New pass-thru training

New pass-thru training empowers technicians with dealer-level capabilities.

Delphi Technologies is enabling independents to tool up and enhance their range of services, in line with that of main dealers, by using the new Pass-thru module within its online training platform. The principle of Pass-thru is based on giving independent garages the same diagnostics and ECU-programming capability as a main dealer. This is achieved by accessing VM data via a specifically designed piece of hardware such as Delphi’s BlueTech diagnostic tool.

The three-part module complements its Bluetech VCI diagnostic tool and unravels the myths of the often mis-understood technology.

It covers the basics of Pass-thru diagnostics within a five-minute overview video, followed by a hardware setup video and a quiz to test learning. The whole module takes less than 25 minutes to complete and is worth 0.4 credits within the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) accreditation scheme.

Delphi’s BlueTech Vehicle Communication Interface (VCI) is a universal interface which enables Pass-thru and its usage is covered in Delphi’s latest e-learning module. The online learning system also provides information specific to using each individual manufacturer’s portal – this is critical to a successful adoption of Pass-thru capability as every VM has a different way of hosting and accessing the data.

Phil Mitchell, Technical Services Manager, Delphi Technologies Aftermarket, said: “Pass-thru is a powerful diagnostic tool, but it must be used carefully. The Academy training gives technicians a robust grounding in Pass-thru basics, empowering them for OEM-level repairs. Ultimately, this means your facility can offer customers dealer-level support without the cost.”

Further information on the Delphi Technologies Academy can be found at:

Find out more about the Delphi Technologies Vehicle Communication Interface (VCI) here: www.

High voltage battery insight from Delphi Technologies

Delphi Technologies Academy EV content enhanced with high voltage battery insight.

Delphi Technologies has enhanced the electrified vehicle content on its training platform with the addition of a virtual insight into the workings of a high voltage battery.

Entitled ‘Inside a HV battery’ the short video provides viewers with an easy-to-follow understanding of the principles and components of the high voltage battery. This complements existing H/EV tutorials on the Delphi Technologies Academy learning platform – the company’s new online training resource. The HV battery introduction joins training materials on topics including instruction on how to lift an EV, information on protective equipment and modules that support the completion of popular IMI courses, such as the Hybrid Level 3 IMI programme – that covers everything other than working on a live battery or active system.

Phil Mitchell, Technical Services Manager, Delphi Technologies Aftermarket, said: “We recognised the increasingly urgent need for independent garages to have access to electric vehicle training a long time ago. The Delphi Technologies Academy and the introduction of online tutorials, such as the HV battery video, are part of our solution to help address the huge shortage in non-franchised garage personnel having the skills to work on electrified vehicles.

“The virtual content of the Delphi Technologies Academy perfectly complements our practical EV training, allowing us to offer a sought-after ‘blended learning approach’, but also enables users to significantly expand their knowledge of EVs in general. With the technology being so fresh, the content is suitable for those who are just starting out on their career right through to those who have spent 30 years in the industry.”

Test your Hybrid & EV knowledge

With the magazine focussing on specialising this month, we thought we’d ask our friends at Delphi Technologies to create an online Autotech test to probe your knowledge on Hybrid and Electric Vehicle systems. You can access the online assessment ‘Autotech 2021 Test 12: Hybrid & EV’ by logging on, or registering, at Once you complete a multiple- choice test, you will receive instant scores, answers, and explanations of the topics covered.

As the sales of Hybrid, Plug in Hybrid and EV vehicles continue to grow with a rapid increase of new models available in the market, Delphi Technologies asks: Are you ready for the future?

Here’s a taster question from the new quiz:

Q. This is the engine bay from a Golf GTE plug-in Hybrid. What is the plug shown used for?

A. Diagnostic interface connector for the Hybrid/EV system

B. Disables the high voltage system

C. Allows the user to check the voltage within the high voltage circuit

D. Diagnostic interface connector for the high voltage battery.


Autotechnician is chomping at the bit to host a live event so we’ve set a date and venue for 2021. All things being well, we will bring together a group of fantastic trainers, workshop owners and technicians to Delphi Technologies’ training workshop in Warwick on Friday 26th & Saturday 27th November.

Tickets numbers will be limited and heavily subsidised by our sponsors. Register your interest by emailing and you will be offered first dibs on tickets when they are released. Social distancing measures will be in place and tickets will be fully refunded if the event is unable to run due to COVID-19 restrictions.


Autotechnician is currently planning a live training event for November but in the meantime, we will produce another Autotech Online training video for technicians to enjoy at home. We will be heading to Cleevely Motors in June to film technical presentations and workshop case studies to provide practical guidance on a range of topics. These will be published as a series of online videos. The content will also feature within a special supplement in the printed July/August issue.

Our first technical video compilation can be found at https:// Autotech Online features a 30-minute workshop case study from Andy Crook who runs diagnostics on an Audi S3 to get to the route of a running fault.

The video includes a presentation from Philip Mitchell of Delphi Technologies, who focuses on drive modules and details some of the existing mild hybrid setups – six options Borg Warner have in its ‘P’ family of Hybrid powertrains. The video also runs through the remanufacturing process conducted by ACtronics, ZF overviews its latest braking technology and DPF Doctor Darren Darling provides some insights into using additives correctly and gives viewers tips on how to stay out of trouble when working on DPF repairs.

