Category Archives: Inside Knowledge

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Maintenance

Car Dealers! Discover why informing customers about Diesel Particulate Filter maintenance can improve your customer satisfaction ratings!

It’s time for some inside knowledge! Our Client Support Director Steve Robson has noticed concerns being raised by some of our Dealers relating to Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) on customer vehicles. I’m here to present his worthwhile advice in the hope of helping you and your customers!

DPFs are notoriously expensive. They are typically located close to the “engine end” of the exhaust system on most diesel vehicles. They are simply designed to trap soot emissions and help protect the environment, however, the filter can only hold so much before it clogs up.

The DPF sensors which are typically located either side of the filter itself, send data to the ECU. When the ECU senses a build-up of soot it starts a process called an “Active Regeneration Cycle” in an attempt to recharge the DPF by heating up the soot to 600 celsius. This turns the soot into a harmless ash which is then expelled via the exhaust tailpipe.

Herein lays the problem!

The ECU will only initiate Active Regeneration Cycle when the vehicle is being driven at an optimal running temperature, and cannot be initiated in low-speed urban driving conditions, especially when the engine coolant is cold.


Most customers are unaware of this,  so those that drive for prolonged periods at a low speed in stop-start, urban driving conditions, can unwittingly and prematurely clog up the DPF.


The first they usually know about it is when a dashboard warning lamp flashes on. If the driver ignores the light and if the ECU cannot initiate and complete the Active Regeneration Cycle, eventually the DPF will block.

The ECU will then force the vehicle into “Limp Mode” and the customer will end up at the workshop. In many cases, premature blockage of the DPF will require replacement at high cost.


It is only sensible that the customer is aware of how and why this happens. Customers can potentially avoid this issue by occasionally driving the vehicle on a long, clear stretch of road (as long as it is safe to do so), at a constant speed of at least 50 mph and at least 2,000 rpm for a minimum of 15 minutes.


Any interruptions in that 15 minute journey will not allow the Active Regeneration Cycle to recharge the DPF.

In Summary. By advising the customer at point of sale or vehicle handover about correct maintenance of the DPF, it could save you and the customer an awful lot in cost, time, effort, and stress minimise damage to your customer satisfaction rating.


Thank you for reading this WAS Blog post on DPF filter maintenance and awareness.

 

Twitter Car Dealers – A Hidden Gem

Step aside the rat race, and meet a collective well informed group of motoring professionals eager to develop, engage, and grow. Meet “Twitter Car Dealers”.

With LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter driving engagement as the powerhouses of the social media platforms, it’s very difficult to find a hidden gem. That “place” you can visit, chat, promote, and build a solid business relationship with other like-minded professionals in the motoring world. Well our Managing Director Alan Davison was invited to join Twitter Car Dealers, a small but highly active website that was “built by car dealers to discuss car dealer stuff”.

Alan described the site as a “hidden gem of social media” and would encourage all dealers large and small to spend a few minutes signing up and getting involved.

 

What is Twitter Car Dealers?

Twitter Car Dealers is a portal that allows you to engage with other motor trade professionals. It is closed to anyone not associated with the “trade”, meaning you can talk openly and frankly about issues that concern your livelihood. It is a website where you can give and receive advice on best practice, catch all the new developments in the trade, and keep up to speed with the latest industry news that will affect your business.

Most importantly, you can forge strong relationships with people that face the same daily challenges that you do, and you can find some great trading partners and get good honest feedback on any issue you share with the group.

To find out more, pop along to twittercardealers.ning.com to see what this hidden gem can bring to your business!


Thank you for reading this WAS Blog post on Twitter Car Dealers.

 

Hydrogen – The Future Of Motoring?

With ever increasing traditional fuel prices, a trip to the petrol pump is always a cringe-worthy affair. Even with electric and hybrid technology powered vehicles readily available, the cost of motoring only seems to be going up! So is there a viable long-term alternative? Meet the new kid on the block powered by the snazzy new fuel technology, Hydrogen!

