Modern cars V older cars. Why service a vehicle and does it matter what I drive?

As I’m sure you have heard many times before, regular servicing and maintenance is key to your vehicle being kept at its most efficient, reliable and safe condition, but why? Well in a way the answer is very simple yet the reasons, the systems, the parts and fluids, equipment, training and experience to do it properly is much more complex. As an example a 20 year old VW diesel, I know what your thinking “sure that’s ages ago”  but a 20 year old car is a 2001 registered vehicle, looking at it that way, considering how many of them are still about, it really doesn’t seem that old. If we take this vehicle, keep it topped up with decent oil and fuel it will probably give you pretty good service, bar the usual wear items like tyres, brakes etc. Obviously given regular oil and filter changes this thing will comfortably drive away up into many hundreds of thousand of miles without any major heartache. However the common failings on a very light maintenance attitude both on modern and older vehicles are those of safety eg. tyres, brakes, steering and suspension. The only way to keep on top of these items before they become a problem is by regular servicing/ checking of all these items. The best way to discover your tyres or brakes are gone is not in a ditch after the failure has occurred. This I am sure is common sense/ common knowledge and needs no more explanation, however the huge failing in lack of service and difference between modern and older vehicles really comes on the service of the items such as the engine, emissions systems, transmission etc. The old 20 year old VW wasn’t overly fussy about the oil used, wasn’t worried about a skipped filter change or two, didn’t have a DPF, had no SCR or AdBlue system, didn’t have a dual clutch gearbox, ran on a different type of fuel,  didn’t have start-stop systems, didn’t have ADAS, didn’t have online digital service record…..the list goes on. Now we could have a week long discussion about the often stated ‘facts’ that “there’s too much crap bolted onto modern cars” or “there’s too many electrics in a modern car” but the cars are the way they are now and ain’t going back. The reason they are this way, well, there are several reasons: environmental, efficiency, cost, convenience, legislation….the list goes on.

So what has all this got to do with maintenance, well, these modern cars are quite different cars. Yes, cars of all ages and eras should always have been maintained properly for obvious reasons but the modern cars have a lot more requirements. ‘Why should I bother?’ Our priority surely must be safety, then you must consider you invested in your vehicle and you need to see a return on that investment, the biggest return will be gotten from that vehicle running at its optimal so a number of things are required from you to do this.

As previously stated, regular maintenance is key, but you must carry out the maintenance correctly with the correct fluids, parts and intervals whether that be by mileage or time and should be carried out by suitably qualified people. The reason this is so important is because the modern engine works on much finer tolerances than older types, this allows for more efficiency and a massive reduction in emissions. Due to this vehicles now use much more specific fluids whether they are engine oils, transmission fluids etc to make sure the engine or transmission runs at its very best. The engine oil used also has an effect on the emissions systems on a vehicle and using the wrong type can have an adverse affect on their operation. Have a look at the huge variety of oils out there, you may have a few cans of 5w-30 oil sitting on the shelf but if you look at the fine print you will see a massive difference in specification in the same viscosity oils, this is carefully thought out and not just done for the craic. At our own garage for example we have 9 different oils that we stock for regular use and we still special order some less common oil specs in on quite a regular basis. On top of engine oils there are also different specs of coolant, transmission fluids and even different types of additive systems fluids on cars.

On top of maintenance modern vehicles are also manufactured for more specific uses. Unfortunately a hell of a lot of people have “the wrong car for the job”, in fairness usually through no fault of their own but through misconception of what they need and sometimes even from either a lack of knowledge or an unwillingness to give good advice from the sales folk in the trade (this is not a blanket statement, there are certainly some great sales folk willing and able to advise properly, so make sure that’s who you talk to!). It’s a shame more attention is not given on the sales/ purchase end of cars as this would alleviate a lot of problems down the line with repairs and breakdowns. If for example the only driving you do is a mile up the road to the shop, drop the kids to and from school 2 mile away, drive 10 mins to work etc. a modern diesel engine really is not for you. You will not reap the rewards of the diesel engine efficiency as you won’t be doing the mileage to justify its extra cost as regards purchase, maintenance etc and you will inevitably have breakdowns/ running issues due to the fact the vehicles emissions systems and powertrain are not getting the driving they need to maintain themselves. At the same time if you are a sales rep who is never off the road I think you will find some serious failings in a pure electric vehicle for your needs.

