Monthly Archives: May 2016

Auto repair management systems

Running an effective auto shop is the way to make maximum profit each day and to build relationships with customers. That’s why many of today’s auto shop owners have automated their business processes which helps not only to save labor time, hold control of the business effectiveness of the shop but also business automation is a real opportunity to improve customer service and to increase at the same time customer return rate.

After having looked into the work processes of auto shop business the top software products available on the market were determined, here are the 5 best, in no specific order.

Ro writer
Pros: RoWriter is relatively easy to navigate after figuring everything out, has a rich list of features any repair shop would need.
Cons: The software contains some spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and comparing to some other applications RO Writer could have run faster.
Key features:

  • Draft fast, easy estimates, schedule work orders and future maintenance, accept payments
  • Inventory management, auto parts ordering
  • Time scheduling, employee time-clock management
  • vehicle / customer information tracking

Auto repair cloud
Pros: AutoRepair Cloud feels very intuitive and easy to handle. Excellent system that is cost efficient and works well. It helps to manage customers, inventory, and keep track of your annual/monthly budget.

Cons: It lacks integration with any of the labor times guide providers, and requires effort at the beginning to set labor times manually.

Key features:

  • Easy vehicle/customer management
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Inspection reports, estimates and invoices
  • VIN code scanner/decoder
  • Mobile application to shares workflow with the customer
  • Payment processing

Maxx traxx
Pros: The MaxxTraxx Editions Affordable and Easy-to-Use software designed for use in Automotive, Heavy Truck, RV, Motorcycle, Bicycle, Marine, Restoration and Specialty repair shops, with multiple editions for all business sizes.

Cons: The interface appears to be a little outdated, and repair order creation is rather intricate process for the beginners.

Key features:

  • Repair order history, vehicle/ customer tracking
  • Appointment schedule
  • Electronic auto parts ordering, inventory management
  • Integrated marketing tools (letters, post cards, reminders)

All data
Pros: ALLDATA Manage Online was developed to provide shop owners with tools to run their business effectively. It provides very reliable and bug free software and automates a lot of the customer service.

Cons: It is rather overpriced for small and medium-sized business budget, charges additional fees for using complementary mobile versions of the management application. At the beginning configuration setting-up takes some time and effort.

  • Features:
  • Track customer histories
  • Look up the complete 17-digit VIN from a license plate using QuickVIN
  • Online Parts Ordering
  • Easily track and assign jobs to technicians and bays
  • Print or email with parts and labor organized estimates

Auto fluent
Pros: AutoFluent is very easy to maneuver and forgiving for those of us that are not so tech savvy. Great reports, quick response time with customer support.
AutoFluent is designed to help you improve how you track and manage your customers, employees, sales, inventory and suppliers.

Cons: The reports for customers, vendors, and inventory are a bit cumbersome to use and their options are limited, there is no option to save reports you might use repeatedly. Also, once an invoice is confirmed there is no chance to adjust the pricing or add any charges.

  • Key features:
  • Review and search customer and vehicle information by phone, address, vehicle, invoice number of
  • Customized invoices
  • Email marketing automation
  • Comprehensive sales reporting for profit, commission, productivity, and more
  • Bar/VIN code scanning, use CARFAX data to load vehicle data with a license plate or VIN, view vehicle service history
  • Labor guides from AllData, Mitchell1, Real Time Labor Guide and Motor

Tips for Prevent Automotive Rust

Rust is the most frequent and common problem we come across while dealing with vehicles. A rusty automobile takes a long time for revive back and its life is shortened considerably. Once a part gets rusted, it is very difficult to stop the rust from spreading further. Here are some preventive measures you could take to ensure a longer life of your automobile.

Ways to prevent automotive rusting

The first and foremost step is to make sure that the automobile has a preventive coating applied on it. Silicon sprays and anti-rusting glues can be used for coating. But nowadays, every manufacturer has an integrated quality coating in the manufacturing process itself. Therefore, when you purchase a vehicle or get it serviced, ensure the anti-abrasion coating is present and spread evenly over the entire surface. A slight bump or exposure to air will result in rusting of that surface over a period of time.

Keep your vehicle clean and shining. Make it a habit to wash the car regularly. People are generally careless about washing their automobiles in the winters, which may cause metal corrosion. Drain out all the water after each wash and wax the vehicle as often as you can. Waxing maintains the coat and prevents chipping or openings to show up on the vehicle. Cleanliness is the simplest and the most effective way to prevent rusting. The vehicle must always be clean and dry. Since dirt holds moisture, keep all the bottom holes and tires clean and shining.

Always check the underside of the car or any other vehicle you use. Rusting is a frequent occurrence in places where there is a snowfall or in the humid areas. Salt aids the process of rusting; specially during winters when salt is used to keep roads ice-free in cold places. It retains moisture and causes it to penetrate to the smallest and the most inaccessible parts of the vehicle. This results in a high oxidation rate which further increases with the temperature and causes it to wear out. Therefore, we should always focus on preventing the iron parts from being exposed to air or moisture.

Small chinks on the surface should be covered up by a light paint. A thin layer of nail-polish can serve as an anti-rust paint. Drain holes and exit pipes near the hood and the trunk must be regularly checked for blockages. Always clean these outlets thoroughly so that moisture dries up and rusting is prevented.

