The 2021 PMM Awards

The 2021 PMM Awards

The PMM Awards have returned for 2021, taking a look back at some of the top content from across the year. Read on to find out who has won!

We do our best each and every month to produce a magazine that is informative, instructive and entertaining for our audience. It is important to us that you remain as engaged as ever, whether that’s through our social media channels, our digital newsletter, or even reaching out to us on the telephone or dropping us an email. We love hearing what you think about the magazine – what you liked and what you think we could improve.

Over the past year we have featured some fantastic articles, contributed from a huge range of excellent sources. Every year, we round up the best ones and present the winners with a PMM Award. As you can imagine, it’s not an easy task! This year, we had a real struggle going through the articles we felt made the most impact and gained the most responses from our readers. We weighed up the most popular articles on the e-newsletter each week, the most requested rdr links, the most popular articles on our website and across our social media platforms – in short, compiling this list now encompasses a wider range of media than ever before. Because of this, we are confident it represents every aspect of the automotive aftermarket.

We would like to thank our readers who have remained loyal despite the hardships of the past year and we hope you agree that this year’s PMM Awards represents the best selection of articles we’ve published yet.

We would also like to thank the many companies who supported us both editorially and commercially over the past year. Your support is what enables us to put together the best magazine we can each month, something our readers will no doubt thank you for as well.

For now, let’s celebrate what makes this industry fantastic and raise a glass to the winners!

What services should garages be offering?

2021 was well and truly the year of the staycation. As the country opened up and people grew weary of lockdowns, the population spent the summer touring the far-flung corners of the country – rediscovering old favourites and, well, putting their car through the paces at the same time. Readers of PMM were particularly drawn to Autodata’s advice during this period on how workshops could take advantage of this increase in domestic road use.

Jamie Willis, Technical Support Supervisor at Autodata, advised: “If the customer is planning a long road trip after the vehicle has been unused for some months, workshops should consider offering a new battery. Off-the-shelf jump starters can be convenient in getting an infrequently used vehicle moving, but can harm long-term battery life.”

For more information, click here.

Autotech Training
The importance of EV training

If the global pandemic wasn’t enough excitement for you, this year has also seen a marked rise in interest in electric vehicles among general drivers. Eager to remain ahead of the curve, articles concerning EV servicing and training were hugely popular among our readers this year. One such article was Autotech’s explanation of why EV training was so important, especially after a year when EV certification had dropped due to Covid-19.

“The number of certificates for working on electric vehicles issued in 2020 fell by 85% compared to the previous year,” Simon King, Managing Director of Autotech Training, explained. “According to the IMI, if we had carried on with 2019 levels of certification, we may just have reached the minimum number of vehicle technicians needed by the time the ICE ban comes into effect in 2030.”

For more information, click here.

Blue Print
Brake pad replacement

By all accounts, one of PMM’s strengths both in paper and digital format is the high quality of our technical articles. A lot of work goes into preparing our technical, step-by-step articles, so we are happy to see them gain so much popularity among readers. Blue Print’s Technical Marketing Manager, Charles Figgins is a regular contributor and any one of his brilliant guides could have made it onto this list.

Particularly popular, however, was Charles’ guide to replacing the rear brake pads and discs on a Hyundai i40. The thorough guide makes sure to leave no stone unturned: “Carry out a braking system health check with regards to fluid level and condition, leaks, and check the operation of the parking and foot brakes. Note: It is advisable to connect a battery support unit as the parking brake motors draw a lot of current (approximately 14 to 20A) when in use.”

Meanwhile, Charles includes some helpful comments on the model itself: “The Hyundai i40 saloon and tourer estate is a clear measure of how serious a player Hyundai is these days. Designed specifically for the European market, the i40, with its keen pricing, good looks, great quality and spot-on selection of engines and trim levels, aims to take on the Ford Mondeo at its own game and win.”