So if you do decide to purchase a vehicle check out all the info available to you to enable you to make a good decision on the type, make and model of vehicle you require. Have a true understanding of the driving you will be doing and the demands you have for the vehicle. Then use a combination of independent online resources, manufacturers info, sales advise, your garage/ mechanics opinion and make a truly informed decision. Don’t be afraid to ask for a schedule of maintenance so you can see what costs may lie ahead for you based on your vehicle selection and type of driving.

Finally, if you do buy electric or hybrid, yes, they also do need maintenance, they do contain fluids and wear items that need to be changed and maintained. They aren’t magic, they suit a purpose, they have a role and they have needs just like all other vehicles.

NO GUESSWORK, PROPER DIAGNOSIS IS KEY!

A customers vehicle recently visited us, very hard to start, huge lack of power. Vehicle had been elsewhere and had a “diagnosis” of a faulty mass air flow sensor. At this stage they decided to fit a new mass air flow sensor and guess what, fault still present. So why did the part highlighted in the “diagnosis” not fix the fault? Well, to put it simply, the car was not diagnosed but had its fault codes read and then an assumption was made on the fault code alone.

So now, customer comes to us ” can you read and clear codes on my car, I had a new part fitted but its still not right!” As usual our approach to our customer is to hear what they “want”, question them to gain information on the fault and history of it, then discuss with them what they really “need”.  In this case the starting point was a proper diagnosis. What did this entail, well…we confirmed the fault existed, read the fault codes (but in our case this is only used as a guide to possible issues), analyse the data available from the engine control unit and then decide on testing actions. Now it may seem long winded, but its not, its a proven strategy for correct diagnosis. This led us to solving the real fault behind the mass air flow which was in fact a stuck EGR valve. The stuck EGR valve unfortunately in this case not fixable and needed to be replaced, but in this case we knew from proper testing that this would resolve the issue. We’re not saying diagnosing faults properly means you don’t need parts but it does mean you won’t fit unnecessary parts or add unnecessary labour costs.

As I’m well aware some customers may think at first that our diagnosis fee is expensive but it really isn’t, it is value for money and then some. The original “diagnosis” ,which in reality was a code read and a gamble, carried out by the other garage was actually much more expensive, why?, well they cost the customer a part which was not needed and cost in excess of €200 for the part alone not including their “diagnosis” and fitting labour.

So don’t just settle for a best guess, the cheaper option, the parts a €30 scan says to fit…..query what service you are getting for your money and ask yourself is this value for money?

When it comes to efficient, cost effective repairs proper diagnosis is key!

We can care for your electric vehicle! We are HEVRA members.

With electric vehicles really taking off now, whether they be full electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid, we are in a position where we can take care of your repair, maintenance and diagnostic needs.

 

 

As we have often said before our mission is “Taking care of you and your vehicle!”. With that said it involves a huge commitment from us constantly upskilling, improving our equipment/tools and having the best information at hand to keep us efficient at our job. Apart from holding qualifications to work on electric vehicles and having access to tooling and information we also are members of HEVRA.

HEVRA is a network of professional independent garages with set standards in electric vehicle maintenance and repair. Being a part of this network is good for us to get access to very in depth information and experience from other members in dealing with not just the maintenance but also issues encountered in the repair of these cars. From a customer point of view it also links them up with a network that can deal with their electric vehicle issues in a professional manner, to a certain standard and in many locations across Ireland and the UK.

 

For any electric vehicle maintenance or repairs don’t hesitate to drop us a line and rest assured we will:

“Take care of you and your vehicle!”

 

We are Authorised Avon Tuning Agents!

