The Parts Alliance announce new ‘Best of Brakes’ promotion

The Parts Alliance has teamed up with Delphi for the second time in 2017 to run their new ‘Best of Brakes’ promotion.

‘Best of Brakes’ aims to build on the record-breaking success of spring’s ‘Dream Drive’ promotion which saw surging sales and six lucky garage winners taking memorable Route 66 road trips.

This time around there are six spectacular holidays to be won during September and October, to destinations throughout the world.

Garages buying from The Parts Alliance members Allparts, BBC Superfactors, BMS Superfactors, Bromsgrove Motor Factors, CES, CPA, Dingbro, GMF, SAS Autoparts, SC Motor Factors, Qualvecom and The Parts Alliance South West branches during September and October will receive a brake pad shaped scratch card with each set of Delphi brake pads.

The main prizes are action-packed two week holidays to Australia, Canada, Cuba, Italy, South Africa and Vietnam, including flights, transfers, hotel accommodation and where necessary, car hire.

“We’re delighted to be working with The Parts Alliance again on the ‘Best of Brakes’ promotion,” said Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager at Delphi. “The scale of the trading group gives us the perfect platform for communicating the benefits of Delphi’s braking solutions to UK garages.”

Delphi pads are manufactured using no less than 20 different friction formulations. Other premium technologies include heat absorbing underlayers, noise reducing chamfers and dampening shims as well as pressed steel back plates. The result is pads that not only meet OE standards but also closely match the performance characteristics of individual vehicles.

“The ‘Best of Brakes’ promotion brings 25,000 prizes for garages to win,” said The Parts Alliance’s Head of Marketing Simon Moore. “We’ve been able to build on the success of ‘Dream Drive’ as customers continue to really embrace Delphi’s braking programme which marries a trusted brand, a quality product range and competitive pricing.”

The ‘Best of Brakes’ prizes will include Delphi and The Parts Alliance branded beanie hats, snoods, drinks bottles, retro enamel mugs and tins of sweets to share.

Throughout the duration of the promotion, Delphi and The Parts Alliance will be touring garages too. In the meantime, garages can find out more by visiting

Revolutionise Your Ride with Polybush

With the current state of the roads suspension systems are being given a harder time than ever, so when it comes to changing bushes Polybush look to offer you the best parts you can fit.

With over 34 years of both O.E. and aftermarket experience, Polybush are able to offer The Parts Alliance customers access to our full range of bushes. We also work closely with The Parts Alliance to identify new applications that can save you time and money.

Polybush is a cost-effective, ‘fit and forget’ solution which far outlasts the life of rubber bushes, and the good news is there are no profit-eroding tools required to fit them. As an added extra Polybush parts are completely unaffected by oil, petrol or road contaminants.

A Profitable Market

Suspension bush replacement is a profitable market. Polybush are easy to fit and require no special tools, reducing labour time for the garage whilst offering the customer the best solution. Any slight increase in cost to the garage or customer is far outweighed by the long-term cost-saving benefits. Polybush parts are available in vehicle kits to allow full bush replacements or as component sets used as replacements due to MOT failures, the choice is yours.

Ideal Solution

A common bush failure is the front wishbone rear bush on the popular VW PQ35 platform. Polybush has the ideal solution. Unlike the original voided rubber bush our 44M requires no specialist tool to fit, reducing labour time from minutes to seconds. Our 2 part, low friction bush rotates freely with no grease required. In action, the bush lasts 4-5 times longer whilst reducing understeer thus improving handling.

How do they work?

Traditional rubber bushes degrade over a period of time and compression set slowly reduces the vehicles handling and performance and reduces the tyre life as the suspension alignment changes. Using high grade polyurethane Polybush is able to offer a bush that retains its shape again and again. The result – no compression set and perfect suspension alignment.

See the difference: A Polybush after 9 months compared to a rubber bush after 9 months.


Rear Beam Bush

Rear beam bushes also give many garages a real challenge, with disgruntled customers being required to replace these bushes time and time again.

A popular choice for FWD cars across the market and with only 2 points of attachment to the chassis the bushes act as pivot points reacting against all the loads from the rear of the car. The original rubber bush quickly forms a compression set, misaligning the rear wheel geometry resulting in poor handling as the beam is out of its optimum alignment and grip is lost. With some O.E. manufacturers not offering replacement bushes a new beam can be a very expensive outlay; with Polybush you just replace the bush.