For more information, click here


Sometimes sitting down with companies is the best way to make sure we get the most important points in an article covered. ADAS is still an area shrouded in confusion, so PMM sat down with Bosch’s Technical Specialist Andy Morrison to shine a light on the area. Andy explained: “Nowadays, there are two fundamental families of sensor: radar, lidar or ultrasonic based for distance and speed measurement; and vision-based sensors for object detection and location. However, it is no longer the case that these sensors work independently.

“With a technology known as ‘Sensor Fusion’, information from all types of sensors, together with mapping provided by GPS, can be combined to provide increasingly sophisticated levels of driver assistance.”

For more information, click here.

Oil Check Challenge

Castrol has recently launched its Oil Check Challenge, urging car users to bring their vehicle in for a professional oil check and, if necessary, a change of oil. PMM has covered the campaign extensively as a way to prepare workshops.

To support the campaign, Castrol commissioned nationwide research to explore consumers’ awareness of the need for regular oil level checks. Significantly for vehicle workshops, 32% of car owners say they would prefer a mechanic to check the oil level because they believe they would do a more effective job.

The company has created a free marketing pack for workshops to help promote the campaign and to encourage customers and prospects to bring their car in for a check.

The marketing kit comprises promotional email templates, digital advertising banners for use on a workshop’s website and Facebook page, posters to put up in a reception area, leaflets that can be used at point of sale or mailed out and oil check reminder stickers that can be left in customers’ cars. Workshops can request their own complimentary Oil Check Challenge marketing pack through the rdr link below.

For more information, click here

FAI Auto
Replacing timing chains

A new development has been the gradual return of the timing chain, replacing belts in certain models. As such, you can expect to see chain replacements enter our Belt Focus feature – maybe we’ll have to change the name?

FAI Auto gave readers much to get stuck into this November with its Best Practice tips on replacing timing chains in general, rather than on a particular model. The article also included a potted history of the timing chain: “Many of the older generation of mechanics will still remember the days when all popular engines were timed using chains and, ironically, some of the younger technicians may have some experience with them too. This is because for the past 10-15 years the market has been witnessing a renaissance of the timing chain, with the technology being used on many popular high-volume engines.”

For more information, click here

Reusable wipes

MEWA made a splash this October in our Oils, Lubricants & Additives feature – but don’t worry, if any company is in a position to clear up a mess it’s MEWA!

As concerns around the environment and waste in general reach every corner of the automotive industry, readers have been mopping up this company’s message of reusable wipes – a system that makes ecological and economic sense.

The article reminded readers: “To ensure compliance with legal regulations, businesses producing hazardous waste in the UK – including contaminated wipes – have a specific ‘duty of care’ concerning that waste and must classify, separate and store any waste safely before having it disposed of by an authorised hazardous wastes contractor.”

For more information, click here

Belt Focus

As you may have noticed, we run a Belt Focus feature in every issue, explaining how to replace a timing belt within an engine of a particular model – a different model each issue, of course.

Continental’s guide to installing a timing belt on a 2003 Skoda Octavia this February excelled in terms of the quality of the images used, as well as the helpful tips contained within the article. From the article is the following tip:

Installation top tip

When changing the timing belt, the tensioning pulley and the idlers for the timing belt and the multi V-belts must also always be changed at the same time. To avoid later failures with unnecessary costs, it is recommended that you do not re-install the multi V-belt once it has been removed.


Morris Lubricants
Online seminar

At PMM, we have attended our fair share of online seminars this year – the chances are you have tuned into at least one seminar this year. If you missed Morris Lubricants’ seminar earlier in the year, however, you had the chance to catch up on what you’d missed in the pages of PMM’s June’s issue. We covered the webinar on GDI, LSPI and GPF.

The company’s Automotive Product Manager, Adrian Hill began the webinar by introducing the attendees to the Q&A function that was available to them. He invited all participants to enter any questions that they thought of during his presentation into the system. Once he had completed his 45-minute slideshow, there would be a period of 15 minutes when he would do his best to answer everything that had been supplied.