The future is here. Well, maybe! Are you tired of paying a small fortune for Petrol or Diesel? Worried about the environmental impact of fossil fuels? Fear not dear reader. Clean, renewable and cheap motoring is here – but it’s actually quite expensive at the moment, and it’s also hard to find, but please bear with me for a moment!

Hydrogen is what I’m talking about. Vehicles powered by a Hydrogen fuel cell. Available to purchase right now in the UK however granted, choices are limited and you’ll have to have deep pockets to purchase one! Hyundai are now offering the ix35 Fuel Cell Car, which will cost you roughly £53,000.

Toyota will release the Mirai later this year, price to be confirmed closer to its release although it is expected to be in the same ballpark as the Hyundai ix35.

Toyota Mirai
The Toyota Mirai

 

Given the incredibly high purchase price can these cars really be a viable motoring alternative for the future?

Well, most people accept that oil is a finite resource which will eventually run out, which means an alternate fuel to power our vehicles has to be found.

We already have several Hybrid options that reduce the consumption of fossil fuels but still require some petrol or diesel to function, and in my opinion, these feel more like a stepping stone to an alternate format rather than a solution. Fully electric powered cars are also available to the consumer, but with very limited range, excessive charge times, and a scarcity of charging points outside of the city, it’s highly unlikely that they will become anything more than a niche speciality vehicle.

So! We know our oil will eventually run out rendering our current petrol and diesel powered vehicles useless. Fully electric vehicles aren’t practical to meet for the needs of the wider motoring community, and Hybrids are still dependant on traditional fuels as part of their power source.

 

Could these hydrogen cars be the answer?

Hydrogen fuel cell cars generate their power from the most abundant resource in the known universe, Hydrogen. So no fear that the fuel source will run out any time soon.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

 

What is hydrogen?

Hydrogen is an element with the chemical symbol H and atomic number 1. Hydrogen is the lightest element on the periodic table and is considered to be the most abundant chemical substance in the universe.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

 

How do Hydrogen fuel cell cars work?

Hydrogen gas is pumped into the vehicle hydrogen tanks where it is stored under high pressure (up to 10,000 psi) in one or more cylinders mounted in the vehicle. The hydrogen travels from the storage cylinders, along with standard air to the fuel cell stack.

Once at the fuel cell, the hydrogen gas goes through a chemical reaction with the oxygen in the air, and this generates an electric current to power the vehicle. The only byproduct of this reaction is water which exits through the vehicle’s exhaust pipe.

 

Is it safe?

Hydrogen is a very explosive element. However hydrogen is 16 times lighter than air meaning if a leak does occur it will dissipate instantly into the surrounding air. By comparison if petrol or diesel leaks, both can pool under the vehicle creating a fire risk.

The hydrogen storage tanks used in fuel cell vehicles are presently made from carbon fibre, and have to undergo stringent crash and even ballistics tests. Current indications are that fuel cell vehicles in their current format are safer than conventionally fuelled vehicles.

 

Where can I get Hydrogen from?

Presently the short answer is hardy anywhere, currently only a handful of hydrogen filling stations are operational in the UK due to the hydrogen fuelling infrastructure being in it’s infancy. However, each vehicle sold increases the demand for hydrogen. This will increase demand and it’s inevitable that more and more filling stations will open.

Now granted it won’t happen overnight, but I wonder how common a sight a hydrogen filling station will be by 2020?

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

 

So is hydrogen the future?

It’s abundant and usable, and we know how to harness it’s energy potential. It’s also renewable, and if produced in the right way has little to no impact on the environment. Whether it’s the motoring energy of the future then only time will tell, however hydrogen power is a very bright positive glow on the motoring horizon.


Thank you for reading this WAS Blog post on hydrogen fuel cell cars.
Image Credits: Adam Evans via Flickr, Zero Emission Resource Organisation via Flickr, Revolve Eco-Rally via Flickr.

