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Blogs

Coronavirus – an alternative view

Coronavirus – an alternative view

Blogs, Features
Even if you are not suffering from the coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be suffering with your mental health. It’s natural – everywhere you look there is doom and gloom. News channels are constantly reporting numbers, social media is going mad with rumours, and shop shelves are emptying at an alarming rate. Personal experience I understand how the news surrounding COVID-19 can affect you. You may think that being an automotive journalist, I would not need to have in-depth knowledge of the situation, but you would be wrong. In fact, I’ve been tracking this since December last year, when it first came to the attention of the World Health Organisation (WHO). You see, China is responsible for a large majority of the automotive supply chain, and Wuhan in particular is home to many
Smart motorways – why so long for recognition?

Smart motorways – why so long for recognition?

Blogs
At the end of 2018, I spoke with Tracey Crouch MP about the dangers posed by smart motorways. She was involved in an all-party parliamentary group responsible for looking at the safety of the roads, especially surrounding the roadside recovery and rescue services.  Since then, the group, which works together with the Campaign for Safer Roadside Recovery and Rescue (CSRRR) has made recommendations including allowing vehicles attending breakdowns to use red flashing lights rather than the current amber. Yet these amendments were not widely reported. Why has it taken over a year for the media to cotton on to the fact that smart motorways are dangerous? Firstly, I take umbrage with the comments in the newspapers and online that smart motorways are those ‘where the hard shoulder
Free checks do work, just prepare for holiday dates!

Free checks do work, just prepare for holiday dates!

Blogs
The Easter holidays are fast approaching, and so the country prepares for expected mayhem on the roads as families on holiday over the extended break take to their cars and travel the length and breadth of the country. Of course, this is an opportunity for garages to offer free checks, a service that can also be applied at the start of any bank holiday weekend, or, perhaps more crucially, any school holiday. Do you have a copy of your county’s term dates? They’re freely available in PDF format online, just search on the internet using one of the many available search engines… ok, Google… Knowing the key dates when families are likely to make more trips can give you notice to start offering those free checks on wipers, bulbs, tyres and so on. The number of cars I’ve seen recently
Misguided press releases build consumer mistrust

Misguided press releases build consumer mistrust

Blogs
As a journalist, I receive all sorts of press releases. The beauty of being an automotive ‘hack’ means I get plenty of general ones, not just those flavoured for the aftermarket. And are from a couple of days ago was a doozy. You can read the story here, however I’ve not reported the whole release. The piece concerns customers being confused by jargon in garages – a fair point, those who are not mechanically minded would be a little confused. But the piece included some examples, and this, which I omitted from the main news article, is what annoyed me:   Diagnostic check / charge The technician may plug a diagnostics system into your car to assess any faults; this sounds technical and can be used to mask the cost of an hour’s labour but it usually entails no more
Sentiment is good for business

Sentiment is good for business

Blogs
According to new research carried out by the AA, drivers are becoming more sentimental, with many choosing to give their cars a name. I’ve done it, many a time, So I can understand the reasons why. A car with a name has its own personality, and therefore you bond with it more. Things that you bond with, you care about, which means you’ll look after it. So more drivers bonding with their cars means more servicing for garages. Naming cars is a good thing! The vehicle in the picture above is Bet, short for Betty. I didn’t name her, my friends at college did, way back in the day. One had a scooter called Beryl, the other a car named Bertie. So seeing B, E and T in the numberplate, the name was given, and it stuck. I owned Bet for eight years. She started life as a 1.3-litre 4-
This solution isn’t smart…

This solution isn’t smart…

Blogs
  A journey back from an event yesterday took me on over 100 miles of motorway. Part of this, the M6 from junction 2 to 4, is being upgraded to a ‘smart motorway’ in keeping with the stretch further up through Birmingham. I’m really not a fan of smart motorways, yet my journey covered two large stretches of the M1 and M25 that are already converted. And it was in these sections that I saw the problems of the idea first hand. For those unfamiliar, smart motorways do away with the hard shoulder completely, converting the road to ‘all lane running’. Should a breakdown occur, the lane the vehicle is in will be closed. Only this means that by closing a lane, traffic will start to back up, creating more delays. In addition, roadside workers are at risk, should a vehicle igno
Co-operation is key, first hand experience

Co-operation is key, first hand experience

Blogs, MOT
Last week I ran into a problem. My car failed its MOT on a rather big issue - it didn't have a catalytic converter fitted. I know straight away what you're thinking, and yes I did check - turns out what looked like the cat was just a fake box around a de-cat pipe, and the previous owner failed to mention this fact. Anyway, as we all know, that's illegal and not the kind of thing I like, plus needing an MOT, I had to think money. However, the garage I went to, which I've been to a lot since I moved to my area, only deals with OE exhaust parts, as they don't have the equipment to customise. No worries, I worked with them, they suggested I see about buying a third-party cat and they would fit. They even found a part number for me. It turned up, I went down there, thinking 'great, jo...
Read the latest Insight

Read the latest Insight

Blogs
Auto Repair Focus is more than just a website, as I hope you've noticed by now! In addition to news and features online, we also have the Insight, a fortnightly digest of the latest going ons in the aftermarket direct to your inbox - free of charge. The Insight delivers news, features, video content and product stories, plus any upcoming training courses and events from our online portal. It doesn't require any more than you just filing in the form below, and then sitting back and waiting for the first copy to be delivered. If you want to be kept up-to-date without the need to constantly check online then the Insight is for you. Plus, it contains a link to our podcast, The Tune Up, which features a discussion on the latest automotive industry topics. #mc_embed_signup{backg...
Will it be a happy new year?

Will it be a happy new year?

Blogs
Let’s face it, 2017 was not a fantastic year. Brexit threw up more questions than answers, car sales dropped and various other challenges rose their heads. However, this year should be better. After all, you cannot experience change without some degree of pain. The government, for example. Like them or loathe them, they should have a better understanding of how Brexit negotiations will run. That should help sort out a bit of the instability that the situation currently presides over. The question of whether we face a ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ exit from the European Union will be answered and we’ll know where we stand. In 207, the SMMT suggested that should the UK face a hard Brexit, where there is no deal on free trade and tariffs are imposed on imports and exports, then the cost of ve
An introduction to the news

An introduction to the news

Blogs
Welcome to a new chapter in automotive aftermarket publishing. This is a project that has been in development for the last 12 months, has had a lot of time and effort spent on it and intends to grow as the years go by. So firstly, hi. I'm Phil Curry and if you don't know me, I hope you will soon. I'm the Managing Editor of Auto Repair Focus - or ARF as it may come to be known - and the owner of PJR Media. We run other websites, including All Torque and BHP Magazine, while I also freelance for a number of different publications. I'm also the former Editor of Aftermarket magazine in the UK, and passionate about the automotive aftermarket as a whole. Now at this point you may be asking why I've decided to establish a new website, when there are other magazines out there. A good ques...