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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Australia - Ban on Repairable Write-off to hit car re-birthing rackets

The NSW Government will introduce legislation to ban the re-registration of all ‘repairable written-off’ vehicles to clamp down on car rebirthing, Minister for Transport and Roads David Campbell announced on April 8, 2010.

Mr Campbell said the legislation will mean that write-offs will no longer be able to be sold at auctions, where the vehicles can then be re-birthed and on-sold to unsuspecting consumers.

“There is a black market for purchasing written-off vehicles at auctions, then using stolen parts to rebirth and register the car, to be sold for a tidy profit,” Mr Campbell said.

“This isn’t being done by licensed repairers - in most instances it’s not financially viable for genuine repairers to repair these cars using legitimate parts.

“In many cases, it’s being done by unscrupulous operators in backyards and workshops using stolen parts, who then sell the vehicles to unwary motorists.

“Some consumers are being taken for a ride - motorists might be driving around in what’s effectively a stolen vehicle.

“More importantly, many of these vehicles have had dodgy repairs which can mask major structural damage. It’s extremely unsafe.

“Car re-birthing is a significant problem which has been known to have links to organised crime syndicates.

“Today’s announcement will put a massive dent in these illegal operations.

“It’s estimated that as many as six out of ten of the 20,537 repairable written-off vehicles presented for re-registration in 2009 posed serious questions about the origin of the parts used to repair them.

“Around 19,000 vehicles were stolen in NSW in the 2008-09 financial year – of these, around 5,700 have not been recovered.

“Today’s announcement means any car which is written off will not be able to be reregistered even if it can be repaired.”

Mr Campbell said the NSW Government made the decision to ban repairable write-offs after a discussion paper was released for consultation in August last year.

“What we found was that consumers – as well as legitimate car dealers and repairers – wanted better protections in place,” he said.

“NSW is the first state to introduce this ban on repairable write-offs, and we would encourage other states to follow our lead and implement similar laws.

“There will be very limited exemptions to the new laws – for some vehicles written off because of hail damage, and for some classic antique cars.

“We will also strengthen written-off vehicle notification requirements – for example, vehicles currently being sent to a scrap yard for crushing are not required to be registered on the Written-off Vehicle Register (WOVR) and this presents an additional opportunity for

Mr Campbell said the new laws are on top of the RTA’s Vehicle History Check service launched last year.

“The RTA’s Vehicle History Check service allows potential buyers to check whether a used car has ever been written-off anywhere in Australia,” he said.

“The service also provides customers with details of a car’s history including the number of previous owners, when it was first registered in NSW and odometer readings.

“All you need is the car’s registration plate details, vehicle type and the last four digits of the VIN/chassis number.

“It’s a simple check you can do on the RTA website for under $20.”

The new laws will be implemented following stringent legislative change and will take effect in August this year.

David Campbell MP, Australian Minister for Transport and Roads

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New or used - when it comes to replacement parts, what's the best deal

No one has to tell you auto repairs are expensive. Computer-controlled electronics and lightweight alloy components may improve performance and fuel mileage, but they're no bargain when it comes to replacing or repairing them.

Used auto parts facilities, however, have progressed just as far as the vehicles in their inventory. No longer referred to as wrecking yards or junk heaps, these recycling centres carry parts from vehicles as new as the current model year.

With automated inventory control systems, they can electronically search a continent-wide network of similar retailers to find parts. And the savings can be substantial. The average price for a used automotive part in good working order is about half the cost of a new one.

When it comes to an engine or transmission computer worth more than $1,000, the savings are huge. But when should you consider asking your service provider to get a used part for your vehicle?

First eliminate wearable items from your recycled parts shopping list. This includes things, like brake pads and shoes, engine drive belts, sparkplugs and wires, and filters of any description.

Common replacement parts such as steering linkages and suspension joints can also be axed, but not if they're only available with a major component. For example, no service rep would suggest buying a ball joint as a used item if they're available as a separate part, but if they only come attached to a control arm assembly worth several hundred dollars new, a good used one might be a viable alternative.

Electronics such as control computers, auto-climate controls and audio units make good choices for the used part aisle because they usually have no moving parts and no measurable lifespan.

A good rule of thumb: If the vehicle is over five years old and the part in question has no defined lifespan and no reasonably priced new or re-manufactured alternative, getting a quote on a used part is a smart idea.

Note: You'll likely have to put up with a day's delay in getting the job done (most recycled parts remain attached to their vehicles until the part is sold).

Check the Yellow Pages under Automobile Part and Supplies-Used and Rebuilt or type Used Auto Parts into your favourite web-browser search engine.

By Brian Turner, a parts and service manager with more than 30 years experience.

Friday, April 02, 2010

A new life for your old car - Help environment by recycling your used vehicle

Recycling has become an important part of preserving the environment—but it’s not just about plastic bottles and aluminum cans anymore. Now you can recycle your old clunker too. Modern automobile recyclers aren’t your average auto wrecker. These recyclers ensure that end-of-life vehicles are stripped of all reusable parts and are retired in an environmentally safe manner. Their practices help prevent dangerous toxins from being released into the ground and water, and help reduce the need for new parts to be manufactured.

When it comes to recycling a vehicle, there are three main steps that maximize the amount of material that can be reclaimed.

Step one involves draining any remaining fluids from the vehicle such as oil, gas and coolants. On average between 20 and 40 litres of fluid are removed from a single vehicle. Because these fluids can pose a significant threat to the environment if not handled properly, technicians use special equipment and follow strict disposal protocols to prevent any groundwater contamination. At this stage the gas tank, battery and tires are also removed and recycled, reused or disposed of appropriately.

Step two is the main removal of parts. Most parts, depending on their age and condition, can be re-used. As the vehicle is dismantled, reusable parts are inspected, tested and prepared for re-sale by being tagged, coded and entered into a computerized inventory system. Information such as the VIN number, model, mileage and year of the vehicle that the part came from are recorded so that when the part is sold the buyer knows exactly what they’re getting. Some parts such as engines and transmissions must be remanufactured before being sold, while lights and wheels may only need to be reconditioned. Reusing car parts ultimately decreases the need for manufacturers to create new parts, saving time, money and materials.

Step three is the recycling and material recovery process. Once all of the fluids and reusable parts are removed from the vehicle it can be crushed and shredded into small handfuls of metal. The ferrous (such as iron) and non-ferrous (such as aluminum) metals are then separated and reused to make new vehicles and other products.

So, what are some of the benefits of recycled vehicle parts? The environmental benefits include a reduction in the amount of waste ending up in landfills, less energy and resources needed to manufacture new vehicle parts and a reduction in the amount of harmful emissions being released into the environment from new product manufacturing.

For the consumer it means that whether you need a replacement part for a current vehicle or a hard-to-find part for a classic car, at roughly half the cost of new parts, recycled parts can save you money. And because each recycled part is thoroughly inspected and tested, you can rest assured that it will be in good working order. Some auto recyclers even offer longer and optional extended warranties on recycled parts.

Finding a recycled part is easy too. After a component is removed from a vehicle it is assigned an industry-wide interchange number that identifies what type of vehicle and model it will fit. Additional information such as the condition of the part is also recorded. Once tagged and given an inventory number, the part is entered into a computerized inventory system. The Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association Green Parts program allows people to find recycled parts for their specific vehicle with just a few mouse clicks. With the online parts finder all you have to do is enter what kind of part you are looking for and a list of available parts at automotive recyclers across the province will be generated for you. Go to to search the province-wide online inventory or to find the Member nearest you.

Summer CAA Magazine