Archive for the ‘cars’ Tag

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.

leafspring1

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

hose1

hose2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

nsrcal1

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 .

nsrcal

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.

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Airbag lights


Since 20th march the airbag/srs light indicating a fault is a reason for rejection, however if the light doesn’t illuminate it’s only an advisory item, very odd.

However we had an 02 Renault Clio in for an Mot with the airbag light lit up. The presenter a little bit peeved when told it is a fail as it has been like it for the last 2 mots and never been a problem before.

I think he was visualising a huge bill for airbag replacement, we’ve all heard stories of figures of £500+ for an airbag being replaced. However such a bill wasn’t necessary, once the diagnostic scanner was connected the fault was identified as being the drivers side sensor short circuited. When peering under the drivers seat it was noted the carpet was wet, once the sensor was located and looked at with a light there was an obvious rust stain on the side of the sensor.

A replacement sensor had to be ordered from france, took about a week but it only cost approx £31 plus diagnostic and fitting to put the airbag light out. A lot better than £500.

clio-side-sensor

Old sensor removed from it’s original location attached to the sill.

The cause of the wet floor was established as the sunroof drain tubes blocked, these were blown through to clear them, a wet vac and valet recommended to dry out the floor mats, and to keep a check on the wetness of the floor mats and to return if dampness builds up again

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.

Mot Changes


The changes to the mot caused by the implementation of EU directive 2010/48/EU finally go live on 20th March 2013. These are

For Class 4, 5 and 7 vehicles:
 Headlamp levelling and cleaning devices when fitted for HID or LED headlamps
 Main beam ‘tell-tale’ warning

 Battery (including batteries for electric or hybrid vehicles)
 Electrical wiring and connectors
 Trailer electrical socket security and damage
 Operation of 13-pin trailer electrical sockets using an approved trailer socket tester
 Operation of the steering lock (where fitted) including a malfunction warning in
respect of an electronic steering lock
 Electronic power steering malfunction indicator lamp
 Electronic parking brake control and malfunction indicator lamp
 Electronic Stability Control (ESC) components, including the switch (if fitted) and
malfunction warning
 Brake fluid warning lamp illuminated or inoperative
 Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
 SRS components including airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners, seat belt load limiters
and SRS malfunction warning lamp
 Engine mountings
 Speedometer
 Indirect vision devices (where they replace obligatory mirrors )

I don’t think it will increase my workload by a great deal as most of the items will be noticed when carrying out other checks anyway, it will just be a case of noting them down officially now.

The AA have a page listing the changes in greater detail.

There is also interesting reading at uk paig.org

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.

Some more on corrosion


This week we have had a Wreg Ford Ka, not a bad example of it’s species, no real problems except for some corrosion to the seat mounting area.

The underseal had cracked around the seat mount, asking my assistant in the car to move around on the seat revealed flexing of the floor at this point, removing a thumbnail flake of underseal revealed a small pinhole in the floor.

When carrying out the repair however, what appeared to be a small repair became a lot worse as removing the seat and carpet in the area revealed a large area of fibreglass smoothed to look like seam sealer and painted to match the rest of the floor.

The extent of the repair needed

I previously mot’d the vehicle last year and only mechanical problems were found, I obviously missed the fibreglass underneath the seat mount and carpet, and no problems were visible in this area when checking the underside from underneath the vehicle. we haven’t seen this vehicle except for these 2 mots but the owner is not mechanically minded so unlikely to have made this fibreglass repair. The previous owner had sold it on with 3 mths left on the mot, for the time and artistic effort involved, at that stage it would probably have been cheaper to have it welded up properly.

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.

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