Changing the world – one litre at a time

Every day, the motor industry is working ha to meet the anticipated 100% increase in global demand for transport by 2050* while limiting the impact this will place upon Earth’s resources and the increasing emissions.

The impact of motor oil is critical to helping the rapid evolution of our automotive world towards its intended goals.

Some remarkable feats of engineering have already been achieved. Indeed, even while the number of vehicles on the road increases year-on-year, today’s traffic consumes an average of 35% less fuel than in 1996, while the volume of airborne particulates has been reduced by more than 96% in the same period.

We are now used to seeing average-sized cars with 1litre engines thanks to the prodigious power available from direct common rail fuel injection and turbos. These engines feature an abundance of lighter weight components requiring less energy to move, with an additional layer of complexity such as exhaust after-treatment units, like DPFs, to further reduce environmental impact.

This makes the average car engine a much more highly stressed environment for motor oil. It’s the oil that’s responsible for keeping all of this technology operating reliably while managing the sort of temperatures, pressures and rpm levels previously unseen in normal car engines.

This has resulted in the current generation of lower high temperature high shear (HTHS) engine oils, for use in engines where viscosity is a critical property that relates to the fuel economy and durability. HTHS viscosity is the measurement of how well fully warmed engine oil flows in critical contact areas such as the ring interface, valve-train and gear contacts.

The drivers behind lowering HTHS viscosity are new global governmental regulations to improve fuel economy (FE) and lower greenhouse gases (GHG) in new vehicles. Lower HTHS viscosity tends to improve FE and lower GHG but higher HTHS viscosity affords better wear protection, so a careful balance must be found when formulating engine oil now and in the future.

One example of this new breed of oil is Comma’s Eco-LLP 0W-20, designed to deliver excellent fuel economy performance through an improved HTHS viscosity of 2.6 versus 3.5 stipulated in previous standards. This generation of motor oils works wonders for the latest highly-stressed engines but are not backwardly compatible with previous generation engines – which could mean a costly failure.

To help ensure compatibility and avoid costly mistakes, the new low HTHS oils supplied by Comma stand out from their traditional counterparts with a unique colour and zirconium based chemical marker to ensure the use of the correct and authentic product.

“It’s an inspiring time to be working in the automotive industry,” said Mike Bewsey, Sales and Marketing Director at Comma. “There is a sense that at every level we’re working collectively to meet the challenges posed by rapidly increasing demand being set against the global need to minimise environmental impact – and the latest generation of motor oils are a vital link in both sides of the process.

As a scientific and engineering challenge it’s tremendous, but of course real-world factors are always going to make the difference between success and failure. That’s why, when introducing new technology, it is all the more important for customers to be aware of the precise grade of oil being used.

* According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) there are almost one billion cars on the world’s roads and it is estimated that this will double by 2050.

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Simple guidelines for preventing brake judder

Brake judder is not necessarily the most technically challenging issue, but it can be a source of headaches for technicians, especially since fitment issues are often at the root cause of it.

By following a few simple guidelines, brake judder can be virtually eliminated:

1 Before refitting a disc, first check the disc’s thickness. Using a brake micrometre measure the disc’s thickness, 25mm from the outer edge, at eight equidistant points around its perimeter – never base the measurements on any one single spot. Compare the results with the specification. If it’s outside the manufacturer’s tolerances then it cannot be serviced and must be replaced. In general, the maximum allowable thickness variation is around 0.013mm.

2 Ensure that both the hub and disc mounting faces are scrupulously clean and free from rust scale or any other form of dirt or grease. Use a cloth and appropriate solvent to clean the disc, and a soft wire brush or emery paper
for the hub.

3Once fitted, use a dial indicator to check the disc’s lateral runout. The dial indicator must be securely mounted to a stationary, yet adjustable fixture, for example, a control arm. Position the dial indicator’s plunge tip about 25mm inside the disc edge, set to zero and rotate manually through 360°, recording changes in runout. Whilst tolerances will vary from make to model, 0.05 to 0.10mm is a good target for maximum runout limit. If runout is out of tolerance recheck the disc fitment onto the hub. If this is correct remove the disc and carry out a run out check with the DTI on the wheel bearing/hub unit.

4 Ensure that the caliper carrier is clean and that the slider pins are well lubricated, free of rust and moving freely.


5Torque all wheel fasteners in the correct pattern and at the correct torque settings.



6Always bed in new brakes according to the manufacturer’s instructions


7Prevent overheating the discs by inappropriate use of the brakes. Avoid both continuous, consecutive heavy braking from high speed and holding the car back with the brakes on long steep descents – use a lower gear to make use of engine braking instead.

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More light, more visibility, more safety. OSRAM celebrates 10 years of the NIGHT BREAKER family!

