Auto Service World
News   September 19, 2001   by Auto Service World

New Wheel Tightening System Reduces Variability

Ingersoll-Rand Company has announced that its Tool and Hoist business unit has introduced a fastening system that significantly reduces variability in the tire- changing and repair process.

The IntelliTorque System, which uses proprietary software, enables tire retailers to input the make, model and year of the vehicle, as well as the number of wheels needing service. With this data, the fastening tool is automatically programmed with the correct lug nut torque according to OEM specifications — including the number of lug nuts to be fastened.

Because the system alerts the tire technician when each lug nut is properly tightened, it minimizes the potential for overlooking lug nuts on a wheel. In addition, the IntelliTorque system reduces the possibility of over and under tightening lug nuts on a wheel. As a result, there is less risk of technician error, which helps to ensure that tires are properly fastened to the vehicle. Preventing Maintenance Problems Automobile wheels fastened too tightly can break wheel studs and damage brakes. Too loosely fastened, wheels can become separated from the vehicle. Unequal tightening can result in wheel vibration. As a fully integrated system, IntelliTorque greatly reduces the inconsistency in wheel fastening that leads to these common problems.

Prior to IntelliTorque, automotive technicians would have to determine the correct torque specification, select the proper torque stick and then check each tightening with a torque wrench. The IR system controls, verifies and archives lug nut torque data and automatically generates customer receipts and documentation. As a result, the system reduces the chance of technician error, eliminates additional expenses from unnecessary rework to both customers and service centers and helps prevent potentially dangerous situations caused by improperly tightened lug nuts.

“The IntelliTorque system provides our automotive service customers with a solution that enhances productivity and reduces risk,” said Joseph Jones, president and general manager of IR’s Tool and Hoist unit. “With IntelliTorque as the platform, we envision significant growth opportunities by continuing to develop innovative solutions for the tire services aftermarket.”

During the development of IntelliTorque, IR worked with several major tire retailers to design a comprehensive system for tightening wheels while meeting the needs of the tire technician. Penske Auto Centers, the largest independent tire retailer in the United States with more than 630 locations nationwide, has been testing IntelliTorque since February.

Based on positive feedback from its auto centers, Penske will introduce IntelliTorque in a pilot program involving select Penske Auto Centers in Ohio and West Virginia. According to Jim Wheat, President and CEO, “As a leading provider of automotive services, a key element of our long-term growth is our ability to offer innovative services to meet our customer expectations. We believe that by expanding the scope of our pilot program to several other key markets, we will gain a better understanding how best to potentially position IntelliTorque as a value-added service for our customers nationwide.”

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