Author Archives: morgan rothwell

car servicing

70% of Consumers Choose Independent Garages!

A survey by Servicing Stop has revealed the attitude of motorists when it comes to choosing between a main dealer or an independent garage for servicing and repairs.

A staggering 70% of people said they’d prefer to visit an independent garage rather than going to a main dealer. The main reasons seem to be related to price, as independents are generally much cheaper, and the fact they can look at the options in terms of parts.

It was also important for people to support local business, which was a key driver.

The people who preferred the main dealer felt that the specialist knowledge the dealer had would result in a better job.

Other reasons included the fact that the main dealer stocked parts and could often provide a courtesy car.

At James Hart we’re finding an increasing number of customers are coming to us with cars that are still under warranty. Karl, our ATA Accredited Diagnostic Technician has over 30 years main dealer experience, so understands exactly what’s required to protect your vehicle and your warranty.

Since legislation changes over a decade ago we can maintain vehicles, using original parts, and protect your warranty – all this along with a significant saving when compared to a main dealer.

We don’t stock a lot of parts but we can order them in, often same day, and have you on the road again quickly and safely.

We also find the majority of work that is done on modern vehicles is replacing the consumables like brakes, tyres and general maintenance. Our skills match or even exceed main dealers on for all of these services.

A massive amount of our work comes from referrals and repeat customers.

Doing a good job isn’t just about repairing the vehicle. It involves offering high levels of customer service, keeping people informed of what parts are needed for a repair and the costs associated with this work.

We never carry out work without prior consent and never charge more than we’ve quoted.

air conditioning trucks

Air Conditioning – Maintain Concentration & Safety

A fully functional air conditioning system in your car, van or truck enhances concentration and increases safety.

Being too warm whilst driving can cause fatigue, therefore Air Conditioning has an important roll to play for the safety of the driver, passengers and other road users.

At James Hart (Chorley) Limited we provide a complete solution for air conditioning servicing and repairs.

Cooling system issues are a common problem when temperatures increase. If your temperature gauge level has increased it’s best to have it checked. Possible causes could be leaking/blocked radiator or coolant hose, faulty water pump, or thermostat. If left unchecked this could have a catastrophic effect on your engine and your wallet!

We offer the full range of parts for your cooling and Air Con System;


Our parts are sourced directly from OE manufacturers and are fully guaranteed.

Our HGV, Light Commercial and Car service and repair workshops, repair and service air conditioning systems. We also offer a re-gas service, all at the highly competitive rates.

SO DON’T LOSE YOUR COOL THIS SUMMER, if your having air con issues we’re on hand to help.


New MOT Rules. Are You Ready?

The end of May saw some significant changes introduced to the standard MOT test.

As we’ve previously reported, if there’s any sign of tampering with your DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) it¹s an automatic fail. Generally, people perform a DPF delete to try to improve performance and/or fuel economy and in the past it could still pass, not any more!

In addition to the DFP check, these items have also been included for checking;

Tyres – check for obviously under-inflation Brake Fluid – is it contaminated?
Fluid Leaks – do they post an environmental risk?
Brake Pad Warning Lights – also check if the discs and/or pads are missing
Reversing Lights – on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
Headlight Washers – on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
Daytime Running Lights – on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021)

Any problems that arise from these changes and additions are mainly easy to resolve. However, what is likely to happen is an increase in the number of MOT failures.

So what do we recommend?

Quite simply, bring your vehicle in earlier for an MOT. You can have it checked up to a month in advance of the due date, meaning there’s plenty of time to fix issues that arise.

We also offer an MOT reminder service via text. If you’d like us to add you to our database simply email, call or message us on Facebook with your mobile number and date of MOT and we’ll send out a text to you a month before.

As always, we’re always at the end of the phone if you need any help or advice.


Is Your Vehicle Cool?

With the hottest time of year upon us, we have seen the usual spike in demand for fridge trucks. Some operators can manage in the colder months without actually using the fridge engine, as it’s cool enough in the body without chilling. Now the food industry is heavily monitored and with concerns over bacteria growth, there aren’t many food related carriers that do not require temperature controlled vehicles. Inevitably, when the fridges start to be used after little winter use, they can give problems and hence the operator may look for a replacement vehicle instead of spending money on older vehicles that are close to the end of their life.


