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Mercedes van workshop

Regular maintenance: vital for large vans

Brakes top list of failure reasons

Van managers operating large vans need to take extra maintenance and care of their vehicles.

Large vans were bottom of the MOT pass rate for any vehicle type seen on UK roads, according to statistics from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).

Commercial vehicles weighing 3000kg to 3500kg had the worst pass rate in 2007-2008. The MOT  failure rate of these heavy vans was 44.7%.

This compares to a failure rate of 35.2% for cars and small vans.

Business van managers and owner-operators are also liable for prosecution under the Health and Safety Offences Act 2008.

Shocking neglect of the most basic maintenance items leaves large vans at the bottom of the league when it comes to MOT pass rates. And leaves van managers and the self-employed open to prosecution and fines up to £20,000

Introduced this year, fines go up to £20,000. Prosecution is liable where a road traffic accident was caused by management failings from a poorly maintained vehicle – for example, faulty brakes, or tyres that have unsafe or illegal levels of tread.

Large vans are classified as Class 7 in the MOT test. They are favoured by small business, rental companies and the self-employed because they can be driven using an ordinary driving licence. There is no requirement for the strictly regulated ‘O’ licence.

The top three items for heavy vans MOT failure were:

  • Brakes: 32%
  • Lights: 29.8%
  • Suspension: 14.9%

These would all be covered in a regular service.

Stephen Coles, head of the Retail Motor Industry Federation’s MOT Technical Operations, commented: ‚”With such a high MOT failure rate, it is clear that very little maintenance work is being performed on these vehicles. Their owners may not realise that prevention could be cheaper than cure in the long run.”

Especially if owners get hit with a £20,000 prosecution fine.