Here’s the full run list so you can dip in and out of the content at your leisure:

0:00 Intro & Autotechnician announcements
02:17 Case Study Part 1 with Andy Crook
14:40 ACtronics – Best practice with remanufactured electronics
16:51 Case Study Part 2 with Andy Crook
27:14 ZF [pro] Tech – Electric vehicle braking
29:12 Case Study Part 3 with Andy Crook
34:00 Delphi Technologies – Overview of hybrid and EV drive modules

01:00:38 Darren Darling – Diesel fuel additives
01:14:38 Autotechnician online assessment information

Brakes – past, present and future

Being ‘remove and replace’ products, disc and pad heritage tends to be underreported, which is a shame, argues Rob Marshall, who looks into why they evolved and the factors influencing future development.

Any kind of brake converts kinetic energy into another form, because energy cannot simply vanish. Regardless of whether installed to a locomotive, motorcycle, an automobile, or a soap-box racer, a friction brake converts motion to heat, prior to shedding it into the air. This relatively simple task is more complicated the faster and heavier the vehicle becomes. Cooling is a significant issue that seems not very relevant on a typical push-bike but becomes more of a challenge on a hefty and fast-moving powered vehicle. The linings should also be robust and must not disintegrate, when exposed to temperature extremes. Manufacturer design and cost considerations aside, renewable brake friction components must also possess long service lives and, more recently, their composition is being placed under greater scrutiny for environmental reasons. The increased ability of high voltage hybrids (and Battery Electric Vehicles – BEVs) to drive on electric power alone is also a driving force behind more recent developments.


As early motorcars were, literally, horseless carriages, we should be unsurprised that the rudimentary braking systems were carried over. In some cases, the friction block that rubbed against the wheel rim was made from wood and so it is unsurprising that the situation did not last for long. As most of these pioneers had enough trouble keeping their unwieldy contraptions moving, brakes were very much a secondary consideration, until speeds had risen sufficiently high for decent retardation to be necessary.

Ferodo was the world’s first friction manufacturer, with a deep heritage in both OEM and the aftermarket. It is now a brand of DRiV Incorporated of North America.
Disc brakes were fitted to Jaguar C-Type Le Mans cars (pictured), before finding their way into production models.

With the benefit of hindsight, it seems crazy that early developers tried to keep the friction brake away from the wheels but they had the difficulty of finding an effective way to activate them either side of moving suspension, long before brake hydraulics were invented and solid push-rods were the conventions. The transmission service brake involved fitting a large drum brake to the propeller shaft, thus saddling the running gear with handling the stopping forces. Eventually, when the brakes were relocated close to the wheels, they tended to be fitted to the rear only until the 1930s, which hardly benefitted the car’s stability if the wheels locked, especially when negotiating a corner. Thankfully, as engines became more powerful, brake development matured, as cables replaced the push-rods, prior to hydraulics taking over.


As mentioned earlier, physics demands that a brake’s basic effectiveness is defined by its ability to absorb and shed its heat into the atmosphere. Cooling, therefore, could be enhanced if the friction parts are more exposed to the airstream. While early racing cars possessed drum brakes, their diameters could be almost as large as those of the wheel rim (affecting handling adversely), plus they were also finned, when increased their surface area. Even so, as virtually none of the disc brake is enclosed, it posed a more logical and practical solution. Wartime accelerated developments even faster than motorsport and the first successful vehicular application of disc brakes permitted WWII bombers to reach a post-landing…

Brakes have improved in numerous small ways. While the drum brake remains popular for rear hubs, the linings are now self- adjusting. Previously, technicians used to have to manipulate the manual adjusters (as pictured) every service, after inspecting the lining depth.

…standstill within a moderate distance. With peacetime restored, the disc brake was put to good use for motorcars and has since become universal but refining it was not easy. While the North-American Crosley-Hotshot was fitted with disc brakes for a limited period during the early 1950s, corrosion and clogging resulted in the manufacturer reverting to more established drum brakes.

Naturally, with the mantra ‘Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday’ ringing in several ambitious manufacturers’ ears, motorsport also adopted disc brakes but, even then, it was not a straightforward exercise. Jaguar is famed for employing Dunlop disc brakes in a trio of C-Type racing cars for the 1953 Le Mans 24 hour race, which finished first, second and fourth respectively. Stirling Moss is alleged to have stated that disc brakes did not work perfectly the moment they were installed and it took the team considerable developmental work to make them achieve their objectives.

Perhaps the most notable legislation for aftermarket pads and linings is ECE-R90 from 1995. From 2011, ECE-R90 was expanded to include brake discs and drums on a voluntary basis, which became mandatory from November 2016. The regulation also dictates that the boxes containing the friction parts are sealed before technicians open them. Do you confirm that any sealed packaging is intact?

Despite the behind-the-scenes technical challenges, the winning Jaguar averaged over 100 mph for the first time in the history of the Le Mans race, an achievement that would have been unlikely, had it not been for intense development of its disc brakes. Buoyed by success, the following D-Type racers inherited the set-up and realised a hat-trick of wins at Le Mans during 1955, 1956 and 1957. Logically, by association with motorsport, disc brakes became popular with expensive and sporting production cars. As an example, Dunlop disc brakes found their way onto Jaguar’s Mark Two saloon, prior to being rolled-out across the range.

