Favorite Products Spotted at SEMA and AAPEX 2016
After five days in Las Vegas, perusing 5,414 booths in more than 3 million square feet of trade show space with 157,961 other automotive aftermarket professionals, I can tell you things in the automotive aftermarket industry are definitely looking up. I attended the AAPEX and SEMA shows October 31 through November 4, 2016, where I walked about 32 miles (thanks FitBit!) and consumed a few too many cups of caffeine, but it was all for you — the readers — with one goal in mind — to share some cool and innovative products that might help you better your businesses.
This year’s show was huge and packed, which is great for the industry, but not so good for my need to be extra thorough. If I missed something great, please forgive me! So, in no particular order, here are nine of my favorite products from SEMA and AAPEX 2016.
Race Ramps Portable Pit Stop Ramps
So you’re thinking about adding some additional services that would be good for your customers, but there’s just one thing standing in your way — a lift. Here’s a product you’ll definitely want to consider.
Race Ramps Portable Pit Stop Ramps allow you to safely and quickly work on a vehicle with no jack or lift needed. You simply set up the modular system wherever you need it — maybe outside in your parking lot — and drive the vehicle into place. The system will lift the entire vehicle 14 inches high, and the total assembled length is 18.5 feet.
The Portable Pit Stop platform can accommodate a wheelbase from 90 inches to 115 inches wide, and the ramp has an angle of 10 degrees. The solid core construction makes it durable and lightweight. The pieces total 250 pounds on each side, but no single piece weighs more than 40 pounds. Plus, they can support a vehicle weighing up to 6,000 pounds.
Grip Clean Industrial Hand Soap
If there’s one thing that any auto service center can be, it’s clean. Being the cleanest shop in town is a cheap way to one-up your competition. However, it’s easier said than done — especially when your techs are dealing with oil, grease and dirt all day, every day. I know one trick that the cleanest shops use is to keep a jar of dirt on-hand to clean your hands quickly. Plus, dirt doesn’t dry your hands out.
Grip Clean knows that, too! It actually cleans dirty hands with dirt. Grip Clean is made from a vegetable-based soap base and a blend of cosmetic-grade dirt/clays. The clays absorb chemicals, oil, grease and toxins. Plus, the clay acts as an exfoliant, going deep into the pores of your hand, grabbing and holding onto grease that would normally remain, and rinsing clean.
This was one of those products I was lucky enough to try first-hand. Trust me — it really works, makes your hands feel very soft and has no chemical smell. There may or may not be a bottle of Grip Clean that didn’t make its way out to the man cave because it is currently sitting on my bathroom counter!
You know you need to do digital marketing, but you’d rather run your shop or work on cars. Don’t worry. You might want to hire Frederick to do it for you.
Frederick is a software designed to help you keep your bays full. It integrates with some POS systems — and they are working on integrating with more — and can do things like send maintenance reminders, ask for five-star reviews, fill slow days and minimize empty bays, increase customer feedback, encourage customers to refer their family and friends, rescue lost customers who haven’t seen you in a while, incentivize customers to complete previously declined services with a special offer or automate marketing campaigns.
One operator implemented Frederick at three of his locations and has not only seen an increase in positive customer reviews on Yelp and Google, but his shops have also seen an increase in the number of customers who continue to return after their first visit.
There is a two-week free trial, so if this software piques your interest, I would suggest taking advantage of the free trial. There are a lot of really cool features that can help you use today’s marketing technology to your advantage.
Mychanic Blade Light
Mychanic’s product line may be geared toward DIYers, but that’s no reason you shouldn’t consider having some of their great, forward-thinking products in your shop. One of their most interesting products, that I think technicians would love, is their Blade Multi Light.
You know there are times when you need extra light in a spot under the hood that even a contortionist can’t reach. The Mychanic Blade Multi Light is ultra-slim, so it fits into all the nooks and crannies in the engine compartment where you might need a little extra light. It pivots 360 degrees, giving you full control of where to aim the light. It has a 250 lumen output and has a lithium-ion battery with micro USB charging adapter included. Plus, its magnetic base sticks to any magnetic surface — and that magnetic base has a protective coating over it, so you won’t have to worry about scratching a customer’s car if you do need to stick the blade light to it.
