Rob Cooper of Commercial Motors, Watford, takes a look at the portable BrakeCheck solution from Bowmonk.
Regular brake tests are required by the DVSA for all commercial vehicles of 7.5 tonnes and over. As a minimum requirement, the agency is asking for a quarterly voluntary brake test to be carried out in addition to the annual MOT test.
In most cases, the DVSA would prefer this test to be carried out as part of the six-weekly inspection. This would have the benefit of highlighting a decrease in braking performance considerably sooner than those performed once every three months, and in doing so, would afford more effective preventative maintenance opportunities.
Evidently, there are still a great number of commercial workshops who are under the misconception that all of the aforementioned brake tests have to be performed on a roller brake tester. However, the Traffic Commission has allowed the use of a DVSA-approved brake tester, like Bowmonk’s BrakeCheck, for all non-MOT brake tests.
In relation to these types of tests, Rob says, “It’s extremely easy to use, operation is simple, and it’s lightweight. Plus, it only takes around 10 minutes per test.” To operate, you simply place the BrakeCheck on a level surface, such as the passenger side foot well. Then, once you’ve decided which Service Brake check you’re carrying out, the test can be done in a suitable environment.
Rob explains, “The clear display means it’s easy to see the reading, even in a dark footwell. It also has a rechargeable battery, but the battery itself is long-lasting anyway. Plus, the additional wireless printer makes collecting readings even easier. All you have to do is click the ‘Print’ button; it’s much easier than having to record the data yourself.”
However, he points out that the brake tester “doesn’t provide accurate readings for anything over two axles, so it is likely best suited to Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs)”. Importantly though, he maintains this “useful” device is “as good as it gets for the job it’s designed for”.