A chance to cut signiﬁcant amounts of time lost processing unnecessary claims is one beneﬁt motor factors get from hosting a Gates Technical Workshop. PMF learns about the additional opportunities.
When a regional motor factor network invited 100 mechanics to attend the recent Gates Technical Workshops, some of the benefits were a pleasant surprise.
Each year, the Technical Workshop series from Gates allows around 1,500 mechanics the chance to improve their drive system installation skills, and learn how to avoid many of the most common fitting errors that occur daily.
These benefits have positive implications for motor factors. Reducing the number of returns at the garage means motor factors waste less time doing fruitless administrative tasks, as well as preventing conflict between the two levels of the supply chain.
The technical workshops usually take place after work, in the evening. This means the training sessions do not cause any downtime for the garage. Attracted by the opportunity to quiz an OE manufacturer about the right and wrong way to fit timing belts and accessory belts, mechanics happily give up their time. It’s all part of their desire to become more professional.
The Gates Technical Training and Support Team begins with a background in belt construction and reliability. Innovation in drive system technology comes next and that often leads to debates about installation issues.
Common causes of premature failure
For example, drive system comebacks are common in cars with a Renault 1.2 16V petrol engine. Although the installation procedure is very specific, problems are often caused by incorrect tension of the timing belt.
An Allen key is used to wind the tensioner into a precise position. The engine must be rotated manually through a given number of revolutions. If the steps are in any way imprecise, premature failure becomes likely. Catastrophic engine failure could follow.
Debates about water pump fitting issues are often lively. Where appropriate, Gates advocates the installation of a new water pump with every replacement belt kit. Most garage mechanics agree, but the procedure for fitting water pumps often divides opinion. News that coolant should be used to create ‘a dynamic seal’ came as a surprise to some of the mechanics. Others shared a belief that sealant always provides insurance against surface irregularities on the mounting position.
Gates advises that inappropriate use of sealant can compromise both the installation and the function of a new water pump. Moreover, sealant should only ever be used if specifically recommended.
The mechanics are told that technical errors are often related to the use of inappropriate tools and that there is often consequential damage. Gates has recently compiled a quick reference guide to the essential belt installation tools that workshops are most likely to need. It links the tools to the applications and makes accurate selection much easier.
Each technical workshop demonstrates a strong working relationship with Gates. It is a chance to meet customers, representing an opportunity to invest in customer service, and can help forward thinking garages gain an edge over the competition. Greater awareness about technical errors can reduce comebacks. It can help sell more of the correct tools and, in many cases, motor factors have moved on to add a tool hire option as a viable revenue stream.
In combination, less time is wasted processing unnecessary claims. That means savings in time and money for everyone.