Polybush designed a voided top hat bush to reduce deflection that has excellent vibration adsorption qualities and a natural ability to internally damp high frequency vibration created by rough road surfaces and potholes. The voided section of the bush reduces noise and vibration. The bush is extremely easy to install as it provides a lead in into the beam bore.

The result as always with Polybush – reduced labour costs, greater longevity, improved handling and reduced tyre wear.

Scrubbed Tyres?

The rear lower toe control arm across the VAG PQ 35 platform is fitted with a metalastic style bush that as it wears allows excess lateral movement which causes toe-in during braking and cornering and toe-out during acceleration, both resulting in tyre scrub. Polybush increased the surface area of the bush to reduce the lateral movement. With no press required, the easy fit, two piece bushes reduce labour time and the cost of tyre replacement.

All Polybush parts are designed with the car in mind; from simple top hat bushes to complex voided bushes we let the car do the designing. Our design team work hard to ensure that the bushes not only provide the optimum solution for the customer they offer an easy to fit cost effective solution for the garage.

Designed to save you time and money – 7 Reasons to fit Polybush.

  1. Improved revenue
  2. Reduced fitment time
  3. No special tools required
  4. Reduced tyre wear
  5. Greater longevity
  6. Improved braking and handling
  7. Customer satisfaction

Full easy to read range lists and diagrams to assist in your suspension bush selection are available through your local Parts Alliance branch.

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Could Mazda’s new compression ignition petrol pump save the combustion engine?

New engine combines benefits of diesel and petrol to eliminate spark plugs and improve fuel consumption

Skyactiv-X is the world’s first commercial petrol engine to use compression ignition, in which the fuel-air mixture ignites spontaneously when compressed by the piston.

Mazda has announced a technological breakthrough for the petrol engine and claims to have designed an engine that uses compression ignition, in which the fuel-air mixture ignites spontaneously when compressed by the piston.

According to the Japanese car manufacturer, a proprietary combustion method called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition overcomes two issues that had impeded commercialisation of compression ignition gasoline engines: maximizing the zone in which compression ignition is possible and achieving “a seamless transition between compression ignition and spark ignition”.

With claims that the new engine can improve fuel efficiency by up to 30 per cent, Mazda say it will produce lower carbon dioxide emissions than electric vehicles from a ‘well-to-wheel’ perspective, which accounts for the whole lifecycle of a vehicle and the fuel needed to power it.

Dubbed Skyactiv-X, the engine is thought to be capable of delivering high efficiency across a wide range of rpms and engine loads, allows more latitude in the selection of gear ratios and provides superior fuel economy and driving performance.

Head of research and development at Mazda, Kiyoshi Fujiwara said: “We think it is an imperative and fundamental job for us to pursue the ideal internal combustion engine.

Electrification is necessary but the internal combustion engine should come first.

Share your comments below.

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Spark plug replacement on BMW N43 and N53 engines

According to statistics, more than 488,000 vehicles with the N43 and N53 engines are driving on European roads, which were fitted with the ZKBR7A-HTU NGK spark plugs as original equipment (OE).

It is likely that many UK and Ireland workshops have already had the opportunity to take a look at these engines, either under the bonnet of a BMW 1 series or under that of a 3, 5 or 6 model.

Technically, the spark plug is a semi-surface type spark plug with three ground electrodes and a 14mm bi-hex. To guarantee a reliable ignition, the spark plug comes with a projected spark position – the electrodes extend far into the combustion chamber.

Also, the semi-surface design prevents the accumulation of carbon deposits which are often associated with direct injection engines and guarantees reliable ignition by removing carbon deposits at the insulator tip even at temperature levels below the spark plug’s self-cleaning temperature.

Correct tool selection: a must when it comes to spark plug service replacement

As with any spark plug, the ZKBR7A-HTU needs to be changed from time to time. The original equipment (OE) identical aftermarket spark plug from NGK (stock no. 91785), replaces BMW part nos. 12120038349 and 755001102.

