The team at the Christchurch-based family-owned company Autotest Servicing Ltd jokingly says that it taught MacGyver everything he knew about fixing things.
The day-to-day operation is run by brothers Ben and Sam Kearns with their father Vince who founded the business, which focuses mainly upon the service, maintenance, repair and calibration of garage equipment.
Autotest Servicing Ltd is the service agent for most brands of equipment including: Hunter, Cemb, Corghi, Biesbarth, BM brake testers, Circuitlink, Allen, Hofmann, John Bean, Procut, and Bosch. The company specialises in most garage equipment brands and they also do WOF equipment calibration as well as insurance claims for damaged equipment.
Servicing and calibrating sound meters, beam setters, brake rollers, Circuit Link Brake Checks, and portable brake equipment are all in a days work for the Autotest Servicing team.
“If you should ring Autotest Servicing, Ben will most likely answer the phone. He enjoys being the front man and organises the daily work load. Everyone likes his relaxed chatty phone manner,” says Vince.
“Dad started the business more than 30 years ago,” says Ben. “He used to service the old Vane and Blackhawk tune scopes. He was once introduced to a client as ‘Vince, king of the scopes’. Now those giant scopes have all but gone and been replaced with small hand held devices.”
“Dad also specialises in wheel balancers and aligners as well, and has been servicing Hunter wheel aligners for around 25 years. We stock all Hunter parts, especially for the older equipment.
“Dad has passed his knowledge onto Sam and me. He is great at explaining how things work and how to diagnose faulty components correctly and avoid using that dreaded shotgun approach where you just guess and replace parts at random.”
“Sam brings his computer expertise to the business,” says Vince. “He often has to rebuild wheel alignment computers and has stockpiled a valuable inventory of components. He can turn around an alignment computer the same day whether it is a software issue or hardware issue.”
“In many cases it is far quicker to send a broken computer to us rather than to a local computer shop,” says Sam. “Because the first thing they do is try to replace the computer just to find they have now dug themselves in a huge hole.”
Sam says the company has some loan machines so the customer is not left unable to work.
“We do recommend an annual service/calibration on wheel alignment equipment to help prevent breakdowns and to ensure the equipment is measuring accurately, “ says Sam.
“It also pays to have the aligner checked in the event of a mishap. We have seen many faces turn pale when a client realises that it was more than a few months ago when a sensor was dropped and we have only just discovered it was out by a huge amount.”
With the wide range of Bosch automotive test equipment out in the market Autotest service the KTS, FSA, BEA and ETT series of diagnostic testers.
“We stock all the consumables for these machines such as the filters and oxygen sensors as well as some electronic components and we have access to other parts in Australia if there is a need for them,” says Ben.
“As with most equipment it’s best to maintain your Bosch equipment annually and always follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and then the equipment will give long and faithful service.
“We recommend that gas analysers in particular are serviced annually as workshops who don’t maintain these will find it an expensive exercise if they eventually breakdown. Irregular maintenance can unfortunately lead to component failures.”
Ben, Sam and Vince are all registered electricians or electrical service technicians so clients can be confident that their service and test equipment will be serviced and repaired to the highest standard.
Autotest support the hoist service agents in Christchurch with the service and repair of the hoist electrical and electronic controls.
Although repairs and servicing is the company’s main focus from time to time it does also offer the sale of refurbished equipment such as analysers and wheel aligners if and when the opportunity arises.