WARRANT OF FITNESS FAILURES
Drivers should to be doing more to monitor the safety of their car. See below for the most common faults. We recommend you should check – lights, brakes, suspension and tyres at least every six months.
The message should be that any necessary repairs should be done straight away – for the safety of everyone on the road.
End of year WOF figures show four in every 10 vehicles aren’t roadworthy enough to pass their first inspection.
More than 1.8 million vehicles had warrant of fitness failures inspections last year. So what does this mean for you, family & friends safety on our roads?
Historic yearly WOF fail rates provided by MTA:
The 41 per cent fail rate should ring alarm bells for all road users.
Motor Trade Association (MTA) advocacy and strategy manager Greig Epps reckons people simply aren’t paying attention to their vehicles: “We reached this record high failure rate in the middle of last year and it continued through the rest of 2019. “It shows that many car owners still rely on the Warrant of Fitness (WOF) inspection to discover any problems. Epps says that won’t do when the checks are a year apart.
The most common culprits for warrant of fitness failures:
Perhaps lights top the list because you can’t actually see them when you’re driving. Problems only become obvious when there’s complete failure.
Get a friend to stand outside the car and check that all bulbs are working, daytime running lights are operational and indicators are clicking in the way they’re supposed to.
Especially have a look at the high-stop brake light, which is often one of the first things to go.
Unless you’re very handy, it’s likely that’ll have to get professional help to rectify lighting problems. A pain, but if it has to be done – better before the WoF test, right?
The rubber that keeps you on the road is often neglected. Keeping tyres correctly inflated at all times will go a long way towards preventing problems generally – as well as preserving the health of steering and suspension.
But some specifics you can check to ease the WoF pain: the most obvious one is tread, which must be 1.5mm deep (preferably more). Insert a 20-cent coin into the gap with the number at the bottom: if the “20” can be read in its entirety there’s likely less than 2mm tread remaining.
Also, check the sidewalls for bulges and general damage. Getting close to the kerbs can cause damage and also put alignments out.
Assuming your tyres are correctly inflated and the wheels aligned, stiff steering or the car pulling to one side may indicate problems with your suspension. Keep an ear out for strange noises as well.
Changing power steering fluid in accordance with your vehicle’s service schedule will also help extend the life of the rack: it’s often subject to high temperatures and debris can contaminate the fluid, especially on older vehicles.
Noises, strange vibration or a change in pedal feel can all indicate brake problems.
Brakes might seem a bit specialised, but when in doubt, a quick visual check of major components including hoses and connections can’t hurt. Also remember that corrosion within 150mm of a brake mounting point will cause a WoF fail.
If you have a manual handbrake, make sure it’s properly adjusted. It’s an easy and inexpensive thing to have fixed at a garage. But so often overlooked until you get the bad news at test-time.
The wiper systems must be fully functional, including the washer bottle (so make sure it’s full for the test!).
Check that your side mirrors are securely attached and the glass undamaged.
If you can’t maintain your car yourself, take it to a professional regularly.
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