Smart motorway schemes are increasingly becoming common throughout England. Previously called ‘managed motorways’ and developed by the Highways Agency, Smart motorways aim to reduce congestion and increase motorway capacity in a way that lessens construction time and cost and environmental impact by avoiding the need to build more lanes.
In England, there are three schemes that are classified as Smart motorways: Controlled Motorway, All-Lane Running, and Dynamic Hard Shoulder Running.
The controlled motorways consist of three or even more lanes with speed limits that are variable. The Dynamic Hard Shoulder Running scheme must only be utilized in an actual emergency.
These motorways permanently utilize the hard shoulder as a traffic running lane. On April 14, 2014, eight miles of the M25 became the country’s first Smart section with traffic permanently running on a lane that had been used as a hard shoulder. A few days later, another section of the M25 opened.
Under the new running schemes, lane one is closed via verge-mounted and overhead signs like the ones provided by Ennis-Flint during an incident. On such sections, white lines (broken) between the lanes signify that every lane has the same status.
Gantry signs (overhead) show the required speed limit that varies depending on the conditions of traffic. Speed cameras are also utilized to enforce the speed limit. The overhead signs can also be utilized to close lanes, if needed. CCTV is widely used to monitor traffic. If drivers are involved in accidents or if their vehicles break down, there are emergency areas for their use.
Dynamic Hard Shoulder Running
To ease traffic congestion, the schemes entail the opening up of the hard shoulder to traffic during busy times. Developed initially in the Midlands, the scheme is now operating on various sections.
The stretches of these motorways contain white lines (solid) that make the hard shoulder different from the usual carriageway. Gantry overhead signs indicate if vehicles can pass through the hard shoulder, or not. The signs also show the required speed limit that can vary depending on the state of traffic. Speed cameras are also being utilized to enforce the varying speed limits.
In Case of Accidents
When a motorist’s car breaks down or if he is involved in a traffic incident, he must use the emergency area for refuge if the driver can safely get to one. If not possible, the driver should attempt to transfer to the verge if it is safe and if a safety barrier is not present.
In any case, one should flick on the hazard lights and get in touch with the Highways Agency through an emergency phone. If the driver’s only option is to stop in a moving traffic lane, he should switch on right away the hazard lights. If the driver is in the left and he feels he can do it, he should exit the car through the left doors and get away from the vehicle. If possible, the driver should get behind the barrier.
If the driver cannot get out of the vehicle because of the rush of traffic, he should just stay in the vehicle and dial ‘999.’ This is possible if the driver has an operating mobile phone. In any case, it is always best keep safe, maintain vehicles properly, and follow road rules in order to avoid traffic mishaps on Smart motorways.
Automotive acrylic enamel paint must be mixed with a reducer and hardener before application with a paint gun. The reducer allows the paint to flow from the paint gun smoothly. The hardener, sometimes called the catalyst, is what cures the paint giving it a hard, glossy finish. Ensuring the right ratios of both of these chemicals in your paint mixture is essential to a great looking, long lasting paint job. Some brands of paint may vary slightly in their ratios, so be sure to check all labels before you begin.
2. Add reducer in a ratio of four parts paint to every one part reducer. With 1 gallon of paint, 1 quart of reducer will be required.
3. Use a stir stick to mix the paint and reducer well.
4. Add one part hardener for every eight parts paint, or 1 pint to 1 gallon. Mix well with a stir stick.
Harley-Davidson publishes well-defined maintenance schedules and service intervals in every service manual. The maintenance schedule is based on years of experience with the product and is designed to keep the bike operating at peak efficiency while maintaining the safety of the rider. Properly following the service intervals and performing the maintenance will help prevent costly engine damage and unsafe riding conditions. The maintenance schedule is the same across the recent model families and years, although the actual procedures will vary depending on year, model and engine family.
1. Remove the engine oil drain plug and drain the oil. Replace the drain plug gasket and install the drain plug. Twist the engine oil filter off the filter base and discard the filter. Lubricate the filter gasket with a light coat of fresh engine oil. Spin the filter onto the base until the gasket makes contact, and then turn it an additional one-quarter turn. Refill the engine oil. Perform the oil change every 5,000 miles.
2. Remove the air cleaner filter and inspect it for damage or clogging. Gently blow the filter out using compressed air to remove excess dirt and replace it if damaged. Do not bang the filter against a hard object to dislodge debris.
3. Inspect the tires for damage or tread wear and replace as necessary. Check the tire pressure and adjust as necessary.
4. Readjust the clutch every 5,000 miles according to the procedures for the year and model of your Harley.
5. Inspect, adjust and lubricate the throttle, clutch and brake controls every 5,000 miles. Remove tension from the cables and remove the cables from the throttle grip and clutch lever. Install a cable lubricator tool on the end of the cables and then spray lubricant into the cables. Reinstall and adjust the cables according to specification for your year and model of Harley.
