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[Melbourne] Roadworthy dramas

Discussion in 'Businesses and Service Providers' started by jabolotai, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. Selling my registered bike, so I took it to a business (that will stay nameless for the time being) for a roadworthy and was told it needed parts replaced to pass:

    I was told:
    • Front rotor (was 3.00mm, serviceable limit 3.5mm)
    • Front and rear brake pads (needs 1mm above the wear indicator to handle warping in the rotor)
    • New brake fluid (old was contaminated with water)

    I was then quoted a price for all of this if I used his supplier ($460 for after market parts on top of the $125 for the RWC).

    The problem I have with this is that the front rotor was within spec at 3.65mm when I measured it, and the front brake pads, while worn, had close to 1mm until they reached the wear indicator. I'm also unsure of where they were getting their brake pad limits from for the test.

    I felt he was taking me for a ride when he said the brake fluid was contaminated by water that was less than 6000km/12 months old, so I rang VicRoads and apparently the Vehicle Standards Information documents don't mention brake fluid as needing checking to pass a roadworthy. They cited two documents: VSI26 and VSI4.



    (The complete list is available here: http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home...ndAccessories/VehicleStandardsInformaiton.htm)

    Sure, brakes wear out and brake fluid absorbs water, but isn't the point of a roadworthy test to stick to a standard? Do they run from a different list perhaps? Can anyone from a garage verify what document is used when doing a roadworthy?

    I realise a tester might err on the side of caution to protect their inspection licence, but I feel they have gone too far in the opposite direction. I was told measurements with 0.05mm tolerances, so it's either a big failure in their measuring skills/equipment, or mine. Also, when they took a brake fluid sample they left brake fluid dripping from the master cylinder, which didn't inspire confidence.

    As the bike is already sold, I will be replacing the parts to speed things along, however for future roadworthys, I'll be taking a current copy of the specifications with me to help spot any obvious fast ones that might try to be pulled. Needless to say I won't be a repeat customer of this business.

  2. This would definitely be your best course of action.
    Sucks that certain service centers try pulling stunts like these ! ](*,)

    Shop around mate - you'll find many reputable service centers who'll charge no more than $100 for the 'Quick check & signing' of RWC documentation...

    Hope you get it sorted soon.
  3. you're sooking about them knocking you back on your brakes?? geez.

    maybe when you measured it you got the lip on the outer of the rotor that usually doesn't get as worn. if your pads have that little material on them then they should be changed. nothing you can do about it. and having water contaminated fluid is a fairly big problem (in the eyes of safety).

    i understand that you're just trying to cheap out on a rwc because you're selling but some things do need to be fixed.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. continuing on what jimmyd was saying... would you want to buy a bike with water in your brake fluid, and pads right on the wear indicators? even if it had a rwc..

    try and recoup some of the costs from the buyer perhaps.. telling him that although the pads/rotors were within legal spec, the mechanic said you were best off replacing them so the new owner didnt have to in 6 weeks... might be able to get half the price from the guy? worth a shot.
  5. A few points:

    Number 1. How did you measure the rotors? Did you use a Micrometer or Vernier calipers? If so, did you measure a few spots around the disc & take the lowest reading?

    Number 2. Brake pads are cheap & don't last forever. 1mm? If it's an organic pad, how long do you think that 1mm of pad material will last?

    Number 3. Brake fluid is cheap. It's a good idea to change it every 12 months anyway.

    The standards you've linked to state that "Brakes must function correctly" which they will not if there is water in the brake fluid.

    If you're worried about the cost, learn to do this stuff yourself, it's not hard.

    Brake fluid ~$10
    Decent brakes pads from $25 per caliper
    Rotors will vary, but the point is, a lot of the bill will be labour.

    I understand you're feeling hard done by, but I don't think there's anything out of the ordinary there.

    Presuming you've paid your $125 for the RWC inspection, you now have 7 days to rectify the situation, you don't have to use the mechanic who did the RWC to get your bike RW.

    Hope that helps.
  6. do what the mechanic asked, YOU are not a mechanic and I'd be inclined to believe you didn't use the correct tool to measure the rotor.As for brake fluid, while not necessary to change when you change the pads, it would be wise to do so.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. I took the rotor to another shop who measured it using a digital micrometer at mostly 3.50mm, but just under in one spot. New is 4.5mm, service limit is 3.5mm, 0.5mm error is a massive difference, about 30,000km worth. When I measured it I used 1cm shims between my vernier calipers to get over the outer lip, which was not as accurate.

