Archive for the ‘dangerous’ Category

Dangerous to drive

It is not often that I feel the need to highlight something on the VT30 failure notice as being dangerous to drive, just recently I have had to use it for brakes and suspension faults. The first case being a pair of rear  leaf springs on a Ford Transit which had fractured at the anchor end spring eye, the only thing holding the spring in place being the weight of the vehicle bearing on the spring eye.


The spring can clearly be seen, from the rust “witness marks” to have worn away at the anchor bracket where it has been moving sideways.

leafspringAnother pair of items to crop up under the dangerous to drive tag was a a pair of front brake hoses on a Ford Maverick these had deteriorated so badly that the braided innards of the hoses were clearly visible













Earlier in the day a customer had brought us a Mercedes ML320 with a pad warning light on, and asked us to replace the front brake pads as he’d done the rears, or friend had, to save some cash.  Once we’d removed the wheels to replace the front pads we knew they were not the reason for the warning light being illuminated, so we turned to the rears to check the wear sensor wire, immediately noticeable was  the thread of a brake caliper bolt and therefore the lower end of the caliper was not secured and had broken the sensor wire, thus causing the light to come on.


Had this been the upper caliper bolt it is quite possible that if the caliper had been caught by the wheel rim it would have caused serious damage to the wheel, the caliper and the caliper bracket, with the wheel quite possibly locking up .


Incidents like these are rare but unfortunately they do happen, which is why we have Mot’s, no matter how a good a mechanic you are, or think you are, another pair of eyes checking the work afterwards can be an extra safeguard for vehicles on our busy roads.


Dangerous tyres once again.

I’m often amazed at the lack of awareness of some drivers.  A Peugeot 307  brought in for mot had an obviously noisy exhaust blow,  the vehicle presenter was surprised when the boss said it was unlikely to pass the test with it blowing as it was.  However we  proceeded to carry out the Mot, before it had even been logged onto the system it was obviously going to be one of those vehicles, just a quick glance before getting into the drivers seat and it was labelled as dangerous to drive.
delaminated-tyre It started poorly and then went from bad to worse, as a glance at the 2 page vt30 shows

The front suspension arm bushes very badly worn and knocking, a rear brake binding, front brakes pulling severely to the right (into the path of oncoming traffic). Never before have I had to issue a VT30 with more than a couple of “dangerous to drive”   items.  Just manoeuvring the vehicle on our forecourt was enough to frighten me, clunking from the suspension, dragging from a rear wheel and then seeing the presence of a child seat in the car was a little worrying too.

Bushes, suspension and steering

Rubber bushes are used nowadays on the majority of vehicles to isolate and dampen road noise whilst at the same time allowing suspension and steering components some flexibility and movement.

Problems begin when the bushes deteriorate or become unbonded, when this happens the suspension component is no longer retained in its correct position, excessive movement occurs and noise increases.

The above are all examples from the front suspension, the rear suspension can also have rubber bushes and mountings, again when the bush deteriorates excessive movement and noise occurs. Laguna-rear- subframe

The above image is that of a Laguna rear arm mounting bush.

Also subject to checking for excessive movement  are the rubber bushes that steering racks can be mounted with, again the criteria when being checked is is there excessive movement or is the component insecure. The image below is of a pair of new steering rack mounting bushes beside a pair of worn bushes, two pairs are needed to mount the rack in this case a 54 reg mercedes c class.c-class_steering

In the above case the steering rack was moving enough to cause the ESP light to illuminate and for the ECU to limit the power produced by the engine.

Since the 20th of this month the ESP light being illuminated is a reason for rejection (failure)

Brake pipes and hoses

A slide show of various brake pipes and hoses found on vehicles for test, in the  case of the leaking brake pipes,  the fiesta rear began leaking on test and the other (astra o/s) fractured and leaked as it was prised out of its support clip prior to repair.

Illegal tyres and penalties

This week we had a vehicle in with the tyre below fitted, before commencng the test it was noticed that the tyre was underinflated and had a split in it.

A view of the tread pattern shows severe wear at both edges of the tyre usually a sign that the tyre is being run underinflated

Normally the tread covers the whole tyre width as the image below shows along with the position of wear indicator bars

Also on the vehicle was a bald rear tyre.

We’d previously had the vehicle in 3 months ago for other work and had advised the owner about the 2 tyres and that he needed to rectify the problem before they got worse.

Had he been stopped by the police for a routine check he could have been facing a fine up to £2500 and 3 points on his licence for each tyre, quite apart from the risk with his and other peoples lives he was running.
For tyre advice a number of links are below

Corroded brake discs.

I’ve made several posts regarding corroded brake discs and what is an acceptable level of corrosion.

The description of reason for rejection rgarding disc condition is worded

“a brake disc or drum in such a condition that it is seriously weakened or insecure”

The first example shown below was seen on a 2003 astra rear, in this case the surface of the disc although corroded has not penetrated into the disc so that it is likely to break or crack, the brake performance however showed a slightly different story in that the performance suffered badly enough to affect the rate of application and to cause serious judder.

The following images are from a 2004 Renault Megane Scenic brought in for repair, the customer had heard a bang as she applied the brakes.

As can be seen from the below image, the brake pad is missing, the bang heard was the brake pad “escaping” from the pad carrier.