Unlike most engines, the spark plugs’ position in the N43 and N53 is angled in the spark plug tunnel by more than five degrees. A look into the spark plug shaft does not reveal this special design to technicians and, unaware of this particular construction, the mechanic might mistakenly use a standard solid bi-hex (12 point) socket, instead of the necessary bi-hex socket with an integral articulated joint.

Due to the angled position, a conventional solid spark plug socket will not fit squarely on the spark plug. The force required to loosen or tighten the spark plug means that the risk of spark plug damage is high. This is because force is applied to the fragile ceramic insulator of the spark plug, which can result in hairline cracks and breakage. Sometimes cracking cannot be seen as they are out of sight beneath the metal shell of the spark plug. Ignition problems and an early failure of the spark plug are inevitable, resulting in costly diagnostic time.

When replacing spark plugs on the N43 and N53 engines, be sure to use a quality articulated bi-hex socket, available from specialist tool manufacturers – and as with any spark plug, it should be used in conjunction with a torque wrench upon installation (set to 15 – 20 Nm for this 12mm diameter thread plug).

Here are the instructions for installation of the plug into the N43 engine:

More information on NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd and its products and services, is available via the website Also you can check out its new blogzine at

Contact your local Parts Alliance branch for a full range of spark and glow products from NGK

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Garage tells harrowing story of shutter door horror and warns of dangers

Technician pulled his head back inside just moments before the shutter door fell “like a guillotine”

Fearnley Motors is urging workshops to check their shutter doors.

An independent garage owner is urging workshops across the country to check the condition of their shutter doors after one of his employees narrowly escaped injury. 

While locking up for the night, an employee at Fearnley Motors in Colchester turned the key switch to close the workshop’s electric roller shutter doors, looked outside to check everything was safe for the night and pulled his head back inside just moments before the 18-foot shutter came crashing to the ground.

The electric motor inside the rollers had failed.

Garage owner, Peter Fearnley told GW: “There was no chance he would have got out alive.

“He wouldn’t have heard a thing, it just dropped.

Fell like a guillotine

Technicians at Fearnley Motors urge workshops to check their doors.

“What we didn’t realise is that if the motor drive breaks – which apparently is not uncommon – the roller door under its own weight will fall like a guillotine.

“The motor drive is the only thing that stops the door from unrolling and it just gave up – very scary.”

The doors were thought to be around 15 years old and weren’t supplied with safety brakes.

Today, legislation states that all roller doors should have a device fitted to prevent it from falling.

Speaking to GW, Emma Harrison of Essex Industrial Doors, the company that repaired the failed shutters at Fearnley Motors, said: “We changed the entire roller mechanism, fitted a new roller and roller motor, complete with a safety brake.

“They didn’t have a safety brake on their old door, which would have prevented the door from free-falling.

“The devices are an inertia brake and work a bit like a seat belt.”

Serious and fatal accidents

Industrial, commercial and roller shutter doors have been known to cause a number of serious and fatal accidents, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

One man was taken to hospital with fractured ribs when a roller shutter door came down on his chest and pinned him to the back rest of the vehicle he was driving.

Other cases include the death of two children who became fatally entangled or trapped in the door.

“Each door is recommended to have at least one safety device,” Emma added.

“Doors should be fitted and maintained to a high a standard.

“The trouble is often, these shutters don’t get the maintenance that they need – like a car, these doors have moving parts that need to be serviced.”

What the law says

Dave Garratt, chief executive of the Garage Equipment Association (GEA) told GW: “All powered equipment falls under PUWER regulation so must by law be maintained correctly and all doors should be CE marked.”

It is compulsory to ensure that your roller shutters comply with the Workplace Regulation 1992 Maintenance of Equipment, Devices and Systems.

To comply fully, you need to ensure that the roller shutters are inspected at least once a year.

You must also be able to demonstrate that regular maintenance is carried out at suitable intervals and any potentially dangerous defects are quickly remedied.

Other pieces of legislation that must be met include the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 and BS EN 12635:2002 – Industrial, Commercial and Garage Doors and Gates.

Peter added: “Safety locks are fairly expensive but my goodness, imagine what could happen without.

“We just really want to warn workshops that use these doors about the dangers so that they get them checked.”

