Swerve danger: don’t remove or delete

Teddy Bear

Potential customers could ask you to bend the rules to keep their vehicle on the road, but it isn’t a path worth taking

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, see others doing something and join in. If the traffic’s hopping along healthily on the motorway, our speed tends to creep up too. But when it comes to the workshop following the crowd can be a bad thing and lead to a fall in professional standards.

A worrying phone call

I received a phone call from a garage that wanted to know if they could remove a rear centre seatbelt; the buckle had failed, and was jammed. A new one would take ten days to arrive, and the customer wanted the vehicle back with a fresh MOT. The garage had been told that nobody sits in the rear seats by the customer.

You might ask yourself does it need the centre seatbelt. That depends on the age, weight and category of vehicle. If it wasn’t legally required, the garage wanted to remove it. I asked the garage proprietor if he had ever noticed that it’s often the rear seats that suffer from the buckles jamming, and he said cheerfully that “it’s nearly always the rear seats!”.

You know why that’s because children often poke things into the mechanisms. The thought process here was very wrong. Fail the vehicle for an inoperative seat belt, then remove it, and, pass the vehicle with an advisory. That’s just wrong.

Forget the MOT, what about safety?

OK, some vehicles don’t legally need the centre rear seatbelt, but I asked the proprietor that if he removes the seatbelt, is he modifying the vehicle? Also, if it’s modified will he be telling the owner to inform their insurance company about the modification? Do you think the insurance company would be very keen on such a mod?

A Parliament Advisory Council for Transport Safety report found that 31% of those who died in vehicles in 2018 were not wearing a seatbelt. I hate to think about a situation developing where a child dies because someone asks a garage to remove a safety device. This would, in my view be a total lack of professionalism. I doubt if your local electrician would by-pass a safety trip or the gas engineer remove a flame out device.

Delete options

The term “Delete” has become a common place term bandied about by a lot of amateurs who shouldn’t be tampering with road going vehicles. Just because you’re requested to delete things, doesn’t mean he, or law enforcement won’t come after you at a later date, maybe after a killed or serious injury accident.

Just because you can buy emulators to mask defects with air bags, swirl motors, steering locks, AdBlue, DPFs, SRS would you fit them?

Financial hit?

Yes, you will lose out on potential profits if you turn away the work but behaviour breeds behaviour. If you don’t turn away that job, when the potential customer goes to the pub, he’ll tell his mates that you fixed the problem, and saved him money. The trouble is, that the world will beat a path to your door, and you will reduce the overall quality of the customers you work for.

Don’t be a busy fool. Shape your business to the better customers who want things done correctly. Explain the risks to customers, for often they have not thought through little details like who will be sitting in the car when the accident happens. Don’t forget, its not just about road safety, remove, for instance an EGR valve and blank it off and you put your MOT authorisation at risk. Is the job worth such a high price?

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