Garage equipment sales and service specialists

Wheel Aligners

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The Wheel Alignment Blog | Benefits of Offering Alignment

why should you offer alignment?

“Why do I need to offer wheel alignment?” A question those not already well versed in providing alignment services may ask, and a valid one to those not in the know. This month we’re going to put forth a few of the most common reason garages choose to add alignment to their service roster. We hope if you don’t already, it will quickly become clear why you should invest

One of the main reason you need to offer alignment services is the huge demand caused by the state of many UK roads. Many potholes are not going anywhere any time soon. Alongside speed bumps and kerbs, all can cause havoc for suspension and thus alignment.

What’s more, any work completed on a vehicle’s suspension, including wheel bearings, springs, arms and shocks to name but a few, will also impact a vehicle’s alignment and thus a check should be completed following work of this nature. This also includes dropping down of the subframe to fit clutches and gearboxes. Could you be offering alignment alongside this work to give your customers the best ride possible?

It is easy to overlook the fact that wheels are also getting bigger whilst tyre profiles are getting lower. What does this mean for your customers? More strain for the suspension! Refer to the point above. While the suspension is designed to bend, with many alloy and mild steel components offer greater bend, the alignment will always bear some of this impact.

Modern vehicles also contain many electronics and these rely on alignment being correct. These can fail and render a car undrivable, all because the alignment hasn’t been reset.

What we all need to remember is that the customer wants a straight steering wheel and for the car to perform as it should. As a vehicle operator, errors here are often the most obvious to spot, hence one of the most important things to be corrected. 

Customer with SSence alignment machine from Hofmann MegaplanIt is for this reason we recommend an alignment check every 10,000 miles or every service.

Did we mention alignment not only helps your customers and improves your service offering but also makes you more money! The average price for 1 adjustment (e.g. front toe) can be £30-£35. That means doing a fully adjustable car could make you a couple of hundred pounds.

It’s not just the alignment you’ll be making money on either. Just a few examples include:

  • You will be able to identify and fix further issues, e.g. worn or bent components
  • In many cases, you will have to un-seize components or replace the track rod ends in order to complete alignment, all chargeable work

What else might you need to inform the customer of?

  • Alignment allows you to make sure the car will respond correctly once a new part is fitted or old part removed
  • You can provide them with a before and after printout to illustrate how the car has been adjusted
  • You are able to keep a record of all alignments on the machine as evidence, demonstrating that when the car left everything was as it should be. Months or even weeks later it could be out again and that isn’t because you didn’t do it right the first time!
Ecoline 88 installed at customers site

Ecoline 88 recently installed in a customers site by the Hofmann Megaplan alignment engineers.

Time to offer alignment?

By now we’re hoping that if you don’t already offer the service, you’re seeing the great value that can be gained by offering alignment. Based on some of the above examples, machines like our Ecoline 88 can 100% pay themselves off in as little as 6 months, completing as few as 4 averagely priced alignments a week to do so! That’s 100% profit for your garage thereafter. You can work this out for yourself by using our online revenue calculator now!

Call our team today on 01480 8-9-10-11 to discuss the maths and find out more about the expansive range of wheel alignment solutions Hofmann Megaplan offers to suit all garages and requirements. 

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.

The Wheel Alignment Blog | Benefits to the Customer

Why should your customers align banner

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.

The ULTRA Package that Sells Alignment For You

Ssence Ultra package

Hofmann Megaplan is set to offer the most advanced 3D alignment system available to date on the market. But the ULTRA is more than just a 3D aligner.

The stunning design and slick operation of the market leading Ssence 3D wheel aligner has now been integrated with the easy to use, compact yet powerful TreadReader. The result? A next level alignment package that offers the owner ULTRA revenue potential.

The ULTRA is the first system to include technology designed not only to carry out alignment, but to actually help the end user sell both alignment and tyres. The ingenious handheld 3D TreadReader allows the technician to grab a full appraisal of the tyre condition in seconds, providing an on-screen or printed report. This gives the vehicle owner a clear insight into the adverse wear on their tyres and the need for alignment.

It is the complete integration of the products through the provided megaTab that makes the ULTRA both unique and intuitive in how it is operated. The addition of the TreadReader alongside the market leading Ssence 3D means alignment engineers can truly capitalise on the potential offered from owning a computerised alignment system.

