Changes to Inspection Manual

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The tyre size, ply rating and load index information that was formerly in this section has now been moved to Appendix D at the back of the manual.

Additional information has been added regarding tyres on restricted speed vehicles, and additional information that only applies to class 5 vehicles.

On page 7 an additional note has been added which states:

Under inflation of a tyre is not in itself a reason for rejection, however;
A brake test might be inadvisable because of possible damage, or
A headlight test might be affected, if the under inflation is affecting alignment.

Section 4.2 and Road Wheels

Notes have been added that the presenter should be informed if the spare wheel is found to be defective and that the removal of hub caps etc is not required during the test.

Some additional MOIs have been added that demand the NT:

Check

d stud holes visibly worn
e wheel studs, bolts or nuts missing
f wheel studs, bolts or nuts loose
There are a set of additional RfRs to match these MOI points.

Section 4.2 page 2 sees additional checks that apply to class 5, 7 and large class 4 vehicles.

Check all road wheels for

a. Fracture
b. Fracture of tyre retaining ring
c. Weld breaking away
d. Butting at the ends of a tyre retaining or locking ring.

2 Check for compatibility of wheel and fixings
3 Check half shaft bolts and studs for security
4 Check hubs for damage or cracks
5 For spigot mounted wheels, check for wear at spigot mounting between wheel and hub.

There are a full set of new RfRs to go with all of these checks.


Section 5 deals with the testing of Seat Belts.

The seat belt section has gone through the most extensive revision of the whole manual. The introduction of Class 5 has had a major impact on this section of the manual, and in addition, VOSA have taken the opportunity to revise the layout and to introduce flow charts to help the tester correctly identify what the seat belt requirements must be.

Page 2 gives an updated overview of seatbelt requirements and descriptions and definitions of the various terms used within the section. This is followed by 6 pages of flow charts which NTs can follow to get to a code, usually of 3 letters, that can be looked up on pages 9 and 10.

The most common flow chart to use will be the one on page 4 that deals with Passenger vehicles, Motor Caravans and Ambulances with up to eight passenger seats.

My biggest issue with this particular chart is that if you follow it from the start, the first question is first used on or after 1 January 1965, if the answer is yes, and on most occasions it will be, the second question is Is the ULW greater than 2540kg.

Now the vast majority of vehicles will be below this limit, but there will be some that are not. If you are presented with an amour plated Rolls Royce it will certainly be over 3 tonnes, but it will not have an ULW marked on it, neither will a class 4 motor caravan or a Toyota Amazon. It is unclear to me how a NT is supposed to act if he suspects the vehicle is over this weight threshold but cannot be sure.

To me this re-introduces all of the vagaries that were supposed to be dispensed with by making all dual purpose vehicles goods vehicles for the purpose of testing, with the class determined by the GVW and no decision having to be made regarding ULW.

As for the testing part of this section, there are some additions and changes here too.

A note has been added stating that child seats retained by the seat belt must not be removed, and a visual inspection only of the parts that can be seen is required.

There is another note stating that where a belt is fitted without a corresponding seat or where a buckle or stalk is fitted without a corresponding belt, these are not reasons for rejection.

A further note states that where possible, and provided no tools are required, seats should be lifted to gain access to seat belts trapped below. The same follows for vehicles with flexible seating arrangements where the note now says that provided no tools or the movement of other seats is required, these seats should be lifted to gain access to the seat belts.

The RfRs have also changed, where previously the RfRs stated:

2.
a. A cut which causes the fibres to separate
b. fluffing or fraying sufficient to obstruct correct operation of the belt or which has clearly weakened the webbing
c. stitching badly frayed, not secure, incomplete or repaired.

It now says

2.
a. A cut which has significantly weakened the webbing.
b. damaged sufficient to obstruct correct operation of the belt or which has clearly weakened the webbing.
c. stitching badly frayed, not secure, incomplete or repaired.
d. which has obviously been repaired.

Also RfR 4 has changed from:

4.
a. Corrosion or deterioration of a flexible stalk likely to lead to failure under load.

To

4.
a. Corrosion, deterioration or damage of a flexible stalk likely to lead to failure under load.

I have dealt with many cases over the years where seat belts have been trapped in doors and damaged, the NT has not considered the damage significant, but VOSA have given the NT penalty points because the fibres had separated. This new definition would now mean in most cases that minor damage such as that will not be a reason for failure.

There is also a new note on page 2 that states that the vehicle presenter should be given the opportunity to remove any temporary device from the seat belt that may lead to a refusal before the refusal is issued.

Section 5.3 also includes a complete new section regarding seat belt installation checks for classes 4A and 5A at approved VTSs only.


Section 6 deals with the Vehicle structure

In section 6.2 regarding Doors and Seats the old RfR stated:

2 The security of the drivers or front passengers seat is significantly reduced.

The new RfR states:

2 The security of the drivers or any passengers seat is significantly reduced.

Thus bringing the security of all seats into the test regardless of whether the seat belt is attached to the seat or not.

In section 6.3 regarding Number plates the note that stated Registration plate markings such as the BSAU number must be a part of the plate. Stickers etc are not allowed has been deleted, however a further note that states Three dimensional characters may use grey edging or a chequered, carbon fibre effect. These and some other style characters are permissible provided the font style is adhered to and when from approximately 20 metres, the characters appear predominantly black has been added.

On page 1 the MOIs for registration plates have been changed from:

2. On vehicles first registered on or after 1 January 1973, check
the colour of the characters and background
that the registration plates are fixed vertically, or as close to vertical as is reasonably practical.

