Category Archives: Comma

Understand Turbochargers – A Comma TechTalk

Turbochargers – What do they do?

In simple terms, a turbocharger is a turbine-driven forced induction device that uses engine exhaust gas (free energy that would otherwise go to waste) to breathe more air into the combustion chamber, providing a more efficient engine operation.

Although in the past turbochargers were used mostly in high performance applications, nowadays they are becoming significantly more common across the whole passenger vehicle market simply because of the benefits they bring when it comes to meeting the challenging EURO environmental regulations.

How common are they in modern vehicles?

According to BTN Turbo, today 49% of cars on the road are turbocharged and this is rapidly increasing due the growth of turbocharged petrol applications.

What challenges do turbochargers present in terms of lubrication?

Turbochargers present some unique challenges when it comes to lubrication because of the extreme conditions under which they operate. In a modern application an engine oil needs to do the same tough job of lubricating a turbocharger but it needs to do it for longer, with less of it circulating around the engine and with limits on the amount of additives that can be used in the formulations.

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BTN state that the great majority of turbocharger failures are a result of a lubrication fault of some kind.

In fact, turbochargers are very reliable: less than 1% of turbochargers fail due to a manufacturing fault with the turbo itself.

Nevertheless, the design of any turbo relies on the central spindle to be supported on a very thin lm of oil and when that protective layer breaks down it takes only seconds for damage to occur, the result being a rapid increase in temperature and wear at the spindle or journal bearings which can quite quickly cause failure. Research by BTN Turbo suggests, 95% of turbocharger failures are caused by a lubrication related issue, particularly oil contamination and oil starvation.

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Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 16.58.50A good preventive maintenance measure to keep turbochargers in good working order is making sure the system
is kept, as much as possible, free from carbon deposits and sludge. It is also vital to clean the lubrication system thoroughly before tting a new turbo. If the wrong oil or a poor quality oil has been used, a complete flush will help by removing harmful contaminants and will also inhibit the build-up of harmful deposits in the future.

How can I make sure I get it right?

The safest way to select the right engine oil is to use Comma’s application tool at Here you will find product recommendations with our 100% compatibility guarantee for engine oil and antifreeze & coolant for European vehicles going back over 30 years. It also covers brake fluid, transmission and power steering fluid recommendations.

Or download the ‘Comma Oil Finder’ app from Google Play and the App Store


Introducing Comma’s Professional Partner Programme in Ireland

An online portal designed to support workshop customers & drive sales back to you

Comma’s Professional Partner Programme (PPP) was established nearly 20 years ago with a very simple goal – to support workshop technicians and drive sales back to Comma distributors.

Now the password-protected portal is available for workshop technicians located in Ireland too! Providing your workshops with great benefits:

– Application – Guaranteed application data with technical messages accessible through the website or mobile app

–  Training – Monthly TechTalk bulletins and technical, industry and business related training modules

– Competitions – Free monthly prize draws and competitions

– Points – collect points for using the portal and redeem against Comma merchandise and premium gifts

Watch the video below for all the PPP benefits:

Comma PPP Animation from Netro42 on Vimeo.

Demo the PPP portal  for yourself using the log in details below:


Password: commappp

Brake Fluid – Changing technologies

Brake fluids are becoming more complicated. Why is this?

Vehicle technology has moved on and nowadays the modern passenger car weighs more, accelerates harder and travels substantially faster than its older counterpart. It therefore requires substantially more braking force to bring modern vehicles to a stop. Combined with complex, computer controlled functions such as ABS and ESP, the higher weight and faster speed of modern vehicles makes modern brake systems considerably more demanding on brake fluid than they ever were. Modern vehicles therefore need modern, high performance brake fluids in order to keep them braking effectively and safely.

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Which brake fluid do I need for my car?

There are a range of products to meet the demands of modern vehicles. Synthetic fluids, based on polyalkylene glycol (PAG), are the most common type (DOT3, DOT4, DOT 4 ESP and DOT 5.1). They are compatible with one another and therefore can be mixed however, as with oil and coolant, you should always comply with the manufacturers’ specifications for the intended vehicle as using the wrong fluid can seriously compromise braking performance.

