Case study

Preparing for your visit to JFA


There's nothing worse than having to turn away a customer due to their car being unsafe, or not in a fit condition to tune. Here's a quick rundown of the basics to make sure your appointment goes exactly as you'd planned!

Unfortunately, every so often tuning doesn’t go to plan. You’ve taken the day off work, got the car to us on time…and we can’t tune it that day. Here’s a few bits we really recommend checking on your car before you bring it down – just to make sure you don’t end up making a wasted trip, or end up leaving disappointed! Preparing your car for the tuning session is a great way to avoid disappointment!

1. Fuel – Brim it with a quality fuel!

We can’t stress this enough – Shell V power 98, or Tesco Momentum 99 fuel. A FULL tank – an Alfa Guilia will consume a full 58 litre tank of fuel on the dyno during tuning. A Golf R will usually average around 6-8MPG on the dyno. A trip to the petrol station will incur a charge, and you’ll usually loose around an hour out of your tuning slot whilst we borrow enough fuel cans to get through the appointment! If your car arrives on 95 octane fuel, we can add fuel additive to bring the octane rating up…but the car won’t make as good a power figure, or run as well as it could. This is also billed out at additional cost, and may consume an additional few hours as we may have to unstrap the car and take it out on the road to mix the additive into the fuel.

Shell – Linton Rd, Loose, Maidstone ME15 0AT – 3.2 miles from JF Automotive
Tesco – Grovewood Dr N, Weavering, Maidstone ME14 5TQ – 5.2 miles from JF Automotive

2. Tyres – Check condition & pressure!

Tyres will get hot on the dyno. If they’re bald, flat, or have nails stuck in them we won’t be able to run due to risk of a blowout. Some cars we’re seeing speeds of around 160MPH on the dyno, imagine the damage cause by a tyre failure at that speed on a road…then imagine that amount of damage in a contained dyno cell. Doesn’t bear thinking about, and we take absolutely no chances with this.

When you pull in for fuel, it’s only 20p to check the pressures & free to take a quick look over the tyres and check for obvious defects (slashes in sidewall, nails, cords showing etc)

3. Fluids – Check levels!

Sounds basic, but we’ll be running it flat out. If it’s got no oil in it…it’s going to destroy the engine. If it’s got no coolant, it’s going to overheat. If it’s leaking fluid, find out why and get the leaks fixed – when it’s hot and under pressure these leaks are going to get a lot worse & there are cleanup charges should your car suffer a major leak.

Major fluid leaks are very very rare – however showing up with low engine oil is very common. We don’t stock engine oil, so you really need to get this at the petrol station when filling up & checking the air, otherwise you’ll have to go out and get some before we can run the car!

4. Faults – Code scan!

If your car is broken, tuning it WILL make it worse. You can’t remap a car that’s lost power to try and get it back. If the car shows up on the day, and doesn’t run properly we’ll have to charge for diagnostics & potentially dyno session…however we can’t tune.

We offer a free healthcheck on the car prior to tune date, once your booking deposit has been paid just pop in and we’ll get the car code scanned for you. If it flags any potential issues, we’ll advise on these and re-schedule your booking for after the car has been repaired. We usually advise bringing the car down at least a week beforehand to get it checked out…it’s also a great opportunity to meet the team, and have a look round.

We’ve seen cases where people show up and try to hide faults with the car by clearing them with an eBay code reader. Please don’t do this – it’s your engine that you risk destroying, and you also make it 10x harder for us to diagnose a fault with the car that could potentially have been repaired. For example, if we found a boost sensor fault we’d simply send it away and have it brought back when a new sensor has been fitted. It’d cost you nothing.

If we had to load it onto the dyno, run it, the car faults and goes into limp mode, waste an hour or more in diagnostic time & then bill you for the dyno session @ £90.00 and diagnostics @ £60.00 per hour. You then leave with an untuned car, and we’re left without half a days work – it doesn’t benefit anyone. Please, just be honest – help us to help you!

5. Ride height – Can we get you loaded on?

We’ve got a pretty deep set, twin roller dyno at JFA. This isn’t an issue for most cars, and we’ve been able to load a number of supercars and hypercars onto it with absolutely no issues. Vehicles with air-ride again, no issues as we can just raise it up to load, even a lot of vehicles with lowered suspension. The issues come from small hatchbacks, slammed to the floor on aftermarket coilover suspension. If your vehicle is too low, theres a pretty good chance the subframe will hit the rollers and we won’t be able to run. Make sure you prepare the suspension by raising it up beforehand if required!

If in doubt, pop up to see us before your appointment and we’ll check if it’ll load on okay – free of charge. If it doesn’t clear, then you’ve got time to wind the suspension up a bit to get the clearance before your appointment. We can also do your free code scan at this point!

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