BendPak BlogJuly 22nd, 2016
Part 1: Keeping With Tradition
By all accounts, we live in the age of choice. Thanks to an extremely competitive new and used car sales market, there are more car options than ever before: diesel, gas, hybrid and electric options are sold in every price range, and there are pros and cons to every type. Electric car manufacturers like Tesla draw their public appeal from being a sport/luxury vehicle that offers elite style with a smaller eco footprint than a Toyota Prius, but the upfront cost is beyond most buyers. On the other end of the spectrum, tried-and-true gas staples like Toyota’s Corolla and Camry lines offer users product familiarity, gas economy and renowned durability, but they’re not necessarily making waves in terms of what lies ahead in the “the future.” Of course, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Subaru and many other companies are manufacturing hybrids to keep up with the demand for more eco-friendly solutions. If getting the best fuel economy for your money is a top priority, we can help you sort through and evaluate your choices. So let’s look at the pros and cons of buying diesel, gas, hybrid and electric vehicles.
Part 1 of this series will focus on diesel and gas options, the more “traditional” engine types. Part 2 will explore the pros and cons of hybrid and electric vehicle types.
Diesel pros and cons
The term “deferred gratification” applies well to diesel engines and represents an important life lesson when it comes to saving money. Deferred gratification is the idea that you get more from an investment if you wait months or even years after investing to see the benefits. Retirement policies are the best example: it takes decades to turn tens of thousands of invested dollars into hundreds of thousands, and it happens slowly over the course of a lifetime. Smart investors know that while it feels like you’re losing money in the present, the earnings down the road are well worth the wait. Consider that the average diesel engine lasts over twice as long as a conventional gas engine, but the diesel sticker price runs about $1,000 to $3,000 more. Diesel engines get more our of each gallon, which easily translates into more savings and fewer trips to the pump; however, the immediate cost at the pump is higher for each fill-up. This turns some people away from diesel.
In the short term, a diesel car is going to cost a little more. The savings don’t come in the form of big “blowout-this-weekend-only-everything-must-go-buy-now-or-miss-it” sales, the likes of which car dealerships, malls and businesses across America try to lure you into with the illusion of saving your wallet from the evil “other guy.” Diesel engines, like any investment, will earn you savings over time. If you don’t plan on running keeping a diesel car for at least seven years and 200,000 miles (or more), you might not benefit enough to make it worth the cost.
Diesels are an excellent solution for car buyers who are looking to stick with their vehicle for the long-term. And unlike electric charging stations, diesel pumps are found at virtually every conventional gas station. If you’re more into leasing or purchasing new/used vehicles every five years, you’ll enjoy better mpg (than most conventional gas engines), but it’s a little harder to say if you’ll make up for the higher upfront cost to get the long-term cost benefits.
Conventional gas pros and cons
There’s more room for debate here than in any other category. We can say right now that if you’re into most sports, luxury, race and muscle cars, and certainly if you’re into classic cars, then conventional gas engines are probably your go-to option. Being the most common car type, service shops are most equipped to service engine parts (along with diesel), so parts/labor costs are often lower. Likewise, the expert DIY’er will benefit from paying less for parts.
Gas engines offer such a range in mpg that it’s safe to say the biggest factor in determining the life of your gas engine is you. Do you want a big truck? Then you’re not going to get top mileage. Do you want a turbocharged V8? (And we ain’t talking vegetable juice.) No argument here, but you’re not going that route for the mpg. If muscle isn’t a concern, a lower-cost gas-run vehicle can save you on the sticker price and get you at or around 40 mpg. It’s harder to say if the quality of the vehicle and durability of its parts are up to snuff, but much of that will be determined by how you drive and maintain your vehicle. All this being said, conventional gas engines have improved significantly in the past few years, and virtually every major car company is offering new-and-improved models that feature better gas mileage than past models.
It just depends what you’re looking for. If you want to get the most mileage per gallon, as well as a lower sticker price, a gas engine may be for you. That being said, when it comes to mileage, the best gas engine will always fall short of the best hybrid engine. As the technology stands today and at least into the near future, gas vehicles are cheaper hybrids and electrics (comparing vehicles in a similar class). The cost savings over time are hard to quantify down to a science, so keep the gas option on the table if you’re looking to save money and get good mileage.