The ToolHanger from Hansen Global
Most customers visit quick lubes because time is a commodity. They pay you to get their oil change and preventive maintenance services done fast, so they can spend their time in other ways. The more time you can give back to the customer, the happier they will probably be with their service. Having tools organized and readily accessible is just one piece of this time puzzle, and The ToolHanger might be your answer to organization.
The ToolHanger board is made of a high-grade plastic that will never rot, break or bend. Boards can hang horizontally or vertically. Interlocking pegs allow boards to be interconnected in virtually any pattern, and the boards install in minutes. They can also be hung on work carts, and every major tool brand can fit on The ToolHanger.
Six unique types of hangers are available: two-inch, three-inch and four-inch straight hangers; hooks; rectangles; and ovals. Each hanger twists and locks firmly into place, and straight hangers have a 10-degree upward tilt to prevent items from falling off. The hangers are composed of nearly unbreakable glass-filled nylon.
Do you have rotting wooden pegboards? Is it common for someone to bump their tool board and all of their tools fall off of it? If you are tired of paying techs to pick up tools and want them to know exactly where their tools are, so they can service more customers, I’d suggest taking a look at The ToolHanger.
Sure Filter Pure & Sure Antibacterial Cabin Air Filter
Do you have customers who suffer from asthma or allergies? The Pure & Sure Antibacterial Cabin Air Filter lowers allergen presence and reduces hypersensitive reactions.
This cabin air filter has three layers. The first protective layer guards against the threat posed by mold, viruses, bacteria, allergens and germs. The second carbon layer helps get rid of unpleasant odors and mitigates harmful exhaust gases. The third protective layer traps pollen and potentially pesky microscopic particles.
The Pure & Sure filter performed well in anti-allergen tests: JIS L-1902 (bacteria), ISO 18184 (virus influenza) and JIS Z-2911 (fungus/mold). After 24 hours, 99 percent of bacteria, viruses and mold were deactivated to prevent further growth.
Are you tired of fighting with screws that are rusted, stripped or stuck? Then you’re going to want a pair of VamPliers. This is another product I got to try first-hand at the show. First, they had me try to turn a stripped out screw with a pair of ordinary pliers — are you kidding, I couldn’t even come close to making it turn. Then, I tried the same screw with a set of VamPliers. Their unique design bit into the screw, and I was actually able to turn it!
VamPliers technology uses a concave curvature and both vertical and horizontal serrations that lead down the inside of the jaws to the tip of the nose, forming teeth for the perfect “bite” around the screw’s head.
VamPliers are available in four different sizes to accommodate a wide variety of stuck fastener sizes and can extract a variety of screws, nuts and bolts, including tamper-proof, one-sided, low profile and specialty screws, like Torx Screws.
Autel MaxiSYS 906TS
Autel recently released the MaxiSYS 906TS, which looks to be a great option for smaller shops looking for multiple tool features without having to purchase several TPMS tools. This tool combines a TPMS tool with the advanced diagnostics of a tablet scan tool. Now, technicians don’t need a secondary TPMS device to trigger, program or relearn Autel MX-Sensors.
The tablet features wireless built-in TPMS, so the embedded antennae triggers all known sensors and programs Autel MX-Sensors as universal replacements. With the TPMS status screen, you can instantly pinpoint system faults and view TPMS status updates, which are easy to understand because they are based on symbols and colors. The MaxiSYS 906TS comes with a wireless OBD-II connector and covers domestic, Asian and European vehicles (1996 models and newer).
The MaxiSYS 906TS is an affordable option for shops looking to keep all their projects in house and complete them quickly.
WD-40 Specialist Spray and Stay Gel Lubricant
I’m a lover of WD-40, but I don’t love when it drips and makes a mess. That’s why I was so excited to swing by the WD-40 booth to see something new. Spray and Stay is a gel lubricant that won’t drip. (You can check out our video on Facebook to see it in action for yourself!)
The unique gel stays where you spray it, making it ideal for use on vertical surfaces or on moving parts like chains, cables, gears, rollers and bearings. Plus, it features the attached SmartStraw, which sprays two ways. It also prevents rust on surfaces for up to one year and is 50-state VOC compliant.
I made my way home with a few samples of some of these products. If you are interested in trying something for yourself, give me a call at 800.796.2577 or email me at email@example.com and let me know what you’re interested in.