For the past ten years, OSRAM has been writing success stories with the product family NIGHT BREAKER all over the world and this has intensified in the last few years.  NIGHT BREAKER was first launched in September 2007, and today NIGHT BREAKER LASER is the top product in the halogen performance range from OSRAM; providing up to 130 percent more light compared to standard OSRAM halogen bulbs enabling drivers to see further and keeping them safer on the roads. “The great and continuous success of the NIGHT BREAKER family has highlighted the many opportunities for our partners and their customers to maximise their sales and profit potential” said John Lancaster, Speciality Products (SP) Business Unit Manager for the UK.

Use NIGHT BREAKER to break through the night and increase your sales and profit potential!

Since the market launch in 2007, the NIGHT BREAKER product family has continually developed and expanded. Currently, the halogen portfolio consists of the product families NIGHT BREAKER LASER, providing up to 130 percent more light and NIGHT BREAKER UNLIMITED, which completes the portfolio providing up to 110 percent more light compared to standard OSRAM halogen bulbs. Both ranges are available for almost all current ECE bulb types. For vehicles with Xenon (HID) headlights, OSRAM offers the XENARC NIGHT BREAKER UNLIMTED range, which provides up to 70 percent more light compared to standard OSRAM Xenon bulbs. Headlights fitted with XENARC NIGHT BREAKER UNLIMITED (depending on the type of headlamp) produce a light beam that is up to 260 meters long, which is equivalent to the length of 2.5 average football pitches.

The advantages of increased light output are obvious and depending on the type of headlight, the NIGHT BREAKER LASER product produces a beam that is up to 40 meters longer compared to standard OSRAM halogen bulbs, enabling obstacles and pedestrians to be recognized sooner. With the above-average brightness and whiter light, drivers will also feel fatigue-free when driving for long periods of time at night.

A combination of a highly engineered filament and pure xenon gas filling help the LASER bulbs achieve the extra light output. They have a unique design with a laser etched precision window providing maximum performance and the leading brand name ‘NIGHT BREAKER’ has also been etched on to the glass of the bulb giving them a very distinctive appearance.

Offer your customers a choice!

If drivers are made aware of the upgrade bulbs that are available to them they are very likely to upgrade. It’s very important to offer a choice of products as not only will the driver benefits from the additional benefits of more light and a whiter light, you too can profit from the opportunities sales of upgrade bulbs can bring. The darker nights are approaching – get set for the bulb rush!

Contact your nearest Parts Alliance branch for a free copy of the OSRAM bulb menu.

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Reduce the ‘sitting down’ effect with Lesjöfors tailor-made heavy-duty coil springs

Each year, thousands of holidaymakers hook up their caravans and trailers, taking to the open road in search of good times and a relaxing break.With the best of the weather behind us, many will be pondering how to improve their vehicle handling for next season.

Typically a caravan connected to a fully-loaded car will cause the rear of the vehicle to sit noticeably lower than the front (figure 1).  This ‘sitting down’ effect puts extra stress on the rear springs, which may result in sag (long-term shortening) and increase the risk of premature breakage.  Additionally, because the rear springs have been severely overloaded and are unable to return the vehicle to its original ride height, vehicle handling will be adversely affected unless the suspension is changed.  Standard springs are not designed to do a heavy-duty job.

To compensate for the additional load and reduce the ‘sitting down’ effect, Lesjöfors has designed a tailor-made range of heavy-duty coil springs.

Heavy-duty coil springs are 15 to 30% stronger than standard springs, depending on the vehicle, and this means they are able to support a heavier load without compromising vehicle handling.  Lesjöfors heavy-duty springs are also designed to have a progressive spring rate, meaning that resistance increases as the load increases, allowing heavy-dutysprings to be used even when the vehicle is unloaded, with minimal reductions in ride comfort.

Heavy-duty springs also work with standard shock absorbers, so further suspension upgrades are not required, and most heavy-duty springs are slightly shorter than standard springs to ensure the car does not sit too high when unloaded.

Given their different characteristics to standard springs, it’s vital that heavy duty springs are fitted in axle pairs to avoid creating a potentially dangerous imbalance.  Installing heavy-duty springs in pairs, when towing or transporting heavy loads will secure improved vehicle handling at the correct vehicle ride height, avoiding potentially severe safety risks such as less responsive steering, less secure road holding, and increased braking distance.

All Lesjöfors heavy-duty coil springs come with a 3-year warranty and the range covers, amongst others, the following popular models:

  • Opel/Vauxhall Astra
  • Ford Focus
  • Volkswagen Passat
  • Renault Espace
  • Peugeot 407
  • Nissan Primera
  • Audi A4
  • Opel/Vauxhall Vectra
  • BMW 3-Series


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Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.