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Are there any other types of brake fluid?

As well as synthetic PAG-based products there are other types of brake fluid. Mineral oil based products (Comma’s LHM+) have been used in the combined hydraulic systems of Citroën’s for years. They are designed specifically for this type of application and are not suitable for use where DOT type products are specified. The final type of brake fluid is rather confusingly called DOT 5.0 but it should not be confused with the other DOT speci ed brake uids as it is completely different technology. DOT 5.0 is a silicone- based product designed for specialist applications and is therefore not currently required as part of the Comma range. It is not compatible with any other type of brake fluid and is not recommended for conventional applications. It’s very important that you do not mix these fluids with each other or with the synthetic, DOT type fluids. They aren’t compatible and can cause significant damage to braking systems, to the seals particularly, if used in the wrong application.

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I’ve heard that brake fluid is hygroscopic. What does that mean?

Brake fluid is hygroscopic which means that it absorbs water from the air around it hence why you are always advised to start each new brake fluid change with an unopened container of brake fluid.

However, absorbing water is part of the brake fluid’s function. By keeping water locked in tight it stops it from pooling in the lower areas of a braking system. This helps to maintain hydraulic pressure, protects against corrosion and maintains the viscosity of the fluid (i.e. it keeps it doing its job). The downside is that as the brake fluid absorbs water its boiling point drops and eventually brake fluid will absorb enough water such that the boiling point becomes dangerously low. This is more or less how the service life of brake fluid is defined.

The Brake Fluid Test

Comma did some testing of their own with a brake fluid tester and the results were quite astonishing. We tested around 750 vehicles and of those approximately 33% were measured at below the 180°C minimum. One was as low as 100°C which is the boiling point of pure water! The risks associated with driving a vehicle with faulty brake fluid are self-evident and compelling. It’s simply not enough to change brake fluid
at the same time as faulty discs or pads. Like engine oil or coolant, brake fluid should be changed at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals and at any time in between if it is found to be faulty with a brake fluid boiling point tester.

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When do I need to change the brake fluid?

As the brakes start to heat up temperature of water-contaminated brake uid approaches and eventually exceeds its boiling point and this causes vapour bubbles to appear. This vapour is very compressible and absorbs large amounts of the force applied to the brake pedal before it ever reaches the calipers, thus making the brakes feel spongy. As the brake fluid gets older, it will continue to absorb more and more water such that the boiling point becomes dangerously low, and so, given the above information, manufacturers always recommend a change of brake fluid at a particular interval (typically between 1 and 2 years).

How do I select the right Brake Fluid?

To make this increasingly complicated choice a lot easier you can use the Comma Application Guide or our website where you can select your vehicle using the VRN (Vehicle Registration Number) tool or by using the make and model search. You will then be presented with a printable full vehicle recommended product report including engine oil, antifreeze & coolant, transmission oils, brake fluid and greases if applicable.

5 stars for the ‘Comma Oil Finder’ app

Instant product application on your mobile device.

Comma’s new app, designed to provide workshops with a quick and easy way to look up recommended products, has received a 5 star rating on the App store and on Google Play.

Users have described the app online as “easy to use” and a “must have for any workshop*.”

‘Comma Oil Finder’ prompts you to take a photograph of a vehicle’s licence plate, then automatically recommends the most suitable Comma products for that vehicle, as well as available pack sizes.

The app also gives access to enhanced information about a vehicle’s MOT and road tax status, which allows you to learn more about the vehicle’s history.

Have you downloaded the app yet? Download from the ‘App Store’ or ‘Google Play’ today.

Follow this link: Comma Oil Finder Tutorial to see how it works.

The EU emission standards – Tech Talk from Comma Oil

What are the EURO emission standards?