From the article: “Moving through the presentation, the topics discussed were always drawn back to how lubricants fit into the processes, and why those that work with vehicles need to make sure they are using the correct lubricant. This was made particularly clear when talking about the number of engine classifications in circulation, both current and future.”

For more information, click here

1.2 Puretech Belt in Oil

Our OESAA hub has proved to be hugely successful this year, as online readers of PMM have recognised the brilliant advice and content available. On the topic of belts in oil, OESAA had the following to say:

“The trend is that some of the vehicle manufacturers are using engines with a “belt in oil” system. The main reason behind this is because this system is more efficient (up to 30% more efficient compared with a chain system) and therefore helps to reduce vehicle emissions. Other advantages to take into consideration are: we can use a narrower belt and therefore gain more room in the engine bay; belts do not stretch unlike chains so engine timing will not alter; the system is quiet in operation with the added advantage that the Belt in Oil system is lighter compared to a timing chain system.

“One of the “Hot Topics” around the independent garages at the moment seems to be Belt in Oil system problems and how these problems can present themselves.”

For more information, click here.

Recoding keys for an Audi R8

This case study we ran in May, regarding autolocksmithing service OSCA recoding two new keys for an Audi R8 gained a lot of traction among readers. We outlined the process the OSCA team took to complete the task successfully:

“Firstly, the OSCA team took a deep look into the vehicle’s computer system to find out some of the root causes of the vehicle’s diagnostic errors using the OSCA cable. We logged into the vehicle remotely via our cloud-based system and re-programmed it swiftly and started to diagnose all the faults within the modules, which later allowed us to code the keys successfully.

“The first thing that we discovered was a flat battery and so we instructed the customer to jump-start the vehicle. This allowed our team to get a full 360° view of the vehicle’s modules. After this, we identified that the vehicle had been damaged by the incorrect operation of a jump back.”

For more information, click here

Pico Technology

Our Troubleshooters section of the magazine continues to be a hugely engaging section of the magazine. Straight after the news, we dedicate the first feature to an in-depth diagnostic problem, solved by an expert in the field. Often, these are supplied by diagnostics equipment supplier Pico Technology. The firm’s resident expert technician Steve Smith regularly takes us through every aspect of problem solving process he goes through.

These journeys towards a solution can run up to six pages long, meaning we have to spread them over two separate months. Needless to say the technical information involved tests our editorial team to its very limits!

For more information, click here

Summer tool promotion

Readers responded enthusiastically to Sealey’s Summer 2021 Promotion. The promotion featured over 700 products, 92 of which were new.

Alongside the promotion, the company ran a competition in which entrants had the chance of winning up to £500 worth of hand tools of their choice.

The promotion also showcased products from the company’s Worksafe range, such as wireless electronic ear defenders, featuring built-in wireless technology, deluxe face shield and a full range of BS EN ISO 7010 compliant safety signs, available individually or in packs of 10.

Sealey and PMM will continue to run popular promotions and competitions, offering technicians from across the UK the chance to improve their toolbox for less.

For more information, click here

Garage training

As things slowly returned to normal this summer, workshops were clamouring to resume the same level of training and in-person engagement they had become accustomed to pre-pandemic. One of the first manufacturers to get back out there was Schaeffler, a company which always goes the extra mile to ensure customers are well informed when it comes to using their products. We tagged along to VRT in Slough, an excellent garage focussing on VAG vehicles, to witness the training session in action.

Anyone familiar with Technical Manager Alistair Mason’s contributions to PMM will have no doubts as to the quality of his live training and the guys at VRT certainly weren’t disappointed. The session focussed on double clutch transmissions and didn’t leave anything out that would help the technicians overcome any difficulties in a real workshop environment.

For more information, click here.

A look back in time

In September, we decided to take a quick run through the history of batteries with Varta. We went right back to 1887 to begin our journey, when “Adolph Müller founded the first battery company in Germany. At that time, he had recognised the great market potential for rechargeable accumulators and thus laid the foundation for the future Varta.” Quite surprising may be the revelation that in 1893, these early batteries powered the first electric cars in Germany!

For more information, click here

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