The coolant ratio in the cars should be maintained in the right proportion. If the radiator contains excess water, there are chances of the cooling system getting corroded. Ensure optimum utilization of the water used in any part of the vehicle.

Whenever a vehicle is covered, make sure there is a ‘breathing’ space available. Moisture from the ground should not be trapped inside the cover. Avoid parking in direct sunlight, as much as possible.

Wash the carpet and the upholstery and get rid of any remains of salt marks or dirt which can potentially corrode the interiors of the car, if exposed to air. Repeat this procedure frequently, especially during the monsoons. A lawn sprinkle can be used to remove the grime from the undercarriage. These are the most neglected parts of a vehicle but the ones most prone to rusting.

Know what you are confronting

It is very important to know what is rust and how is it caused. This knowledge definitely helps us to prevent its formation and hence enables us to protect our automobile. Rust is the oxidation of iron into iron oxide. When iron comes in contact with oxygen, it forms iron oxide, a reddish patch which can be seen on the surface of metal. This causes the surface to roughen up and eventually wear out. Rust is like a disease, which affects the body of an automobile, over a period of time. Identify the spots most vulnerable to rust, and inspect those frequently.

Car air conditioning service

As the summer sets in, it is advisable to have your car’s air conditioner checked. The heat of an Australian summer can be really harsh on a car’s ac. Therefore, it is imperative to keep it in proper condition not only for the sake of your car’s health but your health as well. A timely car air conditioning service will enable to achieve maximum passenger comfort, especially on those sweltering afternoons, along with increasing the fuel efficiency.

Let us have a brief overview of how it works. It is a general misconception that auto air conditioner system blows cold air into the car to keep it cool. On the contrary, the system is designed in such a way that the refrigerant captures the hot air from within the car dispelling it to the atmosphere. The liquid used in the car for this purpose usually is R-12(Refrigerant -12).\

The air conditioner system is dependent upon various components to function smoothly. The most important parts of a car’s ac are evaporator, compressor and condenser. These parts, just like other mechanical parts, are vulnerable to wear and tear. Regular maintenance through servicing safeguards them from breakdown.

More often than not, the car signals you about the various glitches in AC that occur due to lack of maintenance or otherwise. For instance, if you hear rapid clicking noises at the compressor when the AC is switched on, it indicates that your car is low on refrigerant. Similarly, if there are knocking sounds near the compressor when the engine is running and the AC is off, it could mean that the compressor clutch is not functioning properly and it’s time to visit your car technician.

The garage that you take your car to for car air conditioning service plays a vital role in the maintenance of your car’s air conditioning. It is advisable to visit only a reputed and authorized garage that has a team of skilled and trained technicians who are highly adept in providing quality car air conditioning service. The general items that are included in this service are Air vent temperature check along with inspection of drive bells, pulleys, valves, thermostats and filler. If any of these parts are found to be faulty, the mechanic will suggest replacing them immediately.

Also system line and components will be thoroughly examined to see if there is any leakage. Other aspects include cleaning of condenser fins and sanitization of the system to prevent it from harmful bacteria and fungus.

According to the experts a car needs a change in its air conditioning system every two years on an average for it to function properly. Therefore, if your car hasn’t had air conditioning service for more than two years or is showing any signs of trouble in the AC system, try visiting a trustworthy auto garage as soon as possible.

Inspect Before Buying Car

You should carry out the inspection on a sunny day when you can properly see the car and all its components. Always look for any irregularities that can be detected at the very first glance itself including the headlights, front bumper, side turn indicators, windscreen wipers, grille, boot, wheel arches and windows. If you spot major damages including big boot dents or visible bumper joints, it is better to start your search process afresh.

You should always physically inspect a used car before purchasing wherever possible. Check the car panels for any paint differences. A surface that has been repainted will always shine a lot more than the rest of the surface if the car is old. Also check for paint on the bolts and joint. Check the corners and joints for any signs of rust. Modifications like raised up suspension, bent pipes, air filters and customized exhausts should be carefully scanned. Check for underbody rust and inspect the plastic casing and door joints. Take out the spare tyre and lift the carpet floor in the boot and also check the metal sheet floor below the spare wheel. Check the roof properly for signs of damage.

All tyres should ideally be of the same brand and check the year and make of the tyre in question. Compare the age of the tyres with the age of the car. You should check for any repaint jobs under the hood. Check the engine oil levels when the car is cold by taking the transmission dipstick and inserting it on the side mounting of the engine. The ideal engine oil level should go up to the second pointer which is ‘full’ and the oil color should be transparent. You should also check the brake fluid levels and make sure that the level reaches the maximum level as indicated on the reservoir. The color of the fluid should be light and not overtly dark. The coolant should be checked when the car is cold and not running. Ensure that the clutch wire that is affixed to the clutch pedal has ample free play.

This will ensure soft and smooth usage of the clutch. You can ask any friend or someone else to sit inside the vehicle and repeatedly press the clutch pedal when the car is stationery and the ignition is turned off. This will make the clutch wire run in a horizontal kind of motion. If it is not moving properly, you should immediately ask for a replacement. Check the interiors and all other switches and electrical equipment to ascertain whether the same is working or not. Check the air conditioner and also the wipers. Check the steering wheel to see if it feels right.