The EURO emission standards define the acceptable levels for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in EU member states. These standards are generally accepted to be the single most important driver to technology changes in the automotive industry. Currently, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), total hydrocarbons (THC), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM) are regulated for most vehicle types, including passenger and commercial vehicles. For each vehicle type different standards apply.

What’s the current standard?

EURO I was introduced in 1993 and since then increasingly demanding standards have been progressively released. We are currently at Euro 6 which when compared to EURO 3 has resulted in around a 90% reduction in the key categories for diesel engines and
about a 60% reduction in the key areas for petrol engines. Euro 6 present some substantial challenges particularly for diesel engines
in commercial vehicles as well as passenger vehicles. This has significant implications for emissions control technologies, requiring the integration of emission control aftertreatment for Particulates (PM), such as DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filters) and NOx emissions, such as CATs (Catalytic Converters) and SCRs (Selective Catalytic Reduction with AdBlue).

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What are the consequences of the increasingly demanding EURO standards?

Tougher regulations are forcing manufacturers to continuously improve the fuel economy of their engines, to produce less oil waste and, most importantly, to reduce emissions across their vehicle range. The EURO emission standards are the main driver for automotive technology for both passenger and commercial vehicles. To meet these increasingly demanding regulations, manufacturers are having to improve their engines by introducing new components like EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) valves, turbochargers and exhaust after treatment systems. These changes result in much more complicated and variable engine configurations which in turn can lead to quite different requirements for engine oil.

Turbochargers are nowadays quite common on both diesel and petrol passenger vehicles, why is this?Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 12.13.27

That’s simply because of the benefits they bring when it comes to meeting those challenging environmental regulations. All diesel cars manufactured today are turbocharged and according to statistics provided by BTN turbo, around 30% of petrol vehicles were fitted with a turbocharger by the end of 2012 and overall 70% of the market will be turbocharged by 2020.

However, turbochargers present some unique challenges when it comes to lubrication because of the extreme conditions under which they operate. According to turbocharger experts BTN Turbo, 95% of turbocharger failure is caused by a lubrication fault of some kind.

Can engine oil contribute to catalytic converter (CAT) or diesel particulate filter (DPF) damage?Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 12.13.53

Exhaust after treatment systems like DPFs or CATs are very sensitive and expensive components that can be damaged if the right Low SAPS (Low Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur) oil is not used. SCR systems can also be damaged by excessive levels of Phosphorous.

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Hydraulic fluid: functions, systems & application

Hydraulic systems

The components which make up a hydraulic system are essentially the same, regardless ofScreen Shot 2017-03-02 at 10.59.02
the application. There is a hydraulic fluid reservoir, a pump to force the fluid through the system, an electric motor or other power source to drive the pump and valves that control the direction of flow, pressure and flow rate. Then, actuators are employed to convert the energy of the fluid into mechanical force or torque to do the useful work. Actuators can be either cylinders to provide linear motion or motors for rotary motion. Finally, all the components are connected by pipes and hoses to convey the fluid from one location to another.

Hydraulic fluid main functions and applications

The primary function of any hydraulic uid is to transfer power throughout a hydraulic system.

The hydraulic fluid also acts as the lubricant of all moving parts (e.g. cylinders and pumps) of the system and protects it against corrosion. Compatibility with seals and hoses is also a major issue with hydraulic fluids, as different systems have completely different requirements.

Hydraulic systems that can be found in a vehicle include (amongst others) certain power steering systems, stability control, traction control, hydraulic clutches, hydraulic systems on convertibles and some central locking mechanisms however, different applications make completely different demands on the fluids. Fluids for hydraulic systems are selected per several operating conditions such as load, speed, temperature, as well as any special requirements for the type of end use application of the specific hydraulic system.

What is hydraulic fluid made of?

Hydraulic uid formulations vary greatly with speci cation however, a typical formulation includes a base oil (mineral or synthetic based) and an additive package. The additive package typically includes anti-oxidants, anti-wear and anti-foam agents, emulsifiers/demulsifiers, corrosion inhibitors and viscosity-index improvers that are used to enhance properties such as resistance to oxidation, air release, thermal stability, anti-corrosion, extreme pressure, anti-wear and ltration performance.