    My point is about testing to a minimum standard rather than over it, and trusting the business to work honestly and accurately. I appreciate that things wear out and need replacing, and it's good practice to change your fluids regularly, but at some point they are still "good enough" and safe to use.

    I am not trying to cheap out. It's always good to be able to rely on machines that move someone at speed. When do you mandate that things need replacing because they are worn out? Most things have tolerances stated by the manufacturer. A newly scrubbed in set of tyres, while worn, would not be worn out. You have to be able to measure these things.

    Once you start a roadworthy inspection, you are locked in to doing what that business says needs doing even if it is excessive, unless you are willing to forfeit your roadworthy fee and go somewhere else, or get a second opinion from VicRoads which takes time.

    MV: While I don't have to get them to do the repairs, the point is they are deciding what needs repairing before they will pass it.

    Brake fluid sucks water out of the atmosphere over time. Most fluid has some (albeit small) amount of water in it. The "wetter" it gets, the lower it's boiling point. The business never did say at what point it is considered contaminated.

    The roadworthy also states "It is not an assessment of the overall condition of the vehicle." so in 6 weeks time it may well be unroadworthy. But that is the point of a certificate of roadworthiness at point of sale - it passes then, and not necessarily later on. This was reflected in the price I originally sold it for.

    Long story short, I replaced everything elsewhere, talked them down to changing the brake fluid for $50 cash (from $80) so they got a bit of extra work, and finally sold it absorbing the cost after holding up the sale for a week.
  8. So the rotor was undersized and hence unroadworthy... where is the problem?

    If it's contaminated it's contaminated, when a shop signs an RWC they are putting their RWC license on the line, for this reason most shops will be conservative. You can use a brake fluid tester to check brake fluid. I guess because they change brake fluid every day they probably know a little more about whats "good enough" and what isn't.

    In an ideal world things are black and white, unfortunately not all things are so simple. Tyres for example can have loads of tread but they may be cracked...this is not roadworthy.

    Thats correct, IF items are found that need attention they MUST be rectified before the bike will pass RWC, you can choose to have the shop make repairs, do it yourself or go to another shop. Most places will do a free re-test within a certain time frame once the items have been fixed.

    Thats correct, it's called a RWC inspection. You know, you called them and asked them to do one for you, now you are tearing up because they found stuff that needed attention. Who would have thought, it's kinda like going to the doctor for a medical, he finds you blind and deaf and has the audacity to fail you because...well you are blind and deaf. Why is this so hard for you to grasp!

    Right again!, it is not an assessment of the vehicles overall condition at all and never has been, you seem to be under the impression an RWC is a pre purchase inspection. An RWC inspection is to make sure the vehicle is safe to be registered and driven on the roads in Vic. That is the ONLY point of a RWC certificate.

    Happy it all worked out for you in the end, the way is see it is

    1. You made an RWC inspection appontment
    2. At the inspection they found stuff that needed fixing
    3. You replaced the things that needed doing and got your RWC certificate
    4. You sold the bike
    I honestly can't see what you are whining and bitching about...:rolleyes:
  9. This jumped out at me.
    Mariner is right, but a mechanic is still "anyone" and prone to mistakes, creative interpretation, bad days, while some are just not very good at their jobs.

    Yes, that sucks that the pads were "NON EXISTENT AND DOWN TO PAPER", metal on metal can fuse the pad to the rotor and lock your wheel, obviously very dangerous. My front pads still have more than the wear indicators on them. There is 2.5mm of pad to go before they would be as bad as Mariner's.

    I think bretto61 will find that rotors have different minimum widths between different brand/model rotors, so the minimum would come from the manufacturer specs - which is why I'm annoyed they will pull you up arbitrarily for brake pads but not for tyres for instance, when they all pass the manufacturer specs.

    The roadworthy checks on items are Pass/Fail, not 70% or 36% roadworthy. That Pass/Fail mark should come from the manufacturers spec, assuming the item complies with the Australian Design Rules, I believe. We could mandate that every 2nd hand vehicle must have new pads and all fluids changed to be sold, or follow a system like Japan which has relatively strict roadworthy requirements, but in the end you still have to draw the line somewhere and test objectively to some standard/specification.

    Common sense/self preservation/every rider manual I've seen also urges you (the rider) to be aware of the condition of any bike before you ride it. I hope the buyer goes ok breaking in the new rotor and pads. The irony if that caused an accident would be too much to bear.
  10. Their measurement was off by 50%, or half the life of the rotor. Ultimately it was still unroadworthy, but they knocked back other parts to upsell their parts and services.