Unsurprisingly for a company with such an innovative heritage, Citroën’s DS of 1955 possessed front disc brakes, an arrangement that continued until the death of the GSA model in 1986. These were hardly favoured by technicians, because the front discs were mounted inboard, complicating the disc replacement procedure. Renewing the pads was also far from easy, with the calliper being bolted to the gearbox, mounted just behind the engine. The Jensen 541 Deluxe (front and rear) and Triumph’s TR3 (front only) introduced disc brakes during 1956 and, after that, discs became more popular, as they were fitted to more affordable and humdrum models. Today, even the most modest-powered small car has discs mounted to
its front hubs, where most of the braking effort is focussed. This fact also explains why many carmakers fit drum brakes to the rear, especially as drum brakes remain the most effective method of incorporating a handbrake mechanism. Yet, by…

OE supplier, Delphi Technologies, highlights its prowess with reverse-engineering the original OEM product without sacrificing quality, to enable it to be first-to-market with replacement aftermarket pads.

…their very design, disc brakes are not perfect. When used as a handbrake, the disc contracts as it cools, reducing the pressure between the pad and disc. Unlike drums, disc brakes also possess no self-servo effect, which is one reason why disc brakes dictate either higher pedal pressures, or a method of power assistance. For most cars, the vacuum servo provided the solution, powered by either inlet manifold depression, or a separate pump.

Ventilated discs also have motorsport origins, before finding a commercial use. The passages within the disc more than double the surface area from which heat energy can be dissipated. They work by cold air being sucked into the disc’s structure as it turns, prior to hot air being exhaled. Other means of increasing the disc surface area and exposure to cooling air include drilling holes into the discs and incorporating grooves.


A major challenge with any friction brake material is that the friction characteristics are linked to temperature and so a technical balance must be achieved. While AT shall investigate modern friction materials in greater depth in another issue, early developers experimented with different linings but the breakthrough hailed from within a domestic shed in Derbyshire. While Herbert Frood cut his teeth on manufacturing woven cloth friction materials for horse-drawn carts, he developed a more hardwearing friction material for motorcars that incorporated asbestos and established the Ferodo company (a part anagram of his name) to mass produce it. This led to the company’s first OEM contract, providing linings for the 1922 Austin 7 and, notably, disc pads for the Triumph TR3 several years later.

As the high-temperature stability and low cost of asbestos made it a core ingredient for most friction linings, the brake friction industry had a giant set-back, when asbestos’s serious health risks to technicians especially led to a ban. Significant investments were made to replace the material with alternative fibres and inorganic materials but this led to a larger variance in lining quality between friction manufacturers. After introducing asbestos initially, it is interesting to note that Ferodo was first to market with non-asbestos brake materials and started to supply the new formulation to the OEM market from 1980. Generally, friction linings have tended to become harder since non-asbestos alternatives appeared, which increases wear on the disc.

With vehicle emissions being placed increasingly under the spotlight, legislators have also been looking beyond tailpipe emissions, including those shed from tyres and brakes. In early 2020, Emissions Analytics reported that particulate emissions from both brakes and tyres can be 1,000 worse than those emitted from the exhaust. Not only are certain brake friction ingredients carcinogenic but also friction linings are responsible for a third of the world’s copper pollution. Copper, incidentally, serves as a heat stabiliser. The element is also particularly toxic to fish, an important consideration when most lining dust is washed from the roads into drains and end- up, ultimately, in waterways.

This explains why many quality friction manufacturers have marketed copper-free friction lining formulations for some time. Currently, ELV and Reach regulations govern friction lining ingredients in Europe, as does the Brakes Law (which calls mainly for the removal of copper and other heavy metals in brake friction materials by 2025) and the NSF registration in North America. Again, many quality lining manufacturers (such as TRW and Ferodo) have replaced heavy metal components with alternatives based on mineral and ceramic fibres for some time but developments have not stopped there. Apart from alternative lining materials (such as those based on cement), brake dust capture systems are also being trialled.


The arrival of high voltage hybrids (starting with Honda and Toyota) introduced not only regenerative braking (not covered in this feature) but also changed the interaction between the brake pedal and hydraulic system. To provide an ideal balance between regenerative and friction braking, brake pedal feel can be provided artificially by either an electric motor, or a pump-driven hydraulic system. Again, we shall investigate these systems in greater depth in the future. Additionally, with no mechanical noise to mask the sound of the brake friction surfaces working against one another, manufacturers have focussed on lining acoustics, as well as developing the friction characteristics to work best at lower temperatures, especially to provide optimum stopping power in emergency stop manoeuvres. Again, we will look at modern lining formulations more closely in a future issue.

Future developments are focussed more on specialised formulations for hybrid and EV applications, as well as making the dust emissions more environmentally-friendly. Pictured is a set of pads to fit the BMW i3, from TRW’s Electric Blue range.