Comma LDS Fluid

Following a strategy of vehicle parc coverage increase for hydraulic applications, the new Comma LDS Fluid has been introduced. This product is currently suitable for approximately 1.3M vehicles in the UK.

This fully synthetic formulated product is recommended for all applications requiring the PSA S71 2710 specification. Originally developed for use in the Citroën C5 Hydractive 3+ suspension system, it is also specified for use in power steering, stability control, hydraulic clutches, hydraulic systems on convertibles and some central locking mechanisms of PSA group vehicles (Peugeot, Citroën and DS) and vehicles using PSA Group components such as certain SsangYong and Toyota models.

Comma LHM +

Comma LHM + is an advanced mineral based product which has been used in the combined hydraulic systems of Citroens for years. It meets ISO 7308 and Citroen B71 2710 and is compatible with other LHM and LHM Plus uids meeting Citroen B712710. It is also suitable for certain Peugeot, Rolls Royce & Bentley models.


Comma MVCHF is a special synthetic oil based hydraulic fluid suitable for power steering, central hydraulic and suspension level control systems which require CHF11S* and CHF202*.

It is also suitable for certain stability and traction control systems, hydrostatically driven fans, generators and air conditioning units, control of convertible car top covers and central locking systems requiring any of the specifications listed below:

VW/Audi G 002 000/TL52146; BMW; Opel B040.0070; MB 345.00; Porsche; MAN 3623/93 CHF11S; ISO 7308; DIN 51 524T2

Understanding base oils & the importance of top quality suppliers

Base Oil Types

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 15.07.56The main component of any engine oil is base oil and all engine oils are classified as either mineral, semi-synthetic or fully synthetic depending on the type of base oil used (Figure 1).

Engine oils classified as mineral use base oils that are separated from crude oil by conventional solvent refining and are themselves defined as ‘Mineral’. Engine oils classified as fully synthetic use so called ‘Synthetic’ base oils that are produced via a series of chemical reactions which tailor their properties to give a much higher level of base performance than mineral oils. An engine oil that is classified as semi synthetic is made from a blend of mineral and synthetic base oils in varying proportions and in performance terms ts somewhere between mineral and fully synthetic.

 The American Petroleum Institute (API) has categorized base oils into five categories. The first three groups are refined from petroleum crude oil. Group IV base oils are PAO (polyalphaole n) oils. Group V is for all other base oils not included in Groups I through IV. Before all the additives are added to the mixture, engine oils begin as one or more of these five API groups.

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How much base oil is used in the final product?

Typically, base oil accounts for between 60-90% of common passenger vehicle engine oil, with the rest being made up of additives like viscosity improvers, detergents, dispersants etc. – which are tailored to different manufacturers engine requirements. The quality of the base stocks used has therefore a tremendous impact on the quality of the finished product.

Top quality raw materials suppliers

For Comma customers to always be sure of the quality of the products, Comma invests in stable, consistent long-term supply relationships with top quality raw materials suppliers — of course there are often cheaper, lesser quality alternatives available from different sources at different times from different markets. Inferior or variable quality can lead to performance and mechanical failures, which is bad news for motorists, whoever installs the products and the distributors that supply them.

Comma’s suppliers offer absolute quality, consistency and continuity of supply through long standing agreements for supply of base oils and chemicals.

What do you mean by “Inferior or variable quality” base stocks?

Typically, Group II base oils are superior to Group I. With an increase in performance in mind, Comma’s mineral and semi synthetic oils moved from Group I to Group II. The table below (Fig.3) shows the key performance areas.

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I hear “Russian base stocks” are poor quality. Why is that?

Many Russian base oils have not been approved by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to provide satisfactory performance. These oils, and indeed all unapproved oils, can offer significantly lower performance compared to those used by Comma. The table below (Fig.4) gives comparisons for other base oil performance areas, between non-approved, low quality, Russian base oils and those used by Comma.

