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Warranty firm MB&G warns dealers on part exchanges

Due to the growing complexity of modern day cars now hitting the used market, warranty specialist MB&G is warning dealers to be extra vigilant, ensuring they check a whole host of features before agreeing to buy a customer’s part exchange.

Failure to check items such as directional and Xenon headlights, parking sensors, electric windows and mirrors and a Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), if it has one could cost the dealer thousands of pounds to get them operational again before it can sell the part exchange on, it warns.

MB&G has compiled its top ten check list and urges salesmen to take the prospective trade-in for a drive round the block to detect any problems with a car, or risk losing money on it.

“Because we are regularly managing claims around all aspects of modern day cars, it soon becomes clear it’s the technology that costs thousands of pounds to rectify if it goes wrong,” said MB&G’s managing director, David McPhee.

“If a problem is detected you can inform the customer and you can adjust the price of the part exchange accordingly, but failure to spot something like a dual mass flywheel having failed on a DSG gearbox could cost a dealer upwards of £1,500 to fix.

“Too many salesmen don’t run the car round the block before agreeing the part exchange price. A two mile journey in the car can also prevent a new owner experiencing problems and the relevant customer service headaches with their car,” said McPhee.

He advised that all dealers should build in some form of check on the following technology features, something that may be best set up with a trained technician in the service department.

  • Parking sensors: these can be temperamental at the best of times, so check the fuses are in working order and the sensors fit snugly and haven’t been damaged
  • Electric mirrors: these are often the first thing to be knocked in any accident, so make sure the electrics are still healthy and connected and if they are damaged, price up a new part including labour before agreeing a part exchange price
  • Cruise control: problems are often within the vacuum system (including pedal switches and pump) or from the wiring, so a quick check should bring to light any issues
  • Warning lights: these can stop working without warning, so a quick check of the wiring or a fuse could avoid thinking that the car is 100% perfect
  • Emissions related technology: ensuring the car can pass an MOT is vital and so checks to all emissions related kit should be made - air filter, the injectors and the oil
  • Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG)and dual mass flywheel: poor gear change quality, knocks and vibrations taking up drive are all signs to look out for
  • Clocking: or ‘mileage correction’ is a growing problem with consumers clocking the car before it is handed back to the garage. Check the V5 mileages against the actual mileage and provide extra sanity checks through the likes of HPI
  • Air conditioning and dual climate control: check the refrigerant level, ensure the thermostat is not stuck and make sure it has maintained its integrity
  • Tyres (low rolling resistance and run flats): some low emission cars are reliant on having low resistance tyres fitted. If a tyre is illegal, then check its cost first – a £100 finger in the air estimate could turn into a £250 bill per tyre just to get the car road legal
  • Headights (LEDs, directional and Xenonunits): the new light units fitted to modern cars look fantastic, but if the directional headlight system has failed or the LED unit has cracked you could be faced with a £400-500 bill to get them fixed.

McPhee said: “Dealers are busy people and with the recent plate change, time is even harder to come by, but a 15 minute check could ensure the dealer’s reputation and bank balance remains intact.”


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  • Visionary - 09/11/2011 13:16

    How disappointing to finish such an important article with Mr McPhees comments of dealers spending time on a 15 minute check! If a professional appraisal process and a re-appraisal are carried out at the point of sale & delivery, the issues described should never occur. Having one in place will also improve the sales departments overall profitability and increase unit sales. I agree the professionalism being shown in purchasing a customer’s part exchange is extremely poor, but sadly disagree that it will ever be fixed in 15 minutes.