6. Check the level and condition of the brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoirs. The type of brake fluid required for your Harley is embossed on top of the master cylinder reservoir cap.
7. Inspect the brake pads for wear. Replace the brake pads if the friction material reaches 0.04 inch. Look for damage, such as scoring, on the brake discs and replace the discs as necessary. Harley-Davidson does not allow turning the discs on late-model bikes. Check with an authorized service center to determine whether your discs can be turned on a lathe.
8. Remove and inspect the spark plugs for damage, wear and fouling, and replace as necessary.
9. Inspect the exhaust system for damage, leaks and missing fasteners and heat shields. Leaks usually develop at the exhaust gasket where the exhaust pipes meet the heads. Carbon appears on the chrome pipes when leaks are present.
10. Inspect the rear drive belt and pulleys for wear or damage and replace as necessary. Locate the debris deflector viewing window on the rear drive belt guard. Place the belt tensioner gauge against the underside of the belt next to the window and press the gauge upward until it reads “15 pounds.” Look through the debris deflector viewing window and note the amount of belt deflection as indicated by the graduations marked on the sight glass. Check the belt tension and alignment and adjust as necessary according to the specifications for your year and model of Harley.
11. Strike each spoke on the wheels with a spoke wrench and listen to the resulting tone. A low or dull tone indicates a loose spoke. Tighten the spoke with the wrench until it rings with the same tone as the rest of the spokes. Check the wheel spokes for tightness at the first 5,000 miles, and every 15,000 miles thereafter. For safety reasons, Harley-Davidson recommends spoke adjustment be performed by an authorized service center if more than one or two spokes require tightening.
12. Check all electrical switches and devices for proper operation. In basic terms, this is a light and horn check.
13. Check the oil lines, brake hoses and associated fittings, as well as the fuel lines and fittings for cracks or leaks. For safety reasons, Harley-Davidson recommends these checks be performed by an authorized service center.
Drain the primary chaincase and replace the chaincase drain plug gasket. Refill the primary chaincase with primary chaincase lubricant.
Inspect the jiffy stand for cracks or damage and lubricate it. Cracks can develop on the stand itself rather than on the stand’s swivel mount. This damage is usually caused by resting the bike on the jiffy stand and then sitting on the bike. For safety reasons, Harley-Davidson recommends jiffy stand inspection be performed by an authorized service center. If a damaged jiffy stand breaks under load, personal injury and damage to the bike can be severe.
Check the tightness of the critical fasteners, such as the motor mounts, transmission mounts and stabilizer links. For safety reasons, Harley-Davidson recommends this check be performed by an authorized service center.
Drain and replace the front fork oil and replace the drain plug gasket. This procedure requires the use of a fork holding tool. This is a specialized tool that most bike owners will not have and are not qualified to operate. Do not attempt to drain and replace the front fork oil if you are not qualified to perform this procedure.
Adjust the steering head bearings for fall-away. Most bike owners are not qualified to perform this procedure. Do not attempt to assess or adjust fall-away if you are not qualified to perform this procedure.
20,000-Mile and Over Service
Drain the transmission and replace the transmission drain plug gasket. Refill the transmission with transmission lubricant every 20,000 miles.
Replace the spark plugs every 20,000 miles. Do not overtighten the plugs. Damage to the aluminum engine can result if the plugs are overtightened.
Replace the fuel filter every 25,000 miles. The filter is located inside the fuel tank. On recent year, fuel-injected models, the filter mounts on the fuel pump. On earlier, models with carburetors, the filter mounts on the petcock at the bottom of the tank. If you are uncomfortable performing fuel system procedures, Harley-Davidson recommends the fuel filter replacement be performed by an authorized service center for safety reasons.
Inspect the rear fork bearings every 30,000 miles for signs of damage or cracking. Most bike owners are not qualified to replace the rear fork bearings. Do not attempt to replace the bearings if you are not qualified to perform this procedure.
Disassemble, inspect and lubricate the steering head bearings every 30,000 miles. Most bike owners are not qualified to perform this procedure. Do not attempt to disassemble or lubricant the steering head if you are not qualified.
Inspect the battery for cracks or damage and clean the battery and battery cable terminals once a year. Clean the battery with a solution of 5 teaspoons of baking soda to 1 quart of water.
Perform a road test to check the operation of all systems after every service. Perform a low-speed test in a controlled environment, such as a parking lot, before taking the bike into traffic.
Tips & Warnings
- Procedures and parts needed for required and suggested maintenance may vary slightly among years and models. Refer to model-specific service information for relevant service procedure details and fluid requirements.
