Supplying batteries since 1952

Autobiz Nov ’15

Written on November 26, 2015 at 9:48 am

Proactively Take The Lead Says Manbat

When it comes to changing technology, workshops are at the frontline, not only when carrying out service and repair work, but also when having to deal with the motorist. It is therefore important that they periodically take a step back and consider the best approach to tackle change.

 

This is where proactive wholesalers can make a difference as they have both the supplier relationships and the wider perspective that can help workshops to take decisions that make a positive difference to their businesses.

 

For many years Manbat, the UK’s largest automotive battery distributor has been actively encouraging wholesalers to support their customers in this way and by highlighting areas where they can make a difference. Two current examples exist in the shape of AGM/EFB batteries and battery testing.

 

AGM/EFB Batteries

Sales patterns confirm that the move from familiar high output capacity lead-acid batteries in traditional vehicle applications, to specialist cyclic batteries fitted to vehicles with a Start-Stop function has begun.

 

This means that more than ever, workshops need to be prepared to cater for the challenges that the batteries in these vehicles present. However, with some assistance from their supplier, the opportunities far outweigh these challenges.

 

Over the last 25 years, profits from battery sales have fallen, so that a typical battery is now around the same price it was in 1990 and the labour rate a workshop can now charge to change a traditionally battery is zero!

 

With the technology change however, three factors now begin to work in the trade’s favour:

  1. The AGM/EFB batteries required for Start-Stop vehicles command a higher price, which means more of a margin for both wholesalers and their workshop customers.
  2. Workshops can now charge for fitting the replacement because in contrast to a traditional system, this process can sometimes take a couple of hours work.
  3. As the average motorist becomes less knowledgeable from a maintenance and repair perspective, they are less likely to call into question a fitting charge as they have no previous DIY experience on which to base their objection.

 

As a result, workshops and wholesalers together have a real opportunity to use the changing landscape to their advantage and increase their profits.

 

Battery Validation

As technicians will be aware, the battery in a micro-hybrid vehicle (one fitted with a Start-Stop function) is central to its electrical systems and is therefore constantly governed by a battery management module, which monitors its voltage, current, temperature and operating time.

 

This information is processed to determine the battery’s state of charge, starting capacity, electrical consumption, energy reserve and optimum charging voltage, to ensure the system applies the correct charging regime and keeps it in the best possible condition.

 

Fitting the battery for which the system was designed is therefore crucial, but so also is the process of ‘validation’ to ensure the battery and battery management module are diagnostically ‘connected’ and able to communicate with one another correctly.

 

Failure to validate the battery can cause issues with the Start-Stop functionality, shutdown of non-essential electrical systems and even the premature failure of the battery.

 

Although technicians already have a host of workshop tools at their disposal, the Manbat ‘Connect + Reset’® battery validation tool provides them with a simple, effective and inexpensive way to allow them to install a Start-Stop battery with confidence.

 

When connected to the vehicle’s j1962 diagnostic socket, the handheld tool will go through the validation and fault code reset process, so that the battery is introduced and assimilated into the vehicle’s electronic systems and integrated with the battery management module, to ensure the installation is performed correctly and the vehicle/battery combination is able to operate to its intended capability.

 

It is also worth stating that even some vehicles without a Start-Stop function require battery validation when fitting a replacement and here too the ‘Connect + Reset’ tool provides the solution.

 

Battery Testing

Motorists are looking for workshops that provide a good service and that they can trust. Battery testing is an easy and effective way of building customer confidence and is very easy to introduce.

 

Whether a vehicle is in the workshop for a service, MOT or repair, it should be automatic that technicians test the condition of its battery.

 

This is a win-win service because:

  1. If the battery is in poor condition, there is the immediate opportunity for a sale.
  2. If it is okay, but might need replacing in the next few months, the garage is providing their customer with helpful timely piece of ‘free’ advice.
  3. If however, the battery is in excellent condition, it’s a good news story that will boost the customer’s confidence that it is a garage they can trust and they’ll be sure to comeback when a new battery is required.

 

Wholesalers can help workshops to maximise these opportunities in two practical ways, first by helping them to explain the facts to motorists and second, by supplying them with the correct specification batteries and the tools they need to fit them and to carry out the battery testing.

 

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