Chipseal and Asphalt: why the difference actually has a huge impact on our industry and the parts we use.

The distinguishing lines between road types extend further than just sealed and unsealed, even in the realm of sealed roads the quality of road surface can vary substantially, as is the case between the two perhaps most common seen in modern developed countries.

 Roads

Without winding on about the long history of road surfacing around the world, what we commonly have today essentially is:

  1. A layer of Asphalt which has ‘fine’ aggregate rolled into it, this is called chipseal and can be distinguished by having visible stones sticking out and therefore a rougher surface.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipseal

  1. Asphalt which is premixed with aggregate and then laid and rolled, which is somewhat confusingly just called asphalt. It’s that smooth black surface found on more inner suburb and city roads.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asphalt_concrete

Where this begins to have any real sense of meaning is that asphalt, the smoothest of the two is used to a much higher extent in Europe, Japan, Korea and the U.S.A., whilst Australia is heavily reliant on the rougher chipseal, especially on rural and intercity routes.

An immediately apparent effect is increased road noise resulting from the vibration of driving over the rougher surface; however this constant vibration is hugely detrimental to the longevity of parts.   As a result of being designed for the conditions that they’re most likely to encounter, parts destined for international markets fail prematurely when subjected to Australian roads.

The iconic Australian brand powerhouse, Pedders began mass producing it’s own brand of shocks by simply modifying international designs to ensure that they would last when subjected to Australian road conditions and it’s why we’ve taken the responsibility of being the authorized warranty agent for Delco Remy and Prestolite in Australia, so we can investigate every issue and work with our suppliers to constantly revise designs to ensure they suit our market.

In the case of rotating electric, this most commonly includes uprating the bearings and welded as opposed to soldered connections, especially since the change to lead free solder has made connections more susceptible to solder cracking. It’s why you’ll sometimes see ‘exactly the same’ part cheaper from some importers; it all has a cost, but remember so does vehicle downtime.

Be careful about where you source your parts from, if it wasn’t intended for the Australian market it will fail prematurely, we’re just too rough.