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How to Improve Your KTS Diagnostic Capabilities. Part 8: Understanding the built-in multimeter and oscilloscope.

KTS Diagnostic Made ‘ESI’ from Robert Bosch

This regular series of technical articles from Bosch focuses on how to get the best out  of its ESI[tronic] 2.0 software, which is used in conjunction with the KTS range of diagnostic tools for vehicle fault diagnosis and service function procedures.

In this month’s issue we’re going to introduce you to the added benefit of vehicle diagnosis, using the built-inmulti-meter or oscilloscope functions included in the KTS Vehicle Communication Interface (VCI), in conjunction with the serial diagnostic capabilities of the Bosch ESI 2.0 program.

Many technicians consider a graphing multi-meter or oscilloscope an extra investment, along with all of the other equipment required to effectively work on modern cars today. The good news is that if you own a Bosch KTS 540, then it already has a single channel multi-meter included and our flagship tool – the KTS 570 – features a two channel multi-meter or oscilloscope which is all ready for you to use (see Fig 1).


The kit contains high quality colour-coded test cables and probes, which use standard 4mm ‘banana’ type connectors. As we all know, often a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) will only give a guide to the general area of a system that is suspected  to be faulty or out of range. Once a DTC is read from the error memory of a control unit, a good fault finding process is required to test the suspected component and its associated electrical circuit. In Bosch ESI 2.0, there are many Service Information System (SIS) repair instructions linked to an error memory code that will suggest a direct measurement needs to be made of the voltage supply, earth path, or signal/command wire or component resistance in the system (see Fig 2).


These values can be tested using the Bosch KTS multi-meter or oscilloscope, along with ‘guided’ fault finding instructions and technical data through ESI 2.0. This will  give you confidence in your results and should certainly lead to an improved first time fix rate of your customers’ vehicles.

For this article, we’ll concentrate on the multi-meter and scope functions of the KTS 570. Please remember that if you have a KTS 540, there is no scope capability built into the VCI. For technicians that use a separate oscilloscope – such as the Bosch FSA 500 or FSA 720/740 series – then the KTS 540 is
perfectly suitable for multi-meter use.

The KTS multi-meter functions

We’ll first take a look at the Bosch KTS multi-meter functions that can be used alongside the ESI 2.0 vehicle diagnostic program. When the multi-meter is accessed via the main menu (see Fig 3) a new window will appear on-screen with the multi-meter display and measurement selection options.


Now you can overlay the multi-meter results screen over ESI 2.0 and see the serial diagnostic data and direct measurements side by side (see Fig 4).


The test results will be wirelessly displayed on your PC screen, with the measurements taken by the probes attached to the KTS VCI which is connected to the vehicle (see Fig 5).


The readings can be shown in a numerical form, with a useful bar graph, or in a graphing trace format, with up to a minute across the screen. This gives the user more convenience, depending on the measurements being taken. Another great feature is that, just like the actual value time profile display in ESI 2.0, the multi-meter graph can be paused, reviewed, saved and printed (if necessary) for reference (see Fig 6), showing battery voltage and current upon starting the engine.


For voltage and current readings, we have the choice of DC, AC or EFF (root mean square) settings on both channels and resistance measuring up to 1 M Ω on channel 1. You can connect a Bosch amps clamp with adaptor for non-intrusive current measurements to be displayed on screen. A really useful additional feature of the KTS multi-meter is the circuit break and short circuit function, which you can configure to emit an audible warning signal when you conduct a wiggle test on the suspect harness to help you find wiring faults along a loom.

The KTS oscilloscope

Now we’ll look at our Bosch KTS 570 two channel oscilloscope functions that can be used for even greater in-depth testing of electrical systems and components. The beauty of using an oscilloscope is that it opens up a whole new dimension of system diagnosis by presenting to the user an accurate graphical representation of voltage over time. This means you can see in detail what is actually happening in an electrical circuit in real time. Fig 7 shows a PD injector and crankshaft sensor signal.