- If you are uncomfortable performing any of these procedures, take the bike to an authorized Harley-Davidson service center for service. Improperly performed service on a motorcycle can result in an unsafe riding condition, severe personal injury and death.
All automotive manufacturers have their own maintenance procedures and schedules, which vary based on the brand of vehicle, types of drivetrain and engine construction, as well as the year model. Advances in metallurgy and the chemicals used in the fluids and lubricants drive many of the variations in maintenance. Due to these changes, refer to your owner’s manual or other factory service literature for your model- and year-specific procedures and fluids. In spite of these differences, though, there are general maintenance points and procedures that have more or less remained constant across the industry and the years
Engine and Drivetrain Fluids
Your engine oil and transmission fluid are the primary concerns here, but there are a host of other fluids that are also critical to the drivetrain. Regularly check the level and condition of the power-steering fluid, brake fluid, engine coolant and hydraulic clutch fluid, where applicable. Inspect the rear differential fluid on rear-wheel-drive vehicles, as well as the front differential and transfer case on four-wheel-drive vehicles. Replace these fluids at the intervals specified by your owner’s manual.
Engine Wear Points
In addition to the fluids, there are mechanical components on the engine which will wear and fail over time. Among these are the air filter, PCV valve, breather element, drive belts, spark plugs and plug wires. Check all of these components regularly, and adjust them if needed and replace them when they display signs of excessive wear.
The body and frame of your vehicle has a number of crucial maintenance points. Chief among these are the tires and brake calipers, pads, shoes, rotors and drums. These are especially important for safe driving, and in many states are included in annual inspections. Regular tire rotations will maximize tread life. All of these components must be within their service wear limits and in good operational condition. If you have an older car, your undercarriage may have a number of grease points called Zerk fittings that you will need to grease occasionally. These Zerks will be mounted in points that allow relative motion of suspension components, such as ball joints and tie-rod ends, as well as in the U-joints in the driveshaft. Many newer vehicles do not have Zerk fittings, and require no grease service.
General service intervals would have you changing the oil every three months or 3,000 miles on older vehicles, with a longer interval on newer vehicles. Using synthetic or semi-synthetic engine oil can also extend the interval beyond what would normally be appropriate if you were to use conventional oil. Many modern vehicles use an oil-life monitor to dictate the interval on your engine oil changes. Automatic transmissions generally need a drain and fill and filter change every 30,000 miles, but it is important that you do not allow the automatic transmission fluid to go more than around 100,000 miles without being changed, or you will cause significant damage when you do change the fluid. You never need a flush — just a drain and fill. If you let someone flush a transmission that is running very old fluid, it can destroy the transmission within the next few thousand miles. Check all of the other service and wear points whenever you perform a full oil and filter change.
Before polyurethane paint became standard for auto bodywork, many cars had coats of acrylic enamel. This means that many older cars that need paint touchups need new coats of this enamel, as mixing different kinds of paint on one car is unwise. Although acrylic enamel is ultimately not as durable as polyurethane paint, it can be protected with a clear coat finish added on over the top. This finish adds a professional looking sheen and seals up the new paint job.
Mask off any part of the car on which you do not wish to apply the finish, including windows, mirrors and a wide swath around the car if you are simply doing a touchup job. Plaster the car with newspaper, holding it down with masking tape. If you are touching up the original paint job, include a buffer zone of about three times the size of the patch of paint before you start to mask. The clear coat will be over a much larger area than the added paint.
Add a coat of grease remover over the exposed surface of your vehicle to remove any dirt and dust that may have settled since you painted it. Wipe it clean with a cloth.
Attach your spray gun’s hose to the air compressor and don your protective gear. Fill the spray gun’s canister with the clear coat.
Spray the clear coat over your paint job. If you did a touch up job, spray the clear coat over a much larger area, all the way to the masking. Give the vehicle three coats of the clear coat.
Allow the clear coat to cure for a week.
Tips & Warnings
- Clear coat is extremely toxic and can lead to neurological damage if you are exposed to it. Take extreme precautions when using it, including wearing a professional full face mask with a separate air supply and a suit.
When the Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) introduced the Hyundai Verna in 2006, the mid-size sedan became an instant hit for its attractive looks, plush interior, sheer power, unmatched fuel economy and specious truck.
However, as time passed by, the company felt the need to make some necessary cosmetic and technical improvements to sustain in the competitive market. After plenty of research, the company launched a new version of Verna both in petrol as well as in diesel called the Fluidic Verna 4S. The New Hyundai Verna comes with more style, safety, speed and sophistication.
At first look, the Verna may appear like the earlier version but at closer observation, one will find some significant changes like a new bumper, front grill, headlamps and a new bonnet. The new features such as projector headlamps, new fog lamp, reversing camera, pure keyless entry and go, rake and reach steering etc are really appreciable.
