We had fun celebrating Somerset Day and reflecting on what a wonderful county we live, work, play and learn in. Every year on the 11th May, businesses, individuals, organisations and community groups 'Fly the Flag for Somerset' and raise awareness of all the amazing things that are going on in our county.
Find out more on the Somerset Day website. There you will find upcoming events and fabulous destinations to visit, as part of the 2022 trial challenge. You can navigate the interactive map and find local attractions, festivals, walks and more. Have fun!
Recent correspondence with a national tyre distributor reported a positive first quarter for sales and the tyre industry has reported growth year on year, which is positive news given the market turbulation over the last two years.
The main issues facing the tyre industry have not been demand but supply, due to Covid disruption, Brexit uncertainty and new regulations, and the blockage of the Suez Canal. These issues subsequently caused supply issues. This significantly affected the supply of budget tyres and as a result, the cost of these soared close to that of mid-range.
As we move into Q2, tyre stock is starting to return to normal as the impact of Covid lessens. However, China are continuing to struggle with Covid restrictions which may have an impact down the line.
This all largely sounds like positive news, however there’s a ‘BUT’… Our national tyre distributor is predicting a significant price increase as the supply of raw materials and tyre production has been significantly affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are yet to see the ramifications of this but we are predicting tyre prices will start to rise towards the end of Q2.
Thankfully the supply issues of recent years seem to be behind us as stock returns to normal levels, however the increase in tyre materials and production will see consumers having to pay significantly more for their tyres in the not-too-distant future. Add this tyre price increase to the already inflated cost of fuel, motor oil, and replacement parts and we could see a wider impact on the automotive industry, as people abandon their cars for alternative methods of transport.
Not long ago, one of our most frequent customers boasted that they NEVER serviced their vehicle, and it hadn’t been serviced in the 6 years they’d owned it! I didn’t like to point out that their vehicle was by far our most frequently visitor for repairs, and had been towed in after breaking down on the motorway… TWICE! There are some things in life that you should ALWAYS do… and if you own a vehicle, regular servicing is one of them!
Servicing your vehicle, in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations, is a vital part of your vehicle’s maintenance requirements and ensures the long-life of your car and keeps you and your family safer on the road.
Firstly, lets dispel a myth… a service is not just an oil change! Instructing Dave from next door, who “used to be a mechanic so it’s probably alright”, to change the oil on your drive for £20, does not constitute a service. For one, Dave isn’t doing any mechanical checks and an oil change is just one very small part of a full service. Secondly, you have no idea of the quality of parts and lubricants that Dave uses – using high-quality, manufacturer approved parts is crucial for the long life of your engine. And lastly, Dave doesn’t provide any physical ‘Proof of Service’ (a point we will come to later). Also, Dave is unlikely to be a qualified technician, he certainly isn’t IMI approved and I doubt he’s even heard of Techsafe Technicians!
Your vehicle is most likely the highest value item you own, outside of your home. It represents a huge investment which should be respected and protected. An engine that is not serviced will not run as efficiently and use more fuel, leaving you spending more at the pump. Also, when it’s time to sell your vehicle, a sporadic or absent service history will significantly reduce the value of the car. Think about it… would you buy a car with NO service history? When searching for a new car, we all look for the ‘FSH’ acronym (I hope you’re not Googling it now!).
The key word for 2021 and 2022 is ‘Sustainability’. We all want the things we own to work better and last longer. This should be no different for your car, and regular servicing is crucial for the long-life of your vehicle. As highlighted above, a regularly maintained engine is more efficient, costing less in fuel, and will ultimately last longer - meaning less new vehicles brought into production. We love electric vehicles and see them as the future of vehicle technology and a vital development in the war on climate change, however there is a strong case for maintaining your newer combustion engine vehicle, rather than part exchanging for a NEW electric one.
