6 Weekly Brake Testing on Fleet Vehicles

vosa manIt has become commonplace for HGV, Bus & Coach operators to conduct regular vehicle checks on fleets.

These checks are required as part of a continuous “Duty of Care” regime which should ensure that vehicles are regularly monitored to ensure that the mechanical condition of the vehicle meets a satisfactory minimum level.

As far as braking system analysis is concerned, historically an in-ground roller brake tester was used in order to identify specific axles where irregularities such as poor braking performance, imbalance or ovality are present, however in order to make compliance easier the DVSA have recommended in recent years that a brake meter decelerometer with a printer is used to check braking efforts.

Whilst this does not negate the use of a roller brake tester for specific axle analysis, the decelerometer check can be used to evidence operator compliance to a “Duty of Care” regime whilst allowing maintenance staff the facility to record the performances of their vehicles such that if a problem is noted, a corrective action can be implemented before the vehicle leaves the safety of the yard.

The requirements for testing either a Heavy Goods Vehicle, Trailer or Buses & Coach testing are slightly different, therefore we have produced specific kits for these applications.

Each kit contains the correct type of decelerometer and an infra-red remote printer all contained within a hard carry case. The meters are supplied on a 2 year calibration certificate and the Bowmonk BrakeCheck is the least expensive brake meter option available when compared to annually calibrated and serviced units.

There is also a download software option available to eliminate the printer and this can be considered if service personell are equipped with Laptops, however the traditional hard copy printer  version is the more commonly supplied variant in our experience due to the robust design of the brake meter tester and printer compared to a laptop computer..

For specific advice on our brake meter’s please call our dedicated sales support team on 0844 800 9785 or visit the GETECH website.

For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.

6 Weekly Fleet Brake Checks: PC Download or Print to Hard Copy?

6 Weekly Fleet Brake Checks: PC Download or Print to Hard Copy?

The subject of this blog article pertains to the methods that can be employed to maintain vehicle testing data as part of a schedule of 6 weekly checks.

The "Industry Standard" Bowmonk brake meter is used in ATF's and MOT stations across the Country
The “Industry Standard” Bowmonk brake meter is used in ATF’s and MOT stations across the Country

The Bowmonk Brake Meter is a means to measure and record braking forces and efficiencies, and this data can be quickly acquired during a simple single test pass.

Dealing with this data is the actual issue. Having conducted the tests you want to maintain a record of those checks as evidence of compliance however is it better to maintain an electronic version of this data or a hard copy?

In the first instance one immediately thinks electronic data makes more sense. The file size is generally quite small and an electronic record can be stored safely on a PC for years – indeed this facility does exist with the Bowmonk Brake Meter however GETECH believe that a paper copy makes more sense…

  1. A micro printer can be supplied with the unit enabling the result to be immediately printed whilst negating the requirement for a laptop to be carried around the test site.
  2. Data when printed can immediately be attached to the service record for the vehicle in question. If a download is to be achieved from “the office” then not only will the tester have to return to base to download the data every time, a risk is introduced whereby the data when downloaded may be saved against the wrong vehicle.
The portable brake meter for motorcycle, car, light commercial, HGV and Bus & Coach testing

In actual fact though we can supply specific to customer requirements – so in those odd ball site requirements that require a download function can be accommodated although GETECH supply our brake testing kits with the printer option as part of a kit. These kits a designed for specific applications. HGV operators require a slightly different specification of brake meter – but our kits for commercial applications are clearly identified HERE whereas the entire product range can be viewed HERE.

For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk

The Industry Standard for CV Brake Checks

The Industry Standard for CV Brake Checks

When VOSA first offered guidance on testing commercial trailers they advised,

    “The way to use a decelerometer is to first test the drawing vehicle on its own. Then connect the trailer and the deceleration rate should be similar i.e. the trailer is doing its fair share of work. This is not an exact science but would be enough to give you confidence the trailer brakes were working.”

Using a decelerometer to test trailer brakes is a positive method for any operator to complete regular vehicle testing that can be recorded and used as evidence if required. With “Duty Of Care” being top of the agenda for most managers, staff need to demonstrate what best they can do to achieve a safe working environment for employees and the general public.

The BrakeCheck decelerometer is clearly the best solution available in the UK for quick testing vehicle braking systems. It has become “The Industry Standard” for CV testing since it will test tractor units, rigid trucks and also incorporates an infra-red printer to allow repairers and internal maintenance workshops the opportunity to create and maintain an inspection record for their commercial tractors and trailers with hard copy evidence creation within a single cost effective solution.

This package is available to purchase online – Simply click HERE. Alternatively, for card payments or for further guidance from our knowledgeable brake testing experts call 0844 800 9785.


For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.

Truck & Trailer Testing

Truck & Trailer Testing

Last week an article was published by the GEA (Garage Equipment Association)

Planned or Unplanned - Bowmonk

which gave clarification on the use of hand held braking meters for trailer testing for agricultural or goods vehicle trailers.

The article sought to overcome comments that have been made in the public domain in relation to the method of testing of trailer brakes and also the approval status of equipment to perform such tests.

The statement from the GEA reads as follows;

The GEA operates the MOT equipment approval service on behalf of the DVSA.