The interior of this stylish car is one of the best in this category. It have superbly built and well positioned leather seats with ample leg space in the front for the driver and co-passenger and at the rear. Suspensions of Hyundai Verna are superbly designed to readily soak up all the bumps and potholes without any major jerks to the occupants. In short, sedan can be called a vehicle with a combination of style, sophistication, super Performance and good safety.
The base model is the Hyundai 4S Fluidic Verna 1.4 VTVT petrol with an ex-showroom price of Rs 7.75 lakhs and top end car is the Hyundai 4S Fluidic Verna 1.6 CRDi SX AT diesel carrying an ex-showroom price of Rs 12.22 lakhs.
The 1.4 liter, four cylinder, VTVT engine develops a power of 107 PS at 6,300 RPM and top torque of 13.8 kgm at 5,000 RPM, while the 1.6 CRDi SX AT diesel engine produces an impressive 128 PS of power at 4,000 RPM along with pinnacle torque of 26.5 kgm at between 1,900 to 2,750 RPM. The 1.6 diesel engine also comes with the option of a 4 speed auto transmission.
The powerful engine, both petrol and diesel, with enough horsepower and torque combined with smooth gear shifts gives the driver real thrill to drive the vehicle. The power can be felt the movement you put the car in the first gear, slowly release the clutch and press the accelerator.
The ARAI rated duel efficiency for the 1.6-petrol engine is 15.74 kmpl. The fuel efficiency rating for the 1.4-liter diesel stands at 24.8 kmpl while the 1.6 diesel delivers 23.9 kmpl to the liter.
The manager of an auto mechanic shop can make or break the business. You need to know both how to fix cars and run a profitable business. Also know how to deal with customers so that they keep coming back. Get organized to help you manage an auto repair business and watch your bottom line improve.
Hire employees with experience. Mistakes in auto repair can be quite dangerous, so be sure to hire mechanics who have both knowledge and experience. Before hiring staff, you may want to give a simple hands-on test — show applicants a broken engine and ask them to fix it. Good employees will form the foundation of your business, so take time to choose the right ones.
Check that your business acts within local and federal laws. Violating laws could mean that the authorities will quickly close your business. You may want to hire a lawyer to help you with this. It’s always better to find a good lawyer before you need one.
Cultivate a good relationship with parts dealers. Be sure that you can get the parts you need delivered quickly. If you have a good relationship with the parts dealers, you can be sure that your order will take priority.
Purchase commonly needed items to store on location. It’s smart to have things like fan belts, tires and other products that your customers are likely to need on site. This allows you to repair cars more quickly.
Set up a customer database. Ask customers for their address and telephone numbers and ask if it’s OK for you to contact them. Send them a reminder when it’s time for an oil change or a letter if there has been a recall on the parts that you used. You can also send them special coupons. Having this kind of database and relationship with your customers can create loyal customers and repeat business.
Choose an accountant who understands your business. If you manage an auto mechanic business, you don’t want to take care of the financial details. That’s best left up to a professional accountant. When looking at accountants, look for one who understands your business, including any tax deductions for which you may be eligible.
Individuals and organizations rely on their vehicles to take them to appointments, for leisure and entertainment, and to get to and from school, work and events. To keep their vehicles running, individuals must invest in routine maintenance and repairs. Make your auto repair shop a local one-stop shop for car owners by coming up with ways to attract business and retain customers for repeat car maintenance and repair appointments.
Place Print Advertisements
Advertise your auto repair shop by placing advertisements in local print publications. Discount circulars, community phone books and directories, magazines and newsletters offer advertising opportunities for businesses such as auto repair shops. Rather than purchasing small classified advertisements, make your advertisements stand out by purchasing advertising space that’s at least a quarter-page advertisement. On the advertisement include your auto repair company’s logo, a brief bullet-point list of the services you offer, a link to your website and a phone number. Add a call-to-action asking potential customers to give your business a call if they have auto repair needs.
Start an Email Newsletter
Obtain email addresses for each client who patrons your auto repair business. Use these names to send email newsletters that offer tips and advice about car maintenance and repair, let customers know their cars are due for routine maintenance, announce in-store events and sales on everything from paint jobs to repairing dents. At the end of each email newsletter you send to your auto repair shop clients, include a note that asks them to share your email with their friends and family. Include an email newsletter signup box on your company’s website to entice visitors to sign up for your updates.
Join Local Networking Groups
By joining local networking groups, you get the opportunity to make fellow business owners aware of the services your auto repair shop offers. Networking groups often have websites where they feature the names, web addresses and contact information of areas businesses who are members of their organizations. Group members, as well as local residents, frequent these sites when they’re in search of area businesses such as auto repair shops. Additionally, many networking groups host meetings that allow members to take turns introducing their products and services to the groups to help generate leads for their businesses. With the high level of community involvement networking groups offer, members are able to connect directly with their potential customers, building relations based on trust and loyalty.