Once the repair was started the full extent of the problem was revealed, once the disc was removed the inner face of the disc was very severely corroded, and the inner brake pad was metal to metal, or in this example metal to corrosion, it appears the friction material had broken away on the inner pad too. In the image below we’re seeing the face of the pad that should have 1.5mm of friction material, and also can be seen is the way the surface of the disc has been flaking away.

I don’t know how long the brakes have been in this condition but I would have expected a grinding noise to be noticeable for a while beforehand.

Witness marks

Often when conducting an mot I notice something before I begin to concentrate specifically on a set  of components.

Such an item were the presence of these polished spots on the subframe and driveshaft on a VW Polo as an indication or “witness” that something was amiss.

polished spots on driveshaft and subframe

Further investigation by looking at the driveshaft revealed that it was bent as you can see in the image above.  However the full extent of the distortion and runout is best shown in the following video.

Hearing the constant knocking from this area once in the roller brake tester made me question the hearing, common sense and sanity of the driver !

steering, brakes and suspension

We’ve had a number of items crop up this week, the first was on a ‘w’ reg Ford Ka, quite a bit  of corrosion reared it’s ugly head, not really surprising bearing in mind it’s age, but we also found a steering issue

the universal joint at the bottom of the steering column was excessively worn, allowing ecess free play at the sterring wheel, approx 30mm rather than the allowable 13mm. As it was a vehicle with power steering the joint was not available as a separate item, necessitating a replacement steering column, fortunately we were able to source a second unit rather than having to pay the main dealer price 0f £300+ for a new unit.

Friday afternoon we had a rather worried young lady in as her brakes were making a funny noise, a visual check through the wheels revealed one of the pads  breaking up, once the parts were ordered and on their way a stripdown revealed 3 of the 4 pads friction material had separated from the backing plate.

The pads were about 2/3rds worn but the vehicle had been relatively unused for a month or two .

Saturday brought a different problem in. An 06 Astra  for test had a badly worn tyre showing the cords.

  Once I began to check the steering and suspension on the ramp the reason for the inner edge wearing so badly became apparent.

The ball joint in suspension arm was badly worn, when it was driven into the brake tester to check the brakes a loud clunk from the front suspension was heard, had the vehicle come into the workshop when the clunk was 1st apparent the tyre may have lasted a few months more.

The Vt32 Advisory notice.

Often when conducting an Mot the tester will notice an item that has deteriorated, but has not yet become bad enough to warrant a failure. In a few cases I’ve seen customers glance at the vt32 and immediately dispose of the advisory notice without consulting regarding  the necessary repairs.

There is a reason for issuing these notices and it’s not just to cover our backsides.

Two examples have arisen this week, in one case the handbrake had been advised (by me, in January) that the efficiency was only just passable, the vehicle returned to us this week to have the repairs carried out before taking the car away for a long weekend.

Checking in the roller brake tester the efficiency of the handbrake was down below 5%. A stripdown of the brakes revealed the brake shoes very badly worn and the braking surface of the drums severely corroded.

The second example could have had far more serious consequences, the vehicle had been tested elsewhere several months ago and the owner had been advised that a brake hose was deteriorated.

The brake hose split this week and resulted in a minor shunt, however the owner suggested that perhaps the tester had been overly lenient when the vehicle was tested and perhaps the test was in his words “dodgy”.

Did he complain at the time, or was he just pleased not to have another repair at the time ?

However he then asked us to blank off the relevant brake hose as he couldn’t afford to have the  repair done until the end of the month but needed the car for work!!

Fortunately he was able to come to an agreement with the boss and the repair was completed rather than allow the vehicle to continue on the road in that condition.


Fortunately the coming changes to the Mot certificate will prevent the vehicle owners from just binning the Vt32 on their way out of the testing station, so there will be a permanent reminder that work is required .

Say no to 4-2-2

The current government are still considering a change to the mot scheme by extending the period between mot tests, even though the previous government decided against it after examining the options.

Should this happen we could find vehicles in a dangerous condition for a further 12 months compared to now.

Some examples.

A tyre badly worn through to the cords,
The following example of corrosion found on a Subaru Justy had an advisory notice issued 12 months ago, regarding the corrosion now bad enough to fail.

The pale blue you see in the centre of the image above  is the inside of the chassis above the rear subframe mount, heavy braking could well have caused the subframe to break away causing serious loss of control. I was unable to complete the test and abandoned the test as I could not complete a brake efficiency test.

On to  another vehicle, approx 3 months ago an advisory notice was issued with regard to the rear brake pads wearing thin. Returned to us this last week to have the brake pads replaced.
As you can see from the above image one of the pads has had the metal backing worn to half of it’s original thickness, it must have been grinding away warning the driver of the problem for at least 500 miles.

It seems that the advisory notice is totally ignored, the necessary repairs aren’t done because of cost constraints, but how much more expensive is replacing the car after an accident, or even a fatality?

Many drivers seem to be of the opinion that as the vehicle has passed it’s MOT it is good for another 12 mths without any maintenance.

The MOT is only a check that certain components met a minimum laid down standard at the time of the test 

If 4-2-2 testing becomes a reality we could see a lot more vehicles in this condition on the road.

Sign the  petition at and voice your opposition to the proposed change.

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