Always replace coil springs in axle pairs

Coil Springs | Replace in Pairs

Automotive suspension springs are a central and dynamic component of a vehicle’s suspension system, constantly working to absorb shocks and deal with uneven road surfaces. After many millions of cycles, even the best made springs may break or become tired and begin to sag, causing the vehicle ride height to become uneven.

When this happens, garages too often replace just the defective spring rather than an axle pair. Failure to replace in pairs can have multiple negative consequences, conceivably costing significantly more than just the price of an extra spring.

Coil springs across an axle degrade at around the same rate during normal use, as they are exposed to the same conditions, meaning that when one sags or breaks (if both were fitted at the same time) the other will not be far behind.

Replacing in pairs will return a vehicle to its original ride height and comfort. However when just one spring is replaced, an imbalance will most likely be created resulting in an uneven ride. This can lead to more stress being exerted on the spring that has not been replaced, reducing its life expectancy.

Since coil springs are so central to the overall handling of a vehicle, the imbalance resulting
from a failure to replace in pairs can cause multiple significant safety risks. These include:


The older spring cannot effectively transfer weight to the other springs during cornering, especially if it has been weakened or begun to sag. This leads to increased body roll in bends.


During cornering, a sagging spring will experience increased compression, but with less stored mechanical energy available to keep the vehicle balanced and transfer weight evenly. This will introduce a ‘lean’ during cornering which can adversely affect road holding.


During braking, more of the vehicle’s weight transfers from the rear tyres to the front tyres, causing the nose to dip forward (known as ‘dive’). Uneven balance across the front axle can occur under braking, potentially increasing stress on the spring that has not been replaced. This in turn will reduce the friction on the other tyres and increase the distance required to stop.


Increased pressure is exerted upon the tyre where the spring has not been replaced, leading to faster wear and eventually a bill for new tyres – potentially many times the cost of a coil spring.

It is therefore important for workshops to encourage customers to replace springs in axle pairs, just as they would with brake pads or discs. By replacing in pairs, the customer actually makes a cost saving, as the labour to replace two springs during the same job will be cheaper than the labour for replacing individual springs twice within a short period. Not to mention the inconvenience of repeatedly having the vehicle off the road!

Lesjöfors produce the world’s largest range of coil springs, featuring more than 10,000 applications covering the majority of European and Asian vehicles on the road today.

A ‘Dream Drive’ Come True

A ‘Dream Drive’ Come True

In March and April The Parts Alliance and Delphi ran the Dream Drive promotion. During the two month promotion customers could win a multitude of prizes, including six once in a lifetime road trips along the iconic Route 66 in America.

We caught up with the six lucky winners of the amazing road trip, to find out more about their garages, their reaction to winning the star prize and where they’re most looking forward to visiting when they travel stateside.

Lorna Marshall of G L Marshall, Huntly, Aberdeenshire

Tell us a bit about your business …
My husband and I opened our garage in 1990. We employ eight
members of staff, including our son who works here as a
mechanic. We pride ourselves on providing high quality work
for our loyal customer base. We offer repairs, diagnostics, air
conditioning and MOTs on all makes of cars and LCVs.

What was your reaction when your scratch card revealed the
Route 66 prize?
We were away when the winning scratch card was found. When
we came back to work, we were greeted with the great news that
we’d won! We’d been scratching the cards throughout March
and April in hope but we never really expected to win the trip,
so it was a tremendous surprise.

What sights and places are you most looking forward to visiting?
We’re hoping to visit as many as possible. I’m sure the Grand
Canyon will be awe-inspiring and it’s high on our list.

When are you going on the road trip?
We haven’t decided yet – possibly September this year.

What do you think it will be like driving along the open roads
of Route 66?
My husband Graham will be driving, so I’m keen to see the
differences between the states as we travel through them. We
can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere of America.

Why do you choose to fit Delphi braking?
We’re committed to high quality, which is reflected in our choice
of braking brand. As a garage owner you want the peace of
mind that the parts you’re fitting are good quality and that
customers won’t have issues with them. We never have any
problems with Delphi.