Delphi opens new plant in Poland

Delphi Technologies officially opened its new Electrification & Electronics plant on 2nd September in Blonie, Poland to support growing demand for electrification solutions. The plant will initially produce electronic control units for various vehicle manufacturers, primarily in Europe.

The plant has been designed to support the growth of the European electrification market over the coming years.

“Consistent with our previously announced plans, we have reached an important milestone” said Richard F. Dauch, Chief Executive Officer of Delphi Technologies. “Given our vision to be a pioneer in propulsion technologies, this new site will support our long-term growth and allow us to better serve our customers on their path to electrified vehicles.”


Brake friction servicing remains one of the most popular workshop tasks, but technology has not stood still – Rob Marshall looks at purchasing, fitting and up-selling advice.


Choice is not always the best thing. Aside from practical issues, including reliability of supply from the factor, selecting brake friction components has become almost bewildering, because the market has become saturated. Despite the many options available to garages, Borg & Beck has found that most workshops stick to just one brand. However, it reasons that the typical installer needs to understand the differences between the parts on offer (see our later advice on training) and relate them to the owner/driver, because of the differences in pedal- feel and longevity that may exist between different friction brands that possess different specifications, despite all of them being compliant with mandatory R90 standards. Research is, therefore, key. Delphi agrees and states that it uses over 130 friction ingredients to create 20 friction formulations to tailor braking performance for a particular vehicle application. This compares with some suppliers that, it claims, only offer two friction specifications. MEYLE advises that it can be a positive upsell move to offer customers a choice, instead of restricting them to a single brand, but you will need to be informed enough to advise accordingly. 

Some factors have introduced their own brands, as a means of achieving economies-of-scale and building customer loyalty but, potentially, this courts confusion even further. Euro Car Parts (ECP) told us that it arranged to distribute the Pagid brand exclusively a decade ago, after it was acquired by TMD friction in 2002. Its reasoning was to combine the company’s widespread network and rapid delivery service with Pagid’s OE heritage. The strategy appears to have worked, with ECP reporting that the brand has grown phenomenally, although it is worth adding that the Pagid range extends beyond the friction components alone. 

The final word, however, has to go to Delphi, which advises that, in order to avoid inferior quality products, choose a proven quality brand that has been engineered, manufactured and tested to OE standards. 


Introduced in 1999, the ECE R90 Regulation stipulated that aftermarket brake pads should perform within a 15% tolerance of certain OE test criteria. As of November 2016, the directive was extended to cover brake discs too. ECP highlights that, because braking is a lucrative market, everyone is looking to cash-in and increase revenue, resulting in the ‘OE Quality’ statement being used to indicate that a brand complies with R90 legislation. It warns, “Many customers have started to assume incorrectly that these brands supply components to vehicle manufacturers – that is not the case. A large percentage of the brands within the braking aftermarket do not manufacture components themselves, let alone supply vehicle manufacturers.” 

Supplied to both vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket, Federal-Mogul states that its Ferodo brand meets OE standards at the very least. It reveals that R90 legislation is a minimum standard for braking parts – for example, certain R90-compliant friction parts tend to have a standard type of noise control, or none at all, whereas Ferodo brake pads are designed with OE specific noise control features, such as chamfers and shims. Federal-Mogul reveals also that R90 conformity tests tend to take several hours, whereas OE testing can take six months and include more comprehensive testing that R90 might not consider, such as wet weather performance, temperature sensitivity, wear levels, fade, thermal conductivity, judder, durability and noise. 

You might think, therefore, that only OE suppliers seek to surpass the basic R90 requirements for both discs and pads but this is not the case. The new generation MEYLE-PD range of brake friction components are also intended to perform at a far higher level than the basic ECE certification. Brake pad manufacturer, Comline, has introduced extra test procedures as well, such as hot sheer testing, wear analysis and noise tests, which it describes as R90-Plus. 

Yet, we are not downplaying the role that R90 has in making it harder for sub-standard braking components to enter the UK car parc. All pads and discs that you fit must be supplied in a sealed box, each of which should bear a unique part number, official approval mark and evidence that permits traceability of the production process, such as a date, batch number, or source code. The box should contain fitting instructions in the correct language and the brake discs should be marked with a minimum thickness specification. 


Buying extra parts, or a complete kit that includes accessories, can reduce labour times. Borg & Beck’s brake shoe kits, for example, are preassembled and it claims that you save up to 45 minutes of labour fitting time, compared to assembling and fitting the separate parts. 

Dependent on the application, however, extra parts may be needed and it can be worth enquiring if they need to be ordered separately. Apec reports that braking hardware’s tensile strength reduced by 30-50% over a two-year period, so replacing shims, for example, is a wise idea, even though the old parts do not appear to have anything wrong with them. Meyle told us that 99% of its brake discs range is supplied with a new locating screw, because they tend to corrode to the hub and are unsuitable for reuse. Its MEYLE- PD brake pads kits include ancillary parts, in cases where the company views their replacement as desirable. While Delphi admits that its brake pads are supplied with calliper bolts, fixing screws and wear indicators, where deemed necessary by OE specifications, it supplies fitting kits separately in order to limit the number of part numbers in its range. Borg & Beck highlights that its brake fitting kits include all of the components necessary to complete the tasks, including clips, springs, pins and bolts. 