Offer Discount Coupons
Print sturdy, postcard-sized cards with your auto repair shop’s logo, name and contact information on them. At the bottom of the card, include a discount card customers can bring into your store and use toward first-time services. Hire high school and college students to help you market your auto repair business. Outfit them in T-shirts with your business logo, and send them into the communities you serve with your discount cards. They can place the cards on cars parked in neighborhoods and communities in your area. Other strategies might include partnering with local complementary businesses such as car supply shops and car washes where your target market may visit.
Establish a relationship with local reporters and bloggers and let them know that you’re available if they need quotes on auto repair-related articles and stories they may be writing. By getting quoted, you position yourself as an expert in auto repair services and get your name and business listed in articles local residents will read. This technique is a way to increase your visibility and attract new clients to your auto repair shop.
Create a Social Meda Presence
Take your auto repair shop online by setting up a social media presence using sites such as Facebook. Social media can give your business a local presence and allow you to interact with potential clients, providing them with car care tips, maintenance suggestions and updating them on special promotions your auto repair shop is offering. You might even include contests or trivia your page followers can participate in to win service discounts from your shop.
Invest in Promotional Items
Giving out promotional items such as license plate holders with the name and phone number of your business, pens, key chains, water bottles, notepads, coffee cups, bumper sticks or air fresheners can help you attract business to your auto repair shop. Clients may use their products at home or at the office, which can help increase visibility and attract clients to your auto shop business.
Auto repair shops focus on fixing customers’ car problems. In addition to providing excellent service when you fix the cars, a key to success at your automotive shop is to educate your customers about what to look for, what to expect and how to shop for the right repair shop for them. This means your advertising and marketing strategy should strive to both educate your customers and communicate the benefits of why a customer should choose your auto repair shop over your competition.
3. Create coupons you can distribute to customers. Offering better values on your auto repair services than your competitors is one way to advertise your business. Sign up for an account with a local coupon distributor in your area, such as Valpak or Money Mailer. Hire a copywriter and print designer to help you develop an attractive ad, and have the coupon distributor send your ad to prospective customers in your local area.
4. Develop a referral program. Offer your current customers something of value, such as $5 off their next oil change, for referring another customer to your auto repair shop. Referrals are part of an advertising and marketing strategy called “word of mouth,” which is when you develop programs designed to initiate public discussion about your services.
5. Send a direct mailing to a targeted list of customers. This advertising strategy is slightly different from partnering with a coupon distributor, because you send the direct mailing yourself. Hire a list development company, which will help you create a detailed prospect list of customers who are aligned with your target market. Send your list of customers an advertisement about your auto repair shop. Your ad should discuss solutions your shop provides to your customers’ common car problems, and should highlight the benefits your services offer. Include an offer, which is the incentive for the customer to visit your auto repair shop, and a call to action, which is what you want the customer to do after reading your mailing.
6. Create an email newsletter. Ask every customer who comes in the door for his email address, and send a monthly e-newsletter. Include tips about what to look for in a repair shop, what to expect from your repair shop, pricing for different services and coupons for savings on select services at your shop.
Many people automatically feel as though they are at a disadvantage as soon as they walk into a mechanic’s shop. Thus, they often avoid getting tune-ups or other work done for as long as possible. Unfortunately, this often turns a small problem into a large and expensive one. Getting regular tune-ups can keep your car running reliably.
Tune-up schedules vary by car. Most cars made after 1980 do not need a traditional tune-up but they do need periodic maintenance. The owner’s manual for a car will typically describe the best maintenance schedule for that car. In addition, most cars benefit from a 30,000-, 60,000- and 90,000-mile maintenance.
The cost of a tune-up varies widely based on location, the mechanic and what work is being done. A very basic servicing can cost as little as $30 to $50 as of 2010. A dealership tune-up for a 90,000-mile checkup, for example, can run anywhere from $250 to $1,000.
How to Get a Good Deal
The best way to get a good deal on a tune-up is to call several different repair shops and ask how much they charge. Some shops charge by the hour while others will charge for the work that is actually being done. When you are quoted a price, be sure that you understand what type of work that price covers.
Find a Trustworthy Mechanic
Many people struggle to find a trustworthy mechanic. One way to find a good mechanic is to ask for recommendations from friends. Another way is to look for a mechanic who is certified by the ASE Blue Seal Shop. ASE stands for Automotive Service Excellence and this agency certifies high quality mechanics.
