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ELK GROVE, Calif., – May 11, 2016 – ALLDATA LLC, an AutoZone company and the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for the professional automotive service and collision repair industries, celebrated its 30th anniversary this month. ALLDATA was founded in 1986 in Elk Grove, California, with the goal of making it easier for technicians to access the reliable, updated OEM information they need to complete repairs. The company has grown to cover 95 percent of the OEM market, providing accurate, updated information to more than 80,000 customers.

Did you know that the average comeback costs a shop $237? We're here so you can fix it right the first time

Self-driving cars are everywhere these days. Not physically on the road, unless you’re in the tech hubs of California or Texas, but they are all over the news. Google has a model it’s testing in California, Texas and Washington. GM has acquired multiple companies that are developing self-driving technologies, and plans to launch a fleet of self-driving Lyft vehicles in the next few years. And Volvo is gearing up to launch 100 self-driving cars in a real-world test in China.  

Who works in your shop? Master techs? Techs just out of school? Someone in between? Most shops have technicians at all levels of skill and experience, from the expert to the newbie. Successful shops find ways to share knowledge and cross-train to create a solid team. But there’s always room for improvement.

ELK GROVE, Calif., – December 11, 2015 – ALLDATA LLC, an AutoZone company, and the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for the professional automotive service and collision repair industries, today announced it has teamed up with CARFAX to offer a new benefit that helps increase customer loyalty and revenue. Now users of the ALLDATA Manage Online shop management system can easily enroll in the free myCARFAX Service Shop program. Each participating location has access to valuable tools that connect them with millions of vehicle owners and help keep their customers’ cars well maintained. 

Running a shop today is not easy. It’s not like the “good old days” when the shop owner owned the shop and the land it was on, did repairs and ran things alone (or with a family member helping), and knew every customer personally. Today, it’s more likely that a shop owner is paying high rent, leasing equipment, has unsustainable staffing costs and high taxes, and doesn’t personally know most of the customers. It’s a very different—and much more challenging—world.

As a shop owner, you want to make sure your customers are satisfied and happy with the service they’ve received. Better yet, you want your customers to recommend your business to others. Word-of-mouth and personal recommendations are much more powerful than online reviews or picking the top search engine result. 

Another SEMA show is in the books and that’s a good thing - you can only handle so much information and fun in one week! ALLDATA sent a team of people to SEMA and everyone agreed that this year’s show was among the best. More than 140,000 people came to Las Vegas to spend a week learning about everything new in the automotive industry–and ALLDATA had lots to share.

”What if your doctor came to you and said that you needed heart surgery? Wouldn’t you want a battery of comprehensive tests done first? When an auto repair shop says your car needs a new engine, the same concept applies. While comparing heart surgery to replacing an engine may seem like an unlikely analogy, the diagnostic process used in both cases is very similar. Tests performed during diagnostics need to eliminate guesswork and help conclude exactly what the core problem is. Making an accurate diagnosis takes a specialized person using high-tech equipment.”

How does your shop handle it when a customer declines regular maintenance procedures? It happens all the time. And it can be a tricky situation—you don’t want to do a “hard sell” and be viewed as pushing unnecessary work, but you want to help keep your customers’ vehicles in good shape. The Car Care Council’s 2015 vehicle inspection results show  that your efforts are needed. The Council hosts vehicle inspections at community car care events across the country and the 2015 results showed that 84 percent of vehicles need service or parts, ranging from low fluid levels to hose or wiper blade replacements.

There are many ways to innovate—from streamlining processes to adopting new technologies to improving employee training. Shops across the country are making changes to speed the repair process, while also making it more pleasant for customers to bring in their vehicles. We wanted to share two recent examples of innovation we’ve seen…and ask for your input.

Toyota® Prius®. BMW® X6®. Ford® Fusion Hybrid®. Mazda® Tribute®. The list goes on, with new hybrid vehicles being introduced—and familiar models being offered as hybrids—nearly every year. Hybrid vehicles are no longer the wave of the future. They are here and they are widely used, for personal vehicles, taxis, delivery vehicles, ride-sharing and more.

My techs seem to be busy all day. Why are we barely keeping our heads above water?” If you’ve thought or said this out loud, you’re not alone. The rising costs associated with running an automotive shop these days are making it increasingly difficult to keep the doors open. But by regularly evaluating workflow practices, shops may find some ways to fight those shrinking profit margins.

As a shop owner, your goals include looking for ways to increase your business and, even more importantly, to secure repeat business. There is one way you can achieve both goals, of increasing and ensuring repeat business: add fleet vehicles to your customer base. What type of fleet vehicles? Well, how many businesses and organizations can you think of that have more than one vehicle? Limo companies, delivery vans and company service trucks are great examples. Other examples would include utilities like cable TV, plumbers, exterminators, non-profit organizations and courier services. And don’t forget taxi cab companies! All of those vehicles will need servicing at some point, including regular maintenance and repairs. Some organizations have their own shops to work on their vehicles but many rely on a good local shop. And that shop could be yours!

Remember when every go-fast part listed in a performance catalog was guaranteed to give you at least 10% – 15% more power? I used to think that if I could install just a few of those high-performance parts on my motor, I could boost my horsepower by 40% or more! So I did … but it didn’t work. I later discovered the reason why — only a matched combination of the right carburetor, headers, intake manifold and cam, would give me the increase in horsepower and torque I was expecting.