Santa Paula, California – July 2016 –
Ranger Products is debuting a new oil filter crusher that flattens used oil filters with over 50,000 lbs. of crushing force, reducing them to 20% of their original size. The Ranger RP-50FC transforms used oil filters, normally regulated by the EPA, into general refuse by squeezing out 95% of residual oil and transforming the used filter into a compact puck that can then be disposed of as normal waste or recycled for profit. By removing virtually all of the residual oil, operators are able to eliminate EPA mandates and separately recycle both the used oil and crushed oil filters. With recycled waste oil realizing prices as high as a dollar per gallon and recycled scrap metal prices on the rise, the Ranger RP-50FC oil filter crusher earns business owners a return on investment over time.
The Ranger RP-50FC comes with many built-in features to ensure convenient use and safe operation of the oil filter crusher. Simple operator controls are ergonomically placed to minimize operator reach and movement during faced-paced, high-repetition work. A fully automatic cycle feature allows operators to load filters, push a button and walk away. Also included is a remote electric foot switch that allows convenient, hands-free operation of all basic controls. A built-in automatic safety door with a reinforced transparent viewing window stops everything if and when the door opens. Equipped with a rugged stand, the RP-50FC accommodates collection drums ranging from 5 to 55 gallons. Powered by a 2 HP, 208 – 240V, 50 / 60 Hz, 20A single-phase, electric/hydraulic pump.
About BendPak‐Ranger: BendPak / Ranger manufactures car lifts, parking lifts, pipe benders, and air compressors. Their Ranger Products brand includes tire changers, wheel balancers, wheel aligners, brake lathes, and a wide variety of garage equipment. BendPak and Ranger related marks are registered trademarks of BendPak Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. For more information contact BendPak Inc. at 1-800-253-2363 or visit www.bendpak.com. General press inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.July 15th, 2016
We’re coming to that point in summer when most of us have either made the big getaway-vacation plan or otherwise come to fear that it may be too late. Not so! The great North American landscape is full of potential for thrill-seekers, weekend warriors and of course, the most rugged outdoorsy type. The car you drive is just as important as the company you keep when it comes to the summer road trip. If you don’t already have a solid travel vehicle, you can always try your local car rental. They probably have just what you need. Below are five of our favorite road-trip-worthy vehicles for an old-fashioned American vacation, whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or an opportunity to make the world laugh, we have you covered. Note: we’ve made the exutive decision to remove the year from the make and model in many cases (no discriminating against old jalopies here).
Best in Comfort: Honda Odyssey
Some of you are going to have to choke this one down, we get it. But if you have kids, a dog(s) or just a ton of gear to stow, the Odyssey is a pretty sweet option. The infamous 15-cup holder extravaganza comes standard. Road trippers will enjoy the Touring Elite package that gets you so much by way of road trip glory: the 16.2″ screen that can play two videos at once (how far we’ll go to keep children quiet); fuel efficiency to get excited about; low insurance costs; built-in navigation system. Six-speed automatic transmission. The Odyssey is always on the forefront of family-friendly design. And even if you’re packing a smaller crew, your road trip couldn’t be any more comfortable.
Best in Style: Corvette Stingray
Okay, so we were originally going with a Bentley here but felt the title of this article would have to change to “The 5 Cars You Need to Take on a Road Trip… That Cost as much as a House.” Let’s face it, the Corvette Stingray design is one of the most, if not the most, recognizable American production lines ever assembled. The new redesign looks sweet (but the classic pre-1982 models are just as sweet), and with a 6.2-liter small block V8 engine and 455 horsepower, the starting price of 55K is… well, it’s a Corvette! So while you’re at it, be sure to get the Bose surround-sound audio package and your cross-country road trip for two will be the sexiest thing on the highway for hundreds of miles around. If you have an older model, be sure to get a good tune-up before you embark, but with a Corvette you’re bound to have an adventure you and your significant other will remember for the rest of your lives. Thanks, Chevy.
