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Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

(OP)
Hi to all who took their time to read this thread. I used to be an apprentice at BMW M dealership and i had a question in which none of my seniors nor my superiors could give me an explanation as to how countries of different Climate could have make a difference in the wear and tear of automotive components Eg. (Bushings, Suspensions, Engine components and Brakes and Seals).

I am living in a Tropical country and I would like to compare it to a climate like Germany.

What I have noticed is that many continental vehicles regardless of make and model are replacing their components sooner than expected. Premature wear of suspension after travelling at 50,000 km in a period of 2 years. Such examples are the BMW E60 double wishbone suspension dampers and Volkswagen Jetta multi link suspension. Weatherstrip, seals and engine valve cover gaskets are also replaced after 3 years.

Though I was an apprentice, the technical knowledge and skills I have gained was as much as I hope to obtain. So if there is anyone that could answer this topic, it would be greatly appreciated. This answer would also be useful to explain to customers in future as well to clear their doubts of continental vehicle being inferior to japanese automotive makers.

Thanks

Eric

RE: Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

all kinds of components are tested under varying loads and climatic conditions. the problem with those tests is that they are usually accelerated, because the testing facility will try to have a certain number of load changes or climate changes within a few weeks. the result of that is that you get a good insight how a component behaves in a test, but the correlation with actual service is not as good, which could explain why in practice results in certain areas do differ considerably. as far as suspension components are concerned - there will no doubt be a link to the types of road traveled upon. dirty and bumpy roads will cause more wear then driving om a smooth highway...

a well known phenomenon is the difference gearbox life in relation to the operating conditions. gearboxes are designed in such a way that under a particular load and shifting complex the gearbox lasts say 300000 km - that is all the different gears together, where the first and reverse gear live the shortest and the highest gear the longest. as long as your driving pattern more or less mimics what was anticipated, you may experience a example component life, if you live in a very mountainous area you may experience "premature" failure of the first 2 or 3 gears because they most likely will be used a lot more then anticipated. the same goes for brakes.

thus, under different conditions component life may vary quite a bit and not all conditions can be anticipated or be met within the applicable costframe.

RE: Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

(OP)
As i have been to Germany before and in comparison with the road conditions traveled is more or less identical where i live in. Could the surrounding temperatures play a part and wear and tear?

Seeing that Germany is not as warm and humid compared to Singapore.

RE: Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

Yes, the temperature in which the vehicle operates has a large influence on the behavior of the materials, especially natural rubber used for suspension bushings, etc. Higher temperatures will lead to lower life for these parts.

RE: Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

2
If you live in Singapore, you will likely never have seen conditions that Toronto, Canada will experience over the next couple of months.

Temperatures sometimes near -20 C (and that's Toronto - Winnipeg's nickname is Winterpeg, try -40 C). Salt and brine are scattered on roads when the temperature is somewhat below freezing in order to resist ice formation. At -18 C, salt stops working, and they scatter sand on the roads to help a bit with traction. These circumstances are killer on vehicles that weren't designed for it. Rubber and other soft materials harden up and in some cases go brittle, in which case, seals no longer seal any more. Salt gets in everywhere and attracts water; a great environment to promote corrosion. Salt and water combine with sand, dirt, and mud and get packed into every conceivable crevice and promote corrosion. Snow and slush packs around wheel-wells and interferes with suspension movement and steering motion. Snow packed asymetrically around a wheel will throw that wheel out of balance in a big hurry.

Ever see how engine oil flows at -40 C? It pretty much doesn't. When you start the engine, IF the engine starts, there might be oil pressure (a lot of it), but not much oil flow.

Cold temperature slows the battery chemistry down so the battery has less current capacity at the very moment when the starter motor has to work hard to sloooowly coax the engine to turn. Meanwhile, all the electronics in the vehicle are subjected to low voltage. I once owned a VW in which I betcha someone hadn't done adequate cold weather testing of the electronics. Very frequently the under-voltage condition would zap something on the circuit board of the instrument panel.

Now suppose you get your vehicle going, and you're driving through a snowstorm. Will that stylish plastic front air dam survive being driven into a snowdrift from snow blowing sideways across the road while at a temperature that is not helping its flexibility? Will it deform, or will it shatter?

And this reminds me of next weekend's chore ... swapping out my summer wheels for the stock wheels with winter tires all around.

RE: Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

I should add that in terms of climate, Germany has nothing on most of Canada and a good portion of the US Midwest.

RE: Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

Certainly, the extremes will have different impact on different situations. The sun and UV and temperature extremes will be significant in tropical areas; we (Toronto) only have those issues a couple months of the year. Cold, corrosion agents (salt), etc will matter more in northern areas.

RE: Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

And ... the option to have the accelerator pedal bolted to the floor for quite some time is an opportunity only available in Germany.

I've noticed that German cars tend to have good brakes ...

RE: Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

(OP)
Thank you for all the replies guys. With all these information, I have learnt a lot that my dealer had not taught me about.I would also like to give my special thanks to the MVPs for stopping by this thread and explain in such detail to a young and inexperienced guy like me.


Sincerely,

Eric

RE: Premature Wear of automotive components in regards to climate?

"Ever see how engine oil flows at -40 C? It pretty much doesn't."

Many years ago, a half dozen of us brought in a litre (plastic bottles, brand new) of their preferred motor oil. They ranged from budget to expensive full synthetic. A good selection.

Our work place has a freezer set to -40° (C/F). We left the oil bottles in there for a day, and then brought them out to see how they poured (or not).

The cheap oils were essentially frozen into a semi-solid; frightening. The best of the non-synthetic was Castrol GTX which was still liquid, but infested with crystals. The semi-synthetic was pretty good. The full synthetic example was basically 'just oil', seemingly unchanged from room temperature (thicker, but still flowed quickly like you'd expect motor oil to flow); impressive.

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