Auto Service World
News   March 11, 2019   by Allan Janssen

CATEGORY FOCUS: News from the Wheel & Tire front

Recently released part numbers and products in the wheel and tire category include an online information system for wheel alignments from Hunter Engineering, a hand-held scanner that reads tire treads from Atlas Automotive, a drive-on tread evaluation system from Rotary, and new tire changers from Hofmann.

Welcome to AutoService World’s Category Focus, looking at recent announcements from automotive aftermarket parts manufacturers and distributors.


Tire changers

In the high-volume tire business, it’s good to have a plan for changing tough tires quickly and safely without damage. With Hofmann’s patented smartSpeed technology, that plan is built right into the tire changing system.

“Our intuitive smartSpeed technology automatically selects the optimal speed and torque on the tire changer with a single pedal position,” says Kyle Harris, product manager for Hofmann. “Even during a shop’s busiest hours, when throughput really matters, smartSpeed maximizes shop productivity without damaging tires or wheels.”

New Hofmann tire changers that feature smartSpeed technology include:

* the Hofmann monty 3550 – Featuring the industry’s most advanced capabilities to service a wide variety of wheel and tire assemblies; it is specifically designed to change low-profile, high-performance and run-flat tires, maximizing a shop’s versatility.

* the Hofmann monty 1625 is designed for high-volume tire shops, multi-bay repair shops and dealerships, ideal for servicing standard and performance wheels on cars and light trucks.

SmartSpeed not only automatically minimizes damage to the tires but also provides innovative, patented technology that optimizes the torque applied to the wheel and automatically sets the maximum rotation speed of the wheel.


Instant tread analysis

Rotary has launched a new tool to quickly and accurately measure the tire tread of every customer vehicle that comes through the shop. This measurement instantly tells the technician if tires should be replaced or if service is needed. The new TreadScan 2700 offers a simple safety check that protects customers and can result in additional tire sales and service work for the shop.

According to Rotary, the price is low enough to install one in every bay instead of tying up valuable space with a dedicated lane.

“Many people are driving around on tires that need to be replaced without realizing it,” says Jeff Vervoort, national sales manager of wheel service equipment for Rotary parent company Vehicle Service Group (VSG). “Uneven tire tread can indicate the need for new tires, a wheel alignment or suspension analysis. Our new TreadScan 2700 helps shops keep their customers safe by checking the condition of their tires in just a few seconds, and quickly pays for itself through increased sales of tires, alignment and suspension work.”

Two versions of TreadScan 2700 are offered to meet any shop’s needs. The base product includes a robust drive-over tread scanner and a mobile cabinet with computer and printer. The scanner is constructed of tough galvanized steel for durability and reduced maintenance. It has adjustable ramps to accommodate any car or light truck weighing up to 16,000 lbs. and can be installed in any bay, either mounted to the floor or recessed per shop preference.

TreadScan 2700 can also be integrated with Rotary alignment equipment. In this configuration, the tread scanner is installed in front of the alignment rack so that every car drives over it on the way to the rack. The TreadScan 2700 software can be installed in the computer used for alignments, cost-effectively eliminating the need for another computer, printer and cabinet.

and a camera photographs them. Within seconds, the data and photos are transmitted to the computer and a tread report is generated. This report, which can be printed to review with the customer as well as stored for future reference, includes a detailed analysis of the tire tread, including measurements, dimensions and diagrams. Technicians or service advisors then can analyze the data and make recommendations to the customer.


Hand-held tread checker

The TreadReader from Atlas Automotive Equipment is a hand-held scan tool which provides an instant 3D image of the tire, providing vital data such as tread depth and adverse wear. Advisory information like misalignment or uneven wear due to under- or over-inflation is also displayed, presenting a ‘no-question’ presentation to the vehicle owner on the condition of their tires, and the recommended resolution whether it is immediate or in the future.

“This product really is a game changer for the tire business,” says the company’s executive VP of garage equipment, James Boon.

“There is something about human nature that makes many of us naturally suspicious when someone tells you that you have to spend money! However, the TreadReader presents the customer with a very real appraisal of their tires, in a colour-coded and numbered format which is easy to understand, on a report that simply can’t be argued with. It removes any doubt or apprehension in its entirety.”

The unit itself is lightweight, robust (the company claims it has the same characteristics of a well-known brand of hammer drill, and can withstand the volume use of a heavy-handed technician) and requires just a few seconds to run over all four tires for instant upload to a smart phone or tablet via the TreadReader App, which can then be converted into a hard printout or emailable document.

The team behind the Atlas Automotive Equipment brand has spent years developing a line of products that combined the best value of quality and price.

To add even more value to TreadReader, the company has introduced the TreadManager Portal, which enables anyone managing remotely, or multi-location operations, infinite opportunity to maximise on the scan tool. By logging into the portal, workshops and Service Managers can view essential data on the number of vehicles scanned, activity by technician, and number of opportunities created for tire and alignment sales.

By maintaining invaluable customer data, TreadManager can even predict tire life-expectancy, allowing opportunities for tire sales long after the customer left the workshop.


Online alignment information

Hunter Engineering Company now provides online safety system alignment information in an online business intelligence tool called HunterNet.

Safety system reset (or safety system alignment) is required in conjunction with wheel alignment by many OEMS, ensuring a vehicle’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) perform properly.

With HunterNet, safety system alignment information is now accessible online anywhere and anytime. This feature will better equip shops to sell and perform proper wheel alignment service.

Kaleb Silver, Hunter’s director of product management, systems technology noted, “As the number of vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems continues to grow, it’s important to have an up-to-date online resource that shows what resets are required by the OE after a common service like wheel alignment.”

HunterNet continues to provide real-time data to shops through equipment results, trends and management reports; allowing shops to be more productive and profitable through data-driven decisions.

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