3. On vehicles first registered on or after 1
September 2001, check that the registration plates
a. display the name and postcode of the supplying outlet
b. display a BSAU 145d marking
c. do not display a honeycomb or similar effect background.

To

2. On vehicles first registered on or after 1 January 1973, check
the colour of the characters and background
that the registration plates are fixed vertically, or as close to vertical as is reasonably practical.

3. On vehicles first registered on or after 1 September 2001, check that the registration plates do not display a honeycomb or similar effect background.

The RfRs for these checks have also been amended accordingly.

These changes regularise the changes issued in the special notice 10-2007 and repeated in 4-2008 where the number plate inspections were watered down.

On page 2 of section 6.3, the Note, MOI and RfR regarding International symbols or flags on registration plates has also been removed to regularise the previous SN issued in this regard.


In Section 6.4 regarding Load Security, Spare Wheel and Carrierthe MOI 1 wording has been changed from:

Load Security

1. Check that any bootlid, tailgate, loading door, hinged tailboard or dropside is or can be secured in the closed position.

To

Load Security

1. Check that any bootlid, tailgate, loading door, access panel, hinged tailboard or dropside is or can be secured in the closed position.

The RfR has also been amended to include Access Panel

Section 6.5 deals with Speed Limiters.

The following Information has been added to the Info column regarding vehicles that are required to fit a speed limiter.

Vehicles with more than 16 passenger seats.
With a maximum speed in excess of 100 km/h (62.14 mph) if a limiter were not fitted and
With a DGW not exceeding 7500kg and
First used between 1 April 1974 and 31 December 1987.

The RfR 2b has also been changed from:

A speed limiter plate

b. shows a set speed greater than 100km/h (62.14mph)

to

b. shows a set speed greater than that permitted (see information column).

Section 6.6 is now for Tow bars and includes all of the data that was originally included in the temporary instruction that was issued in 2009.


Sections 6.7, 6.8 and 6.9 are for Class 5 only.


Section 7.1 Exhaust system.

A note has been added to the MOI which states: now the exhaust should be checked for its overall security and that one or more missing mountings may not be a reason for rejection if the exhaust is still felt to be securely mounted.

This again is a lowering of the previous standard where NTs would have formerly received 20 penalty points for failure to fail a vehicle that had even one exhaust mounting missing. The RfRs have also been amended so that now an individual mounting missing is not a RfR unless the exhaust is deemed to be inadequately supported.

For section 7.2 and the Fuel system the MOIs have been changed from:

1 . Check the following for leaks or insecurity:
a. fuel tank(s)
b. all visible fuel hoses, pipes and unions
c. all visible fuel system components.

2. Check fuel tank cap for positive fit and condition of sealing washer and flange.

To

1. Check all visible fuel system components for leaks and security.
2. Check the fuel tank cap/filler neck sealing device for presence, positive fit and condition of sealing washer and flange.

The RfRs have also been changed to take account of these changes with the reference to filler neck sealing device added, and a new RfR for missing added.


Under Section 7.3 and Exhaust Emissions there is a change on page 4 to MOI information note, from:

1. The exhaust emission test
The catalyst test is part of the MOT test for most class IV spark ignition petrol engined passenger cars with four or more wheels first used on and after 1 August 1992.

To

1. The exhaust emission test
The catalyst test is part of the MOT test for most spark ignition petrol engined vehicles with four or more wheels first used on and after 1 August 1992.


In Section 8.3 Drivers View there is a slight change to MOI from:

Windscreen

1. Referring to the diagram below, examine the swept area of the windscreen and the drivers view through it.

To

Windscreen

1. Whilst sitting in the drivers seat, referring to the diagram below, examine the view of the road through the swept area of the windscreen.

This in effect means that the windscreen view can only be assessed from the drivers seat, and any damage noted when on the outside of the vehicle, must be assessed from the drivers seat only.


Finally, although this update made it into the testers manual last year, it went widely unappreciated and has caused a number of problems in the last year or so.


Appendix C at the rear of the manual deals with Structural Integrity and Corrosion. Page 1 Item 4 has always listed the criteria for corrosion failure within a prescribed area.

Up until the beginning of 2009 this section read as follows:

4. Failure Criteria

Any part of a load bearing member, or load bearing panelling within a prescribed area, should be rejected if it is weakened by corrosion to the extent that
By finger and thumb pressure it does not feel rigid, or
It crumbles to leave a hole, or
The Corrosion Assessment Tool penetrates, or causes the metal component to crumble or disintegrate.

This section now reads as follows:

4. Failure Criteria within prescribed areas.
Corrosion within a prescribed area should be rejected if:
The corrosion has caused a hole in the metal, or
It is weakened to the extent that by finger and thumb pressure it does not feel sound, or
Finger and thumb pressure or use of the Corrosion Assessment Tool causes a hole

These changes may not seem significant on the surface, however, the new criteria means that vehicles that have multiple layers of steel making up for example strengthened areas of chassis, do not fail unless there is a hole through all of the layers, or (very unlikely) the area does not feel sound under finger and thumb pressure.

Formerly an area that crumbled when tapped with the CAT would warrant a failure, even if no hole appeared. This change has therefore removed the possibility of being able to fail quite advanced corrosion, in structurally important areas, where there is no actual hole.

The best example I could point to is that around the rear coil spring mounting on a Ford Escort Mk III or IV. These areas often corroded very badly, but rarely went through in a hole because there were 4 or 5 layers of metal in certain places. These areas were often failed because they crumbled when tapped with the CAT, now they would pass the test under the new rules

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