Sometimes it is difficult to write an article on one subject when there are a few topics that are relevant to the future of your business. Interest rates, the Right to Repair, continuing education, and coolant quality, all deserve attention. Since I am not an expert on any of these topics except for continuing education, my comments will be brief but designed to cause reflection on the part of the reader.
I had an interesting revelation the other day. In 1981, when my father and I started in the radiator, tire and battery business, my father took out a second mortgage on my parent’s home. The loan was for $25,000. I had completely forgotten about this loan as it was for 10 years and had long been paid off. Recently, I was in the process of selling my mother’s house which is the house I grew up in and this loan surfaced in the title company’s research. The most interesting part about this loan was the interest rate. The interest rate was 16%, which now seems like an interest rate on a credit card not a mortgage.
Even though the amount of the loan wasn’t large, we were able to start a business and pay the loan with the 16% percent interest rate. Businesses are resilient, and I am constantly reminded how small businesses can be successful regardless of government policies. Since the job market continues to flourish and inflation is resisting dropping to the desired levels the Fed thinks is appropriate, we will probably see more interest rate hikes in the future. As business owners, the majority of you will find a way to make your vision for your company come true because we always have regardless of what the government does. This is one of the great things about our marketplace.
This week I was reminded about the Right to Repair Act as I received an email from the Auto Care Association asking for my support for this initiative.
Here’s some recent information and history:
The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, sometimes also referred to as Right to Repair, is a name for several related proposed bills in the United States Congress and several state legislatures which would require automobile manufacturers to provide the same information to independent repair shops as they do for dealer shops.
Versions of the bill generally have been supported by independent repair and after-market associations and generally opposed by auto manufacturers and dealerships. It was first considered at the federal level in 2001, but no provisions were adopted until the Massachusetts legislature enacted Right to Repair bill H. 4362 on July 31, 2012. This law was passed in advance of a binding ballot initiative referendum which appeared on Massachusetts’s statewide ballot also on November 6. The measure passed with 86% voter support. Because there were now two different laws in effect, the Massachusetts legislature enacted a bill, H. 3757 to reconcile the two laws. That bill was signed into law on November 26, 2013. Early in 2014, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, Coalition for Auto Repair Equality, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and the Association for Global Automakers signed a memorandum of understanding that is based on the Massachusetts law and which would commit the vehicle manufacturers to meet the requirements of the Massachusetts law in all fifty states
In February 2019, the Right to Repair Coalition started a new public awareness ad campaign to update the Right to Repair Law which members claim is at risk because of wireless automotive technology which could limit independent repair shop’s access to information which dealerships receive. Voters later passed 2020 Massachusetts Question 1 to address this problem.
One note about the 2020 Massachusetts Question 1 that was passed by the voters of that state, a federal judge disagreed with the law and told the OEMs they didn’t have to abide by Massachusetts’ law.
NARSA/IDEA supports its members in the aftermarket and also supports the “Right to Repair” initiatives. The “Right to Repair” affects our industries just as much as the general auto repair sector. Having the correct information and access to tools which help the repair facility to service autos and trucks is directly related to cooling systems, climate control systems and emissions systems. Please scan following QR code in the ad on the previous page to learn how you can help. Let your Federal legislators know you support legislation which will provide you with better information and tools to repair the autos and trucks you service.
One of the most important parts of our association’s mission is to provide continuing education. As an association we cannot miss an opportunity to provide an example of the positive impact knowledge can have for your customer and your business. We want to help you make more money and knowledge will equip you to provide value added to your customers as we have provided value added to you the member.
One of the best examples of education and value added was emailed to me by David Bienvenu. David attended our 2023 Spring Conference in Rochester, New York this past May. Even though David doesn’t clean DPFs nor is he in the diesel emissions service business, he intently listened to the presentation sponsored by Diesel Laptops and delivered by Austin Ormond. The presentation included components of a diesel engine which are used for treating or handling exhaust gases. During the presentation EGRs (exhaust gas recirculating coolers) were discussed along with potential EGR failures and causes. Based on the information in this presentation, David sent an email to a customer who was having EGR issues with a GE engine. The following is the email David sent to Austin of Diesel Laptops, NARSA/IDEA’s home office, and the email that David sent to his customer.
