Public Road Simulation for Lubricant Testing

At a glance

Millbrook can offer manufacturers of vehicle fuels and lubricants confidence about the performance their products will provide under real-world driving conditions.

See fuels and lubricants brochure

Car on the High Speed Circuit at Millbrook Proving Ground
Truck on the Hill Route (aka the alpine circuit) at Millbrook Proving Ground

Instead of collecting data on public roads, facing variable traffic conditions, driver availability, time and distance between specific traffic and road conditions, and risks associated with vehicle failures, Millbrook uses its proving ground in the UK to provide 1:1 comparison to real world driving. This enables it to generate accurate data in a safer and more efficient, repeatable and cost-effective way.

Millbrook Proving Ground car test tracks aerial view

A manufacturer of vehicle lubricants approached Millbrook with a requirement to test more than 20 vehicles from various manufacturers using a new engine oil. The condition of each vehicle’s engine, lubricant and the vehicle’s emissions were monitored throughout normal vehicle use for a set distance to provide the manufacturer with data to assess the performance of the lubricant.

Vehicles were tested simultaneously, using a drive cycle developed by Millbrook to replicate a high variety of public road scenarios the vehicles would encounter in real life. These included, city driving, rush-hour conditions, A and B roads, gradients, and motorway and autobahn routes. As well as a variety of individual driving styles.

A variety of test surfaces and routes were defined by Millbrook as part of the lubricant testing method, driven at different speeds to replicate normal vehicle usage. Vehicles were operated at a variety of weights, to provide the full range of vehicle inputs and excitations in order to fully replicate the life of the vehicle and powertrain systems as would be experience on public roads. Vehicles underwent a detailed inspection and assessment prior to testing and periodic, detailed engineering assessments, measurements and inspections throughout.

Millbrook conducted vehicle emissions tests at key intervals using laboratory facilities to ensure repeatable test measurements. Samples of the engine lubricant were taken at specified intervals and provided to the customer for analysis.

Central workshop at Millbrook Proving Ground

The lubricant test program was supported by the comprehensive workshop facility at Millbrook, staffed by experienced vehicle technicians who investigate and repair most problems that vehicles experience on the proving ground. This enabled the program to progress without any delays caused by vehicle failures.

Upon completion of the required test distance Millbrook conducted a full strip and inspection of the engines, providing the customer with a detailed engineering assessment of their condition.

Deliverables included detailed test reports, customer quality reports, vehicle evaluation reports, subjective assessment reports, and full data including vehicle measurements.

Millbrook is a leading expert in whole vehicle testing and has been conducting vehicle tests which accurately replicate real-world usage for 50 years. Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK has been designed to provide a variety of test surfaces used to generate different inputs into the vehicle. It offers 75km of test tracks, including the famous Hill Route and city course, which generate representative engine loads. Millbrook’s highly trained and experienced drivers use the test tracks to produce repeatable drive cycles, allowing assessments and comparisons to be made with confidence.