Motortrademe. The Trade-Only Motor Dealer Network

Calling all professional Motor Dealers! Motortrademe is an experienced trade-only dealer network, that has been designed and built by industry experts to solve the frustrations that is common to most dealers using existing platforms.

 

Dealers often comment that there is a need for a more reputable and cost effective alternative for disposal and stocking. Concerns with risk are often the barrier to fully realising the cost benefits that existing alternative routes offer. The risks are almost always down to the quality of the network. As a result, dealers often spend far more of their budget than necessary by dictating one stocking and disposal route over another, without ever revisiting the cost saving potential that could be realised with a fixed cost* approach versus current variable fees.

Dealers also miss the potential additional returns such as instant underwrites, real world market valuations and fast trade turnarounds on unwanted part exchanges that instant buy-it-now trade sales platforms offer.

 

Motortrademe Trade Only Dealer Network

Motortrademe is dedicated to bringing together professional members of the trade, in order to build a trusted network of like-minded fellow dealers where you can reliably source and dispose of good quality stock, without having to safeguard against poor trade practices.

Our members contribute to the success of this platform, and good trading practice is fundamental to delivering long term value, quality of service and overall sustainability. Therefore we have developed a vetting system that ensures that our members are legitimately from the trade and have been in the industry long enough to share our values and philosophy.


“Underpinned by a commitment to deliver a quality and affordable service we have ensured that Motortrademe is easy to use, and minimises the amount of administration for both buyers and sellers through your sales process.”


With your support, we commit to continue to build on this philosophy with technology and services that will help all of our our members develop and grow their business.

Please visit www.motortrade.me and apply today for your free 30 day trial account and see for yourself the benefits and value that Motortrademe has to offer.


* Our pricing plans are cost effective, simple and straightforward. Selling stock on Motortrademe is free of charge, while a full account at £50 p/m enables subscribers to purchase and sell on the platform. 

 


Thank you for reading this post on the WAS Blog! Visit www.motortrade.me for more information, or view the recent WAS Blog posts to read more motor trade news!

Facebook & LinkedIn Developing New “At Work” Platforms

Social networking giants Facebook and LinkedIn are busy developing new business focused social platforms, for companies to enable their staff to collaborate and share information. Could this be a useful tool for car dealers?

Facebook has launched it’s new ‘Facebook at Work’ platform which will take on similar collaborative network solutions like Microsoft’s Yammer, Slack, Convo, Socialcast, and a number of others who are trying to tackle the “enterprise social network” space.

Not to be confused with your typical social network with endless streams of cat photos and videos of cute animals dancing, Facebook is developing a new business orientated space called Facebook At Work. Housed within the Facebook environment, this new separate space within the Facebook universe will allow companies and their staff to share information and collaborate within. A bit like an Intranet!

“Facebook at Work is a tool for co-workers to communicate and collaborate in a professional environment on Facebook.” – Facebook Website.

Checking out the Facebook website today I found support and help guides, and a registration form where businesses to sign up to the new platform.

 

LinkedIn Logo

Eying the opportunities, professional network giant LinkedIn has also hinted at creating it’s own enterprise social network for employees to share contact information, as well as something intended to help companies share its content with specific employee groups. The LinkedIn solution according to recode.net, will not boast a chat feature.

Lars Rasmussen, an engineering director leading the London-based Facebook at Work project told the Financial Times: “Facebook has become a bigger and bigger part of our work day. We’ve been discussing it for years so now we’re making the first externally available product.”

A Facebook at Work app has apparently been made available to a selected group of pilot companies and the social network has outsourced the service to a number of partners in an attempt to fine-tune the platform before its launch.

 

Could these new internal business networks be a useful tool for car dealers?

With so many work focused collaborative software options available from big name players including Microsoft, I imagine larger dealer groups would have some form of preexisting intranet in place with existing software license commitments too.

However if the Facebook and LinkedIn solutions are free to use, possibly supported by advertising, they could drive a a lot of small to medium sized dealerships to take advantage of the collaborative power of the technology.


