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Hofmann Megaplan Blog

Welcome to the Hofmann Megaplan blog. Check back regularly for news, product launches and events.

Celebrating Success: Luke Rivett GEA Accreditation

We are pleased to share with everyone the recent success of Hofmann Megaplan Service Installation Technician Luke Rivett, who has achieved his GEA accreditation in the discipline of Vehicle Lifts. 

The GEA accreditation represents an industry standard of excellence in the automotive equipment sector and is highly respected across the UK. 

The accreditation, carried out by the GEA, involves participants taking part in a test with standards set by the Health and Safety Executive. This combined with the reputation of the test being highly demanding on candidates means it has earnt its place in the landscape as a top sign of skill and achievement. 

Please join us in saying a big well done to Luke for his efforts in continuously developing his skill set and helping us to offer our customers a first class service that is completely up to date with modern industry standards.

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Case Study: Training 2000 Blackburn

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Training 2000 has been established for over 50 years and is a large Group Training Association offering business solutions, commercial courses and Apprenticeship programmes across multiple industry sectors.

In 2017, Training 2000 became part of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) meaning that their apprentices have a direct route to a Degree Apprenticeship.

Speaking to Hofmann Megaplan after the installation representatives from the association said they went for the Hofmann Megaplan Ssence HD because of its simplicity and its ease of use for the students. The entire team couldn't wait to get stuck in and start aligning vehicles.

Steve from Training 2000 added "The simple to use software has all the tools needed for an organisation like us. The print out reports and saved data comes in good use when students want to track their progress throughout the terms."

Commenting on the alignment engineer for Hofmann Megaplan, Steve added: "Chris Jones was very helpful and provided excellent on-site training."

See the full gallery of the install including Ssence HD and Alignment Geolift below. 

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Benefits to the Customer

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As a provider of wheel alignment services, chances are you know the advantages this service brings to your business but have you got the patter down on how to convey the benefits of alignment to your customers? Read on to find out the main arguments to put forward when someone is hesitant to sort their alignment.
Burning money on new rubber

New tyres can be costly. On average you can pay £110 per tyre so 4 tyres would be equivalent to a week's average wage. Depending on how bad the vehicle's alignment is, your customers could be wasting a tyre for every 4 you fit! They may try to blame the standard of tyre used or the quality of your job but it is important that they understand tyre will be subject to far more damage under the stresses of misalignment.

The car performs as intended

Mis-alignment means a car does not perform as it would have when driven out of the factory. Responsiveness in the steering will be impacted and the handling will suffer because the tyres will be struggling to do their job. Completing alignment checks and adjustments will help keep the vehicle on the road. Neglecting to do so is putting all the occupants at risk.

Improved Fuel efficiency means real savings

Many vehicle owners will often complain that their car seems to get through fuel quicker and quicker, but they do not realise how correct alignment can help a tank go further. Imagine having to push a car up a hill. Obviously, you're going to use much more energy than you would on a flat surface.

Effectively that's what your car is having to do when the alignment is out! The more you accelerate, the more fuel and power is needed to reach the same speed.

More than just wheels need replacing

It's not just the wheels that misalignment can wear away. As cars have gotten more advanced, the cost of components has also increased. Replacing wheel bearings with built-in speed sensors can cost a good few hundred pounds to buy and fit. Why do they need replacing? Because bearings get hot and wear prematurely due to miss alignment.

The same also applies to the bushes and joints on your car as they are having to work much harder simply to drag your tyres down the road. Expensive right?!

​What can you do for your customers?

Just as the team at Hofmann always seek to advise our customers to ensure they get the most out of their tyre machines and garage equipment, you too can advise your customers and educate them as to why alignment is so important based on the above.

It is common practice to recommend your customer check their wheel alignment and have it adjusted as needed every 10,000 miles or at every service, whichever happens first.

Author | Warren Carr | Wheel Alignment Specialist

My name is Warren Carr and I'm from the team of alignment engineers at Hofmann Megaplan. I will be using this blog to regularly highlight some practical hints and tips which will help you, our garage professionals, achieve great results with your equipment, no matter the make of alignment machine.

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Death of the Tilt arm? The Par Move Concept

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The first Tyre Changer of its kind, the 813XL from Hofmann Megaplan, features a new concept in tyre fitting which is set to shake up the industry.

For most the sight of a tilt back arm is now commonplace on their tyre machine and has been for some time. However, there have always been some drawbacks for certain users where space may be a premium or strength and speed is a priority.

