Aftermarket Industry Pandemic Response

Aftermarket Industry Pandemic Response

It’s been a strange couple of months for all of us. With the emergence of Covid-19 sweeping the world by storm, individuals and organizations were forced to adapt rapidly to a changing landscape. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our precious aftermarket automotive sector, it’s the fact that things never truly stop. For some of us, they don’t even slow down - regardless of global circumstances. During this pandemic, organizations within the industry have worked hard, not just to keep themselves above water, but to aid the essential workers, including healthcare professionals, that keep the world turning. We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all involved in these relief efforts by recognizing their contributions to the front lines. These are just a few examples of those contributions from our industry.

Lucas Oil Produces and Donates to High-Risk Facilities and Organizations

The California-based distributor and manufacturer of oils and additives, Lucas Oil, had placed a renewed focus on the local communities in and around Indiana and Southern California, providing much-needed assistance to the communities that are an integral part of the Lucas Oil family. Starting on May 6th, a portion of the proceeds from every bottle of Lucas Oil Hand Sanitizer sold will be donated to high-risk facilities and organizations including local and regional senior centers, homeless shelters, and more.

“Following the incredibly high demand for our alcohol-based hand sanitizer and the important role that product is playing in helping to keep people safe, we wanted to find additional ways to show our support and give back,” said Forrest Lucas, President and CEO of Lucas Oil Products. “There’s no better place to focus our efforts than right here at home in Indianapolis and Corona where the local communities have always shown us nothing but love and support.”

Kicker Donates PPE to Medical Centers

Stillwater Designs, the parent company of Kicker Audio, with support from several component suppliers, recently stepped up to the plate to offer 10,000 facemasks in support of community efforts to fight COVID-19. Believing that “charity begins at home,” 8,300 masks were donated to Stillwater Medical Center to accommodate hospital patients and the staff caring for them.

Another 1,200 face masks have been sent to Hillcrest Medical Center, a 620-bed hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, through a Kicker staff connection, and another 500 masks were contributed to a group of New York City hospitals through Kicker brand and sports marketing director Roger Demaree, whose nephew is a surgeon currently working at a NYC hospital. Additionally, the company was pleased to offer a supply of clear face shields to area first-responders.

Besides distributing the vendor-supplied face masks, a 15-year Kicker team member and his family have also found a way to make a positive impact in the local community. Kyle Ambrose, who works in research and development, began experimenting with the company’s 3-D printer, normally used for creating prototype parts. Ambrose consulted with a healthcare professional about local needs and learned that beyond face masks, face shields were in great demand. Ambrose subsequently researched and discovered approved patterns online and created a headband that could be used to secure a clear face shield. He reached out to Stillwater Christian School where his children are enrolled to inquire about the availability of clear safety film used for overhead projectors. He enlisted the school’s participation in donating needed materials and also secured additional film donations from Fenton Office Mart (Stillwater).

While 3-D printing is a slow process, Ambrose is able to produce three bands simultaneously in under three hours. To date, he has hand-crafted over 100 shields which were initially slated for Stillwater Medical Center and then redirected on the hospital’s recommendation to the area’s senior-assisted living homes that were experiencing shortages. Ambrose personally delivered the shields to each home where they were gratefully received. “We are pleased to be able to share our resources with our community,” says Kicker founder Steve Irby. “Stillwater is our home and we appreciate the opportunity to support those who care for us.”

Maxxsonics Donates PPE Across Midwest

Maxxsonics USA continues to assist the fight against this global crisis by supporting local hospitals and businesses. Maxxsonics has now donated more than 25,000 masks and gloves across the Midwest offering assistance and support to those in need towards the battle against COVID-19.

Alden Stiefel, President/CEO of Maxxsonics USA said, “Maxxsonics USA is committed to helping medical staff, hospitals, first responders, and various people any way we possibly can. We are excited to see other companies in the 12-volt industry join the efforts to help those in need.” Maxxsonics encourages everyone to join them in the movement for getting crucial medical supplies to those who are in need of them.

ATREND Converts Facility to Manufacture Plastic Shields

ATREND, the maker of subwoofer enclosures, has designated 50,000 square feet of its facility to produce both face shields made of PETG plastic, and barrier protection shields. The latter can be used to shield a grocery store clerk or other worker from COVID-19 transmission from customers.

Cobra Electronics Aids Nation’s Truckers

Cobra Electronics is sponsoring the “Fueling Our Heroes” tour, orchestrated by online trucking authority CDLLife, to provide fresh and healthy meals to truck drivers during this time of crisis.

While truck drivers are crisscrossing the country and logging long hours to deliver much-needed supplies, many are often challenged with finding their next meal due to restaurant closures, reduced hours, and limited shopping options. Over the course of six days, the first leg of the Fueling Our Heroes tour visits eight states and makes 15 stops at highway rest areas from Missouri to Pennsylvania to distribute fresh meals and express gratitude to the nation’s truck drivers.

