We took delivery this week of our new tyre fitting and balancing equipment from Bradbury. These new pieces of equipment will allow us to fit and balance the lowest profile tyres on the market and also fit "Run flat" tyres which are becoming more commonplace. All of our technicians have now been trained to use the equipment and we are looking forward to trying it out!
We have recently given our customer lounge a total refurbishment. The new lounge is now complete with free wifi, very handy for someone who wishes to work whilst waiting for an mot or service to be carried out. There is also a TV and and free coffee. The lounge also has a loo that you wouldn't be ashamed of at home!
Hybrid vehicles use high voltage batteries and electric motors to achieve their fuel economy gains. The battery
packs quite a wallop, 144 volts on a Honda Insight or Civic, 201 volts on a second-generation Toyota Prius. This is more than enough juice to toast anyone who accidentally comes into contact with the high voltage battery, wiring or powertrain components
HYBRID ELECTROCUTION HAZARD?
So how does a modern day hybrid vehicle compare to an electric chair? The hybrid comes
in a close second. In days gone by when criminals were executed by electrocution in an
electric chair, a initial jolt of 2000 to 2450 volts was applied to lower the resistance of the
skin. This was followed by a sustained 8 amp current of 400 to 480 volts for 20 to 30
seconds to finish "cooking" the victim. It was an effective means of ending a person's life.
Except for the initial high voltage jolt, a hybrid electric system has the same lethal potential.
The high voltage components in most hybrids are color-coded ORANGE, and on the Toyota hybrids the battery
pack relays automatically open and disconnect the battery if a collision is severe enough to deploy the airbags.
But that's no protection for technicians who may have to service these vehicles.
The recommended protection is to wear Class 0 rated insulated gloves, which are rated to 1000 volts AC, and
must not have any tears, pinholes or cuts. You should test the integrity of the gloves by rolling them up toward the fingers to see if they hold air. If they do not, throw the gloves away and buy new gloves. You should also use insulated tools when working on high voltage hybrid components.
Also, you must make sure the vehicle is OFF before you begin any electrical or mechanical repairs on any hybrid powertrain components.
Actually, hybrid vehicles are not as dangerous to work on as they might seem at first. If the key is off and the key is out of the vehicle, the hybrid system is powered down. The battery can't shock you unless you go poking
around the high voltage battery connections with bare hands or uninsulated tools. Even so, always treat the high voltage hybrid battery and electrical components with caution.
Always disconnect the high voltage hybrid battery BEFORE doing any major repair work or electrical
work. See the instructions in the vehicle owner's manual or manufacturer service literature for details. Most
manufacturers also recommend waiting 5 to 15 minutes before working on the vehicle after the battery has been isolated or disconnected. This gives the high voltage capacitors time to discharge so there is no residual voltage to pose a shock hazard.
The owner of a 53 plate XC90 Volvo was a little concerned with the lack of grip from his 4x4. A quick trip on a wet day up the rather steep slope into our workshop soon revealed that all was not well, with the front wheels spinning it was obvious that the rear wheels were just along for the ride! Looking very much like the Transfer Gearbox was the culprit this was duly removed. Our technician Lee inspected the driveshaft splines which were found to be in good order.With the box removed the culprit was soon found. The drive from the transfer box is taken from the gearbox through a splined collar and on inspection Lee found that the splines inside this component had been stripped, hence no drive to the rear. A new part arrived the following day and our customer was soon on his way with not only full traction but a fuller wallet than he was expecting! Another happy customer on their way!
The owner of a 53 plate Vauxhall Corsa had a lucky escape when during the MOT test we discovered this nasty bulge on his right hand front tyre inner side wall.
Tester Simon called me over to take a quick picture just to highlight the hidden dangers that can lurk on an otherwise well maintained car.
To think the owner was travelling on a motorway with the obvious consequences of an immanent blow out is a sobering thought!
Its not always easy but try to have a look at the inner side walls of your tyres regularly or pop down and let us take a peep, it may save you life!
The owner of this Volvo V50 had a lucky escape when he brought his vehicle in for an MOT test. During the brake roller test this metal brake line burst and the brake pedal fell to the floor! On further inspection we found that the pipe had been chaffing on a plastic bracket in the engine bay eventually leading to the failure of this component. Thankfully it didn't happen at speed on the road and once again shows the importance of the MOT test to keep your vehicle as safe as possible.