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AAPEX: at your service: From TPMS tools to undercar parts to cabin air filters

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AAPEX: at your service: From TPMS tools to undercar parts to cabin air filters

The Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) also is part of Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week.

Although some manufacturers have booths at both AAPEX and the SEMA Show, the vibes at the two shows are different. So are many of the new products, but they can still make life easier for technicians at the average independent tire dealership.

Here are some of the new products showcased at AAPEX.

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Tire pressure monitoring system tools

OTC TIPS (Tire Inflation Position Switch) "is a different branded product of an existing tire pressure monitoring tool," says Rob Kochie, product manager for OTC, a unit of SPX Corp.

The OTC003D tool has a "hunt" feature that automatically will search for the correct activation mode for wheel sensors. The proper activation mode also can be selected on the tool manually.

It is part of a complete, universal kit covering vehicles with tire pressure monitoring systems. The reset tool and manual are frequently updated to keep up with changing vehicle requirements including torque specifications and wiring diagrams.

Kochie says the TIPS tool performs the same functions as the OTC TPMS Tool without the graphical display.

* Orange Electronic Co. Ltd. introduced its Orange TPMS replacement sensor. Featuring a seven-year, 3.6-volt lithium battery life, the sensor monitors pressure and temperature every three seconds and transmits the tire data every 30 seconds, 24 hours a day. It is 100% compatible with original equipment sensors, and is certified in the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

* Bartec USA LLC showcased two new tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) tools. The Wheelrite Tech300plus combines the performance of the Tech300 with an "easy-to-read" display and menu system. Its "audit mode" allows the user to display, download and print customer reports.

The Wheelrite Tech400 kit is designed for vehicles that require a scan tool to complete the TPMS re-learn process. Techs can look up the make, model and year of a vehicle (the unit comes with Nissan, Hyundai and Kia protocols), and download tire pressure monitoring data directly to the vehicle. It also has an audit mode.

* Ken-Tool Corp. debuted its TPMS Sentry tool, designed to keep valve stem sensors in a safe and secure position after the mounting nut has been removed and the sensor is released from the wheel.

The hardened steel sensor remains attached to the T-shaped tool by a flexible cable attached to the valve stem through the valve hole. Once released, the sensor can be lowered into the cavity to hang from the valve hole in the center of the wheel -- away from the top and bottom beads and the bead seating surfaces.

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More SKUs with Monroe

Tenneco Inc. announced an expansion of its Monroe ride control product line for 2008. More than 150 new application-specific part numbers will be added in January, according to Bill Dennie, director of ride control channel management.

That follows the addition of 225 part numbers in 2007.

"There are a lot of (import car owners) who think they have to go to an import specialist or back to the OE dealer (for shocks and struts). We're saying go to the tire dealer to get their ride control products replaced."

A noticeable trend in the roll-out has been the increase in car parts for "foreign name-plate vehicles," he said, particularly "on the Quick-Strut side." Light truck part numbers also are up proportionately.

Quick-Strut assemblies feature a replacement bearing plate, upper and lower spring isolators, an upper spring seat, a coil spring, a boot kit, and a premium application-engineered Monroe Sensa-Trac strut. Each assembly's spring rate and strut valving are carefully tuned to the vehicle's factory-specified ride and handling profile.

"We tune that shock to that OE-type ride, unless we think we can improve on that ride," said Dennie.

Tenneco also is expanding its Monroe brake and Walker exhaust product lines. In the fourth quarter, it will add 17 Monroe brake part numbers; they will target 2008 model-year vehicles.

The goal is an additional 60 part numbers in 2008 (versus 79 in 2007), according to Tony Carter, brakes marketing manager for the North American aftermarket. Monroe friction products are packaged "complete," with all required noise-elimination clips, hardware, moly-based lubricant and, for most applications, OE-style wire wear sensors in one box.

More than 600 exhaust SKUs will be introduced in 2008. New part numbers will be launched quarterly, said Frank Murkowski, emission control marketing manager for the North American aftermarket.

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Fewer SKUs with Raybestos

"We're in the midst of a reconfiguration of our whole (Raybestos) product offering," said Josh Russell, vice president of brand marketing for the Affinia Under Vehicle Group, about the Raybestos brake line. In order to reduce product types, the levels of friction products and SKUs, Affinia scaled back and developed its "1-2-3 Product Strategy."

The "1" refers to a single line of hydraulics, marketed as "the best quality at the best prices," said Russell.

The "2" refers to the number of quality levels of rotors. There is a "premium quality" and a "professional grade."

The "3" refers to the grades of friction materials. "Advanced technology" is the highest-quality grade of ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads. There is also a "professional grade" line of application-specific pads, and a "service grade" line designed for price-conscious buyers.

"We were meeting everybody's needs, and it was too confusing," he said. "We simplified our product offering 1-2-3."

Self-leveling shocks

KYB America LLC's self-contained and electronic self-leveling shocks automatically adjust suspension balance and height to keep the vehicle level in all driving conditions, according to the company.

They are a direct replacement for the original units and are designed to restore the vehicle's original handling and control capabilities. KYB has self-leveling shocks for "most popular applications."

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In-cabin air filters

According to the Affinia Group, more than 80% of new automobiles sold in the U.S. come equipped with a cabin air filter or a slot where one can be installed. The company also cites a recent industry study that claims 95% of all drivers are concerned about air pollutants within their vehicles.

The latest Wix cabin air filters feature BioShield 75. "It's a chemical that mechanically kills virtually all bacteria," says Scott Howat, director of corporate communications for the Affinia Group.

Once applied to cabin air filters, BioShield 75's invisible, microbiostatic coating becomes part of the filter fiber. It not only inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, algae and bacteria, but also protects against microbial deterioration, discoloration and odor. It also is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Freudenberg Nonwovens' filtration division has developed a cabin air filter for the 2008 Toyota Tacoma. The introduction continues the company's year-long expansion of the micronAir filtration system.

All micronAir filters are certified for indoor air quality by the Greenguard Environmental Institute.

The cabin air filter program from Denso Sales California Inc. will be expanded in 2008. The addition of 459 new applications - including a Toyota/Lexus vehicle expansion -- will increase the program's coverage to more than 2,800 domestic, European and Asian applications.

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Cordless tools rule

The new CP cordless tool line from Chicago Pneumatic, a division of the Atlas Copco Group, is made up of two impact wrenches, a drill, an LED work light and a universal charger. The impact wrenches include the following:

* The 1/2-inch CP8748 is available with a 19.2-volt nickel-cadmium battery or an 18-volt lithium-ion battery. The 6.5-pound impact wrench produces 425 foot-pounds of torque.

* The 3/8-inch CP8738 features a 12-volt battery. The 3.5-pound unit has a built-in LED guide light.

The CP8005 work light produces more than 10,000 lumen brightness, according to Chicago Pneumatic. The CP8000 universal charger features charge indicator lights, a nickel-cadmium battery refresher, an electrode protector and a universal plug connection.

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