While coated brake discs have been available for some time, unpainted brake discs are still widespread for older cars, so enquire with your supplier. While there is nothing wrong with unpainted discs (provided that the protective oil film is removed with brake cleaner prior to fitting), the rusting process looks particularly unattractive, if it can be seen through wide alloy wheel spokes – offering a coated alternative may be a useful up-sell for a cherished vehicle. 

Comline told us that coated discs form most of the company’s range, which are salt-spray tested for up to 240 hours to ensure optimum corrosion resistance. This tough coating is resistant to petrol, oil, brake fluid and most wheel cleaners, as well. Borg & Beck says that its water-based zinc and aluminium flake coating on its BECKTEC Brake Discs not only increases the corrosion protection but also enhances the thermal exchange properties of the disc to optimise braking performance. A technician saves time, because coated discs can be fitted straight out of the box, with no cleaning/degreasing being necessary. 

In light of increasing awareness of particulate pollution, affecting watercourses in particular, brake pad manufacturers have strived to eliminate heavy metals (especially copper) from their friction materials. Delphi and Meyle (the latter referencing its MEYLE-PD ‘next generation’ brake pads) told AT that working on reducing pollution and dust formation, while maintaining brake performance, is one of the many ongoing behind-the-scenes challenges that the brake friction industry faces. 

The increased uptake rate of hybrids and EVs, however, has made drivers more aware of brake noise, because the natural sound of the friction materials working together is not masked by the noise of an internal combustion engine. Meyle reports that previously unnoticed sounds can be perceived as disturbing. Therefore, a complaint of excessive brake noise from an EV driver might be entirely normal but latest developments may provide an up-sell opportunity. Delphi advises that selecting a brand with NVH reducing technologies, such as its own, is increasingly important. As the typical driving style is modified to take full advantage of regenerative braking systems on hybrid cars and EVs, Delphi says that advanced corrosion on the braking system changes the wear properties of pads and discs and the aftermarket needs to be aware of the opportunities that this brings. Federal-Mogul adds that brake pads are more prone to glazing under light usage conditions, as well. 

Perhaps the most obvious example of this is ZF’s TRW brand introducing the Electric Blue brake pads for EVs, as pictured. Designed to reduce braking noise, the pads are claimed to produce 45% fewer particulates than conventional pads. The current range covers 97% of the European EV car parc. 


Noise grievances tend to be the commonest issues that damage customer confidence in garages, motor factors and brake component manufacturers. Unless the issue stems from grinding, caused by serious neglect that must be dealt with immediately, most other noises are more annoying than detrimental. Comline’s Dr Keith Ellis, Director of Braking Product Development revealed that: 

“Squeal is caused by vibrations that result from the interaction between a brake disc, brake calliper and brake pad, which tends to be influenced directly by various internal and external factors, including the temperature of the disc, or pad, the ambient temperature in which they are operating, the speed that the vehicle is travelling at and the pressure being exerted under braking.” 

Installing shims to the brake pad back-plate reduces this vibration and, therefore, controls unwanted brake noise. Comline states that there are multiple different shim derivatives available across the aftermarket, with differing levels of quality and performance, which vary between bonded gasket paper and complex laminations, using layers of different materials. For example, while Borg & Beck’s BECKTEC Brake Pads are not only grooved and chamfered to reduce noise, they also possess double rubber shims for anti-rattle and noise suppression qualities. Comline reports that its multi-layer Rubber-Metal- Rubber (RMR) shim construction is particularly effective at controlling unwanted vibrations, when combined with the pads’ noise-abating friction material and pad design. RMR is a standard feature on all new to range Comline brake pads and available on over 500 of the most popular references. 

Therefore, the brake pad’s shape can influence brake noise, too, and is one reason why directional brake pads are becoming more popular. By varying the angle at which the friction material contacts the disc, both noise and vibration can be reduced. Correct installation is crucial. Directional pads being fitted the wrong way round is one of the most common installation errors that Federal-Mogul/Ferodo encounters, for example. This has prompted the company to upload a fitting video ( to its website. Delphi adds that its directional pads use either a letter, indicating which side of the vehicle the pad should be fitted, or an arrow that indicates the rotational direction of the disc and, therefore, the direction in which the pad should be fitted. Consult the fitting instructions, should you identify the pads as being directional, by the presence of a chamfered friction surface, or a crescent cut out of the shim, where no arrow is provided. Incorrectly- installed pads, or not following the correct lubrication advice in the fitting instructions, can cause excessive noise, as might wear in either the disc, or calliper. An interesting method of curing squeal is provided by BG Products. Its Stop Squeal is applied to the pads’ friction material, which reduces the likelihood of the pad and disc sticking and reduces vibration.
It is claimed that braking performance is unaffected by the application. Judder, felt by a pulsing brake pedal under light braking, as well as vibration being detected and even heard, can result not only from a damaged disc but also by incorrect fitting. Apec highlights that not cleaning the hub sufficiently, and garages not performing a run-out check, are two of the most common fitting errors that it encounters. Fitting good quality parts and providing the customer with point-of-sale advice about driving techniques for bedding-in brakes will also help reduce the chance of a dissatisfied customer returning for warranty work. 