Managing Director, Mark Berryman commented “Hofmann Megaplan are pleased to have been able to take our market leading 3D alignment solution and empower users to maximise its capacity. It is fair to say that the ULTRA offers a full wheel alignment servicing solution from prospecting phase right through to aligning. It’s like having your own dedicated tyre and alignment salesman full time.”

Hofmann Megaplan are pleased to exclusively offer the ULTRA alignment package, the only system with integrated TreadReader technology, at a discounted launch rate. Call the team now on 01480 8-9-10-11 to find out more.

The Wheel Alignment Blog | Watch the Steering!

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.
Green on your alignment system

ALWAYS REMEMBER: You are not just looking to get all numbers on the readout green! The same numbers either side indicate a straight steering wheel.

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:Track rod mis alignment

  • 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 alignment issuesCrabbing

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.

The Wheel Alignment Blog | Turn Plates

Alignment Turn plates Banner

I’m going to start this blog series by talking about one of our most common issues those working with wheel alignment equipment can face, and that’s turn plates.

If not used correctly, turnplates can cause big problems when trying to achieve a straight steering wheel. Whats worse it can lead you to produce different results each time you attempt to align the same vehicle which quickly becomes infuriating.

Steer Clear of…

Some garages will try and use their MOT plates to save time and these can be ok to just turn the wheel and look for defects. The risk is that they get covered in dirt and that will get into the plate and cause a restriction. To complete an alignment accurately the plates need to be completely free moving.

Others might use their old style dish type turn plates. These most commonly come from an older laser system. They will turn but don’t slide, meaning they build up tension and can give you wrong results.

Another common mistake made by alignment engineers is simply not using the pins provided. This is surprisingly common and can cause irreversible damage to your to your wheel alignment system.

Remember to…

We should always drive on the turn plates with the pins in. As soon as you are ready to remove a vehicle from your alignment station, put the pins in. Failing to do this can lead to damage when the car is reversed. The plate can tilt and bearings become loose, impacting the accuracy of your machine.

Damage Turnplates when not using pins - Hofmann Alignment Blog

Loose balls due to not using the supplied pins.

Some people simply fail to maintain their turn plates. Metal bearing plates will need regular lubrication for example with grease. Nylon bearings don’t need any grease or oil but should be cleaned regularly depending on usage by removing the top plate and brushing out any dirt.

Damaged turn plates and ramp example

Loose bolts can lead to damaged turn plates and impact other equipment. This damage can be seen in the above example.

Bolts can also come loose and put vehicle weight directly onto the ramp. This means that the free movement needed to complete accurate wheel alignment is not there.

You can check your turn plates by pulling the car side to side freely. Any restrictions felt will likely cause issues.

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.

Allerton tyres – Liverpool

Allerton tyres have their new Ecoline 88 installed.

The ecoline 88 includes some luxury additional features such as 3-point ‘GrabClamps’, heavy duty mechanical turnplates and advanced measuring heads making full 4 wheel alignment even easier and faster.

The ‘GrabClamps’ mean that the measuring head is mounted to the wheel using sprung-loaded ‘arms’ that grab the tyre, and 3 nylon locators on the rim, ensuring there is no metal to metal contact.

Computerised alignment enables you to charge a premium for your alignment service, simply because you are able to provide the customer with a printout showing ‘before and after’. The ecoline 88 will give the same results as competitors’ systems that are literally 5 times the price, and is perfect for those business that want the  benefit of built-in vehicle database, live readings & technical prompts, and a customer printout, without the heavy investment traditionally required.





Hofmann Megaplan upgrades its 3D aligner program to incorporate HD camera technology

SSENCE HD brochure page 1 v2_smlThe new HD Ssence 600 3D aligner from Hofmann Megaplan has arrived and it is another ‘game changing’ leap forward to our wheel alignment program. This flagship model is based on the Ssence 600, with the significant advantage of new HD cameras, smaller, lightweight targets, and an updated interface. This combination delivers fast, precise results and is dramatically less susceptible to light pollution.

HD – a few more pixels, so what?

The sensitivity of the HD cameras means they can pick up the minutest detail and accurately locate the much smaller reflective dots on the new targets, allowing them to be significantly reduced in size and weight. It also means the readings are less affected by light pollution. The new targets are less than a 1/3 of the size of it’s predecessors and weigh around 70% less, making them easy to handle and position, speeding up the alignment process.