Opened from the main menu, the oscilloscope screen can be viewed alongside the ESI 2.0 program and offers many customisable settings that enable you to effectively capture and display the test results you need. Trigger points can be set to be sure that signal recording starts where you want it to and waveform display options can be used to get the best results. There are too many options to describe them all here, but if you hover your cursor over any icon or soft key a ‘tool tip’ pops up with a description (see Fig 8).


The time base for both channels can be set between 50 micro seconds and 1 second across the screen. The safe continuous input voltage to the VCI is a maximum of 60V and the scale of measurement in voltage can display from 100mV (10mV/division) up to 200V (20V/div) up the screen. In the current
measurement, the amps scale can be selected between 30A and 1,000A. If you pause the scope recording the buffer memory holds the previous 25 screen captures, which can be scrolled through and reviewed. This is essential if you’re searching for an intermittent fault.

If only a single channel measurement is required then the blue and yellow cables can be used for potential free testing when the black earth cable is connected to channel two. This set-up can be particularly useful for testing both signal wires of an inductive speed sensor, for example.

When a signal is being collected, the ESI 2.0 oscilloscope software automatically starts to calculate the specific signal on/off times and frequency of the waveform, if it is a repeated signal such as a Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) duty cycle. This is really useful if you’re checking the command signal
to a component, such as a radiator fan control module (as shown in Fig 9).


Another great feature of the scope is the ability to choose the channel option for signal  acquisition via the coloured test cables connected to the channel inputs of the VCI.

Additionally, you can switch to the ‘PIN’ input option, where the signal will be taken rom the communication pins of the 16 pin OBD socket that will already be connected to the car. The earth pins 4 and 5 and power supply pin 16 are not available to scope this way but any of the other pins are  (depending on the vehicle configuration). For example, a single wire ‘K’ line on pin 7 or a CAN Bus
signal on the traditional pins of 3 & 11 or 6 & 14 could be ‘internally’ tested (as seen in Fig 10). This can be a very quick and easy way to investigate if any control unit communication problems occur.


What are you waiting for?

If you use a Bosch KTS 570 and haven’t tried oscilloscope testing, then we highly recommend that you give it go. This article is intended as a brief overview of the multimeter and scope capabilities within Bosch KTS as, in reality, we could write a whole book on the subject!

The Bosch Automotive training course ‘WTE1 operation of Bosch KTS’ covers an introduction to the in-built multi-meter and scope functions and is a great way to get some experience under your belt. For those looking to step things up a level, the Bosch ‘VSTD9 Oscilloscope Operation and Signal Test Methods’ training course goes into greater detail of oscilloscope testing and waveform analysis.

Lower Viscosity – COMMA Tech Talk

Fuel Economy

Vehicle technology has changed dramatically in recent years driven by the introduction of increasingly demanding environmental legislation. Tougher regulations are forcing manufacturers to continually improve fuel economy, reduce harmful exhaust emissions and reduce oil waste across their vehicle range.

Choosing the right type of engine oil is one way to make an engine more fuel efficient. Lower viscosity oils combined with high performance additives significantly reduce the friction between engine components making them the best choice for fuel economy.


Lower Viscosity

Fig 1 – The move towards lower viscosity engine oils

This is one reason why many manufacturers are recommending fully synthetic 5W30s, 5W20s, 0W30s and even 0W20s for their newer vehicles and is also an example of how the different demands of the manufacturer has led to multiple products of the same viscosity and whilst we do our best to try and combine these specifications its virtually impossible to combine the requirements of every manufacturer into a single, cost effective product.


Latest Additions

Although 5W30 is still the most common fuel economy engine oil grade, vehicle manufacturers are now looking to take fuel economy a step further by developing even thinner oils grades, with 0W30, 5W20 and 0W20 viscosities becoming the preference for the most recent formulation developments.