Federal-Mogul warns about misdiagnosing the brake pad as the source, when noise could emanate from many other parts, from the wheel bearing to the ball joint. This is more of an issue on newer vehicles, where increased non-braking components are produced from aluminium, which tends to resonate more than steel. 


Federal Mogul advises that it encounters many garages installing new pads but not replacing worn discs. This tends to result in mushy brake pedal feel, increases the risk of noise and hot spots developing on the pad. Yet, when installing new pads and discs together, avoid mix-and-matching parts, because the friction surfaces are designed to work best together for optimum performance, longevity and anti-noise/vibration characteristics. Delphi Technologies, for example, offers an extended warranty only when its pads and discs are installed together. 


For information on APEC’s IMI approved Light Vehicle Manual & Hydraulic Braking Systems, contact its Techmate Team on 01174 288090. Federal Mogul, meanwhile, offers Garage Gurus, a dedicated resource that provides training and technical support. Its ‘Gurus Online’ provides a 24/7 online training portal that encompasses over 30 courses, all of which are completely free of charge. ‘Gurus On-Call’, sees technical specialists provide fast answers for product and diagnostic questions either via telephone or Skype. You can also check-out over 40 on-line tutorial videos on the Garage Guru’s YouTube channel. 

For 2019, Delphi continues to develop its range for newer models especially, to provide garages with an opportunity to repair newer vehicles sooner. It highlights that new components will be supported by its usual comprehensive training and technical support. Comline has extended its range of coated brake discs to cover the Ford Fiesta (2017-onwards), Jaguar F-Pace, XE and post 2015 XF models, the Honda HR-V (from 2015), the current production Hyundai Tucson and the Kia Sportage. 

Meanwhile, Borg & Beck is emphasising its new point-of-sale materials, pictured. Aside from its ‘Brake Disc Installation Best Practice’ poster for the workshop for easy reference, it has added a rear-view mirror hanger in its brake disc boxes to help educate the driver to observe the critical bedding-in processes, such as avoiding heavy braking during the first 400 miles. It also advises that technicians pass on hints about poor driving practice, such as sitting stationary, often after heavy brake applications, with the footbrake applied firmly, which creates hot spots and increases the risk of judder developing. This can be an issue particularly with both automatic transmission vehicles and those featuring ‘Stop:Start’ technology. 

Diagnostic results in a flash

Autotechnician visits BMW & Mercedes specialists Burton Motor Workshop to see how pass-thru diagnostics has affected their business. 

Burton Motor Workshop, a large, independent MOT/repair and used car sales business in Burton-on-Trent, has evolved alongside vehicle technology over the years, with owner Jeremy Scott investing in the latest diagnostic equipment and training for his staff, to ensure they remain competitive with local dealers. When we visit, there are three diagnostic jobs in the workshop where Burton Motors are the second or third garage the vehicle has been to, they often get referrals from other local garages. 

This time last year, they invested in the Delphi DS-Flash Pass- Through package, which enables independents to undertake dealer-level diagnostics and services. It facilitates online access to vehicle manufacturer’s websites, enabling workshops to reprogram and update electronic control units. 

We spoke with technicians Michael Rowland and Carl Atkinson to see how they are getting on with the equipment. 

In a nutshell, what does the DS-Flash package enable you to do? 

Michael Rowland (MR): “The interface enables you to access the dealer – Volkswagen Audi Group, Vauxhall, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover… It comes updated with everything that each particular manufacturer requires to run their Pass-Thru system. First, you have to set up an account with BMW; with VAG you have to get your user ID, get your GeKo license [this allows teaching of engine immobiliser components and keys] to be able to use their software. Once you are up and running, you can use it as a diagnostic tool.” 

Was it easy to set up?

MR: “There is no user manual, as such. It’s a case of playing with it. Every manufacturer is different; how it’s set up, what it allows you to do, what it doesn’t – and it’s down to you to find out what it’s capable of but Delphi’s Technical support team are there to help you get set up.”

What is the benefit of using the DS-Flash over a dealer tool?

MR: “For us, it’s the ability to carry out software updates and code.”

Carl Atkinson (CA): “If you buy the dealer tool on its own, you are restricted to a computer per manufacturer, whereas what Delphi has managed to do is partition the computer.”

MR: “We are a Bosch Car Service garage, I attend regular courses and we bought the KTS 590 to get ready to do it ourselves [perform pass-thru] but each manufacturer wants the computer set up in a different way to the others, so we’d need a laptop that could run Toyota on, one for BMW, VAG and so on. Plus, you need to sit down, figure out what it needs, make the investment on each laptop… With the Delphi machine, although we’ve still got the Delphi interface to hook up to the various VMs, we’ve managed to hook up ICOM to that pass-thru computer, a BMW dealer level interface. Software updates are now a lot faster.”

Have you experienced any problems whilst using it?

CA: “If you are struggling with a connection or there’s something not quite right about the configuration of the computer Delphi has a helpline so you can get the computer back online, so we don’t have to spend days messing about with it. When updating the BMW drivers, as it loaded a Java update onto our system,
it crashed. We would have had to sit down and work our way through that, whereas we could just leave it. We rang the Delphi helpline, they took us through a few items then they took control of the computer and dealt with BMW direct. We wouldn’t have had the time… they were just brilliant.” 