Best in Hilarity: Amphicar Model 770
Are you travelling a relatively short distance on a well-paved road? Can you get there safely? Can you get there in less than a couple hours? Can you find a lake or river where there aren’t really waves… or a tide… or an undertow? If you answered yes to any of the above, consider the Amphicar one of the most strangely exciting vehicles to vacation in. Roam the urban terrain and err… not-so-high seas… in a car! Come on, that’s a pretty hilarious road trip adventure. Imagine the look on people’s faces when you drive straight off the boat ramp into the water. The Amphicar didn’t last in production very long (because it didn’t work very well), but a small community of dedicated followers hold the faith that this little rough gem of the 1960s deserves its dues. So why not have a hilarious road trip and always recall “that time we went sailing in an Amphicar.”
Best in Speed: 2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4
Sorry, had to wipe a little drool off the keyboard. Or a lot. Speaking of cars that cost as much as a house, this speedster is road-trip-ridiculous in every way. Ready for it? 5.2 L V10 engagine, 602 HP, 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, top speed of over 202 MPH and still somehow 21 MPG on the highway. Taller individuals will probably struggle with the smaller cabin size, and don’t really think about packing heavy. In fact, if you’re in for a solo trip or ride next to a non-fussy individual who’s just happy to be there, you can travel distance in relative comfort (with frequent stops, no doubt). Any way you cut it, this car sings. Just check it out:
Best Overall: Mazda Miata Mx-5
Surprised? Let’s take everything into account that matters in a car or a road trip, even factors that weren’t explicitly mentioned in our above categories: affordability, style, comfort, fuel efficiency, fun… the MX-5 is a fun, accessible road trip vehicle to the average driver. Its base model costs about 24K new and gets 36 MPG highway, which is pretty darn impressive for a non-hybrid convertible. Obviously not a “family car,” the MX-5 seats two and has enough trunk space for light packers. Sporty, elegant and fun, it’s a great car for those who don’t want to spend twice its asking price on a new Corvette. Car and Driver even ranks the MX-5 among the 10 best cars of 2016. There isn’t much not to love here, unless you were just born a hater.
Santa Paula, CA—July 2016—There are two major indicators that Tesla’s Model 3 is turning over the world of auto repair and professional service. First and foremost, as of July 12, 2016, the Tesla 3 model, which is expected to cost consumers $35,000, already has 325,000 pre-orders/deposits. For context, the Toyota Camry sold just over 250,000 units in 2015. Meanwhile, the Chevy Silverado sold 330,000 units that year. The only higher-selling vehicles were the Ford F-series, which includes multiple models. So if you’re in the business of auto repair, the future is fast falling upon you.
The second indicator that Tesla isn’t going anywhere is that their chief executive, Elon Musk, is assuring the public that despite the fatal crash that killed a Tesla test driver who was utilizing his vehicle’s autopilot system, the company has no plans to abandon the autopilot. In other words, don’t expect to see any production delays or product recalls. Body shops can expect to see hundreds of thousands (and eventually millions) of Tesla models on the road, which means the market will soon be saturated with new repairs for new technologies.
To even become a Tesla-approved body shop, the Tesla certification requires “three five-day courses at $1,500 each and a [special] riveter.” Further complicating the process, reports of somewhat minor body damage costing consumers tens of thousands of dollars for repairs indicate that now is a good time to get on the Tesla repair know-how bandwagon. Why? The economics of it are simple: the more Tesla vehicles get put on the market, the less the brand will be considered a “specialty” or luxury name and the cheaper these repairs will become. Cheaper, but no less technologically advanced. This puts professional shops in a prime position to benefit from these upcoming market changes, if they are prepared.
Body shop owner Larry Peotter is aware of the inherent costs in servicing new vehicle fleets, having just spent $300,000 on Audi service upgrades, but he knows the importance of being available to as wide of a customer base as possible. Mr. Peotter claims that he is already seeing a return on his investment. He says, “You’re giving yourself a new source of work, and you’re becoming an expert to a customer base that is going to really want that.”