“We are so thankful to the dedicated community of truck drivers who continue to log many hours and miles in order to deliver essential goods to our stores, homes and hospitals during these uncertain times,” said Gail Babitt, CEO of Cedar Electronics. “For years we have been helping drivers safely get from point A to point B and today we are pleased to have this opportunity to support the Fueling Our Heroes tour and continue to help improve the driving experience.”

“We were hearing from drivers having great difficulties accessing fresh food due to COVID-19 related closures, and knew we had to do something to help those on the front lines,” said Sadie Church, CDLLife. “This tour is a big thank you to the truck drivers out there who are delivering our groceries and essential medical supplies. We hope the public joins in to help the cause and allow us to add more cities to future trips, so we can show our gratitude to truck drivers from coast to coast.”

Oracle Lighting Donates N95 Masks

Oracle Lighting, an innovator in LED lighting solutions, has made a donation of 1,000 N95 respirator masks and nearly 500 surgical masks to the Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans to help its staff battle the COVID-19 crisis in Louisiana where PPE is much needed.

“We want to do whatever we can to support those medical professionals on the front lines battling this pandemic, as New Orleans has been one of the most affected communities in the country,” said Justin Hartenstein, Oracle Lighting director of development. “Oracle Lighting works with several companies outside of the United States and these partners have more available PPE sources than we have here in the U.S. Some of them heard about the struggles that we were having across our country and, specifically, in the New Orleans area with the shortage of masks and other PPE.”

Hartenstein explained that many of these suppliers are now helping out by including procured PPE in Oracle Lighting’s inbound shipments so that Hartenstein and his staff can donate to places in need.

“We are now asking all of our suppliers do the same and we have more supplies on the way,” he added. “This is just the first donation that we plan to make. We will continue to import PPE from other countries with available supplies and donate to medical personnel that are struggling to help people with this virus and need adequate PPE made available to them as soon as possible.”

Hartenstein said that after procuring the PPE supplies, Oracle was able to donate the much needed masks to Tulane Medical Center through Supplies for Saints, a group that is managing the collection of PPE for local hospitals.

“Co-founding Supplies for Saints was such a crucial endeavor for us because we realized how important it was to keep our frontlines healthy so they could continue to care and heal those stricken with COVID-19,” said Kelly Becnel Rovetto, co-founder of Supplies for Saints. “These men and women deserve to feel safe that they are not bringing home this virus to their families or contracting it themselves. PPE donations like this make a big difference in the lives of these men and women.”

Oracle Lighting Develops Virus Neutralizing UV-Light Face Mask for Consumer/Medical Use

“N95 masks have been the go-to PPE for preventing exposure to COVID-19, but these only filter 95 percent of particulate,” explained Justin Hartenstein, Oracle Lighting director of product development. “Consumers need better assurance to be confident that they will not be exposed. The AIR device will neutralize that remaining five percent while sanitizing the contaminated mask at the same time. Studies have shown that respiratory pathogens on the outer surface of cloth masks can actually result in self-contamination, which is exactly what they are intended to prevent. Because if this, we see the unique UV irritation benefits of the AIR device as the best sanitization scenario for mitigating exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses.”

Existing personal air filtration masks are designed to prevent inhalation of viruses by trapping the particles from the incoming air in the cloth material worn on the face. However, they are not designed to disinfect or sanitize the particles. Because of this, the masks can become saturated with live viruses, pathogens, bacterium, or other microorganisms attached to the fabric surfaces. Because the cloth mask becomes contaminated with use, washing a cloth mask is recommended by health officials. Unfortunately, most consumer-grade laundry detergent does not contain disinfectant and, in fact, studies show that pathogens can actually be spread in the wash and contaminate other laundry in the load.

The AIR device is worn under any common face masks and utilizes a patent-pending system to sanitize the air while simultaneously neutralizing contaminants trapped in the cloth face mask by means of short-wave ultraviolet light exposure. The ultraviolet light source is produced via UV LEDs which are integrated into the device. The spectrum of ultraviolet light is separated into various ranges, with shortest-wavelength referred to as UV-C which is considered “germicidal UV”.

“The AIR device is composed of a small cover made of an anti-microbial polymer which is worn on the face and attached with straps similar to a traditional face mask,” Hartenstein continued. “The user wears a traditional face mask (cloth mask, surgical mask, N95, etc.) over the device. A small rechargeable battery pack powers the device and can be manually turned on and off by the user. In addition to the anti-germicidal LEDs, the device also contains UV-A LEDs which provide a wider light spectrum and visible light. The visible UV-A LED functions as an indicator that the device is on and working but provides minimal anti-microbial benefits.”