MR: “Two days after calling Delphi, they had BMW Germany involved in it, it was a massive issue. There’s no way Carl and I would have been able to sort that.” 

CA: “We might have moved a bit away from the Flash box for BMW, but that’s our main business. If we were a general workshop, not specialising in BMW, we wouldn’t have invested in ICOM, the BMW interface, it’s just that its quicker for us…. There are some big BMW software update files that can take days.” 

MR: “We use the Flash every day and we can’t afford to be without it for that time.” 

“We’ve got new broadband, it’s about 82 MBPS now and that’s made a massive difference. You really have to have the infrastructure in place.” 

How has the DS-Flash impacted on the business? 

MR: “We specialise in Mercedes, VMW and VAG. We were in limbo… we were sending work elsewhere, we knew pass-thru was the way forward. If you specialise in something, you have to operate at dealer level. Couple of phone calls later, we had a demonstration in the workshop and we knew straightaway that was the one.” 

Is it mainly used for software updates? 

MR: “We mainly use it for BMWs, we tend to get a lot of them. Every manufacturer is different in how they run their online platform tool, but BMW takes a read of all the control units and a full identification. It will generate a fault code list from that and generate test plans. I’ve learnt it can make you lazy. You’ve still got to use your diagnostic process. It will be specific, in the sense that sometimes the CAS (BMW antitheft alarm system) goes out of alignment. I had one where another garage had constantly been starting it, as it was a non-runner. That’s thrown the CAS out of line with the DDE [Digital Diesel Electronics system manages all engine functions in BMW diesel models]. So, it generated the CAS alignment fault code and it instantly took me to realign the CAS and that was all within half hour.” 

CA: “With BMW, once you have a fault code locked, it will give you a test plan and if you follow it, it will ask you to test something and lead you to where that fault lies. These cars are so clever, think how many times your computer will do a Windows or OS update, a car’s the same. A lot of faults can come down to a software issue rather than a physical fault.” 

Can you give us an example of how the DS-Flash was particularly helpful with diagnostics? 

CA “We had a hybrid Lexus in and two cells in the battery were faulty…” 

MR: “It attached a photo of the live data of the battery block that had gone under voltage. You can take it with you and see the live data, so we could pinpoint which cells were dropping out. We just went in, ripped the battery out, ordered a new cell. So that’s one job we’d never have been able to do without that tool. When you think that a battery replacement would have been four grand? Seven? He came to us from the main dealer. The dealers do us a big favour by not doing things quite right!” 

Paul Sinderberry, Delphi Technical Sales Manager, admits it can be a complicated tool to use because you’re accessing VM software and they all differ in their set up but for garages who are already heavily involved in diagnostics, it’s capabilities can prove very lucrative. “Many garages who will buy this product are workshops who are already doing a lot of diagnostics and they want to take their business to the next level – they may be doing diagnostic work for other workshops,” Paul explains. “One of the great things with the DS-Flash and using the OE software is that you get very in-depth diagnostics. When you have to replace a control unit, it normally means a trip to the dealer and dealerships tend to put independent garages to the back of the queue and you have to wait days to get it programmed.”

The DS Flash comes complete with a DS-FLASH VCI, cables, a battery support unit, licence keys and a laptop PC – pre-configured for VAG Group, BMW, General Motors, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Customers get a 12-month support package with the equipment, support via the technical helpline and a full day of training, for anybody that’s maybe not used to vehicle manufacturer software. They can come along, set the accounts up, install the software on the day and get some basic user interface training – how to navigate the websites and the software. It is a complex product and to use it to its full potential you need to understand the ins and outs of it – the training incorporates an overview of what pass-thru is and its capabilities. 

Delphi’s VE2 & VE3 courses ensure technicians are up to speed with the principles of EOBD, ECU communication and CAN protocols. This level of knowledge is essential to ensuring that they get the most out of the DS Flash. 


Understanding how faults affect gas emission levels

Delphi Technologies does not make a song and dance about its technical training and it could perhaps be the firm’s best kept secret! Courses take place at a bespoke facility in Warwick, are open to all and are conducted in small groups of up to six, providing half the content within the classroom and the other in the workshop. Autotechnician was invited to a ‘walk through’ of its Understanding Emissions course, which provides a thorough overview of exhaust gas values and their relationships, catalytic converter operation and diagnosis, and how to interpret emissions values to get to the bottom of engine management faults.

It was a real eye opener and course trainer Jon, who has spent the last 28 years repairing petrol and diesel systems, explained that people assume you don’t need to know the basics anymore since the introduction of the closed loop system, but he insists this is simply not the case, suggesting workshops are not using their emissions analysers to their full potential. Understanding the emission values and the process involved can give clues to problems elsewhere and a quick probe up the exhaust will prove various problems such as misfires and air leaks.

Candidates should have a good understanding of engine management systems and diagnostic procedures and be familiar with a 4-gas analyser. Even if you’ve been in the trade for years, you’re sure to have some knowledge gaps plugged with this one.

A master tech attended this course, having failed the emissions part of his ATA. It took him the full day to get to grips with it all but went on to attain the ATA and confidently fix problems that had been highlighted in the course.