As the Tesla brand grows, as suggested by 325,000 (and growing) Model 3 back-orders, the auto service market is probably going to be a step behind, which means your shop can get certified early (yes, you’ll have to eat the upfront certification costs in the short run) and be the most experienced body shop in the neighborhood when it comes to servicing the vehicles of tomorrow. This isn’t meant to be a Tesla plug, but clearly the company has caught the public attention for the time being. We’ll continue to follow this story, as well as other technological innovations in the automotive world.July 1st, 2016
Santa Paula, California – July 2016 – BendPak recently introduced a new family of two-stage air compressors to increase their presence in the commercial and industrial markets. Their latest V-Max Elite Air Compressor Series models are equipped with 7.5 or 10 horsepower energy-efficient motors paired with huge 4-cylinder 100% cast iron pumps resting on 80-gallon or 120-gallon welded steel tanks. V-Max Elite models are perfectly matched for busy shops and businesses that demand round-the-clock air supply, less energy consumption and low service and maintenance requirements. A slightly smaller model, the TS-5 Elite Air Compressor, is equipped with a 5 horsepower energy-efficient motor paired with a twin cylinder cast iron pump.
“Our new Elite Series models raise the ante in our industry and completely change the game,” said Jeff Kritzer, Senior Vice President of Marketing for BendPak. “We’ve had a presence in the air compressor business for over a decade, but nothing in our past lineup ever compared to these new models. It puts BendPak on a whole new level.”
All Elite series pumps feature balanced pistons, industrial-grade connecting rods, easy-access disc valves, forged iron crankshafts, tapered roller main bearings and dual-belt drive systems. Low-RPM operation delivers air in almost total silence and forced-air after-coolers chill the air for reduced heat and condensation.
About BendPak‐Ranger: BendPak / Ranger manufactures car lifts, parking lifts, pipe benders and air compressors. Their Ranger Products brand includes tire changers, wheel balancers, wheel aligners, brake lathes, and a wide variety of garage equipment. BendPak and Ranger related marks are registered trademarks of BendPak Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. For more information contact BendPak Inc. at 1-800-253-2363 or visit www.bendpak.com. General press inquiries: email@example.com.
It’s hard to believe that six months ago we were still ringing in the New Year. Early winter showcased, as usual, the two largest and most public car shows in the world: Detroit’s North American International Auto Show and the Chicago Auto Show. Cars and car tech are getting faster, sleeker, safer and debatably more gorgeous every year.
In case you missed the Midwest’s winter tale of two car shows, or you just love to get out and explore the world while you talk shop, we’ve compiled a guide to eight more car shows happening through December 2016, six of which are completely open to the public. Only the Las Vegas SEMA Show and Indianapolis Performance Racing Industry show are held specifically for aftermarket trade specialists, so if your business qualifies, both shows offer excellent opportunities to network around the auto business.
Gatebil—Norway, July 7th – July 10th
If you live in Europe or feel like rounding out your post-Fourth of July celebrations with a little international visit to our friends up in Northern Europe, Gatebil is perhaps the liveliest event on this roster. By day you will enjoy races, booth exhibitions, aftermarket / auto-related innovations and more. After sundown, Gatebil sort of turns into the world’s sexiest auto event. Enjoy concerts, dancing and all the fanfare of an intoxicated party atmosphere.
Kids under 12 are free to attend, so you can believe that this is as much a family racing and auto event by day as it is a youthful celebration of… well, partying… by night. If this event sounds like your scene, Gatebil also features a community of campers who stay at one of five sanctioned campsites or a number of local hotel options. There are enough lots and spaces such that you don’t have to engage, hear, or mix in with the party-goers, even if you camp out, so the choice is yours to make whatever you want out of this trip.