Lorna Marshall of G L Marshall, Huntly,
Customer of Dingbro Elgin

Steve Patch of W & M Stevens, High Wycombe, Hertfordshire

Tell us a bit about your business …
We’re over 60 years old and offer servicing, repairs and MOTs.
My grandmother opened the garage in the early 1950s, initially
repairing motorbikes. In the early 1970s my father and uncle
started working here, with me following in their footsteps in
1993. My dad is now 70 and he’s still involved in the day-to-day
running of the garage.

What was your reaction when your scratch card revealed the
Route 66 prize?
I’m sure like all the other winners, I was shocked! We’d had a
gloomy few months as one of the brothers that started the garage
had recently passed away. Winning the road trip lifted the
morale around the family.

What sights and places are you most looking forward to visiting?
I really like muscle cars, so I’m looking forward to Cadillac
Ranch. Eating authentic America steaks sounds very appealing
too. For my partner, Chicago, Lake Michigan and Las Vegas will
be highlights.

When are you going on the road trip?
Late spring or early summer next year; to give us plenty of time
to plan the trip.

What do you think it will be like driving along the open roads
of Route 66?
I’m looking forward to the long open roads and sheer scale of
the place. The roads in the UK are so busy, so I can’t wait to
drive for miles and miles without seeing another car.

Why do you choose to fit Delphi braking?
Reliability, quality and price. We’ve been fitting Delphi for
a long time and never have any issues with them.

Steve Patch of W & M Stevens,
High Wycombe, Hertfordshire

Customer of Allparts High Wycombe

Dave Bailey of Major Motors, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire

Tell us a bit about your business …
My father started our garage in the 1970s and I joined him a
decade later in the mid-80s. We have ten staff and although Dad
has now retired, both my wife and sister work in the office here,
so it’s very much a family business. Whilst most of our customers
are local, some travel from Manchester, Birmingham and even
London, so I guess we’re doing something right.

What was your reaction when your scratch card revealed the
Route 66 prize?
Complete disbelief to be honest. You always hope you might
win, but never really think it’s going to be you.

What sights and places are you most looking forward to visiting?
Since winning I’ve been watching a DVD of Billy Connelly
travelling along Route 66 to find out more about the trip.
Naturally I’m looking forward to the main attractions such as
Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Equally, driving through the
old towns and past the old railway lines will be an experience.

When are you going on the road trip?
It’s our 25th wedding anniversary next May, so we’re going
then. We plan to be in Las Vegas on the day of our anniversary.

What do you think it will be like driving along the open roads
of Route 66?
The stunning scenery and freedom of the open road will be
incredible. We’re going to start in Los Angeles, so I can drive the
Mustang Convertible.

Why do you choose to fit Delphi braking?
It’s a really good product at the right price. We simply don’t get
any complaints from customers after fitting Delphi brakes.

Dave Bailey of Major Motors,
Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire

Customer of CES Stoke

Adam Rogers of A1 Motorist Centre, Broadstairs, Kent

Tell us a bit about your business …
I opened the garage 10 years ago. There’s now 15 members of
staff here, working on all makes and models. I’ve got five repair
ramps, an MoT bay and an alignment centre. We offer
performance tuning too.

What was your reaction when your scratch card revealed the
Route 66 prize?
One word – ‘gobsmacked’! To be honest I was totally taken
aback and it’s taken a little while to sink in that I’ll actually be
driving along Route 66.

What sights and places are you most looking forward to visiting?
The Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater and Cadillac Ranch are
‘must do’s’. It would be rude not to stand on the corner in
Winslow, Arizona as well. It’s a line from The Eagles classic
‘Take It Easy’ and I’m sure any Eagles fan would do the same.

When are you going on the road trip?
We haven’t decided yet.

What do you think it will be like driving along the open roads
of Route 66?
I’m sure it’s going to be breathtaking. We’re looking forward
to seeing all the old diners and we plan to stay on the old
‘historic’ Route 66 as much as possible.

