IMAGINE two company car drivers, each driving an Audi A4 2.0 FSI. Driver one is mainly based in and around the M25. His typical day involves lots of short urban journeys, stop-start driving and traffic jams. Driver two, on the other hand, has a much larger geographic area to cover in the North of England. The majority of his driving is on motorway, with the occasional cross-country trip on A-roads.
Is it likely that each A4 would show the same patterns of oil, filter and brake pad wear? Does it make sense to service both cars at the same mileage intervals, regardless of the kind of miles that each has been covering? Evidently not, which is why all Audi cars from Model Year 2000 (with the exception of the Audi Cabriolet, a small number of year 2000 A6s and A8s and 2001 model year diesel engines) have featured Audi's innovative Audi Variable Servicing system.
Prior to the 2000 model year, almost all Audis followed a traditional service schedule, similar to that of other major motor manufacturers: a lubrication service every 10,000 miles and an inspection service every 12 months or 20,000 miles, whichever occurred sooner. Now with AVS there is no fixed schedule. In fact the interval can range from 9,000 miles to 30,000, offering fleet managers a considerable saving in time, administration and, most importantly, cost.
With AVS, on-board sensors continuously monitor the condition of the engine oil in terms of temperature, level & oil degradation.
The monitoring systems also check mileage covered, brake pad wear, battery condition and mileage covered. Using this information, the car's on-board computer calculates its own maintenance interval, providing the driver with ample warning of a service due via the 'distance to service' display.
In practice, this means that each Audi gets the maintenance it needs, when it needs it. Audi owners don't have to fit their working lives around traditional fixed service intervals, because there is no predetermined mileage for a service. Depending on how – and where - the individual drives, the interval can be up to 19,000 miles/24 months for petrol engines, up to 22,000 miles/24 months for the V6 TDI diesel and up to 30,000 miles/24 months for 3 and 4 cylinder TDI diesel engines.
For companies, the advantages of AVS are manifold. Longer service intervals mean lower maintenance costs, and thus lower whole-life costs. They also bring further, 'hidden' savings: each hour that a company car is off the road also usually affects the working day and thus the productivity of its user.
To prove the point, Audi has monitored the mileage returns up to the vehicle's first service through its own company car fleet since the inception of AVS and have been delighted with the results. Typically, petrol engines are achieving an average of at least 17,500 miles and diesel engines over 20,000 between services, with the accompanying cost benefits that the reduction in service visits brings.
It's a win-win scenario; the driver suffers less interruption to his or her working day, whilst maintenance controllers have less paperwork to issue and fewer invoices to check. The leasing industry has also been keeping a watchful eye on the cost implications of AVS, and its findings confirm that those companies who are able to extract detailed data from their maintenance systems endorse the benefits of AVS.
One of the key components of the AVS system is the engineering and technology of Audi engines including areas such as precise machining of components, honing of cylinder bores and closer bearing tolerances.
This is allied with the use of advanced formulation Long Life oils such as Castrol SLX OW30 Long Life 2., which have been specially formulated for Audi.
This new generation of ultra high-grade synthetic oils is designed to withstand ageing and high loads without deterioration. Using ordinary high quality multigrade oil will not cause any engine damage but it will defeat the object of the new AVS technology and will mean that a service will be needed at fixed 10,000 mile intervals. In addition, compared with conventional oils, Long Life oils give exceptional levels of engine protection, are kinder to the environment and deliver fuel savings.
AVS is able to offer a reduced impact on the environment thanks to the reduction in the amount of filters and waste oil that have to be disposed of. The specially developed AVS Long Life oil helps the environment in another way too, by reducing fuel consumption. Tests confirm that running an Audi on AVS reduces fuel consumption by an average of 2.7%, a worthwhile saving, especially when multiplied across a large fleet. AVS has become widely accepted within the leasing industry and all major SMR providers now reflect AVS within their software products.
And our hypothetical two Audi drivers? Thanks to AVS, each A4 will get the maintenance it needs, only when it needs it. And more importantly, each A4 will continue to perform exactly as an Audi should: reliably, economically and enjoyably.