When was the last time you checked the condition of your roller shutter doors? Have you had a close call too? Share your comments and experiences below.

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Supermarket fuel comes under fire

Industry expert speaks out about the true cost of so-called cheap supermarket fuel

Supermarket fuels could be a false economy for motorists, according to experts who claim cheap fuel could end up costing motorists an extra £100 a year.

The UK fuel market is subject to strict legal standards, however different retailers are free to introduce additives to the fuel.

It’s these so-called ‘secret concoctions’ that differentiate the quality of fuel, with many branded filling stations claiming to offer fuel that helps keep engines clean and improve fuel economy.

Jason Lloyd, managing director at, said: “Many supermarkets get fuel from the same refineries as the leading brands.

“But it’s a bit like budget airlines – they get you to the same place but with main national carriers you also get more, such as in-flight food and entertainment.

“Fuel is similar and some people find paying for unleaded from, say BP, over time means you get better mpg than supermarket fuel so in essence, it’s a false economy.”

Garage Wire is calling on its readers to share their experiences and opinions of supermarket fuel – good or bad.

Do you believe such fuels can have a detrimental impact on the lifecycle of the engine or would you argue that such thoughts are just a myth?

Share your comments and experiences below.

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Alternator Tip | What to check for when replacing the alternator

There is a frequently occurring issue when the original alternator is replaced by a remanufactured unit. The charge indicator lamp stays on after the engine is started. It indicates a potential malfunction of the alternator, and that the replacement part does not work correctly. If we test the unit on an alternator functional test bench then it will charge perfectly showing no issue: what could be the problem?

These alternators communicate with the ECU on the vehicle via a computer terminal. If this communication channel has a break somewhere in the chain, the car computer will indicate a potential alternator problem by turning on the charge lamp.

1 The ‘A’ (Sense) terminal is connected to the red wire of the connector. This red wire can easily be broken, caused by the high engine vibration. If this happens then the communication line will not be continuous, and a fault indicated. Before changing the alternator, always check that the plug connector is in good condition with no signs of corrosion. The ‘A’ Sense terminal plug lead must then be checked for continuity.

2 In the market, replacement alternators are repaired by replacing the regulator, and this can cause an issue for the installer. Some aftermarket regulators cannot substitute the OE regulator. This is due to the replacement regulators being incapable of matching every small parameter of the communication protocol between the regulator and the car computer.

So, when the installer fits the unit and starts the vehicle, the car computer will indicate a communication malfunction and it disables the alternator (no charge); at the same time the charge lamp (battery light on dash) turns on to indicate a charging fault. To eliminate this, during Remy’s remanufacturing process, all OE regulators are tested 100% and the infill of new regulators are from

To eliminate this, during Remy’s remanufacturing process, all OE regulators are tested 100% and the infill of new regulators are from an approved supplier that match the OE specification.

Remy prides itself on quality. To be able to continuously improve its products, all units returned as warranty are 100% analysed. From this analysis, and the useful data collated, it can make improvements to the OE design by engineering out the product’s weaknesses. E.g. The Ford Focus TDCi takes a 120A alternator, with an internal rectifier fitted with 35A diodes. During the alternator’s life on the engine, these diodes are prone to overheating and in some cases burn-out resulting in a charging issue and the alternator having
to be replaced.

Remy has recognized this weakness in the OE design, and now during the remanufacturing of these alternators, has introduced a
50A diode when repairing the rectifier. This will prolong the life of the unit and increase its durability.

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Uni-Select completes acquisition of The Parts Alliance, a leading and growing automotive aftermarket parts distributor in the United Kingdom

Boucherville (Québec), August 7, 2017 – Uni-Select Inc. (“Uni-Select” or “Corporation”; TSX:UNS) is pleased to announce that it has today completed the acquisition of 100% of the shares of PA Topco Limited doing business as The Parts Alliance (“Parts Alliance”), the second largest nationwide independent distributor of automotive aftermarket parts in the United Kingdom.

As previously announced, the transaction in the amount of £205.0 million was fully funded with debt from available credit facilities.