Below is an email I sent to my customer regarding their EGR cooler from a GE engine that has “rotten” fins. I was texting back and forth with him after your presentation. Thanks for taking time to talk to me afterwards. You put me on the right track and then I knew which questions to ask ChatAi.com to come up with the below answers.
The manufacturer rep said that the condensation drains on the EGR cooler were probably plugged and caused this problem. The NARSA conference taught me some stuff…. still learning after 46 years of wrenching!
Thanks Again Austin, Mark, Sandy and Linda!
This is what I learned about EGR’s.
Condensation in an EGR cooler can be caused by several factors:
1. Temperature change: When the hot exhaust gases flow through the EGR cooler and encounter the cooler surface, the temperature difference can cause the moisture in the gas to condense and turn into liquid water.
2. Humidity: The amount of water vapor in the gas can also lead to condensation if the cool surface of the EGR cooler causes it to reach the dew point, which is the temperature at which the vapor would turn into liquid.
3. Contamination: If the EGR system is not properly maintained or if there is a failure in another related system such as the air intake, it could be possible for other substances such as engine oil or engine coolant to mix with the exhaust gas and cause condensation.
Overall, condensation in an EGR cooler can be a sign of a problem with the system and could potentially lead to engine performance issues or reduce the lifespan of the cooler if not addressed.
EGR condensation can be acidic and corrosive under certain conditions. This is because the exhaust gas that is recirculated into the engine may contain various impurities such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx), which can react with water to form acidic compounds such as sulfuric acid and nitric acid. These acids can cause corrosion in the EGR cooler and other components of the engine system, which can ultimately affect its performance and durability.
Therefore, it is important to regularly monitor and maintain the EGR system to prevent any acid-related issues.
David J. Bienvenu- Managing Director
Radiator Services of Houma, LLC.
8403 Park Ave.
Houma, LA 70363
David’s email is perfect example of the type of information the association tries to deliver to its members so you can be better at servicing your customers. In order for you to obtain this information, you the member need to participate in our events.
Ongoing education is common in every field and in some cases like accounting, law and medicine, continuing education is necessary to maintain the person’s license to practice in their respective field.
Even though ongoing education isn’t legislated for our fields, the benefits are enormous. Please, take the time to attend our events, they can be life changing.
At some point, if you are in the cooling system service and parts supply, you will be affected by poor coolant quality. Your customer and their level of coolant education will determine if you are faced with warranty issues arising from poor quality coolant. It is evident that some areas and demographics are more susceptible to cheaper inferior coolants but this problem is widespread and affects your business, your customer, radiator suppliers, and manufacturers. Costly warranties that are not the cause of inferior workmanship or materials cost everyone involved.
Recently, I had a conversation with a radiator supplier/manufacturer who performed some random testing on new coolants that were purchased from parts supply houses. The coolant packaging makes all of the claims consistent with quality coolant but the biggest difference is the amount of water in the coolant. The independent laboratory testing determined the water content of some of these coolants to be at 95%. Anyone knows water content should not exceed 50%. For an end user who has a truck with a diesel engine, there are many ramifications for using inferior coolant besides the damaging of a radiator and or new radiator. Diesel and gas engines require quality coolant so internal engine damage does not occur. The radiator can be the least expensive part to replace compared to major engine work.
If you are seeing warranty returns on radiators, take the time to ask your customers what type or kind of coolant they are using. If they are using name-brand coolant at the specified strength, then you can probably be assured the failure is not coolant related. If they tell you the name of the coolant and it is an unheard of brand or from a coolant blender ask them for a sample and have it analyzed. Knowing the quality of coolant your customer is using can go a long way in figuring out pesty radiator failures which are occurring under warranty.
If you have any questions about having a coolant sample analyzed, please contact the home office and we will assist with some recommendations.
If you aren’t planning on a trip to Las Vegas this fall to attend AAPEX October 31 – November 2, please reconsider. AAPEX is the largest automotive parts show in North America. Don’t be fooled by the word Automotive as there are plenty of heavy duty truck cooling systems and emissions components on display. Hopefully by now most of our members know about the Member Appreciation Reception at Harrah’s on Tuesday, October 31 which is free to all members. AAPEX is an opportunity to meet and greet people involved in our industries from all over the country and world.
The management team, the officers and board of directors of NARSA/IDEA wish you a prosperous summer.
Until next time,
NARSA/IDEA Executive Director