Find out more about Owner Phil Wright and what drives him to develop vehicle technicians of the future.
Phil Wright, owner of Ewood MOT and Service Centre has been in the trade for over 40 years. He’s been there, done that and bought the T-shirt (we think he could have even designed it). But just as important, Phil is wholly focussed on moving forward with continuous learning and development, both of himself and all the Vehicle Technicians that work at Ewood MOT Service Centre.
The motor industry has continued to evolve at an immensly fast rate and technology never stops developing. Year on year, hundreds on new models and variations of engines and performance are released by manufacturers across the world. Even if they are not released in the UK, specialist and rare cars are still imported and we see a wide range of models come onto our Blackburn car service centre.
Technology developments in todays modern cars and vans
The most obvious changes are the shift from traditional petrol / diesel engine to electric vehicles and computerised engine management systems. However there are many other changes, some that seen more subtle at the time, but fundamentally change the awareness a car owner should have, to keep a well maintained vehicle.
Here are just a few examples:
- Run flat tyres and removal of spare tyre from boot.
- Day running lights and developments to LED / Xeon lights.
- Start/Stop engines with more advanced batteries.
- Infotainment and navigation systems that combine key engine management information and warnings.
- Reliance on computerised systems requiring electronic diagnostics and better protection of electrics to weather elements.
So how can we keep up with technology and where do we find trusted technicians and garages to look after our vehicles?
Here’s a background to Phil’s established career and experiences.
Phil Wright: The Back Catalogue
Starting Out As An Apprentice
- Became a Car Mechanic as an Apprentice on a 2 year course in Wigan on Brick Kiln Lane.
- Moved to a Haulage company and began working on artic lorries, tractors and trailers up to 40 tonnes for several years.
- Moved to a commercial vehicle repair business looking after vehicle servicing and repairs of fleet vehicles for 7 years. This was Phil’s first focussed introduction to and fast learning of, building vehicles from core chassis, rebuilding gear boxes, axles and engines.
- Gained 4 years experience in road-side repairs and recoveries of commercial vehicles.
Opening his own garage and experience in Dealership mechanics
- Phil then opened his own garage in Burscough, focussing on repair of cars, vans, commercial vehicles and trailers for 7 years to 2002.
- At this stage there became far more focus and mass manufacture of computerised engine management systems and diagnostics. Whilst the manufacturer and dealerships had high specification diagnostic equipment, it was not readily accessible and available to private owned smaller workshops. After a few years, Phil recognised he needed to know more about computerised engines and technology, so took the decision to close his garage and move into dealership mechanics where this equipment and vehicles were more readily available. Phil joined Riding & Co dealership, focussing largely on manufacturers such as Honda, Skoda, Suzuki and Subaru.
Qualifications in MOT testing, German engine technology and computerised diagnostics
- Completed MOT Nominated Testing qualifications for class 4 and class 7 vehicles and maintains these qualifications to present day.
- It was now time to learn more about German vehicles and technology, so Phil moved to BMW and MINI dealerships including Bowker and Lloyd franchises, completing Senior Technician assessments.
- In 2016, Phil had all the insight required to re-open his own garage. With diagnostic equipment becoming more accessible (but still eye-waterinly expensive) and vast learning, qualifications and experience of a wide range of manufacturers through dealership mechanics, working on range of vehicle class sizes, MOT certification, commercial vehicle maintenance, repair, road-side repair, recovery and rebuilds, it was time to go it alone.
Opening of own garage, MOT Authorised Examiner Designated Manager and large scale growth with the latest technology
- Opening of Tarleton Auto Technic Ltd, on the side of a farm with one ramp!
- In 2017, Phil needed to expand and took over a garage in Penwortham, growing to 3 vehicle tecchnicians.
- In 2018, demand was continually growing and a much larger garage was required. Phil moved the business to our present day garage at Ewood, Blackburn and customers gladly followed us across the M65.
- Phil has established a busy and in-demand MOT and Service Centre, growing year on year with multiple bays, ramps, MOT pit and customer service facilities. Phil has also qualified as an MOT Authorised Examiner Designated Manager (AEDM)
- Ewood MOT Service Centre has also invested heavily in official BMW diagnostic testing equipment and licensing, meaning customers with BMW and MINI can take advantage of the very latest equipment, knowledge, fitting and testing of parts at a much reduced price of the main dealerships.
So what does Phil think of yesteryears and todays modern cars?
We asked Phil to give us his insight into the changes that have taken place in the world of mechanics, technicians and technology, some for the better and others maybe not so much.
“There is no doubting the amazing advancement in technology of cars to be able to achieve performance and driver / passenger comfort.
Safety, durability (in some areas) and versatility have improved considerably with introductions of different vehicle types and I thoroughly enjoy seeing and learning about the daily advancement in technology and software that is available to people from the lowest to highest budget vehicle purchases.
Unfortunately it can come at a cost and quality degeneration in some areas. For example, service intervals used to be from 9,000 to 12,000 miles, whereas nowadays they are more in the region of 25,000 miles or 2 years. Whilst that may sound good and more efficient for the vehicle owner, it is actually counter productive as naturally driver upkeep and negligence can easily creep in. As vehicles are not checked as frequently, faults can become more dangerous (as the driver is not aware of them) and costly to repair.
Whilst engines are more reliable, unfortunately the electrics are letting them down, due largely to the use of cheap parts. This technology leads to more reliance on the use of expensive, computerised diagnostic equipment that some independent garages cannot afford, meaning there is a reduction in choice for customers (that are unnecessarily forced into returning to dealerships). This in turn leads to a reduction in opportunities for mechanics and technicians and we have seen a steady fall in people joining the industry, meaning technicians harder to find.
Obviously at Ewood MOT and Service Centre, we have focussed on being able to provide these services with up-to-date equipment, latest training, qualifications, diagnostic and repair methods. This means we are an attractive proposition for any aspiring mechanics and technicians that want to be able to get hands-on, take advantage of our independence and ability to create time to learn and see a wide range of manufacturers / model vehicles that enter our service and repair bays and come onto our ramps.