Now… coming back to ‘Proof of Service’. Your car comes with a service record. This will be a physical service book usually kept in your glove compartment. Or, a Digital Service Record (DSR) stored online by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Professional automotive garages will be able to stamp your service book or register a service on the DSR. (We can register a service for; Audi, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Seat, Skoda, Toyota, Volkswagen). Unfortunately, poor Dave is unable to stamp your service record, leaving you without any proof that a service has been completed. As outlined above, this will significantly impact the value of your vehicle… Because, remember, everyone wants FSH!
And lastly, why take the risk… Most people use their car multiple times a day. It keeps you and your family safe and protected while on our busy roads. Your car is a mass of interconnecting metal, plastic, rubber and wires – thousands upon thousands of parts all working in perfect unison to move you from home to Tesco, without missing a beat. Regular servicing ensures that these parts keep working as required and serves as an early detection for any potential faults. So, our advice is always the same… ensure that you find a competent and professional garage an ensure your vehicle is maintained in accordance with the vehicle’s manufacturer’s schedules… For Driving Peace of Mind!
Suspension arms, bushes and ball joints are replaced in the workshop every day. Every time a vehicle’s wheel moves up or down, and when the steering wheel is turned, these components are in use and as a result, start to wear. These components are used to connect the wheel to the chassis and suspension components, like the coil or leaf springs.
Suspension arms need to allow up and down movement of the wheel but still hold the wheel central inside the wheel arch (not allowing forward and backwards movement). So, they need to be strong, but pivot both ends. To allow the arm to pivot, ball joints and/or bushes are used.
Ball joints wear because of constant use and leads to excessive movement in the suspension components. This will lead to a rattle or knocking noise within the cabin.
Bushes also knock when perished, worn or become unbonded from their housing. They commonly fail the MOT due to excessive wear or free play which, if not rectified promptly, can cause uneven tyre wear and handling issues.
Like CV Joints, Ball joints have a rubber boot covering them to retain the lubricating grease. If this boot is split, damaged or insecure, they can fail the MOT.
Common Mot Failures
The reason these are considered an MOT failure is because the vehicle’s handling can be seriously affected and cause the car to pull left or right. So, it is vital to keep the suspension in good working order.
In addition, premature and uneven tyre wear are caused by play in the suspension and steering joints. Whenever a steering or suspension joint is replaced, the alignment must be checked/adjusted.
Some vehicles, particularly larger German manufactured ones, have several suspension arms on each wheel. They may fail on upper, lower, upper rear most etc.
CV joints, boots (gaiters) and driveshafts are a common MOT failure. All drive-shafts and prop-shafts have a flexible joint at either end which needs continuous lubrication. These joints (CV joints) have a rubber boot to hold the grease within the joint itself. These split over time and allow the grease to escape. This is an MOT failure due to grease escaping causing premature wear of the CV joints, and in some cases, can spray grease onto your vehicle brake components.
Common MOT Failures
Mark has been included on the IMI TechSafe Register, ensuring the highest standards of workmanship and safety when working on electrified vehicles. The Institute of the Motor Industry’s (IMI) TechSafe standards for car technicians has been officially endorsed by the Government’s Office for Low Emissions (OLEV).
EV owners can search the IMI Professional Register to check technician competency levels at their local garage and is a crucial step in providing confidence that their vehicle can be serviced, maintained and repaired by their local garage with the right skills and qualifications. We are pleased to say that Mark is a registered TechSafe Technician and that all our technicians are trained to meet the required safety standards for working on electrified vehicles. Call us if you would like more information regarding any of our services - 01823 617790
We are proud to announce that we have joined the prestigious Bosch Car Service Network, joining a well-respected brand with 100 year history of supporting the best garages across the world.
Bosch are well respected in the automotive industry and provide their select network of garages with unrivalled support. As well as carrying out a large percentage of the Research and Development for the car & transport industry, they also manufacture the highest quality parts.