    Well they *used* to just taste it, but now they have a machine. However they could not tell me when at what point it became classified as contaminated (eg. containing 0.01% or 10% water).

    True, there are some grey areas, but if there is a visible crack in the tyre it's covered in VSI26 which says "tyres must be free of deep cuts, cracks, bulges, exposed cords, evidence of carcass failure or separated or perished rubber." What constitutes a "deep" cut might be a bit grey as it's not explicitly stated.

    I'm "tearing up" because they exaggerated to get more money out of me. It's like going to the doctor and been told you're completely deaf, only to then overhear the doctors laughing in the corridor how much they charged you for the hearing test.
  11. VSI26, page 4.

    Brake Linings
    Lining material must not be worn down to the wear indicators where they are provided. Where no wear indicators are provided, the minimum remaining useable thickness of lining material measured at any point on the lining must be no less than the vehicle manufacturer's minimum recommended thickness and in any case must be no less than 1.0mm. Brake lining materials must not be contaminated.

    Brake Discs and Drums
    The thickness of the friction section of a brake disc or the internal diameter of a brake drum must be within the manufacturer's specifications. Light circumferential scoring is acceptable on friction surface providing it does not affect the operation or durability of the brake system.
  12. Im thinking get over it theres 2 things that u dont push to the limits tyres and brakes,and come on 1mm of brake pad.
  13. In your non expert opinion, for gods sake just deal with it.

    You can argue the technicalities all you like but at the end of the day they are the people qualified to do the inspection and pass/fail the bike. Vicroads cracks down VERY hard on RWC providers who pass bikes that shouldn't, why do you think they now require pictures and copies of images to be stored for 7 years in 2 different locations they also do random RWC audits, each RWC passed that shouldn't be is a $10k fine per instance and an almost certain loss of license. NOBODY is going to risk their license by passing something thats very marginal, especially when it comes to brakes.

    If you want to biatch about grey areas take it up with Vicroads, the inspection guys can only work within the set framework.
  14. You never know, I might have been ;)

    Had a chat with some more licenced testers today. They checked the old pads, some passed them, others failed them. The common factor was how much of the test they felt was a discretionary call. Not all of them were familiar with the standard, but the vagueness worried all come audit time.

    The introduction of photos were to stop roadworthys being written out without any inspection on a vehicle. A photo of a part should protect them as much as incriminate them, especially if they are consistent, but I can see how the extra work would become a chore and why most would aim on the safer side of the wear indicator.

    Thanks for the discussion everyone.
  15. Much like a rider that has a whinge over .5mm on a rotor and 1mm on pads.

    Maybe the mechanic was just thinking that he could be saving a life, and not chasing a dollar as you think....
  16. Fair call.

    Still, they didn't explain what pressures they were under, and by rights they should have knocked back the rear rotor which they measured accurately if they were being conservative.
  17. You know... this story just emphasizes that we made the right choice when we decided to hand in our Road Worthy Testing license :)

    It's simply not worth the hassle, on one side you've got the buyers who scream blue murder if an item you pass is 'technically roadworthy' but so close to it's service life as to need replacement in the very near future (like your pads) and on the other side you've got the sellers screaming if you knock anything back that's even technically roadworthy because they want to screw you down to the bare minimum.

    On top of that you've got Vicroads who come down on you like a ton of bricks if either a seller or a buyer is unhappy, and it doesn't seem to matter whether you choose one way or another because Vicroads always sided with the person and not the Roadworthy tester.

    Really don't miss dealing with that stuff \\:D/
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Not brakes but tyres and a roadworthy inspection today.

    The back tyre had ~1 - 2,000km left, wear indicators clear, neither the buyer nor I saw a problem and the deal was done. Then the roadworthiness was failed due to the tyre on the premise that as it (the RWC) is valid for 28 days the tester couldn't be certain that the tyre would still be OK in 4 weeks ](*,)

    Really, on that basis within the next 28 days the brakes could burn out, the windshield could be broken by a rock, the front rim could shatter in a pothole....where does it end? The buyer had come to Melbourne from east Gippsland and was waiting, no option but to fork out $280 for a new rear tyre and count to 100. Then the test was $120 + GST :eek:

    But I'm not convinced that this is an honest and valid interpretation of the rules, especially as the RWC and change of ownership forms were processed by VicRoads within 4 hours :(
  19. Shame you had to go through this Heli :( I find whenever I'm at the selling stage of any bike that issues like this 'may' appear. Can be frustrating.

    On a positive note...YAY !!!! You sold your bike and this event/saga will make the sale more memorable for you. Bet it'll be/was sad to see the beloved Beemer on its way :)