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Vans unfit for purpose

  • Nearly 50% of all light commercial vehicles fail MoT test first time
  • Operators face jail if an accident revealed failing in duty of care
  • 45% of all MoT faults could be avoided through simple, regular maintenance
  • MoT test failures leads to increase in costly downtime

BUSINESS owners risk hefty fines and even jail through the high proportion of vans on the road that are not kept in good order, reflected by the ongoing high rate of light commercials’ MoT test failures.

That’s the warning of Trevor Hodgson-Phillips, head of service and parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, after the latest Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) review showing that 49% of all LCVs presented for testing fail first time.

Half of those fail for straightforward defects that would be picked and remedied during routine servicing – and worryingly there has only been a 1% improvement in the pass rate in three years.

Mr Hodgson-Phillips said: “The latest result show us that UK van owners are still risking increased running bills, extended vehicle downtime periods and, potentially, a decrease in the overall resale value of their vehicle by not looking after their van properly.”

But more serious, he pointed out, was that the lack of maintenance to ensure vehicles were fit for purpose showed a failing in duty of care that could land bosses in court and even risk jail.

“The road-worthiness of the vehicle is also something that business owners should be thinking about. Should an accident occur and the vehicle deemed to be below standard, company owners could be left facing hefty fines or even prison terms.”

Volkswagen van technician
Routine servicing should prevent MoT test failures

He said Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles was working to help van owners to combat this problem by offering a number of aftersales support services enabling customers to keep on top of their routine maintenance and ensure their vehicles are always fit-for-purpose.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles analysed the findings of the DVSA report and established that nearly half of all MOT test failures (45%) of LCVs in the UK are caused by simple-to-fix faults that would normally be picked up during routine maintenance.

In most cases, simple things such as faulty bulbs (32.2%), too little tyre tread (4.8%), faulty mirrors, windscreen wipers, washer fluid or illegal number plates (8%) were to blame. A further 40% of failures are caused by brake and suspension wear (24.8% and 16.1%) that would normally be detected during routine maintenance.

The three main causes of MOT failures – lighting and signalling, brakes and suspension – have remained constant over the past three years, with very little variance in the number of vehicles affected by these problems. While braking issues and tyre defects have shown a slight improvement since 2012, the number of suspension and lighting and signalling faults has risen.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’  Van Centres and Authorised Repairers carry out an express visual check on every LCV brought in for service.



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