So whats new? Well a few months ago we decided to contact Gareth Jones of Avon Tuning to find out more about what Avon had to offer and if we could improve our services to our customers by jumping onboard with the Avon team. As you can see by our blog headline……we decided to go for it and we are delighted to have done so. But why? What extra can we possibly offer you, our customers? Please continue to read and we’ll enlighten you.

After many rave reviews from several sources and from speaking to other professionals in various trade groups we are involved in we were left in no doubt if we were to go down the road of tuning/ remapping, then Avon had to be top of of the list of our potential file providers. They are top end providers of tuning files, they custom their files to ours/ our customers needs and provide excellent back up to us.

What do we offer as an Avon agent? Well, the main reasons for tuning are: Economy, Performance, Better response/ driveability and other alterations to a vehicle that need the software of the car to run differently from original. Our main type remap that we carry out is a stage one tuning which is used to enhance standard vehicles without any hardware upgrades and results in a vehicle having much improved power, torque and efficiency without compromising reliability. There are other services we can provide via Avon and also a tuning options and calculator section on the Avon website at: https://www.avontuning.co.uk/services/ecu-remapping/cars

For any queries or to get that bit more from your vehicle please give us a shout!

Shanahan Auto Gorey Wexford Member The DPF Doctor

The DPF Doctor Network @ Shanahan Auto Services

For almost two years now (Jan 2021) we have been accredited members of The DPF Doctor Network and the move to join the network is easily one of the best decisions we have ever made.

I had been reading about the network and was impressed with the knowledge, research and training the network provides. DPF issues were and are a big part of our diagnostic and repair work, but the system has many factors affecting the health and performance of the filter.  While I was on a training course with the brilliant Andy Savva, aka The Garage Inspector, an opportunity arose to speak in person with Darren Darling, The DPF Doctor himself. Darren founded the network and it really is “his baby”. It was a great conversation and it allowed me to get a better insight into the ethos of the network, drill into the knowledge that the network seemed to exude and really confirm that they did exactly as they say on the tin. It confirmed for me what I had thought the network could offer me, my team and ultimately my customers.  Not only was this a business/ technical conversation but also a chance to see if these were people we could work with, those who know me know I like honest, straight talking people, no frills and a bit of craic too!

Following on from our meeting a few days later Darren called to our garage, he wanted to sus us out too. That is something I really liked, he needed people who were genuine, he could trust and were capable in their work. Darren insisted on vetting us personally to ensure this. This trust is something we strive to achieve from our customers, so I totally got it.

So why is this important, well, it just gives folks some background into The DPF Doctor Network. Now you know that when you engage the services of any of our members you don’t just get a paying, uncaring franchisee but a professional service provider. We have the backing of a network of like minded professionals, an online forum, technical helpline access, dedicated training facility, researched information, experience and a network that constantly aims to keep the members trained and up to date in all the best test methods and procedures for DPF assesment and repair.

Our method of DPF assessment is unique, tried and tested. When we take a call from our customer we start to immediately gather information about the fault, the vehicle, driving style and much more. On arrival at our garage we then begin the in depth and thorough initial assessment of the vehicle.

We are often asked straight out by a customer “can you clean my DPF?”, our answer is, Yes, but only if needed and that will only be decided after our assessment. To be honest we’ve found that 80% of the time in our garage that a clean is not required but something else is at fault and once rectified the DPF is able to regenerate or put simply perform its own cleaning function itself after rectifying the fault.

Unfortunately we have had many people come to us after having a clean performed elsewhere only to have a DPF issue again after a short time. Worse than the inconvenience is the fact that these cleans can cost a pretty penny often times in excess of €400. Aswell as the unsuccessful cleans we have seen unnecessary parts replaced, botched repairs and even irreparable damage to the DPF by over use of additives or cheap additives.  Our assessment is €95, the majority of the time it gives us a definite route for repair, however sometimes additional diagnostics is required. Whether we sus it out in the initial assessment, it needs additional diagnostics or we carry out the repair we are always honest, keep our customers in control of cost and never carry out unnecessary repairs or cleaning.

The DPF Doctor Network members are spread mainly accross Ireland and the U.K but also in many other countries including far flung destinations such as Australia! You can find out much more about the network at: www.the-dpf-doctor.com.  Also at the web address you can verify that members, including us, are genuinely affiliated via the accredited member search/ map function.