If you are passionate about cars and being self-employed, opening an auto parts store is one way to reach your career goals while being surrounded by something you love. Opening any business involves risk, but if you do your research and plan carefully, running your own auto parts store could be a rewarding and fulfilling venture.
Research your local area to determine the need for auto parts in your area. If your community is saturated with auto parts stores, evaluate their services. You can offer the auto parts that they do not. You can also consider offering parts for different types of motorized machines, including motorcycles, lawn mowers, and other machinery.
Develop a business plan that demonstrates your goals and aspirations for your auto parts business. For instance, highlight your intentions, if any, to expand your store and any means you will use to increase your profits. You should also state the more important information that investors will be looking for, such as your monthly expenses and predicted cash flow. For free examples of business plans, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration online
Obtain start-up funds for your auto parts store. Apply for federal and private grants. These are available to just about everyone and never have to be repaid; however, the application process is tedious. If you prefer a quicker route, apply for a small business loan at a bank or credit union. Speak with family and friends about offering becoming an investor in your auto parts store. Don’t be afraid to show them your business plan as well. Your professionalism will play a large part in convincing reluctant brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents to invest in you.
Find a suitable location for your auto parts store. This should be accessible and preferably close to heavily populated areas. This will help your business stay alive due to the constant patronage of your consumers. You can buy, build or lease a store. All three options have their perks, such as being able to avoid paying for expensive structural repairs by signing a lease instead of real estate documents.
Visit your local courthouse or municipal office to apply for the proper licenses, permits and a federal tax identification number for your auto parts store. These documents must be obtained for the legal operation of your auto parts store. Consult your local Small Business Administration for questions or concerns regarding the necessary paperwork you must complete.
Find a supplier that can keep your shelves stocked with auto parts. You are going to need oil and air filters, windshield wipers, car covers, floor mats, coolants, and other items. Before making any final decisions and placing orders, shop around for the best prices. Make sure that you take good care of your relationship with your supplier as he has the auto parts that you plan to sell to make a living.
Determine how many employees you will need to help you operate your auto parts store. You can seek the help of an employment agency who can interview and hire workers on your behalf. Your employees should have customer service skills and knowledge of auto parts and their functions.
Advertise the grand opening of your auto parts store through your local paper and with plenty of signage. Create a website that contains important information, such as your store hours and contact information. Consider allowing your consumers to order their auto parts online. This will increase your sales and help you reach consumers across the country. Consider renting a billboard as well.
Tips & Warnings
- Always remember to deliver quality customer service and stand behind your automotive products. Stay on top of the automotive industry and keep yourself and your staff educated about any changes or recalls. Competitive prices paired with quality parts and service make for a lucrative auto parts store.
In order to understand the car industry, it is useful to perform Porter’s “five forces” model of analysis. This industry analysis method was developed by Harvard professor Michael Porter and it measures an industry according to five forces, namely, the degree of rivalry, the threat of substitutes, barriers to entry, buyer power and supplier power.
Degree of Rivalry
Historically the big three Detroit automakers (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) controlled most of the car market. Over the past decades there has been an increased presence of foreign automakers such as Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Honda.
Threat of Substitutes
The threat of substitutes is quite low for the automotive industry, with no other method offering the same level of freedom, ease and speed as cars
Barriers to Entry
Barriers to entry in the car industry are huge. The amount of capital required to enter the industry makes it nearly impossible for incumbents to enter.
Buyers have considerable power due to the low switching costs and the relative standardization of cars.
Suppliers have little power as many are entirely dependent on large automotive manufacturers for their entire sales, this gives considerable power to the manufacturers to dictate prices and conditions.
There is nothing like having a clean car. While anyone can simply clean his vehicle, it takes a lot of time and effort to get the car to look as if it just came off the showroom floor.
Detailers take great time and effort to ensure that your car looks its finest. Detailing is more than just washing the exterior and vacuuming the carpets. It’s about getting into every nook and cranny and removing dirt and grime that have built up over the years–thus restoring the car to showroom quality.
The art of car detailing is said to have started in Southern California, though no one is quite sure exactly when. Detailing is defined as thoroughly cleaning a vehicle inside and out, in addition to applying wax and polishing the vehicle, thus producing a level of detail that would be deemed show-quality.
The practice of car detailing has spread throughout the United States and has become more than just a fad. Currently, over 50,000 detailers exist across the country, and these individuals rake in approximately $100,000 a year in detailing sales.
Sometimes an individual will have his vehicle detailed simply because he wants a clean car. At other times, detailing becomes a very serious business, especially when the person having her auto detailed intends to enter it in a car show. In car shows, a vehicle is often judged partially on how well-kept and clean it appears. One such car show that is devoted mainly to the appearance of cars is the Concours d’Elegance, sometimes referred to as the Concours.