As so much of the R&D for the majority of vehicle manufacturers is carried out by Bosch, their diagnostic tools are a vital component to any quality automotive garage. And their apprenticeship and training solutions ensure that our technicians are on course to be the Master Technicians of tomorrow.
Joining the Bosch Network is no walk in the park… we must ensure we’re continually investing in the garage to maintain the highest standards of vehicle repairs and servicing. Upgrading equipment, updating and investing in the latest diagnostic technology and ensuring that our technicians are highly qualified. Ultimately, this investment leads to the best customer experience.
Offering the absolute best service to our customers has always been our mission. From the moment you make first contact with us we want you to enjoy the experience. Aligning ourselves with a brand and network that have the same customer focused approach, and will make us even better, was an opportunity not to be missed. And, now we’re looking forward to seeing what we can achieve over the next 5 years.
At Okee we love retrofitting electrical add-ons, like; spot lights, reversing sensors, and dash cams. When the work is completed correctly these upgrades can be a good addition to your pride and joy. However sometimes we come across a poor installation and in this case, a potentially dangerous one.
Our Client was at her local supermarket when smoke started to pour out from under the bonnet and dashboard of her vehicle. She quickly exited her vehicle and called the RAC for recovery services. Once the vehicle had been towed to Okee it didn’t take long for us to find the cause - a poorly routed live feed wire had been trapped between a front spot light and its mounting bracket. Over time the wire had become exposed and shorted, and this in turn allowed excessive current to flow - melting all the relating wiring (see picture).
The original technician installed these lights without fitting a fuse, which is not recommended and something we would never do at Okee. We removed all the existing wiring and started again, making sure wires were routed safely and the system was fused correctly. Back on the road in no time!
If you have any electrical issues give us ring today
We are fully qualified, and have a wealth of experience, when it comes to working with air bag and safety restraint systems (SRS), which is vital when dealing with components that are critical to your safety, the safety of your family, and other road users.
Here at Okee we have seen some terrifying air bag and SRS repairs over recent months and would urge all vehicle owners not to settle for any cheap vehicle repairs, but to give particular consideration to safety related components like your air bags, SRS and braking systems.
Recently, a new customer came to us with the air bag warning light on (an MOT failure) requesting we find and rectify the fault. After scanning the ECU and looking at live data, we found a high resistance value at the passenger front air bag igniter. So, with the system powered down we began our investigations…
First, we gained access to the air bag itself. A quick removal of the glovebox and a couple panels revealed everything we needed to see. The wiring loom had been damaged previously and someone had made a poor job of fixing it. The wires feeding the Air Bag had been re-connected by crudely twisting the two together, and they had neglected to apply any insulation to the join with nothing physically holding the wires together.
We also found the igniter wires on the passenger front seat belt retractor to have had the same sub-standard repair. They had been poorly soldered together and then taped to the seat belt to stop them falling off, obviously not a good enough repair and the result of poor workmanship.
You don’t need to be a master technician to know that this is not good enough. We professionally replaced the wiring loom and checked the resistances using the scan tool and everything had returned to normal. Best practice dictates that you should never repair air bag wiring, but replace with the correct wiring loom, supplied by the vehicle manufacturer. Also, it is important to use the scan tool to check resistances, as multi-meters could deploy the Air Bag.
These systems are so important and do need highly trained technicians with experience and knowledge to repair them. At Okee we can repair any electrical system fitted to your vehicle. Modern systems are so complex and need people with good understanding to work on them. Cheap repairs often cause other faults to appear, costing you more in the long run.
A vehicle recently came to us with the ESP light on. An initial diagnostic scan found faults relating to the inlet and outlet valves, and the brake fluid pressure to be at 200 bar, even without pressure on the brake pedal.
We then proceeded to remove the ABS module and inspected the valve block. It was clear to see that water ingress had occurred, to the extent of causing visible corrosion within the valve block. An OEM part was ordered and fitted, then the brakes bled-out using our diagnostics equipment. The customer was back on the road in no time.
Ben Grave, Mark Lawson