Following its strategy to maximise the UK vehicle park coverage, Comma has recently introduced Eco-P 0W30 (for the latest PSA petrol and diesel engines), Eco-FE 0W30 (for new Ford TDCi DuraTorq engines (1.5, 1.6 & 2.0)) and Eco-V 0W20 (for the latest Volvo engines with VEA (Volvo Engine Architecture) Drive-E Powertrain), formulated to meet the very latest and highest vehicle manufacturer requirements. When added to the pre-existing Performance Motor Oil products, Comma can now o er up to to 99% UK vehicle parc coverage.


How do I know which product to use on which car?

The safest way to make product recommendations is to use one of Comma’s application tools. At you will find product recommendations with 100% compatibility guarantee
for engine oil and antifreeze & coolant for virtually every European vehicle going back over 30yrs, including system capacities and recommended service intervals. It also covers brake fluid, gear oil and power steering fluid should you find you need some help with those as well.It also covers brake fluid, transmission and power steering fluid recommendations.

Confidence Comes from Within

Different types of gearboxes require different oils

Not using the right product can cause serious performance issues and even render the vehicle undriveable as different gearbox technologies have different lubrication requirements. CVTs (Continuously Variable Transmissions) and DCTs (Dual-clutch transmissions) are becoming more common in the vehicle parc (approximately 9% in total) and present some challenging requirements when it comes to gearbox oils, as well as interesting servicing opportunities.

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmissions)screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-09-02-19

In a CVT, conventional gears are replaced by two variable size drums and a drive belt or chain. The belt or chain runs in a groove formed between the sides of each drum. The diameter of each drum is controlled by the transmission computer through the action of hydraulic cylinders, applying or reducing oil pressure to the movable part of each drum. When one pulley increases its radius, the other decreases its radius to keep the belt tight. As the two pulleys change their radius relative to one another, they create an in nite number of gear ratios, from low to high and everything in between. Thus, in theory, a CVT has an in nite number of “gears” that it can run through at any time, at any engine or vehicle speed. The efficiency and durability of the pulley system used in CVTs depends on the system’s friction performance. Also, some of these transmission systems do not use a conventional clutch but instead use a torque converter, just like the conventional automatic gearbox.

CVT transmissions account for approximately 6% of the UK vehicle parc with the average sump size being 5.5 litres (this is compared to an average of 3 litres for manual transmissions and 6 litres for a conventional automatic). The CVT fluid must be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommended service interval and anytime it is found to be faulty (periodic checks should be performed to make sure that the CVT is kept in good working order).

DCT (Dual Clutch Transmissions)

A dual-clutch transmission, or a DCT, is a type of semi-automatic automotive transmission. It uses two separate clutches for odd and even gear sets. It can fundamentally be described as two separate manual transmissions (with their respective clutches) contained within one housing, and working as one unit.

There are two fundamental types of clutches utilised in dual-clutch transmissions: either two wet multi-plate clutches which are bathed in oil, or two dry single-plate clutches. In terms of lubrication, the “dry” conventional type requires conventional manual gearbox oil, however, the “wet” type has some extra requirements for oil so that the oil does not in influence the friction characteristics of the clutch which can cause the clutch to slip and ultimately, to not work at all.

DCT transmissions account for approximately 3% of the UK vehicle parc and the average sump size is of 6.4 litres (the manual transmission average is 3 litres with the conventional automatic average being 6 litres). The DCT uid must be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommended service interval and anytime it is found to be faulty (periodical checks should be performed), to make sure that the DCT is kept in good working order.


What happens if I don’t use the right product?

Not using the right product can cause serious performance issues and even render the vehicle undriveable as different gearboxes have different lubrication requirements. Remember, gear oils come with industry/manufacturer’s specifications and not using a product that meets the requirements can void warranties.

How to get it right?

To make this increasingly complicated choice a lot easier, you can use the VRN lookup facility or make and model function at You will then be presented with a printable full vehicle product report including engine oil, antifreeze & coolant, transmission oils, brake fluid and greases, if applicable.