Lemans Classic—France, July 8th – July 10th
The Lemans Classic take “classic” very seriously: races and exhibitions feature classic racing cars that are brought back into the fold for three days of fast-paced competition. Only vehicles that raced before 1979 are allowed to participate; cars are divided into six racing categories, and drivers must be FIA-licensed professional racers. It’s fun, competitive action, the likes of which is not seen anywhere else in the world. If you’re a race fan and want the sights and experience of a early/mid-20th century event, the Lemans Classic is exactly what you need. There will be plenty of booths and exhibitions to enjoy between races, so you’re sure to get your fill during your visit.
And since it’s France, where fashion and dress is emphasized a bit more than back here in the states, there is a dress code. They call appropriate attire for this event “smart casual.” For men, this means slacks and shirts with a collar.
Hot August Nights—Reno, NV, August 2nd – August 7th
Hot August Nights is a little like Gatebil in the sense that it combines a day of auto exhibitions with nightly entertainment and live concerts. This is much more family-oriented in the entertainment department; classic rock acts like the surviving members of the Monkees, America, a Beatles tribute band and many more headline the experience. The heart and soul of this show is the drag racing, which draws thousands spectators and features some ridiculously fast racers speeding down blocked-off neighborhood roads. If you love fast cars, professional street racing, aftermarket exhibitions and live music, Hot August Nights is the perfect summer family getaway or professional networking opportunity.
Corvettes at Carlisle Show—Carlisle, PA, August 25th – August 28th
Corvette lovers need no introduction to this event. This coveted annual show is the largest Corvette-centric show in the world. Special guests include Richard Petty, “Daisy Duke” Catherine Bach, “Cletus Hoggs” Rick Hurst and Rachel Debarros of All Girls Garage. This show is more about showcasing awesome cars than it is racing, but automotive booths will be featured alongside thousands upon thousands of Corvettes, representing virtually every model and production year. If you can make it to the East Coast this summer, there’s no other Corvette program quite like this one.
Automechanika—Frankfurt, Germany, Sept 13th – 17th
This event is the delight of auto enthusiasts worldwide. Unlike SEMA Show and PRI, which also showcase the latest in auto tech and innovation, this event is open to the public. It’s a great opportunity to see new technology, service upgrades and internal driving systems that could soon be implemented in vehicles worldwide. If you run a service shop or conduct home repairs, it’s a chance to see what the future will bring before everyone else. Those of us who make a living in the auto industry should look at this as a priceless opportunity to explore new auto technology. And if you’re an amateur enthusiast or home garage hobbyist, you have a full week (five days) to indulge is all the new car tech and gadgetry you can handle.
KOAA Show—Seoul, Korea, October 19th – 21st
As the first Korean car show, KOAA is looking to make a major splash in the industry. With exhibitions featuring every aspect of automotive construction, from new parts/materials to innovative telematics/infotainment, this car show promises to offer a cutting-edge look into the future of auto production and aftermarket innovation. Their exhibition list looks like a complete rundown of every single auto component. We expect companies to unveil sophisticated technologies in unlikely places: carpets/mats, screws, tiny motor parts, etc. So far, it seems like Korea is going to be a new player in the car show realm. If you want to be a part of history, the new KOAA is sure to offer a unique experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
SEMA Show—Las Vegas, Nov 1st – Nov 4th (Closed to Public)
The SEMA Show is the world’s auto convention of largest industry insiders. Only qualified business professionals who can verify their work/business status are granted entry. When it comes to car tech knowledge sharing and networking, SEMA is the ultimate means to getting ultimate exposure. Attendees aren’t here to party or lounge around with the family—the thousands of serious, like-minded car enthusiasts found at SEMA are here to keep up with the times, improve their businesses and stay hands-on in an active and exciting community of professional gearheads. Booths will be offering products, discounts and services in just about every capacity imaginable. Be prepared to see the auto aftermarket industry in a whole new light and close out 2016 with clear insight into the future.