The 813XL from Hofmann Megaplan is the first of its kind with the introduction of the Par Move Concept. The patented parallelogram design works to eliminate flex, increase speed and reduce the required space for a machine. All mounted on a re-enforced chassis and with a robust fixed vertical tower, we could be looking at a new industry standard.

How the Par Move Concept works

With the mounting head attached to a fixed vertical column, it rotates around pivot points rather than tilting back in the traditional manner. The possibility for flex from the force of the arm is all but eliminated.

The Par Move Concept also means far less space is required as all movement is achieved through a series of pivots on the front of the machine. The machine sits flush with its back to the wall and allows over 1 metre of space to be recovered.

Par Move also offers far greater precision than traditional tilt arm machines. The movement of the mounting head on a traditional tilt arm is carried out through sliding parts and manual adjustments. The pins and bushings of the Par Move parallelogram system are far more precise.

The 813XL also includes a QuadraClamp 4 cylinder turntable and brand new IntelliPro dual assist arm system which gives users the simplest, most effective and most ergonomic twin-assist arm design Hofmann Megaplan have ever produced.

The 813XL is available now to view online. Call the Hofmann Megaplan team on 01480 8-9-10-11 for more information and to arrange a free live demonstration.

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Watch the Steering!

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Following a standard service and adjustment, there is nothing quite as frustrating as putting your alignment system away, only to find customers complaining that the steering wheel isn't straight when the vehicle is driving in a straight line.

This month we are going to look at a very common issue. Its one that regularly turns out to be the cause of misalignment yet is mostly nothing to do with your alignment system at all. However, it is all to do with how you use it. I'm going to tackle the all too common issues with alignment relating to the steering wheel straightness.

Following these steps and tips should help ensure the steering wheel and alignment match up every time:

  1. Firstly, ensure your machine is correctly calibrated
  2. Ensure your turn plates are in good condition (See last month's Blog)
  3. Complete your vehicle pre-checks, I.E Tyre pressures, Tread wear, joint play etc.
  4. Check to see if you have clean lenses (CCD) or targets (3D)
  5. Ensure the clamps are fitted evenly around the rim
    • Ensure run out is done if using uncalibrated clamps I.E. 4 point
  6. Always use 4 wheel alignment, not 2!
    • 2 wheel alignment is only suitable for old vehicles where the rear wheels are hidden under arches.
  7. You should not be sitting in the car when you put on the steering wheel clamp on. Instead, lean into the vehicle to avoid any change to the bump steer in the car.
  8. Remember: clamp your steering wheel straight as that is where it will be when driving straight ahead.
    • Many customers clamp the steering wheel near the end of a castor swing believing the computer is asking you to clamp when straightening the front wheels.
  9. Continue with your alignment, bearing the below potential issues in mind.

Post Alignment Check

At the end of the alignment process, and just before you start to remove the heads/clamps, on select systems you are able to click back to the front toe screen in the alignment program. If you remove the clamp and wiggle the steering wheel from side to side, the numbers on the screen should change accordingly. Now try and equal the toe numbers either side. Stand back – the steering wheel should be straight. If not, re-centre the wheel and re-adjust the toe.

Steering Wheel Alignment Issues to look out for: 

When undoing seized or tight lock nuts, the extra force used could move the steering wheel around. It is only the steering wheel clamp that holds the front wheels straight so be careful!
I've found a lot of customers will heat up locked nuts or track rod ends to get them moving. As we know though, heat expands the metal and this can mean your system will give the incorrect readings. You can solve this by first getting the nut to move freely, then cooling it down with a cloth soaked in cold water. Now make the adjustment. You should be replacing the track rod ends as new MOT laws now forbid the heating of these components


Crabbing

Crabbing is a common term used by mechanics and customers alike, but it should really be referred to as a vehicles thrust line. This is the direction that the rear road wheels/ axle are pointing.On more basic alignment machines, such as laser or even some computer systems, it is important to check the rear alignment as well. Failing to ensure the rear wheels are in-line with the front may cause the vehicle to "crab". This will mean you'll never get the steering wheel straight. The driver of this car would be turning their wheel to the left just to drive straight!It is important to understand that the rear wheels are dictating the direction of the car and the front wheels are only compensating to keep the vehicle straight or steer. This is why it is important to find the thrust line and compensate for it when using lasers.

Note: Most modern computers will compensate for this issue.

Author | Warren Carr | Wheel Alignment Specialist

My name is Warren Carr and I'm from the team of alignment engineers at Hofmann Megaplan. I will be using this blog to regularly highlight some practical hints and tips which will help you, our garage professionals, achieve great results with your equipment, no matter the make of alignment machine.

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