We often get asked about the options with fridge trucks and the main choices are an independent fridge motor (with its own engine) or a direct drive that runs off a pump fitted to the truck engine. The advantage of an independent motor is they are able to pull down the temperature quicker and they go down further in temperature. However, the units are heavier, which affects payload especially on 7.5 tonne vehicles. Generally direct drive units require less maintenance because no diesel is required to run them, which saves cost, they are also lighter and quieter than an independent.


Most vehicles now have the option to run the refrigeration unit on mains electric as well, typically this will be used when the vehicle is stood loaded at the depot. Not all units have this option so make sure the vehicle you are looking at has the required spec.

Although the specification on fridge trucks can vary massively, we carry a good stock of different sizes and weights in used trucks from 7.5 tonne to 26 tonne, and we have access to a wide network if we don’t quite have the one you are looking for.

For advice, guidance and a list of current vehicles please call our truck sales team on 01257 279 414



Volvo Trucks To Launch First Commercial Electric Truck

Production Beginning In 2019

As the first of the current major HGV manufacturers to announce the release of an all-electric truck, what does the future hold for diesels?

What are the pro’s and cons of an electric truck and how will they change our industry?

Volvo Trucks will be launching its first commercial electric truck offering, the 16-tonne GVW Volvo FL Electric, in the near future. Production and sales are to begin in 2019.

That relates simply to sales in Europe, where the initial run of such trucks is now being put to use by pilot program customers — including the garbage collection firm Renova and haulage firm TGM.

The new Volvo FL Electric will feature a variable design when it comes to battery pack capacities and ranges — with capacities of 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and 300 kWh available. Fast charging capability of up to 150 kW will also be available (via CCS/Combo2).

The model is also outfitted with a 185 kW electric drivetrain (130 kW continuous output), which offers a max torque of 425 N·m.

Owing to the reality that the offering is electric, it can be used indoors in facilities where such vehicles would otherwise not be granted access — representing perhaps an initial niche application.

Noise levels are much lower than with a comparable diesel-powered vehicle as well, further extending potential niche applications (late-night shifts that would no longer be so offensiveness to residents).

So what are the positives and negatives of an electric Truck?





It looks like electric vehicles are set to be the future. As James Hart has been a major supplier of new, reconditioned and recycled parts, especially for DAF vehicles and the sale and repair of commercial vehicles the future for our company could rely on our understanding of such vehicles.

MOT Block Exemption

Block Exemption – Save up to 60%!

Many people still don’t realise that they could potentially save up to 60% on servicing costs AND protect their warranty.

Up until 2003 manufacturers required servicing to be carried out at a main dealer or the warranty was invalidated. This meant new car drivers had no choice on where they could take their vehicle for servicing and repairs and were forced to pay whatever fees the main dealer charged.

The Block Exemption Regulation (BER) 2003 changed the rules on warranties and ended the monopoly manufacturers made for themselves.

What does this mean for you?

BER created a level playing field for service centres meaning that consumers can access competitively priced servicing and protect their warranty.

There are a number of stipulations though:

  1. Original parts must be used
  2. The work must be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s service schedules
  3. The work must recorded as meeting these criteria above

Protect your car and your wallet!

At James Hart (Chorley) Limited we can service your vehicle to the full requirements of the BER and manufacturer stipulations. We use genuine parts, service to the schedule required and provide proof upon completion.

This means not only do you save money and protect your warranty but you also have the freedom to choose us against other potential suppliers.

Please call in or drop us a line if you need any more information about this!

oil change


All engine oils are intended for an application and in general are not interchangeable. For example, you wouldn’t put an Automatic Transmission Oil or a Gear Oil in your engine!

It’s important to know what the oil’s intended purpose is.


Most oils on the shelves today are “Multigrades”, which simply means that the oil falls into 2 viscosity grades (i.e. 10w-40 etc)

Multigrades were first developed some 50 years ago to avoid the old routine of using a thinner oil in winter and a thicker oil in summer.

In a 10w-40 for example the 10w bit (W = winter, not weight or watt or anything else for that matter) simply means that the oil must have a certain maximum viscosity/flow at low temperature. The lower the “W” number the better the oil’s cold temperature/cold start performance.

The 40 in a 10w-40 simply means that the oil must fall within certain viscosity limits at 100°C. This is a fixed limit and all oils that end in 40 must achieve these limits. Once again the lower the number, the thinner the oil: a 30 oil is thinner than a 40 oil at 100°C etc. Your handbook will specify whether a 30, 40 or 50 etc is required.