Performance Racing Industry—Indianapolis, IN, Dec 8th – Dec 10th (Closed to Public)
With several thousand booths’ worth of auto tech, racing equipment and friendly business insiders to occupy your time, the PRI is an exclusive opportunity held only for those credentialed in racing and aftermarket retail/manufacturing. Like SEMA, PRI is all about the new, but with more focus on the racing end of the industry. Three days is hardly enough to see everything, but you’ll know exactly what’s out there to keep your car and driver safer, faster and more competitive in 2017 and beyond. You’ll see live pit crew demonstrations, tour the inner workings of exciting automotive repair technology and crack beers with just about everyone you meet. PRI is a lively atmosphere filled with thousands of dedicated automotive race professionals. If it ain’t racing, you won’t find it at PRI.
Summer is officially here in America, and looking at one national weather report for summer 2016, it’s likely to get very hot. Average temperatures vary depending on where you live, but the overall message is that North America is going to experience above-average temperatures across the board. This is especially true in the East, and the heat in Southern California is made worse by the ongoing drought. The only places that look to experience normal temperatures are Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, which benefit from warm ocean tides and exceptional cloud cover to retain moisture and block heat.
Increased heat, unfortunately, almost always means the same sad stories, year after year. Children, pets and your vehicle are at risk in the elements, which ultimately puts you at risk, as well. (Ever had your air conditioning go out in the middle of the desert?) Most of the time, these calamities are avoidable. Take a look at the things you can do to have a happier, safer and more productive summer.
Pets, Kids and Cars: “I’m just going in for a minute”
Sometimes we mean to just leave our car for a minute or two, but there’s a line at the check-out. You see someone you know. Time passes. We all know better than to leave pets or kids in the car for extended periods of time, but sometimes those little life errands get in the way, and yes, it saves us considerable time to just leave dogs and kids in the car. But consider this: in just 20 minutes, internal car temperature can rise 30°F and continues to increase internally for about an hour. That means after an hour on a REALLY hot 95°F day, the temperature inside your vehicle can reach an incredible 140°F. These are deadly conditions. If your child needs to be with you when you do your errands, bring him or her inside the store with you. Here’s a rule you can use, and don’t make exceptions: if you’re leaving your car for longer than it takes you to withdraw money from an ATM, leave your pet at home.
|Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time|
|Elapsed time||Outside Air Temperature (F)|
|> 1 hour||115||120||125||130||135||140|
Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University
Radiators have an awful tendency to overheat in the summer, which means cars are breaking down and people are left stranded in physically (and emotionally) uncomfortable situations. Your radiator should be flushed regularly (every two years or so) and filled with coolant according to your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
You can also check your temperature gauge when you’re on the road. If it “goes into the red,” turn off your A/C and blast your heat as high as you can. This sounds miserable, but it can prevent engine death and buy you enough time to get to a professional shop. Until you make it to a professional, roll your windows down and keep calm. There’s nothing more dangerous than a driver who’s losing control of his or her emotions on the road.
Speaking of coolant, the hoses through which your coolant flows need to be checked for cracks and leaks. Soft/spongy hoses are a sign of damage, and these hoses should be replaced as soon as possible before they fail.
Oil is a lubricant for your vehicle and cools down moving parts that have a tendency to get hot. When it gets hot this summer, make sure your oil is fresh and filled to the right levels. Get your oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles if you want to keep your car running well, especially in heat.
Batteries and severe weather, both hot and cold, do not mix. Every three years, it’s wise to examine your battery see if it’s up to snuff. If you see signs of corrosion, take care of the situation quickly.
Air conditioning systems, especially in older vehicles whose systems aren’t as sharp as they once were, are prone to failure when subject to high temperatures. Air filters need to be periodically replaced and refrigerant needs to be maintained. Hint: if you’re taking a country-country trip this summer, don’t be caught trying to make it through Death Valley—or some other hot location—or anywhere, really—with an old car, unless you make sure its A/C system is fully functional. In fact, if you’re going on a big trip, a tune-up is always a smart idea.
Your tire tread is literally what connects you to the road, so it’s crucial that your tires are inflated and the tread isn’t worn down. In hot conditions, low-pressure tires may briefly experience a pressure increase, which can disguise the real problem. Check your tire pressure monthly, as blowouts are dangerous and all-too-common during the summer months.
Your wiper blades can corrode in the heat, which makes them less effective when it rains. Replace them if they need to be replaced—a lot of people skimp on this one.