To find out more about its training programme, visit

A cost-effective way to compete against the VM dealer

Launched at Automechanika Birmingham last year, Delphi’s DS-FLASH Pass-Thru package provides independent garages with comprehensive ECU re- programming capability through access to vehicle manufacturer data, without the need for expensive dealer- only tools and software.

The kit is fully compliant with Vehicle Manufacturer programming requirements and comes complete with a DS-FLASH VCI, cables, a battery support unit, licence keys and a laptop PC – pre-configured for VAG Group, BMW, General Motors, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover. Delphi provides support and training not only for the equipment, but for the registration to the VM web portal, as well as installation and use of the VM software.

Customers get a 12-month support package with the equipment, which includes a full day of training and ongoing support via a dedicated technical helpline.

In a nutshell, the DS-FLASH enables you to perform dealer-level diagnostics, download software updates including those for emission-related ECUs, update Digital Service Records and access OE technical data and service schedule information.

Autotechnician spoke to Paul Sinderberry, Delphi’s expert in Vehicle Diagnostics, Digital Service Records and J2534 pass thru, who previously ran his own garage, to get the lowdown on this piece of kit.


“A lot of the garages who will buy this product are workshops who are already doing a lot of diagnostics and they want to take their business to the next step. They may be doing diagnostic work for other workshops locally.”


“One of the great things about the DS-Flash and using the OE software, is that you get very in-depth diagnostics. When you have to replace a control unit, it’s normally a trip to the dealer, and they tend to put independents to the back of the queue and wait several days to get it programmed!”


“It’s proved a very useful tool for certain garages, it’s not for everyone. It’s quite a complicated tool to use because you’re using VM software. But then workshops have got access to our technical support helpline, so when they do get stuck, our technical guys can help set their VM accounts up.”


Depends on the calibration file size, the number of files and ECUs to reprogram – the latest vehicles can be as fast as a couple of minutes, vehicles with a lot of data to download can take hours. A stable high- speed connection is recommended via a hardwired PC, rather than WiFi.

Best practice advice to minimise the potential for brake noise

Brake noise can be one of the first signs that something is wrong with the braking system. Delphi Technologies provides a guide to brake noise, its causes and how you can resolve it.

Sound is vibration and these vibrations set the air around them in motion creating a sound wave. The pitch of the noise is determined by the speed of the vibration. The same rules apply when it comes to brake noise. All braking components vibrate to some extent, creating noise. For the most part, this noise is not detectable by the human ear but when this vibration increases in intensity, or induces a secondary vibration in another part, the brake disc acts like a speaker, amplifying the noise and making the vibration audible.

Brake noise can be caused by a variety of component or installation issues, including: excessive corrosion, seized or bent location pins, partially seized calipers, built up dirt and brake dust, excessive runout, Disc Thickness Variation (DTV) and worn brake discs. All of these can cause vibration between the disc and the brake pad, creating noise. Whilst the braking system is the most common cause, noise can also be created when the motion in braking creates movement in another part, typically steering components and motor/transmission mounts.

Delphi suggests carefully checking the entire brake system during a service, especially the pads, as they can provide a good indication of the system’s condition. Examples of this could be tapered wear on the pads, suggesting a faulty caliper or a damaged back plate, which could be the result of excessive force during installation.

In recent years, demands for higher performance and reduced weight in modern vehicles have led to material changes, resulting in increased use of supplementary processes to counteract vibrations. One of the most effective ways to help prevent brake noise however, is to only use OE-quality brake pads, as poor standard pads are one of the biggest contributors to noise.

Unlike other replacement parts manufacturers, every Delphi brake pad incorporates an OE underlayer technology. The 3mm layer of modified noise-absorbing friction material significantly reduces noise, as well as acting as a thermal insulator and ensuring a stronger pad. Delphi Technologies offer two technical training courses on the fundamentals of braking. The first is a one-day course aimed at technicians who want to focus on modern braking systems repair and servicing – gaining insight into the operation of systems and legal requirements. The second training programme is also a one-day course looking at the in-depth systems used in automated braking and the diagnosis of braking systems.

For more information on Delphi’s training offering, call: 02038 161 400.


  • Ensure that all corrosion, built up dirt and brake dust is removed from the caliper.
  • Always clean exposed caliper piston surfaces before retracting the pistons. Ease piston retraction by opening the bleed nipple. Retract piston(s) with a suitable tool. Never lever against the disc friction face.
  • Thoroughly clean pad contact points in the caliper and lightly smear with brake grease.
  • Check pistons, seals, boots and sliding elements on the caliper to ensure they are free from damage and corrosion and able to slide.
  • Replace all anti-rattle clips, springs and pins, which can lose their spring tempering due to the high brake heat.
  • Always check the disc for minimum thickness, DTV and runout when fitting new pads.
  • Always check that the correct pads are used and they’re positioned correctly in the caliper. They should fit freely in the brackets to avoid ongoing contact with the discs.
  • Never use clamps on brake hoses. Hoses contain multiple layers of braiding which give them their structural strength. The hose may become damaged or crushed, leading to hydraulic issues such as blockage or fluid leaks.
  • Never use mineral oil based lubricants on parts with rubber seals, this will cause the seals to swell.