Ssence – Updated Software

Finding a specific vehicle’s alignment settings is now much simpler and much more intuitive. Unlike some other systems there is no searching for several minutes to find the right vehicle. The system narrows the search as you type, saving crucial time in a busy workshop. There is also the option of adding the Hofmann Megatab allowing a clearer picture of any issues and allowing the technician the freedom to walk around the vehicle to carry out the work. The Megatab is a bespoke extension of the machine and not just a remote control application.

Stay on track – LiftTracker technology

You put the vehicle up on the lift, line up the cameras with the targets and then realise you need to get back into the vehicle. Time to start again, or is it? Once the Ssence has locked on to the targets, LiftTracker technology moves the beam in sync with the lift.  This allows the lift to be raised and lowered without it affecting the alignment readings and saving time in the testing process.  This is also particularly good when a problem is discovered and adjustments need to be made whilst the car is on the lift.

Less affected by light

One of the biggest complaints when carrying out vehicle wheel alignment is interference from light pollution. The workshop lights, and/or glare from sunlight, either through windows or through the workshop door can cause a discrepancy in the results, as the camera constantly searches for the right area to lock onto. The new HD camera system can collect a lot more data and is better equipped to distinguish between a greater number of light variants

Customer Friendly

Dimensions PrintoutAlignment to a paying customer can seem like a bit of a mystery but the HD Ssence 600 puts the customer in the picture while the work is being carried out. This can be done on either a large 32″ screen attached to the machine or on the optional Megatab – giving complete piece of mind. If any adjustments are made, you can print out a before-and-after report for the customer.

“This is great step forward for our alignment range. We have listened to our customers‘ needs and come back with a feature-packed system for the busy workshop. Ever since we saw the first demonstration unit arrive from Austria for Automechanika, we’ve been struck by just how compact and accurate this unit is. As more customers see the value of a good alignment offering, it will become .” commented Mark Berrymann, Managing Director of Hofmann Megaplan.

 

To book a no obligation demonstration, please contact Hofmann Megaplan direct on 01480 891011

For more information please visit https://www.hofmann-megaplan.co.uk/

Getting Aligned with the Market – LG AUTOS – Tamworth

LG Autos in Tamworth can now add ‘alignment’ to their list of services, after taking delivery and installation of their new Ecoline 88, 4 wheel alignment system. Designed to be quick and accurate and importantly customer friendly!

Ecoline 88 – 4 wheel alignment system

The ecoline series was introduced with a simple design brief, to bridge the gap between laser alignment and fully computerised systems with printout. The ecoline 88  is supplied with a comprehensive vehicle database from recognised industry name,  Autodata, and offer a before and after printout.

The ecoline series is the logical choice for anybody wanting to move into advanced vehicle geometry without the cost traditionally associated with computerised systems.

Benefits

  • Supplied with PC, 19” monitor & printer
  • Comprehensive Vehicle Database by Autodata
  • Simple to use
  • Even faster operation
  • 3-point ‘GrabClamps’
  • Cameras Front and Rear

To find out more about how Hofmann Megaplan can help your little workshop operation, visit the main Hofmann company website or to arrange a demo please contact our team on 01480 89-10-11

SMART Tyre centre – Ilkeston

Smart Tyre CentreWe have another great install to tell you about! This time in Ilkeston, Derbyshire where SMART Tyre centre has taken delivery and installation of their new, all singing and dancing, Hofamnn Megaplan megaline SSence 600 3D alignment machine. It now only takes them a matter of minutes to diagnose any alignment problems a vehicle might have, that ultimately could cost the the customer hundreds of pounds in the long run.

The optional megatab.

megatab - additional information for your customer or greater flexibility for the workshop

megatab – additional information for your customer or greater flexibility for the workshop

As an added option for the Ssence 600 the megatab gives a live view of the vehicles alignment, without having to look up at the screen positioned to the crucifix (where the camera is positioned). This great for workshops where vision is restricted or to hand to the customer as a live view.

Benefits of the Ssence system

  • 19” or 32” monitor versions
  • Semi-Automatic or Fully-Automatic camera boom options
  • Includes Autodata database
  • Includes mechanical turnplates
  • Latest in alignment technology

or Nottingham area, call SMART on 0115 837 7273.

To find out more about how Hofmann Megaplan can help your little workshop operation, visit the main Hofmann company website or to arrange a demo please contact our team on 01480 89-10-11

Smart Tyre Centre3

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Hofmann Megaplan Premium Wheel Balancers

Tel. 01480 891011

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