There are different methods of auto detailing. One is exterior detailing, which includes waxing, claying, correcting paint defects and polishing the exterior of the vehicle.
The second type is interior detailing. Interior detailing typically involves liquid cleaners and brushes. Every surface within the interior of the car must be cleaned, from the dashboard, console and visors to the instrument panel. Vacuuming is performed as well.
The third type of detailing has to do with the engine: It involves removing grease and dirt from the engine bay with all-purpose cleaners and de-greasers.
Though it would appear that detailing covers every aspect of cleaning a vehicle, it does not encompass considerations like upholstery work, painting, body work or mechanical repair.
The purpose of detailing is to bring out the vehicle’s appearance potential via the polishing and waxing of exterior paint, wheels and chrome, and by giving the upholstery and seats a thorough cleaning.
Depending on the detailer, a customer might also be able to purchase undercoating services (including rust-proofing) and interior sealant. Some detailers even repair convertible tops or vinyl upholstery. Most do not, however, and will usually refer you to professionals who specialize in such repairs.
Most auto-detailing shops are in remote locations. Because most detailers are not businessmen but craftsmen, they do not typically advertise their services aggressively. You are most likely to find an auto detailer working in a mechanic’s garage, or perhaps out of a private residence. Mobile auto detailing is also becoming increasingly popular, as it allows the owner to have his vehicle professionally detailed without ever having to leave home or the office.
Even if you’re not preparing for a special event, detailing your own car can be a rewarding experience. You’ll also save money and may even come out ahead by discovering a treasure trove of change rivaling that in your couch. Here are a few tips on how to get started.
Detailing the Inside
Vacuum the carpets and floor mats thoroughly.
Remove carpet and floor mat stains caused by the soft drinks or coffee you spilled when you hit that speed bump. Use either a mild soap solution or a commercial stain remover. If needed, use a brush to remove the sticky matter that you can’t and don’t want to identify.
Clean the upholstery the same way you cleaned the carpet. If using a commercial stain remover, make sure it is appropriate for the upholstery. Destroying your expensive leather seats by using an overly harsh solvent may cause a lot of damage.
Clean out any dirt from the doorjamb, carefully wiping with a soapy solution and a rag. For the tighter areas and smaller parts, you may need to use a small brush or a cotton swab.
Clean the interior of the door with a soapy solution and a soft rag. For those areas encrusted with heavy, slimy, ugly muck, a commercial cleaning fluid may be needed. Since some door interiors have silly and useless ornaments, cotton swabs or a toothbrush may be needed to finish the cleaning process. Use a soft cloth to dry the door.
Clean the interior windows with a commercial window cleaning fluid.
Clean the steering wheel column with your soapy solution, cotton swabs, and toothbrush. Both the steering wheel and the steering column should then be covered with a spray-on surface protectant.
Clean the dashboard and center console with the soapy rag–you may need to use the cotton swabs and toothbrush.
Detailing the Outside
Wash your car in sections. A typical car can be washed in five sections.
Use a detergent made specifically for automobiles so you don’t damage the finish. A soft washing cloth or chamois should also be used. The amount of water used during the process should be generous, and if using a bucket of water and not a hose, when the water becomes moderately dirty, it should be changed.
Rinse the car after washing. This removes detergent from sitting on the paint and promoting oxidation. Dry the car thoroughly using the softest towels you can find.
Clean the wheels and tires separate from the rest of the car. Wheels and tires can be quite dirty and covered with brake pad dust, a heavier detergent specifically for wheels and tires may be needed. There are a number of tire treatment products on the market. They also require more time, and this breaks up the rhythm of washing, which could possibly lead to the drying of detergent on the exterior surfaces of the car.
Wax your car using a polish with a high Carnauba content. Liquid and paste waxes are superior to thinner spray-on waxes. One application of wax is sufficient. Excess wax should be removed with a very soft cloth.
Clean the exterior glass using a glass cleaning fluid. Newspaper does a good job of polishing glass.
Tips & Warnings
- Sometimes, the only way to remove dust from small recessed areas is the use of canned air like that used to clean computers.
- There are many types of wheels. It is best to check manufacturer recommendations for suggestions regarding their cleaning.
- If you have been tooling through the countryside in the summer, cleaning the windshield glass may require more than simply cleaning and polishing away water streaks. A rubber spatula is sometimes helpful removing dead bugs.
- It’s crucial that you don’t spray commercial cleaning fluids or slosh the soapy water solution all over the dash board. This area of the automobile contains electrical switches as well as your sound system.
- A chamois should not be used to dry the car because small particles can cling to it and scratch the surface.
- You should not wash or wax your car in direct sunlight. Soap suds and wax will dry quicker and sunlight can promote water spotting.