So, if you are having a DPF issue, call The DPF Doctor Network!

“Welcome to our garage!”

We like to offer our customers a warm welcome, not just to make you feel welcome through our front door but also because when people visit us they are often stressed due to a vehicle issue, a breakdown, concerned about costs and whether they will have a vehicle to travel to work or pick up the kids, so the least we can do is try to alleviate that pressure on them.

Firstly we like to reassure a customer, especially a new customer, that we are trustworthy. They may well have heard this from other customers of ours or presumed this due to our membership of the SIMI, but trust is earned and until a job is done it can be quite hard for trust to be realised. We like to think that by being absolutely transparent and open with a customer from the start they can see we are confident in our work, that we are not in it for the “big sell” and as we always say “we look after you and your vehicle!”

We do often ask a lot of questions when meeting our customers but there is a very good reason for this. The first questions are how we break the ice, get to know the person, see how they are feeling and build up a relationship with them….over time. This also gives them an opportunity in a very relaxed way to ask us anything they feel they would like to know to make them feel comfortable about leaving the care of their vehicle in our hands.  The next set of questions focus on symptoms and needs. We use these to ascertain what the customer needs, what issues they are having, gather info about a fault that may aid us in the diagnosis process and in some cases, for bigger jobs, set timescales/ budgets for diagnostics or repairs so the customer again can feel comfortable that they are not getting out of their depth financially.

If you are looking for a professional garage to take care of you and your vehicle, contact us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

JLM-quality products, used and recommended by us!

There are so many products on the market today claiming to do all sorts, for example give you much more miles from your tank of fuel or increase your brake horsepower by some amazing number or other. The truth of it is that a hell of a lot of them have very little effect on your vehicle, well that is to say positive effect anyway, but there are a select few out there that really do what they say on the tin and in our opinion JLM is top of the class.

You must bear in mind certain things when using additives, even the best ones are not “miracle workers” and they should be used in conjunction with regular maintenance, good quality parts/ oils and good quality fuel.  Each additive is designed with particular qualities, some are fuel treatment for the fuel system, however some additives are put in the fuel and are used to treat other components of your engine eg: turbo cleaners, so choose the right product. Also if a particular issue you are having has simply gone on too long then you will be asking too much of an additive to sort it out. Lastly DO NOT overuse any additive as it can lead to serious failures in components that will cost you a lot.

Additives are available for a variety of uses, I suppose most commonly known are fuel additives that treat fuel systems and faults relating to them. There are of course as stated above other additives that are poured into your fuel but are designed to work differently and to treat other components, most commonly catalytic converters, turbos, EGR, DPF and valves. In the modern age we also have issues with bacteria growing in diesel fuel, without getting into the science of this, it is also quite common now to use an additive to combat this jelly-like build up in your fuel tank and filter. Along with the fuel treatments there are also mechanical medicines for oil, coolant, power steering, transmission oils and the list goes on.

JLM have a comprehensive range to deal with yours and indeed our needs. Their website gives specifics for each product and is laid out in such a way that it is very easy to find whats available to treat each part of your vehicle. We ourselves keep a stock of their products that we most commonly use and there is nothing on our shelves that we have not tried and tested on many occasions with huge success. Obviously being part of The DPF Doctor Network we use the DPF related products most but the Extreme Clean, Rapid Fuel System Clean and  Diesel Turbo Cleaner are used very frequently by us too. Our range includes both petrol and diesel products, oil, coolant and bacterial treatments alongside the more trade oriented DPF clean and flush kits and Diesel intake extreme clean kit.

If you would like to know more about JLM or their products pop over to their excellent website at www.jlmlubricants.com or come and talk to us about the issues you have and we will talk you through your best course of action and what product is best suited to your needs.

 

 

Nissan Qasqhai-DPF trouble

The Nissan Qasqhai as you know is a very popular small SUV on Irish and European roads, however unfortunately they are also frequent visitors to the garage with engine warning lights and ABS/ ESP lights on. Here are some of the common reasons why we see them and what you can do to minimise the chances of yours letting you down.