Why do you choose to fit Delphi braking?
We only ever fit Delphi braking. The phrase ‘fit and forget’ really
does apply to Delphi brake pads and discs.

Adam Rogers of A1 Motorist Centre,
Broadstairs, Kent

Customer of SC Motor Factors Thanet

Adrian Pilling of A & A Autocare, Chorley, Lancashire

Tell us a bit about your business …
I’ve been working in the industry for 36 years, so I’ve seen a
lot of change in that time. I bought the garage two days before
Christmas in 2005. My wife and sister, (who are both called
Mandy!) and three mechanics work here. We offer Class I, II and
IV MoTs, plus servicing and repairs on all makes and models.

What was your reaction when your scratch card revealed the
Route 66 prize?
I thought it was a wind-up! I phoned up the Chorley branch and
was totally amazed when they confirmed I’d genuinely won.
Route 66 was on my bucket list and whilst my mates are pleased
I’ve won, they’re a little jealous too.

What sights and places are you most looking forward
to visiting?
We’ll be travelling the traditional way, starting in Chicago,
going from east to west. We’re still planning the trip but
The Grand Canyon is a must.

When are you going on the road trip?
It’s our 25th wedding anniversary next year, so we’re going in
June 2018. We wanted a special holiday to celebrate and
driving along Route 66 will certainly be special. My wife is
really excited about the trip.

What do you think it will be like driving along the open roads
of Route 66?
Hopefully it’ll be just like you see on TV. I’m imagining long
stretches of open road, in a convertible, with the sun
behind us.

Why do you choose to fit Delphi braking?
I’ve been fitting Delphi for years, including their engine
management range and diesel components, and throughout all
that time their parts have been spot on. I want great quality at
competitive prices, which I get from Delphi.

Adrian Pilling of A & A Autocare,
Chorley, Lancashire

Customer of BBC
Superfactors Chorley

Gordon Mitchell of Lowermill Garage, Glasgow

Tell us a bit about your business …
It’s a well-established garage that’s been trading for over
50 years. The garage was opened by friends of my parents
and then 20 years ago I became the owner. We’re your typical
garage offering servicing, MoTs, general repairs and diagnostics.

What was your reaction when your scratch card revealed the
Route 66 prize?
I was totally surprised and so was the branch manager at
Dingbro. He thought I was joking with him until he received my
photo of the winning scratch card.

What sights and places are you most looking forward
to visiting?
A friend of mine has done the same trip, so I’ll be taking his
advice on what to see. I’m sure the big cities of Chicago and
Los Angeles will be great places. I’ve always wanted to visit
Las Vegas, so I’m looking forward to spending a few
days there.

When are you going on the road trip?
It’ll be next year, possibly in May.

What do you think it will be like driving along the open roads
of Route 66?
I’ve been told that whilst the distances are long, the lack of traffic
means you cover them quite quickly. The stretches of open road
should give plenty of opportunity to marvel at the surroundings.

Why do you choose to fit Delphi braking?
They’re a leading brand and nine times out of ten we fit Delphi
brakes. I know I’m getting OE quality brakes and no hassles
after fitting.

Gordon Mitchell of Lowermill
Garage, Glasgow

Customer of Dingbro East Kilbride

Liquid Assets: Highlighting genuine maintenance tasks

Many consumers and vehicle owners are becoming detached from vehicle maintenance. How can we help them, while maximising your service revenues?


  • 46% of consumers “haven’t got a clue what goes on” when their car is serviced
  • 85% of consumers trust the workshop to select parts of the right quality

Some of the fluids that can be checked (usually quite easily!) that will help to maintain both the safe operation of the vehicle and its mechanical integrity.

  • Differential Oils
  • Screenwash &Amp; De-Icer
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Gearbox Oil
  • Engine Oil
  • Coolant
  • Brake Fluid

Highlighting genuine maintenance tasks that need to be undertaken can be of real benefit to you and the consumer. It is generally accepted that poor maintenance is the no.1 cause of engine failure and in fact many motorists have a relatively low level of awareness when it comes to maintaining their vehicles properly so they rely heavily on the advice and quality of service provided by their expert workshop of choice.


