Archive for the ‘dangerous to drive’ 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.


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.

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.

Damaged steering and suspension.

We had to collect a car for mot today, when it arrived on site and before testing the driver explained he’d had difficulty controlling it at any speed above 25mph. Once inspection was begun the reasons became clear.The first sign was both nearside tyres had severe kerbing damage, exposing the cords/plies of the tyre carcase. Spinning the wheels by hand showed both wheels were also severely distorted and fluctuating approximately  2 inches out of line.

Underneath the vehicle the front nearside suspension arm was badly distorted.seen from the front, the upper edge of that arm should look flat.

And looking at the steering on the nearside revealed the severity of the clash with the kerb,That track rod  isn’t supposed to be shaped like a banana.

We haven’t yet heard how the damage occurred, but a guess would be a slide in the snow which we’ve had recently.

What is frightening is  the fact the vehicle was still in day to day use nearly a month after the snow had all but gone, if the problems began then.

Dangerous vehicles and owners

Had a landrover in for test today, all was going reasonably well, some lights not working, emissions a little high, but nothing major until I came to the front wheels, and found

Further investigation under the vehicle revealed

What was of concern is the two child seats in the vehicle and also the fact that the owner has previously had the same problem on the other side of the vehicle, leading to the hub collapsing and the wheel at a very strange angle. The brakes were also very poor, almost non existent.

Thankfully we didn’t adopt the continental Mot periods, as this vehicle would still be 12 mths away from rectification, if no accident occurred first.

More on brake failures

The following images came from a vehicle presented for test recently.

The flexible brake hose had been renewed after it’s last Mot, at that time the presenter had been advised that the brake hose was slightly deteriorated and would need replacing before the next MOT.
This was duly done by a friendly amateur mechanic the vehicle presenter knew. Unfortunately the brake hose was replaced incorrectly and slightly twisted, this lead to the covering “spring” cutting into the rubber hose and exposing the inner core, which was beginning to chafe.On the same vehicle the front brake pads were almost metal to metal on the (worn) brake discs, again leading to a MOT failure of the discs and pads.
If the vehicle had had even basic maintenance checks carried out in the previous 6 months by a competent mechanic both of these faults would have been spotted and rectified at a time the owner would have had more funds rather than just after christmas when we’re all short of cash.

Pitted Brake Discs

This last week I’ve had a couple of vehicles in with a  brake disc severely pitted, the first being a Peugeot 406 with one of the rear brake discs being severely pitted, this lead to a couple of reasons for failure, one being the severe pitting but it also caused the brake application to be  uneven, although we do not talk about rear brake balance, the mismatch between one side and the other was in the region of 60%.

Initial thoughts on the cause of the problem suggested perhaps the caliper on the pitted side was not functioning efficiently or sticking, however once the pads were removed a thorough check revealed no stiffness or stickiness in operation. Once new discs and pads were fitted the brake operation was checked and the mismatch was down at 5%. Perhaps the vehicle had not been used for a while and the disc on that side of the car had been more exposed to the weather somehow.

Certainly  the Fiat Seicento the following brake disc came from had been laid up for a while (6 mths), the original problem to cause the lay up had been a wheel stud in the drive flange loosening off and causing severe brake judder.

On test the pitted disc had severe judder  and caused severe imbalance in the region of 45%,  this was also dangerous to drive particularly as it was on the drivers side of the car, pulling towards oncoming traffic.

Replacing the discs, pads, the damaged drive flange and studs was necessary.Slight surface rusting of brake discs isn’t normally a reason to fail unless it causes judder or imbalance, however the above examples are extreme and a fail was justified on the amount of pitting alone.

Another broken spring

Another example of a broken coil spring, this was on the rear of a 100,000 mile, 2003 Vauxhall  Astra, this one with the added bonus of an insufficiently supported brakepipe . Should the coil spring have fallen out of place, quite possible if the vehicle had been driven at speed over some of the local speed bumps, the brake pipe could possibly have been crushed/kinked or even the hose severed.

Another hose

Another brake hose in very poor condition, this time on the front passenger side.hoseThe vehicle in question was a 1993 low mileage (25,000 mls)  Renault Clio, had it failed on the road, the likely result would be the vehicle swerving into the path of oncoming traffic, not a good scenario.

Brake Hoses

Yesterday I had a vehicle in for test with these brake hoses fitted on the front brake calipers.


As you can see the outer rubber sheath had split, exposing the textile reinforcing.  I was unable to undertake the  repair yesterday due to customer imposed time restraints.

Despite explaining  that I considered the vehicle dangerous to drive the customer insisted she had to have the vehicle to take her son to  ??? wherever.  I hate to think of the consequences should she have been required to make an emergency stop.  Fortunately nothing happened between her leaving our test station yesterday and her return for the repairs today.

After showing her the above brake hoses she did say that she wouldn’t have driven had she realised that they were so bad, but she had in the past had to have unnecessary work done elsewhere for an MOT a couple of years ago so was a bit skeptical.

Owing to the length of her service interval indicated by the manufacturer of her vehicle and low annual mileage, she hadn’t had it serviced in the previous 12 months.

This is yet another reason for us  not to go to the continental schedules of 1st mot at 4 yrs and then bi-annually thereafter, these brake hoses could possibly have been on the vehicle for another 12 mths without being spotted.

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