Wavelengths between 200-300 nanometers, such as the LEDs utilized in the AIR device, provide the most effective germicidal function. This is because the wavelength of UV-C irradiation utilizes photons to inactivate the virus which prevents the cell from replicating and infecting the body if inhaled. The AIR’s UV-C LED emitters are integrated into the airflow partition of the device which is designed to scrub the air and sterilize the cloth mask simultaneously.

Is it safe?

For years hospitals and labs have used Ultraviolet light for disinfection and medical sanitation against viruses. Commonly known as “Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation”, UVGI is a disinfection method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by disrupting their DNA in a manner which renders the cells inactive and unable to perform cellular functions.

“UV-C light has been used in many applications such as the purification of drinking water for decades,” said Hartenstein. “While UV-C is part of the normal spectrum of sunlight, it is invisible and can cause sunburn with direct skin exposure. This was taken into account when developing the AIR and so the UV light is directed into the mask, away from the user, to prevent any direct skin exposure.”

Yokohama Tire Partners with St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund

Yokohama Tire is partnering with the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (SCF) to help truckers and their families who have experienced an illness or injury that takes them off the road. SCF is a 501(c)(3), truck driver charity that helps over-the-road/regional semi-truck drivers and their families when an illness or injury has recently caused them to be out of work. In 2019 alone, SCF distributed $501,000 to 344 truckers and their families.

“As we collectively face the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19, the country is looking for ways to support the unsung heroes who are working behind the scenes, such as the truck drivers, who are delivering the products necessary to help Americans maintain some sense of calm in this unchartered territory,” said Alan Holtschneider, Yokohama’s director of marketing. “Supporting the SCF during this critical time will help ensure that these drivers will have financial assistance available to them when they are in need.”

In addition to donating a portion of its April commercial truck tire sales to the SCF, Yokohama is hoping to raise awareness of the SCF and their mission. Without their assistance, thousands of truckers would face significant financial hardship during times of medical need.

Sailun Group Donates ¥10M to Fight Coronavirus

In order to actively support the country's anti-epidemic action, the Sailun Group has donated ¥10 million (of which, ¥4 million came from the group management team and employees) to the Qingdao Red-Cross for emergency assistance and to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Chinese government and its official agencies are continuing all essential efforts to help contain the Coronavirus outbreak and to control public risk through joint prevention and isolation. Accordingly, the Sailun Group Company Ltd. (Sailun Group) has taken a series of epidemic prevention and proven control measures to effectively protect the health, safety and well-being of all Sailun Group personnel.

In order to actively support the country's anti-epidemic action, the Sailun Group has donated ¥10 million (of which, ¥4 million came from the group management team and employees) to the Qingdao Red-Cross for emergency assistance and to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. In addition, the Sailun Group has provided essential site support to the construction of the two emergency infectious treatment hospitals in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province — providing tires to the construction site that have since been put into active use.

4 Wheel Parts Offers Free Inspections, Alignments, and Tire Rotations to Essential Workers To May 31st

4 Wheel Parts is offering free inspections, alignment and tire rotations to all first responders, medical and essential workers at 4 Wheel Parts installation locations through May 31st.

“We want to thank all nurses, doctors, firefighters, police officers, EMTs and essential workers for all their efforts in these trying times. We want to give first responders an ease of mind when travelling to the front lines. 4 Wheel Parts wants to provide safe driving conditions and alleviate the fear of a missed routine service to their vehicle.”

JK Automotive Design Makes Masks, Inspires Hundreds to do the Same

Jeremy Katz, Owner of JK Automotive Designs, found out that his local hospital in Norwood, Massachusetts was in need of protective gear as they battled COVID-19. His son was born at Norwood Hospital, and his brother’s kids were born there too. Katz decided to do something to help. He found a design for 3D machining face shields, but when Katz tried it, it took 5 hours just to make two straps, let alone a single mask.

He joined with JK employee Evan Collins, and they redesigned a protective face shield for a laser machine, so that a mask can now take 5 minutes to make. Katz has produced 100, and said, “If we had materials, we could make 500 a day.” He then posted his CAD design online, and said a hundred people including industry members around the country are now producing the protective face shields.

Harbor Freight Donates Protective Gear to Hospitals

Harbor Freight Tools has announced that it will donate its entire inventory of N95 masks, face shields, and 5- and 7-mil nitrile gloves to hospitals with 24-hour emergency rooms due to an ongoing shortage of the equipment. The company has asked that hospital procurement departments contact the retailer via an online portal to determine if the company can make a donation. If you or someone you know does not work at a hospital, but would like to give the name of a hospital with a 24-hour emergency room, email the company at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the hospital’s city and state in the subject line, and Harbor Freight will follow up. Hospitals that can be assisted will be provided vouchers when the supplies are available for pickup at their local Harbor Freight store.

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