TÜV SÜD: Pre-departure tests avoid defects and boost safety
Munich. Efficiency, technology, reliability – in Europe’s largest long-term truck test, bestof9.eu, conducted by publisher Huss-Verlag with TÜV SÜD as its technical partner, nine trucks are undergoing continuous operation for a three-year period. After notching up almost 300,000 kilometres, it was recently time for the trucks’ second roadworthiness test. Summing up their findings, the experts in charge of testing reported numerous defects in lighting systems and wildly varying tyre pressure; two trucks failed the first round.
The candidates in the test are semi-trailer trucks from the following seven manufacturers: DAF, Iveco, MAN, Mercedes-Benz (Euro 5 and Euro 6), Renault, Scania (EGR and SCR) and Volvo. Safety-related components are a special area of focus for the test's technical and safety partner, TÜV SÜD. After almost 300,000 kilometres, TÜV SÜD drew a positive conclusion. Three trucks passed with flying colours; the remaining six primarily failed because of numerous faults in lighting systems. Brake lights, side lights, rear lights, daytime running lights – virtually every truck had one defective light, even though the law requires that a pre-departure check is conducted before setting off, precisely to catch defects of this kind. Dieter Roth, Senior Project Manager Truck Services at TÜV SÜD, comments, “The results show how important this check is, even for newer vehicles!” Minor problems detected included incipient play in the tie-rod ends, exhaust system faults and a brake disc on the verge of the wear limit.
A further important aspect, in addition to the roadworthiness test, was the tyre pressure. After the first round of roadworthiness tests in 2013 had shown marked differences in pressure, the testers had applied stickers showing the required tyre pressures to all wheel housings. Pressure levels across all trucks varied from plus 1 bar to minus 0.5 bar, with similar variations shown by the trailers. The stickers themselves had therefore had little effect. Roth notes, “Correct tyre pressure is not only a safety factor, but also plays an absolutely vital role in fuel efficiency – a key parameter in the bestof9 long-term test. In addition, inflation pressures must be adjusted to the load. Given this, we recommend that logistics companies inform their drivers of the correct values and insist on drivers’ compliance with them.”
Results for refrigerated trailers were even more satisfactory; four were completely free of faults and three showed only minor faults. The only serious problem was a leaking seal on an automatic load-sensing valve in one trailer’s brake system, a defect that caused the vehicle to fail its roadworthiness test. A second trailer had tyre damage resulting in a slow puncture, requiring another trip to the pit before returning to the road.
bestof9.eu, Europe’s largest truck field test, has been running since April 2012. Munich-based publisher Huss-Verlag GmbH is accompanying the trucks and trailers operated by haulage company Reinert Logistics in real-life long-distance international haulage and field use. At the end of the test, the editorial offices at Huss will evaluate the data collected and choose the winner. The winner of the long-term test will be determined based on a ranking in the following four categories: overall efficiency, consumption, reliability and driver appeal. The results of the long-term test are published twice annually in Huss’s trade magazines “Transport” and “Logistra”.