One of the largest truck dealerships in Wales is helping its clients to cut costs on tyres while also improving fuel economy.
MDSL Garages is the Volvo Trucks dealer for West Wales and celebrates its 40th anniversary as a Volvo dealer next year. It is part of the Mansel Davies & Son Group, which is one of the largest employers in Pembrokeshire. MDSL looks after around 250 HGVs, including the MDS Distribution fleet as well as some other key haulage clients. It has four sites, including a VOSA-authorised testing centre.
The company recently invested in a wheel alignment system to improve productivity and keep up with growing customer demand.
Scott Davies, director of MDSL Garages, said: “For years we relied on a sub-contractor to come in and carry out wheel alignments for us. However, as the business grew it became increasingly challenging for him to manage a bigger workload, so we decided to purchase our own wheel alignment tool.”
He chose the Cam-aligner system by Josam, after a demonstration by AES UK – the family-run garage equipment supplier and authorised Josam UK distributor – during which it was immediately clear how easy the equipment is to use and how quickly each job can be done. A single steer alignment and subsequent adjustments now takes MDSL around 30 minutes from start to finish.
“AES came and did us a demonstration of both the Josam laser AM system and Josam Cam-aligner,” said Scott. “We went with the Cam-aligner which was slightly more expensive but was more accurate, faster and easier to operate.
“It is user-friendly as it does all the calculations for you, whereas with the laser you have to do the maths yourself, measure, adjust, and measure again. With the Cam-aligner you can do live adjustments, which reduces the time taken – plus it is fool-proof to use.
“The service received from AES has been outstanding,” added Scott. “With a day of training for both technicians during the installation, followed by a great aftersales support answering the phone to assist at any time.”
The Cam-aligner is a compact digital wheel alignment system which enables MDSL to carry out alignment checks and rectify poor alignment. Correct tyre set-up improves fuel economy, extends tyre life, enhances steering, increases driving comfort, and reduces rolling resistance. It also improves road safety. Volvo Trucks carried out tests using Josam equipment, which showed that correctly aligned vehicles can reduce fuel consumption by 2.5%.
“Obviously tyre wear is reduced significantly,” noted Scott. “Before alignment we see wheels coming into the workshop with tyres scrubbing and wearing unevenly. After alignment, these issues do not occur, substantially prolonging the life of the tyres. It also has a tangible impact on MPG, leading to significant fuel savings and you can see that from the telematics data.”
MDSL carries out alignments on a truck every 100,000km, which is typically every six months for long-distance vehicles or every year for rural and short-haul vehicles such as rigid.
“Since acquiring the equipment about a year ago,” added Scott “we have done approximately 200 alignments on our own vehicles and I would guess 100-150 for customers’ vehicles. We’re looking at around 300 per year – perhaps more.”
MDSL acquired its first Volvo Trucks dealership in 1982, primarily to secure parts and service for its own growing fleet of Volvo HGVs. It now looks after the whole of West Wales. It is also an approved Isuzu dealer. Along with a purpose-built MOT facility at Letterston, it is also an established tachograph calibration centre and provides ADR testing and brake checks for fuel tankers.