When it comes to engine oil related problems, not using the right oil, exceeding service intervals and
running the vehicle low on oil are the main causes of problems. Hence, all vehicles that come into a workshop should have their engine oil grade, level and service interval checked.

The same maintenance principles described above also apply to antifreeze & coolant. If the wrong oil or coolant grade is being used or the service interval has been exceeded, the safest thing to do might be a complete flush and refill with the right product. This will help removing harmful contaminants before the fluid change and will also inhibit the build-up of harmful deposits in the future. To flush the engine oil system use Flush Out or Petrol & Diesel Engine Flush. To flush the cooling system we recommend
a mixture of deionised water mixed with 15% of the correct coolant.

If the oil or coolant level is low, an immediate top-up is required. Also it’s worth advising your customers that it’s safer to keep a top up pack in the boot and be prepared for an emergency top up, rather than wait for the warning light to come on.

Why not offer your customers a 1 litre top up pack as an added value service item and extra revenue stream for yourself?


You cannot tell the quality of brake fluid simply by looking at it. The best way of determining whether brake fluid is faulty or not is to use a brake fluid tester. There are a number of different types but by far the most reliable are testers that measure the actual boiling point of the fluid.

In a recent study of approximately 750 vehicles, around 33% were measured at below 180°C, which is the minimum recommended boiling point. The risks associated with driving a vehicle with faulty brake fluid
are self-evident and compelling. It’s simply not enough to change brake fluid at the same time as faulty discs or pads.

Like engine oil or coolant, the right brake fluid must be used, should be changed at the manufacturers’ recommended intervals and at any time in between if it is found to be faulty with a brake fluid tester.

So why not offer a brake fluid boiling point test to your customers?



Visibility is vital for the safety of all motorists all year round. Our range of screenwash offers the best option for cleaning performance. It is formulated to effectively remove insect smear, salt and traffic film all year round. Plus, it does not damage wiper blades or rubber seals and is compatible with modern polycarbonate and Plexiglas lights.

Are you checking your customers’ vehicles’ screenwash levels and offering them a top up pack?



These components are also reliant on having the correct fluid at the right amount to ensure the efficient operation of the vehicle. Ensuring these fluids are kept topped up and changed when required will help to maintain the vehicle at its best. Although these items may not be considered as routine services items, some components may have an extended service interval or may need topping up after a repair.

UK’s garage labour rates revealed

Hourly charges vary from £36 at a Manchester independent to £234 at a Reading main dealer

The average franchised workshop charge is £99 an hour, compared to £56 an hour for an independent. Image: Bigstock.

Research by Motoreasy, which investigated more than 6,000 garages across the UK, showed that main dealers are typically charging 40 per cent more than their independent counterparts.

Some main dealers were found to charge more than £200 an hour, with a Porsche dealer in Reading charging the most at £234 an hour.

The cheapest was offered by an independent in Manchester, at just £36 an hour.

Surrey was found to be the most expensive place for car repairs, with an average labour charge of £84 an hour – that’s 25 per cent more than the UK average.

Regional differences

The list of the top ten most expensive regions of the UK also lists London garages with an average labour rate of £77.42 an hour, followed by Worcestershire (£77.16), Berkshire (£76.77) and Buckinghamshire (£76.65).

The study also found that more than three quarters of motorists admit that they have no idea how much they pay for an hour of labour.

More than three in five say they don’t shop around to get the best price before agreeing to work and nearly a third say they don’t check the final bill before paying.

Female motorists are worse than men for not checking what labour rate they are paying, with more than four in five women admitting they don’t know the hourly cost at their regular garage.

What is your hourly labour rate? Do you feel the independent sector should be charging more for labour or are you concerned about losing customers? Share your comments and concerns below.

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.