Specifications are important as these indicate the performance of the oil and whether they have met or passed the latest tests, or whether the formulation is effectively obsolete or out of date. There are two specifications that you should look for on any oil bottle and these are API (American Petroleum Institute) and ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Europeens d’Automobiles) all good oils should contain both of these, and an understanding of what they mean is important.

API (American Petroleum Institute)

This is the more basic as it is split (for passenger cars) into two catagories. S = Petrol and C = Diesel, most oils carry both petrol (S) and diesel (C) specifications.

The following table shows how up to date the specifications the oil are:


SG – Introduced 1989 – has much more active dispersant to combat black sludge.

SH – Introduced 1993 – has same engine tests as SG, but includes phosphorus limit 0.12%, together with control of foam, volatility and shear stability.

SJ – Introduced 1996 – has the same engine tests as SG/SH, but phosphorus limit 0.10% together with variation on volatility limits

SL – Introduced 2001 – all new engine tests reflective of modern engine designs meeting current emissions standards

SM – Introduced November 2004 – improved oxidation resistance, deposit protection and wear protection, also better low temperature performance over the life of the oil compared to previous categories.

Note: All specifications prior to SL are now obsolete and, although suitable for some older vehicles, are more than 10 years old, and do not provide the same level of performance or protection as the more up to date SL and SM specifications.


CD – Introduced 1955 – international standard for turbo diesel engine oils for many years, uses single cylinder test engine only

CE – Introduced 1984 – improved control of oil consumption, oil thickening, piston deposits and wear, uses additional multi cylinder test engines

CF4 – Introduced 1990 – further improvements in control of oil consumption and piston deposits, uses low emission test engine

CF – Introduced 1994 – modernised version of CD, reverts to single cylinder low emission test engine. Intended for certain indirect injection engines

CF2 – Introduced 1994 – defines effective control of cylinder deposits and ring face scuffing, intended for 2 stroke diesel engines

CG4 – Introduced 1994 – development of CF4 giving improved control of piston deposits, wear, oxidation stability and soot entrainment. Uses low sulphur diesel fuel in engine tests

CH4 – Introduced 1998 – development of CG4, giving further improvements in control of soot related wear and piston deposits, uses more comprehensive engine test program to include low and high sulphur fuels

CI4 Introduced 2002 – developed to meet 2004 emission standards, may be used where EGR ( exhaust gas recirculation ) systems are fitted and with fuel containing up to 0.5 % sulphur. May be used where API CD, CE, CF4, CG4 and CH4 oils are specified.

Note: All specifications prior to CH4 are now obsolete and, although suitable for some older vehicles, are more than 10 years old and do not provide the same level of performance or protection as the more up to date CH4 & CI4 specifications.

If you want a better more up to date oil specification then look for SL, SM, CH4, CI4

ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Europeens d’Automobiles)

This is the European equivalent of API (US) and is more specific in what the performance of the oil actually is. A = Petrol, B = Diesel and C = Catalyst compatible or low SAPS (Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur).

Unlike API the ACEA specs are split into performance/application catagories as follows:

A1 Fuel economy petrol

A2 Standard performance level (now obsolete)

A3 High performance and/or extended drain

A4 Reserved for future use in certain direct injection engines

A5 Combines A1 fuel economy with A3 performance


B1 Fuel economy diesel

B2 Standard performance level (now obsolete)

B3 High performance and/or extended drain

B4 For direct injection car diesel engines

B5 Combines B1 fuel economy with B3/B4 performance


C1-04 Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 low SAPS, two way catalyst compatible.

C2-04 Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 mid SAPS, two way catalyst compatible.

C3-04 Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 mid SAPS, two way catalyst compatible, higher performance levels due to higher HTHS.

Note: SAPS = Sulphated Ash, Phosphorous and Sulphur.

Put simply, A3/B3, A5/B5 and C3 oils are the better quality, stay in grade performance oils.


Many oils mention various OEM’s on the bottle, the most common in the UK being VW, MB or BMW but do not be misled into thinking that you are buying a top oil because of this.

Oil Companies send their oils to OEM’s for approval however some older specs are easily achieved and can be done so with the cheapest of mineral oils. Newer specifications are always more up to date and better quality/performance than the older ones.

Some of the older OEM specifications are listed here and depending on the performance level of your car are best ignored if you are looking for a quality high performance oil:

VW – 500.00, 501.00 and 505.00

Later specs like 503, 504, 506 and 507 are better performing more up to date oils

MB – 229.1

Later specs like 229.3 and 229.5 are better performing more up to date oils.

BMW – LL98

Later specs like LL01 and LL04 are better performing more up to date oils.