Last of all, keep a safety kit in your vehicle at all times. Consider keeping a supply of water, dry food, jumper cables, a spare tire, car jack/stand, flashlight/extra batteries, first-aid kit, etc. You never know when you might need any of the above items. Whatever your plans, please be smart this summer when you’re on the road. Be safe out there and have some fun.
In the United States, there are currently 1.1 vehicles registered for every one person in the country (16-years-old and over). Simple math says there are more cars than people in America, and this is good news for the auto industry. Vehicles will always need to be serviced, and it’s nearly impossible to outsource this industry overseas. For both car enthusiasts and shop owners—and just about everyone who drives or will drive a car—the auto landscape is quickly changing in profound ways. The changes will affect everything about the owner/car relationship, and if auto-related businesses and DIY’ers (BendPak falls into this category) don’t stay on top of the market, their ability to service vehicles on both the professional and DIY levels will be reduced or fundamentally restricted.
The concept boils down to one idea: auto mechanics need to educate themselves in a much more “techy” manner than in the past, if they want to be able to service newer, more digitally-controlled vehicle processes. Plus, the auto repair industry, like it or not, is shrinking. Let’s look at some industry-busting stats. Millions of technicians are retiring now or in the near future, and there are not millions of young techs to replace them. At the same time, cars are lasting longer than ever before; the so-called “sweet spot” for aftermarket repairs today (6 – 11 years old) will only increase by the year 2020. In the next five years, the market will see 76 million vehicles at least 16 years old. This means that cars fitted with today’s technology are here to stay, which in turn means technicians need to be prepared to handle these advanced vehicles if they want to stay relevant against a shrinking and increasingly competitive base. Given that only 25% of car owners get their repairs done at dealerships, there’s no reason to believe Mr. and Mrs. Smith from the neighborhood won’t be stopping by your shop… if you’re certified to work on their vehicle. Also consider that while a little over half of the car market is projected to remain domestic, shops that service less-common sports cars, such as Ferraris and Jaguars, are going to stand out in the sea of professional shops that aren’t equipped for these jobs.
The best news for anyone who works on vehicles today is that many of the traditional methods of auto repair will always be in fashion. We’ll always need to get under our cars with lifts or jacks, and the sort of equipment that BendPak deals in (tire changers, air compressors, etc.) will always have a place in the auto field. Still, time only moves forward: technology improves and global safety standards become stricter, which means we have to constantly adapt our product lines to keep up with the times. If we didn’t, we’d be out of business by now or losing to our competitors. (Fortunately, this hasn’t been the case!)
Perhaps the biggest market change today is the switch to digital processes. This is more than an engine diagnostic on a laptop or tablet, although these devices remain incredibly useful. At this point in time, your ability to stay certified in new repair methods and car technologies is essential, and the one thing we know about technology is that it’s only going to get crazier, more impressive and more difficult to learn if we don’t keep up. Updated shop equipment needs to be purchased regularly, so unfortunately for customers and shops alike, expensive technology, training and equipment upgrades mean service costs aren’t likely to decrease any time soon. The few out there in the DIY sector who are able to keep up, however, are likely to flourish (the mythical half mechanic / half tech-pro).
DIY’ers out there might already be familiar with the Raspberry Pi, a nifty little computer chip that costs around $40.00 and allows technologically inclined users to program and track diagnostic information, repairs, software upgrades, etc. It’s a massive money-saver for the DIY crowd. On the other side of the fence, professional shops can program this sort of device to do almost any auto-related task. Remaining tech-savvy will help assure customers that they will always get the best from your friendly, motivated shop.
Wireless connectivity is another game-changing feature that’s fast becoming more and more a part of the auto repair world. Car manufacturers are already able to send downloadable upgrades, which potentially reduces body shop involvement in the upkeep of complex vehicle functions. This translates into lost revenue for auto shops. On the other hand, all technology, especially wireless technology, has the potential to break or malfunction, and anything on the web is vulnerable to hacking. Service shops certified to handle a multitude of wirelessly controlled devices will have a leg up on dealerships and other competing shops, but it will take an ongoing dedication to hiring and training auto mechanics on 21st-century services and technologies.
