (HHD) is available that not only provides the full MOT test to be logged electronically, but imports both brake tester and emission results automatically, before sending the full test results to the VTS device at the touch of a button – all from the driver’s seat of the vehicle!”

For more information contact 0845 6444054 or,
or visit

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Don’t ‘beat about the bush’

More and more roads are now showing signs of poor maintenance and often a pot hole appears without warning.

BushesToolsAll this is bad news for the cars suspension. The bushes take such a battering that replacement is now a common part of the MOT. This is not a quick job for any mechanic and often the removal of the old bush is a job of brute force and determination. Specific bush tools are the answer and these are now available from all good tool suppliers.

Using high tensile steel for the bar and adding a thrust bearing to the nut makes our tools even more robust than before. Again lots of lubrication and a good deal of perseverance are required but the job can be completed in situ and in less time. Saving time and money.

Newcomers to the Laser Tools range include:

Front Axle Upper Ball Joint Extractor for Volkswagen T4 (Part No 4711)
Rear Trailing Arm for Honda CRV (Part No 4716)
Rear Axle for Subaru (Part No 4749)
Front Control Arm for BMW Mini (Part No 4769)
Rear Trailing Arm for BMW 3 Series – E36 / E40/ E48 (Part No 4779)
Rear Sub-frame for BMW 5 Series (Part No 4780)
Rear Axle Carrier for BMW X5 Series (Part No 4781)
Rear Suspension Ball Joint for BMW 5 & 7 Series (Part No 4787)

They have also upgraded their existing kits for Vauxhall Vectra and Ford Mondeo using the same high tensile steel and special Nut and thrust bearing for strength (Part Nos 4793/4796)

For more information visit

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Stenhoj Lifts: “simply the best!”

Claims Nigel Munsey, Gemco Sales Manager…

GEMCO Equipment Ltd are one of the largest suppliers of 2- and 4-post lifts to the workshop market. Since the 1980’s GEMCO have built a very strong reputation in the UK market by selling the Stenhoj brand; which has become renowned for quality and durability. Many of those garages and fast-fits that buy Stenhoj return to purchase again, such is their satisfaction with the product. Stenhoj lifts are renowned for lasting 15 to 20 years and more! Also sleek design has been a feature of all Stenhoj products.

Gemco atlIn the Stenhoj range there are variety of 2-post models with baseframe (Mascot) and baseless (Maestro) to suit all workshop and vehicle needs. These models range from 3 to 5 tonnes in capacity. A very popular model is the Maestro 2.50FL, a 5 tonne lift ideal for LWB vans.

The Stenhoj Major range of 4 post lifts are available in 4, 5 and 6 tonne versions with a variety of column widths and lengths to suit all cars and light commercials. Of course special versions are available for MOT, ATL and Wheel Alignment. In fact the Major 426BL, a class 4 ATL lift, is claimed to be the best seller on the UK market! All Stenhoj ATL lifts including the new class 7 version with 6 metre platforms come with pneumatic play detectors, which, they say, are generally recognised to be superior to hydraulic.

GEMCO also offer a large range of Dunlop lifts in 2-post, 4-post, scissor and ATL versions. These lifts are for the price conscious buyer and are designed to be excellent value for money. Two models are especially popular – the DL32 3-tonne 2-post model available in both Three and single phase, is a fast seller, as it is only 2500m between the columns. Also the DL4103ATL 4-post lift is extremely popular with customers with existing MOT bays wishing to convert to ATL, where the existing lift recess is only 130mm deep.

So whether it be Stenhoj or Dunlop GEMCO have a lift to suit the garage’s requirements!

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Car suffers catastrophic wheel failure only 6,000 miles after MOT.

Here’s an ironic tale. John Ball, Mot Chairman of RMI and owner of MOTEST, a group of Testing Stations, had just returned to his Head Office after a meeting about 4-2-2 with the Minister of Transport and Department of Transport officials. The trade is against any such proposal and the outcome of the meeting is awaited.

As he arrived back at his office, a member of his staff called him over to look at a car which had just been recovered by the RAC.

The front wheel, front hub and brake assembly had detached and folded up, jamming under the wheel arch. The front nearside ball joint had jumped out of its socket. Fortunately this happened when the vehicle was travelling at low speed so nobody was hurt in any way.

Below: The front wheel, front hub and brake assembly had detached and folded up, jamming under the wheel arch. The front nearside ball joint had jumped out of its socket.



The car was a 7-year old Dawoo Matiz and belonged to a regular customer who had had it MOT Tested at John Ball’s business in September 2009 when the mileage registered was just 34,064 – not much for a car of that age, although at that MOT Test the owner had been advised that there was ‘play’ in the ball joint on the nearside front and it would need attention.

A key point to this story, however, is that the mileage when the joint departed was only 6,000 more than when the vehicle had been Tested the previous September (2009).

Ball thought it was particularly ironic that after being told by the DfT’s Officials that they believed that two-yearly MOT Testing wouldn’t be a problem for cars, particularly those which did very little mileage, that on that same day here was a vehicle which had suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure after travelling only 6,000 miles, and less than a year later.

There are, though, two factors here. First, as noted above, the low mileage, but secondly the assumption which seems to be made as it was the last time 4.2.2. was proposed by the Department for Transport , that people will conscientiously look after their vehicles for two years between MOT Tests if two-yearly MOT Testing is adopted by the Government.

Clearly, this motorist, even after being notified that the joint had play, decided to do nothing about it.

As Ball said, “…if that car had been travelling at speed, the outcome could have been catastrophic, perhaps fatal, not only for the driver and his passengers, but potentially for other road users as well”.

What a shame the Minister and his officials at the meeting weren’t there to see the car, but we’re sure John will send them copies of these pictures.

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