I was talking with the owner of a fairly successful shop in Boston the other day. He told me that, although his technicians’ productivity is above average, they still seem to have problems making flat rate on diagnostics. The shop has all the latest test equipment, plenty of diagnostic and repair information and well-trained techs. He asked, “What the heck are we missing?”

The new year is a time for reflection—what went right last year, what we want to change for this year, and just generally figuring out how to have a successful and satisfying year. For businesses, annual budgets are usually planned, discussed and finalized before the new year arrives. A key part of this planning process is evaluating your current tools and technologies, including your diagnostic and shop management resources, and determining what best fits your shop’s needs. If you haven’t started yet, now is a good time.

Worried about your shop while you’re at SEMA or anywhere else outside of your shop? If you had ALLDATA Manage® Online, you could keep tabs on what’s happening right from your laptop, no matter where you are. You thought you knew what a good shop management system was? Forget it! ALLDATA Manage Online puts you in control 24/7. ALLDATA Manage Online is browser based and can be accessed from anywhere, at any time to streamline workflow and increase shop productivity. ALLDATA Manage Online is designed with features to help you better manage the overall customer experience and enhance customer retention.

When your techs are on the clock and the customer is waiting for her car, they need answers and they need them NOW! ALLDATA® CommunitySM is the solution!

ALLDATA Community is an interactive, time-saving tool that puts your technician in touch with thousands of other repair professionals for answers to difficult diagnostic and repair questions. But that’s not all! A team of ALLDATA ASE Certified Master Technicians monitors Community and will jump in with answers to unresolved questions to help get that vehicle back on the road quickly.

The way technology is evolving, it’s a good idea to stay informed of what the manufacturers are bringing to market each year. And for those hard-to-diagnose problems, give ALLDATA® CommunitySM a try. Select the Community link located on your ALLDATA® Collision S3500SM or ALLDATA Repair home page. A team of highly-skilled, in-house ASE Master Technicians and thousands of ALLDATA shops are there to help you make confident repairs and get vehicles back to their owners quickly. Here is just one of many helpful verified repairs…

Why should you care about statistics and business trends? Because you don’t want surprises! When trends indicate the economy may be slowing, you want to take steps to ensure your customers will keep coming back. Or, trends may alert you that it’s time to think about hiring another technician or to upgrade shop equipment. Well-informed shop owners who fully understand the industry are better equipped to handle economic swings, stay connected with customers and prepare for change.

The Jeep® was a recognizable symbol of American fighting forces in World War II, just as the “Huey” helicopter was an iconic symbol of Vietnam.

Just about anyone who cares about machines on wheels – and that should include everyone reading this – has probably heard that the name Jeep was derived from the initials, G.P., initials for “general purpose.” That explanation has been repeated so many times that hardly anyone questions it.

Elk Grove, California – March 26, 2014 – ALLDATA LLC, the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for the professional automotive service and collision repair industries, has enhanced its core products, ALLDATA Repair S3000 and ALLDATA Collision S3500 with a VIN Decoder.

Elk Grove, California – October 28, 2013 – ALLDATA LLC, the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for professional automotive service and collision repair shops, has entered into a strategic agreement with MAM Software to launch ALLDATA® Manage® Online, an innovative cloud-based shop management system.

Some drivers have been leading their vehicles to the gas pump, but can’t seem to make the thirsty cars drink. Several 2004-2009 Chrysler® Group models are known to be hard to fill with fuel. Sometimes the fuel nozzle shuts off repeatedly. This problem may have a number of different causes, the fuel tank being least likely. There’s no need to waste time exploring the issue, when a path to a solution may already be at hand. This technical service bulletin issued by Chrysler offers a diagnostic procedure to help quickly diagnose and repair the condition.

“ALLDATA Mobile is not a tablet enabled website,” commented Paul Marshall, Mobile Product Developer. “In other words, we’ve developed a true Mobile App. The only Mobile App for OE Repair Information in the industry.”

Diesels have historically had an image problem. They’ve been known to be smelly, slow, and polluters of the air. But when the smoke clears, the truth is that the modern diesel can be clean (and still be powerful). Cleaning up diesel’s act needed some help… help that came in the form of diesel exhaust aftertreatment systems.

Elk Grove, California – December 19, 2013 – ALLDATA LLC, the leading provider of manufacturers’ automotive repair information and solutions for professional automotive service and collision repair shops, has launched its cloud-based shop management system, ALLDATA® ManageTM Online.

There are a lot of older cars on the road, and you probably see your share of them in your shop. While you may expect to see leaky hoses on higher mileage vehicles, sometimes the cause

is not so obvious. Diagnosing a problem takes time – time that translates to money out of your customers’ wallets. That’s where OE repair procedures and technical service bulletins (TSBs) come in.

Did you know that the average comeback costs a shop $237? We're here so you can fix it right the first time

Say that you decide to restore a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham 365 Tri-Power with the special air suspension system, a rare car even in its day. Where would you get the information to repair this magnificent, tail-finned beast?

Keeping your technicians up-to-date with the latest technology is obviously a good investment. Well-trained techs mean fewer come-backs, faster repairs and happier customers and this means more cash in the register.  But what about your front counter? A lack of training here can create a silent erosion of your customer base and revenue you may not be aware of.

BG White

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