To this end, shop trainers need to bolster their response to increases in vehicle telematics, which refers to “the branch of information technology that deals with the long-distance transmission of computerized information.” We’re close to the day when auto shops across the country will be able to wirelessly deliver engine diagnostic data to customers before their cars even make it into the shop. This signifies a very real shift in the services you need to offer if you plan to stay ahead. Can you envision how powerful of a tool remote diagnosis could be? The marketing potential alone is worth the cost of getting your auto repair business prepared. Not to mention, you’re creating huge savings for customers and inspiring their trust, which means repeat business, which means referrals, etc. And that’s just one example of the changes to come!
By the way, digital content and marketing efforts are increasingly crucial to generating income. Ever notice how the company with the larger online footprint beats out the competition 100% of the time? Your competitors are collecting data on virtually every single move your collective customer base makes: web search results, price ranges, likes on Facebook, and so much more. Are you using the Internet to its full potential to attract customers and cut excess spending?
At BendPak, we try to stay ahead of our competition by offering customers as much access to our services as possible, including responsive toll-free customer service lines, Internet orders, multiple email contacts, etc. We also know we can always do better, so we’re constantly improving our products, website and means of connecting with our distributors. Even little details, ones that show our customers we keep up with the times, go a long way.
So here’s the bottom line: BendPak / Ranger products are always going to service your needs in the best way possible, but once we lift that 7,000-lb. Ford™ F-250 in the air, it’s up to you to have the right tools to deal with the new aluminum panels, advanced telematic displays, digital system checks, etc. Whether you work in a shop or from your own home garage, put in the work to stay ahead of the times and be happier (and richer) in the long run.May 27th, 2016
We at BendPak / Ranger wish to honor our fallen loved ones and soldiers who gave their lives in the service of our nation. It is a privilege to work in this country and have the freedom to pursue our own goals as we see fit. We hope you take some time this weekend to make and share memories with your friends and family.
Have a great, relaxing Memorial Day—if you see them, please give a BIG thank you to our service men and women, police officers and anyone dedicated to making this country a better place.
May 20th, 2016
SANTA PAULA, CA – May 2016— At BendPak, Inc. headquarters in Santa Paula, California, cement trucks now circulate a dug-out 3.7-acre patch of land. This is the spot where BendPak announced their 70,000 sq. ft. multipurpose warehouse and shipping center in late August 2014. The addition extends their reach in Santa Paula to over 300,000 sq. ft. (15 acres) of covered land dedicated to manufacturing, shipping and warehouse facilities. Delays in construction and city planning have pushed BendPak’s unveiling to early 2017, but construction is now well underway. This is great news to BendPak president and owner Donald Henthorn.
“We remain focused on growing and will continue to increase the size of our facilities to accommodate it,” he said. “This new building expands our operations without having to move and disrupt our day-to-day operations.” The new complex will allow BendPak to accommodate more shipping orders, which have skyrocketed in the last few years, as well as the innovation and shipment of new products that are still in development.
BendPak does not want their facility expansions to stray more than a block or so from their current Dove Court office. “We are excited about this further expansion,” said Javier Arias, Vice President of Operations. “The fact that the property sits right next to our existing location and became available for purchase presented a great solution.”
Leadership at BendPak is confident the new facility will be a great complement to their existing warehouses, which means shipping and deliveries will occur faster than ever, as well as ensure the company can handle a higher volume of both production and orders. The new expansion is expected to be completed by spring 2017.
About BendPak Inc.: BendPak manufactures car lifts, parking lifts, pipe benders and air compressors. Their Ranger brand includes tire changers, wheel balancers, brake lathes, vehicle lift products and a wide variety of garage equipment. BendPak, Ranger Products and BendPak-Ranger related marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of BendPak Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. For more information contact BendPak Inc. at 805-933-9970 or visit their web site www.bendpak.com. General press inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Artist rendering of BendPak’s new 67,000 sq. ft. warehouse and shipping center.