“We could not be more pleased to be adding The Parts Alliance to the Uni-Select family. This is an exciting new growth pillar for Uni-Select in the large and fragmented UK marketplace. The Parts Alliance is the UK’s second largest automotive aftermarket parts distributor with 161 locations and growing plus affiliated members, all serving local and national customers across the UK,” said Henry Buckley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Uni-Select. “We welcome all our new team members, customers and suppliers. The cultural fit is exceptional and the growth prospects are significant,’’ added Mr. Buckley.

“The Parts Alliance is very thrilled to now be part of Uni-Select. All of my colleagues in our organization, our suppliers, members and all other stakeholders see the opportunity for long term financial growth and stability, as well as personal growth as we join a team of like-minded individuals,” said Peter Sephton, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Parts Alliance.

The Corporation is also delighted to welcome Mr. Peter Sephton who is today joining Uni Select’s Executive Team as President and Chief Executive Officer of the European Automotive Group.

The transaction provides Uni-Select with an attractive point of entry into a new geographic market currently in consolidation with high growth and accretion potential and a third growth pillar to complement its segments, Canadian Automotive Group and FinishMaster US. With the addition of The Parts Alliance, Uni-Select now has a strong team of over 6,000 dedicated team members, spread across a network of 16 distribution centres and over 430 corporate stores located in North America, United Kingdom and Ireland.


Uni-Select is a leader in the distribution of automotive refinish and industrial paint and related products in North America, as well as a leader in the automotive aftermarket parts business in Canada. In Canada, Uni-Select supports over 16,000 automotive repair and collision repair shops through a growing national network of more than 1,100 independent customers and corporate stores, many of which operate under the Uni-Select BUMPER TO BUMPER®, AUTO PARTS PLUS® AND FINISHMASTER® store banner programs. It also supports over 3,900 shops and stores through its automotive repair/installer shop banners, as well as through its automotive refinish banners. 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 which services a network of over 30,000 customers annually, of which it is the primary supplier to over 6,000 collision repair centre customers. Uni-Select is headquartered in Boucherville, Québec, Canada, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the symbol UNS.


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


The information provided in this press release may include some forward-looking information, which could include certain risks and uncertainties, which may cause the final results to be significantly different from those listed or implied within this news release. Such risks and uncertainties may include, for example, the impact of the transaction on the business of Uni Select as a whole and certain strategic benefits expected to result from the transaction. For additional information with respect to risks and uncertainties, refer to the Annual Report filed by Uni-Select with the Canadian securities commissions. The forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date of this press release, and Uni-Select does not undertake to publicly update such forward-looking information to reflect new information, subsequent or otherwise, unless required by applicable securities laws.

Audi dealer gives customer shock £7K bill for Audi Q5 turbo

Owner says main dealer should have identified turbo issue two weeks earlier when it initially inspected the vehicle

An Audi owner has expressed anger after his 2012 Audi Q5 had racked up significant repair bills in a matter of two weeks.

Speaking to Car Buyer,  Alistair Griffiths of Walton-on-Thames in Surrey said: “An engine warning light came on and when I took it to local dealer Walton Audi, staff said they needed to fix something to do with the emissions.

“I had the car fully serviced at that point, too, and it all came to around £1,000, which I paid.”

However, just two weeks later the same warning light reappeared and when Alistair returned his Q5 back to the dealer, a significantly worse problem was identified.

Significantly worse

“I was told the turbo had gone, and I would need to pay £7,600 to replace it and repair the engine,” he added.

“I couldn’t believe it.”

Audi told Alistair that it would contribute 50 per cent towards the new repair bill, but Alistair believes the dealer should have identified the turbo problem two weeks earlier when he initially took the car in with the illuminated warning light.

An Audi spokesperson confirmed to Car Buyer that Alistair’s car had “two separate, unconnected component issues”.

‘Unconnected component issues’

They added: “The first involved the exhaust gas recirculation system, which was damaged by water ingress, and the second related to the turbocharger, within which an oil seal failed, causing collateral engine damage.”

“[This] would not have been evident during a routine inspection” or resulted in any warning fault codes.

“Multiple failures of this kind in a Q5 of the age of Mr Griffiths’ car are highly irregular and in no way represent the level of quality and durability that Audi aims for.”

Audi said it would refund Alistair £200 for the EGR cooler and that he wouldn’t have to pay anything towards the £7,600 engine repair bill.

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