Mystery Tester:

Speedy LC-2B

Coolant Changer

     If you’ve been in the fast lube business for a while, you’ve seen many different ways to perform a coolant change. Remember having to cut the heater hoses and install the plastic valves (the ones that always leaked) in order to change coolant? Or how about removing the bottom radiator hose and letting gravity drain the coolant, drop by time-killing drop?

     None of these systems really worked will for fast lubes, many of which, according to our names, want to get customers in and out in less than 15 minutes.

     A Few years ago, the flush-and fill service hit the market. Simply open the radiator drain plug, drain the coolant, close the drain plug and refill the radiator with coolant. Unfortunately, these systems, too, left much to be desired. Say you serviced a Ford Escort with a 1.6L four-cylinder engine. The vehicle’s cooling system holds 6.5 quarts of coolant. Using the flush-and fill method, only three quarts of coolant was removed and replaced. What, really, did the service do for customer vehicles? How well will the mixture of old and new coolant work? The fast lube industry has long prided itself on doing professional work, but this type of service is not professional.

     Which brings me to the point of this article. I had stopped performing radiator flasher altogether unless they were specifically requested by customers. In fact, I was probably averaging barely one or two such services per month. That will most definitely change after testing the latest coolant changer from Palm Crest, the LC-2B.

     The Palm Crest LC-2B coolant changer comes shipped in a cardboard box, with very little assembly required. In fact, in 30 minutes or less, you can have the unit set up and ready to go.

      The LC-2B has two clear towers, a sturdy metal base with a built-in handle and rollers for easy transportation, and a red work station that places all the control valves within easy reach. The hoses are clear plastic – allowing you and your customer – to witness old fluid being removed from the radiator and new fluid being added.

     As with any such device, the first thing one should do is read the owner’s manual. I specifically look for precautions, because it is better

to find them before operating the machine than after something has already gone wrong.

     Once the manual has been thoroughly reviewed, you’re ready to do two things – professionally service a customer’s vehicle in less than five minutes and add money to your bottom line.

     To get started with the LC-2B, it must first be attached to a compressed air source, preferably shop air.  Next, make sure the vehicle’s engine is a least 140 degrees F. Never attempt a full coolant change on a cold engine.

     Following the instruction, you fill the right tower between half and three-quarters of its length with new coolant, hook the machine up to the vehicle, and let it rip. With the clear towers and hoses, you can see what is happening as the used coolant reservoir fills and the new coolant reservoir drains. And, since both plastic tanks are clearly marked, you can make sure that the same amount of coolant is being installed as was drained (although on occasion, you find that more coolant is added than was drained, usually because the system was low in the first place).

     There are several things I like about this system. One is that it is a no-brainer to use. Secondly, it pumps the new coolant to be used from your pr-mix drum. Third, it exchanges ALL of the coolant in a vehicle, including that stored in the reservoir bottle. Fourth, it pumps old coolant back into your waste coolant drum.

     And last but not least, your customers can sell all this happening, which is a great sales tool in and of itself. In just a few minutes, the service is complete, and the only thing the machine has not done is collect money from the customer.

     Generally when I test a product, I do not advertise the service with customers because some products I test simply to not work as will as one would like.

     However, remember when I said I did one to two coolant services before I tested this device (collecting around $100 per month). During the test I ran on this product, without any advertising, I was selling enough coolant change services to average nearly $3,500 per month in additional income. That is potentially $42,000 per year added to my facility’s bottom line.

 

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