PU 9005 Z – The Ultimate in Diesel / Water Separation

For the Super Popular Vauxhall Astra


Even high-quality diesel fuel may contain traces of water originating either from moist air entering the fuel tank filler neck or breather, or from condensation from filling station bulk tanks. Therefore, advanced common rail diesel injection systems with pressures of up to 2,500 bar have extremely high requirements in terms of fuel purity.


The innovative three-stage MANN-FILTER PU 9005 z fuel filter achieves consistently high water separation efficiency of over 90 percent.


  1. The filter media reliably removes solid dirt particles from the diesel fuel.
  2. A coalescer fleece retains even the finest water droplets from the fuel/water emulsion creating much larger drops.
  3. A hydrophobic sieve ensures that the enlarged drops do not enter the injection system.

Gravity causes the separated water to collect in a water collection chamber in the filter module. A sensor signals as soon as the water needs to be manually drained or siphoned.

The Parts Alliance Group purchased by Uni-Select Inc.

The Parts Alliance Group has been acquired from its private equity owner HgCapital by Uni-Select Inc., a Canadian publicly listed, North American Automotive aftermarket distributor.

New owners Uni-Select operate as a market-leader in the USA and Canada, distributing automotive aftermarket parts, equipment and refinish products through a network of 14 distribution centres, 270 corporate stores and over 1,100 independent wholesalers with 3,000 employees generating sales of $1.2 billion USD per annum.

The Parts Alliance, through a series of 10 acquisitions since 2012 has grown to become a market-leader by investing in people and technology and putting their customers first.

“This has been a fantastic journey, building a market leader in just over 4 years through 10 acquisitions and consistently strong organic growth,” said Peter Sephton. “I and our management team would like to thank HgCapital for all their support as our 2,900 colleagues look forward to continuing that journey with Uni-Select, helping build a great international autoparts business together with the Uni-Select leadership team.”

The Parts Alliance emphasise that for customers it’s very much ‘business as usual’ and look forward to working under trade owners with a deep understanding of the automotive aftermarket. The existing management team will continue to operate the business and Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance, will join Uni-Select’s executive team while continuing his leadership role in the UK as President and CEO of the European business segment.

Uni-Select’s origins are similar to those of The Parts Alliance; Uni-Select was founded in 1968 by 12 Québec businessmen who joined forces to form a purchasing group for aftermarket parts. The business now trade as a listed company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: UNS).

“We are excited to establish a third growth pillar in the large UK parts aftermarket that is expected to be immediately accretive in a market with great upside potential from future consolidation opportunities. Parts Alliance is a great organization, with a market leadership position and national scale, a proven growth platform and an experienced management team that has demonstrated its ability to drive profitable growth both organically and through acquisitions,” said Henry Buckley, President and CEO of Uni-Select. “Our two companies are a perfect fit in terms of business profile, customer focus, entrepreneurial culture and commitment to people development.”

Martin Block, Partner, HgCapital, said: “We are delighted with the sale of this very special business to Uni-Select. They will be a fantastic partner for the next phase of Parts Alliance’s continued growth and development. As a buy and build in a fragmented and dynamic sector, our management team were able to create a business of scale and real capability through their drive, professionalism and determination. The Parts Alliance brings together a high-quality group of distinct brands with a common culture and local identity. We wish both the team and the new owners every success for the future”.


The Parts Alliance is one of the leading groups of automotive parts distributors throughout the UK and Ireland. The group has a network of close to 200 locations including 161 corporate stores and supports over 23,000 customer accounts.

Uni-Select is a leader in the distribution of automotive refinish and industrial paint and related products in Canada and the United States, as well as in the automotive aftermarket parts business in Canada. In Canada, Uni-Select supports over 3,900 shops and stores through a growing national network of more than 1,150 independent customers, many of which operating under Uni-Select store banner programs, and corporate stores. In the United States, Uni-Select, through its wholly-owned subsidiary FinishMaster, Inc., operates a national network of automotive refinish corporate stores under the FinishMaster banner and supports more than 6,000 collision repair centre customers.

For additional information, please contact: