The constant evolution of in-vehicle accessories has further complicated the Auxiliary Belt Drive System (ABDS) and as a result, more knowledge is needed to keep up-to-date with these newer technologies. Factors taking advantage of Gates’ Technical Training Workshops have already reported an increase in kit sales as technicians gain greater confidence and an improved skillset on ABDS-related work. During the early sessions of Gates’ 2014 workshops, questions on the merits of kit installations over part replacements dominated conversations. Understanding how the component parts impact upon the entire system is important to diagnosing and fixing problems. It makes more sense to change all parts at the same time, as they have been subject to the same wear and tear.
Belts are increasingly under more strain as they drive more accessories, and the training workshops are designed to help the installer diagnose causes rather than simply fixing problems as they appear. As confidence and knowledge increases, ultimately so too does the level of service to customers. The training workshops are subsidised by Gates and FPS, with factors only asked to provide one third of the cost. Out of the 500+ references available, Gates’ most popular kit is the standard Micro-V® Horizon® Kit which includes the belt, idler and tensioner; there are also versions including the Overrunning Alternator Pulley (OAP) and Torsional Vibration Damper (TVD). The technical training workshops will reveal which kit is most appropriate for customers’ needs.
Technical Training and Support Team Specialist, Andrew Vaux, points out that the selection process depends upon what the ABDS service sets out to achieve.
“At the end of the day, what’s best for the customer is not the price of the job, but what’s most appropriate for the car and the job in hand. The majority of the time, it is more appropriate to change all parts in the system, as this will save the customer time and money in the long run. There are added warranty benefits to performing a complete system overhaul too.”
Case Study: A-Z Motor Factors
Strong demand for the ABDS kits in the Stoke-on-Trent area could well be linked to the degree of technical expertise available over the counter at the Fenton branch of A-Z Motor Factors.
Director Mohammed Nadeem explains how important sales prompts are.
“If a garage wants an ABDS belt and a tensioner, our sales staff make it clear that there is a range of Gates kits that will include them. They also point out that the kits add value, as well as saving time – and they increase the degree of warranty protection available… After a brief chat about what signs to look for, and maybe a further inspection of the vehicle, we usually find that the decision is to take the kit… [and] once [garages] understand the benefits of installing an ABDS kit, they are more likely to repeat the order next time.”