 

When the two platforms are released I shall hopefully have a more in-depth look! Thank you for reading this post on the WAS Blog!

Going Green!

Carbon Concious Logo

Yes! We are going green! Here at Warranty Administration Services Limited, we are committed to leading our industry in minimising the impact of its activities on the environment.

The key points of our “Carbon Conscious” strategy to achieve are to:

• Minimise waste by evaluating operations and ensuring they are as efficient as possible.

• Minimise toxic emissions through the selection and use of its fleet and the source of its power requirement.

• Actively promote recycling both internally and amongst its customers and suppliers.

• Source and promote a product range to minimise the environmental impact of both production and distribution.

• Meet or exceed all the environmental legislation that relates to the Company.

• Off-set the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our activities through contributing to local green charities.

To negate our emissions in the year 2013 we have donated a sum of money to Hill Holt Wood a local charity involved in child education through forestry work to cover the cost of planting enough new trees to fully off-set the companies carbon footprint.

How do we handle warranty claims?

How We Handle Claims

Many of our readers will have spoken to a member of our claims team at some point. Whether it was to gain authorisation for a claim, or them contacting you regarding a particular issue with a customer. But what goes on behind the scenes? What do we do in the background to help you and your customer?

Let’s start with the initial call to gain authorisation for a repair or servicing. It may sound obvious, but the questions we ask are all relevant to assessing whether the claim is valid. From the vehicles mileage down to the costs of parts and labour, they are all entered into our system. From that information we can identify if the part is covered on that particular level of cover, whether the claim is within the parameters for date and mileage, and if it is within the specific individual and aggregate claim value limits for that vehicle. If the claim falls within all these criteria then we will issue a unique authorisation number that ensures that we and you know that you can proceed with the repair as agreed.

If we say yes that’s the easy option, in an ideal world that would be the only option. You just carry out the repair and send the invoice to us. However, there are times when we have to say no.
These decisions are not taken lightly, they are based on what you have asked us to do. Some dealers take the view that ”if it’s not covered, it’s not covered”  so we carry out their instructions and reject any claims that aren’t covered. We are always happy to explain to either you or your customer exactly why we have rejected any claim.

Other dealers have a different approach, they may have requested that we contact them on any rejected claim or on ones that fall into certain criteria. Or sometimes we will initiate a contact to the dealer of our own volition, if we feel it is something that you should be aware of.  This allows them to make an informed decision on the claim before it escalates into a situation with an unhappy customer. That’s the beauty of what we do, we can tailor our response to what you require  to keep your customer happy.

There are also the situations where, more than likely because they are some distance away from you, that one of your customers needs to have a repair carried out at a third party garage. In this instance the garage would contact us with the details of the claim. We would liaise with the designated person at the supplying dealer so that they are fully aware of the claim.  Only when they have agreed for the repair to be carried out at the third party garage would we issue an authorisation number.  These situations can take a little longer to authorise but a lot of that is dependent on being able to speak to the designated contact, so if we are trying to contact you please reply as soon as possible as we have your customers best interest at heart. The longer we have to wait for a reply from you increases the chance of a dissatisfied customer.

Warranty Administration Services Ltd

Then there is the administrative side of what we do. Those invoices, for completed repairs and servicing,  that you post and email to us don’t just disappear into a big black hole. They are all entered against the relevant claims, all the information is verified to make sure it is as we authorised. A copy of the invoice is scanned and electronically attached to the claim and the information is all reported back to you on your monthly reports.  This is all done by the same people that you speak to for authorisation. So please don’t think we sit here just waiting for the phone to ring, there is always more going on behind the scenes than most of you will realise.

In the claims team we have all been here at WAS Ltd for more than 13 years, so many of you will have spoken to a familiar voice over that period. We like to think we have built up a good relationship with you all over that time and look forward to helping you look after your customers for many more years to come.

If you would like to know more about our Crystal Clear Warranty, or have any questions, please give us a call on 01522 515600, or click here to request an information pack.