Painting a car makes it look new again. When a car is painted with acrylic enamel, a clear coat is applied over the paint. The clear coat of urethane supplies the acrylic enamel paint with a buffer between the paint and the elements. Weather, dirt and other damaging elements never touch the actual paint on the car. The clear urethane protects the car’s paint while giving the car a beautiful, glossy coating. Restoring the paint job on a car isn’t too complicated, but it is time consuming. Once the car’s paint job is finished, the car looks fantastic.
Preparing the Car
1. Remove all of the removable trim from the car. That means remove metal trim, mirrors, grills and bumpers.
2. Wash the car using detergent and water. Rinse it well, and wash it a second time using a wax and grease remover.
3. Tape over items you don’t remove. Tape the window molding and door handles. Put newspaper over the glass areas, and tape it into place, so paint stays off of the glass.
4. Put on the protective eye wear and face mask before sanding. Sand off as much of the paint as possible, using an electric sander with fine grit sandpaper. Sand rough or rusted areas with coarse grit sandpaper first, and then switch to fine grit.
5. Clean the car thoroughly with soap and water. Wipe off any excess moisture before painting.
6. Prepare yourself for painting by putting on the protective eye wear and face mask before sanding. Spray on a thin coat of primer on the car. Cover all of the areas that need painting. Let the primer dry completely.
7. Sand the car using wet/dry sandpaper wrapped around a sponge. Wipe off the car with a wet cloth when you finish sanding all of the painted areas.
8. Remove the tape and newspaper from the car if it is wet. Replace the tape or newspaper before painting the car. Let the car dry for 36 hours before painting.
Painting the Acrylic Enamel Coats of Paint
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing the paint and putting it in the spray gun. Each paint manufacturer is slightly different, so always consult the instructions.
Put on the protective eye wear and face mask before sanding. Spray the paint onto the car starting at the top of the car, and working your way down to the bottom. Keep the spray gun at least a foot away from the car as you spray the paint. Go back and forth with the paint overlapping previously painted areas, so the paint gets a smooth look. Remember, keep the paint thin, or it runs.
Let the paint dry once you have a solid coat on the car. Check the car for any rough spots or drips. If you find any, sand the area with damp sandpaper, and wipe it with a damp cloth. Dry the area thoroughly, and paint a second coat of paint on the car. Repeat this procedure one more time for a good, solid coat of paint. Let the car dry for 36 hours.
Applying Urethane Clear Over Acrylic Enamel
Wait for a good dry day before using the urethane clear on the car. If it is damp the spray gun picks up dirt, dust and moisture, and blends it into the paint ruining the paint job.
Prepare the urethane clear according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Follow the mixing instructions, and remember, only mix the amount you need. Extra mixed urethane sets up in the container before the next morning, so throw away any leftover mixed urethane.
Spray a thin coat of urethane clear onto the car starting at the top and working your way down. Once the whole car is covered, let it dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It usually takes about 15 minutes for drying between layers.
Check the car for any drips or rough areas. Sand drips or rough areas with a damp piece of wet/dry sandpaper. Wipe the area with a damp cloth, and dry thoroughly.
Add two more coats of clear urethane the same way. Let the urethane dry completely between layers.
Let the urethane clear dry for at least 90 minutes before removing the tape and paper. The car is finished.
A clear coat on a car gives it a new, fresh look, and it protects the paint job from the elements. If you are refinishing your car or are looking to customize a vehicle, the clear coat is applied after you finish painting. You can hire a professional to finish your car for you, but this is expensive. Clear coating your own car takes little time and effort and is also inexpensive. To do it yourself, you need little more than some sandpaper, an airbrush and some clear coat.
2. Dip your sandpaper in water to moisten it. Use the wet sandpaper to sand the entire surface of your car until it is smooth. Remoisten the sandpaper as needed throughout the sanding. When choosing sandpaper, use a fine grain. Leave the car to dry completely.
3. Wipe your entire car down with a wet rag to remove any dust and debris. When you clear coat, you will seal in everything on the car’s surface. Allow the car to dry again.
4. Prepare your clear coat according to manufacturer’s instructions. Each brand will have a different set of instructions on mixing. Add the mixed clear coat to an airbrush.
5. Use steady strokes to coat the entire car with the airbrush. Work in 12 inch sections to ensure evenness in the coating.
6. Leave your clear coat to dry completely. Drying times will vary by product as well as environmental conditions.
7. Remove all of the protective coverings from your car.
8. Polish your car using an electric buffer and buffing compound of your choice.
Tips & Warnings
If you have never worked with an airbrush before, take your time. If you are not happy with the finished product, you can resand your car and try again.
When painting and clear coating, keep your car in a well-ventilated location, out of the elements. Your room should be dust free.