If you’re unsure as to which oil to use we are always happy to advise. Give us a call and pop in to see us.

Also, when we’ve done a service we can provide a top-up carton of oil or the exact specification you need in case you need to replenish before the next oil change.


lorry traffic emissions

Ultra Low Emission Zone Raises Costs Further – Now’s The Time To Buy!

As many people know, there is a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in place around London that requires trucks entering the area, to be up to a minimum exhaust emission standard of Euro4 or face big fines. From April 2019 there will also be a new zone created within the centre of London, in the same area as the Congestion Charge zone.

The new sector will be called the ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ (ULEZ) and the requirements to enter will be Euro6 exhaust emissions. Now, the vast majority of trucks on the road and the customers we sell to will never go into either of these zones. However, there’s a lot of talk in government and local authorities that cities like Manchester will also follow suit and introduce their own LEZ of some sort.

What standard these zones will be, whether its Euro5 or Euro6 is unknown. This uncertainty is having a massive impact on used vehicle prices. Buyers do not want to update a vehicle if they’re going to have to replace it again in a short timescale.

As a result we are seeing some, mainly common spec Euro5 and older trucks dropping quite steadily in price, while the same truck in a Euro6 spec is very much holding its value and in some instances going up!

Something needs to be done to clear this up, we have a right to know whether these zones will be introduced or not. In the meantime if you don’t need a Euro6 specification truck and are thinking of replacing a vehicle, now is the time to buy.

lorry potholes

Potholes Costing Lorry Drivers Thousands!

Haulage firms are being forced to shell out thousands of pounds to repair lorries damaged by potholes.

Safety is being compromised by broken surfaces all over the country with roads deteriorating following the severe winter weather.

One of our customers says his wagon’s suspension has been damaged three times in recent weeks after hitting deep craters.

Other parts of lorries that are suffering from poor road surfaces incude:

  • Tyres/Rims
  • Hubs/Bearings
  • Shockers/Springs/Air bags
  • Mounts/Bushes

Action is being taken to repair our roads but the ‘Beast from the East’ and bad weather all over the country has led to a huge rise in the number of potholes on Britain’s roads.

As a result the Government has created a £100 million repair fund, on top of previously announced initiatives, to help remedy the problem.

With 2.2 million potholes being repaired over the next 12 months, at a total cost of nearly £120 million, potholes are a big issue on our roads

Following calls from Local Authorities for extra cash to repair potholes, a £250 million ‘pothole action fund’ was announced in last year’s Budget, and local councils will receive a total of £50m each year for the next five years to help pay for the repair of more than four million potholes.

At James Hart Chorley we have seen a rise in the demand for repairs/parts due to pothole damage.

If you’ve suffered any damage or your safety has been compromised as a direct result of potholes we’d like to hear about it, so please drop us a line and join us in keeping pressure on the government to press forward with these necessary repairs.

8 Point Check-List When Buying A Truck

Here at James Hart Chiorley, we are specialists in HGV Commercial Vehicle Sales, that’s why we P1030996always ensure our customers know exactly what to look out for! With our 8 point check-list, we give you an insight into the key points you need to consider when buying a truck.

  1. Wherever possible, always arrange to view the truck in daylight hours. If this is not possible, checking in a well-lit workshop is preferable, especially on level ground to check the fluid levels!
  2. Ensure the truck you are viewing is the one advertised. Sounds simple however, we hear stories of people viewing trucks that are not the ones that have been advertised. Sometimes it may be that you are going to view one of a choice of the same thing, always ask the question first!
  3. Prior to viewing or considering to buy, think about the deal you want. Trucks can be bought at the lowest possible cost, a lot lower than the original asking price, as a trade sale, or, at the asking price with things like servicing, inspection and warranty provided. Make sure you and the seller are clear as to how the truck will be purchased.
  4. If it is not a trade sale, does the truck come inspected prior to collection/delivery? We at James Hart Chorley Ltd, inspect all of our trucks prior to collection and delivery!
  5. Inevitably, used trucks will probably have some defects. Make sure you agree with the dealer as to what is repairaed or replaced etc, make sure all the defects completed to your satisfaction?
  6. Used trucks will more than likely have some parts replaced or paintwork done over time, check that this has been completed to a satisfactory standard.
  7. Is all the paperwork available? V5 Documents, M.O.T and Plating Certificate.
  8. Finally, make sure you have a brew if you want one!

If you’d like to discuss your requirements, then give us a call on 01257 279414.