The issues we see them in most for are DPF, exhaust and fuel system related faults. The ABS/ESP lights are usually (but not always) a consequence of an issue with with engine/ exhaust monitoring systems on this particular car. In all honesty by far the most common problems derive from frequent short journeys, low fuel levels, poor servicing and bad quality oils. However there are a number of weak points on these vehicles too which there is not much you can do about for example injector, exhaust flap, glow plug and induction pipe failures, but when they go wrong you should be dealing with them immediately before they cause you bigger issues.

There are a few engine types in the Qasqhai the most commonly seen variants are of the 1.5 and 1.6 DCi units which as most will know are actually an engine developed by Renault. As with all modern engines the right oil type being used is critical to efficiency, performance and reliability of the vehicle. The wrong type of oil being used can cause some major contamination and wear of engine components and not least of all the DPF. Poor servicing habits also cause issues for example the engines ability to breath is very reliant on a good quality and clean air filter so a clogged air filter will do your vehicle no favours. These may, to some, seem like very obvious steps to take but you would be surprised how many people don’t take them. I won’t delve much deeper into the servicing side of things as it really is simple, yet important, regular maintenance, proper oils, quality parts!

When a warning light comes on in your vehicle you really need to deal with it soon, especially in these particular cars. From experience over the years we have seen the customer who has an engine management/ fault light on for months and then as the NCT looms near decides its time to “erase” the fault to extinguish the light. This is not a practice we approve of at all, especially with some of the cheap code readers on the market, accurate diagnosis is done using proper equipment, information, training, experience and procedures. You may get lucky with some cars having a minor fault, however we have found that with the Qasqhai the common faults that put on the engine light and even the ABS lights very quickly lead to serious blockages in the DPF and in many cases have left the driver stranded with a serious lack of power or even a non-runner.

By far the most common issues we come across in the Qasqhai, and other vehicles, are down to two things, frequent short journeys and frequent low fuel level. The short journeys are a major issue for DPF equipped vehicles as the exhaust temperatures don’t get up high enough to enable regeneration(cleaning process) of the DPF, or in some cases where the journey is just long enough to hit the required temperature but during the regeneration process the journey ends and cuts short the procedure. In a short period of time the car will start to register regeneration frequency faults and/ or become clogged leading to loss of power or as stated before become a non-runner. The other common issue is one of fuel level, we’ve all heard the stated over the years “don’t run the tank too low, you’ll suck up all the crap in the bottom of the tank”, well fine , yes, to a point and depending on fuel and tank condition, however on modern DPF equipped diesel engines the actual software for regeneration may stop regeneration when fuel level is detected as being below quarter of a tank, so if you consistently allow your fuel level to get that low or never top it up above quarter you will probably fall victim to a DPF issue also.

“What can I do about this?”

So what can you do? Well quite simply:

  • Firstly ask yourself am I giving the vehicle sufficient driving to allow it to operate correctly and if you aren’t you should either adopt a different driving style/ routine or seriously consider if a diesel engine is cost effective and reliable for you.
  • Use good quality fuel, keep the fuel tank topped up and never below quarter tank. Also maybe consider the use of quality fuel additives, such as the JLM range, that will aid regeneration (especially if you are concerned about regeneration due to irregular driving cycle) or also for keeping the fuel system working at its optimal level.
  • Keep you vehicle regularly maintained using quality oils and parts. check you oil level regularly and if the oil level is getting too high have it checked out, this is often a sign of excessive regenerations of the DPF.
  • If you have a fault light on, the vehicle is lacking power, is chucking when driving or you hear strange sounds when accelerating get it checked sooner rather than later.

Hopefully this may be of some help and if nothing else will give you an insight into some of the factors you may not have thought about that can affect the performance of your vehicle.

Any queries about this please feel free to contact us, we are heavily involved in vehicle maintenance & diagnostics and as members of The DPF Doctor Network we are well placed to take care of your DPF issues.

Thanks for reading, keep an eye out for more articles coming soon!