Recently we’ve received enquiries from workshops & installers, asking which brake test decelerometers are DVSA approved for HGV trailer testing.

Whilst there are numerous approved decelerometers that may be used to complete a brake test during an MOT, we would like to point out that none are approved specifically for HGV trailer testing.

So what does this mean? Can I only use brake rollers to test trailer brakes?

We have received numerous enquiries asking whether our portable brake testers are approved by the DVSA for trailer testing.

Our answer to this has always been that although no decelerometers are approved for trailer testing, despite some within our industry implying the opposite, there are methods available which can allow a portable decelerometer to be used as a diagnostic tool and to be used to assist in determining the brake efficiency of commercial trailers.

How do we use a Brake Meter to diagnose potential braking faults in trailers?

  1. Run a complete test using the drag / truck / tractor unit. This develops a baseline level for braking efficiency of the vehicle.
  2. Attach trailer to the drag and repeat the entire test run.
  3. Compare the data between Run 1 & Run 2: We are looking for an indication that the trailer is doing its fair share of the braking effort to decide if the braking system is operating as it should or if further diagnosis is required on a roller brake tester. i.e If braking efficiency for drag is 85% but the overall performance deteriorates to 40% for the tractor and trailer – then this is a good indication that the trailer is not doing its fair share of the effort and further analysis on a set of brake rollers is required.

What unit should I buy?

The portable brake meter for motorcycle, car, light commercial, HGV and Bus & Coach testing

There are a few decelerometer brake meters available in the UK but by far the most popular units are the Bowmonk BrakeCheck or Bowmonk TruckStop. Both of these units are approved for use within both the MOT scheme and for Designated Premises – each variant specifically designed to test either vehicles with a parking and single service brake and for those with a secondary braking system.

Almost inevitably when seeking a unit such as this for diagnosis purposes, a hard copy print out becomes desirable evidence to produce and maintain.

Therefore GETECH have a number of different kits available to suit the specific type of testing you wish to conduct – and all of these kits come in a portable hard carry case with an infra red printer to enable immediate evidence of the brake test result to be attached to the service record of the vehicle.

These packages are available on the GETECH website, but our friendly well informed sales team will be able to assist you during normal office hours on 0844 800 9785.

For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.


Do it Right…and for Less

The "Industry Standard" Bowmonk brake meter is used in ATF's and MOT stations across the Country
The “Industry Standard” Bowmonk brake meter is used in ATF’s and MOT stations across the Country

Our brake testing kits for commercial vehicles are very popular with fleet operators as they contain the necessary equipment necessary for regular brake testing to be conducted and evidenced.

Brake meters allow a quick analysis of a vehicles braking system and for the data to be analysed to make sure that no underlying problems exist with the system. Examples of issues that can be detected by a modern brake meter include brake imbalance, or trailer brakes which are not doing their fair share of the overall effort – so despite the quick test routine a detailed understanding of the situation can be achieved.

2 kits are available each with a slightly different brake meter – in each instance this is the correct one for the vehicle in question. Whilst Buses and Coach operators only require a 2 slot memory function for a complete test, an HGV operator requires a 3 slot memory to capture secondary braking values and while theoretically a standard 2 slot memory can be used with an HGV if 2 test reports are printed – since these reports are individual they could be interpreted as “non-conforming” as there is no evidence of a single, overall analysis – in other words a robust regime to prevent cross contamination of data doesn’t exist which defeats the original object of the test.

A modern brake meter decelerometer and printer
A modern brake meter decelerometer and printer

Both kits contain an infra-red printer and they are supplied in a hard carry case to enable entire fleets to be checked with no requirement to go back to an office location to download or print the data. We also supply spare print rolls for the meter so you have sufficient for many tests.

Another key advantage of the Bowmonk decelerometer is the bi-yearly calibration of the unit and the low cost of that calibration when it becomes due.

Used in ATF’s, MOT bays and within fleet organisations across the Country – the Bowmonk is the “Industry Standard” decelerometer.

Commercial brake testing kits can be purchase from GETECH either online or by calling 0844 800 9785 during normal office hours.

Brake Check for HGV Operators – Now with FREE Carriage

The portable brake meter for motorcycle, car, light commercial, HGV and Bus & Coach testing

As an owner / operator of a fleet of HGV vehicles you may well have considered a brake meter as a means of checking your vehicles braking efficiencies. The Bowmonk Truck Kit from GETECH contains a portable, digital decelerometer with an infra-red printer which enables you to create detailed, formal records of your regular checks.

There has never been a better time to purchase one of these, DVSA preferred, solutions as we are now offering FREE carriage on any Truckstop order received before 31/12/2015.

Order can be made online on the GETECH Webpage or by calling 0844 800 9785 during office hours.

How to Eliminate Data Contamination & Build a Robust Brake Testing Strategy for Fleets

dataData. It’s what we need. For day to day decision making through to planning long term projects and it’s becoming more and more important in terms of proving we are dealing with our duties of care within fleet operations.

Quite often we are approached by individuals or companies who are setting out to instigate a robust testing program for HGV, Bus or Coach testing. For them the answer is simple it’s about both the data and then evidencing of this data.

There are a number of ways that fleet brakes can be monitored as part of a maintenance regime. Investment in a roller brake tester is the ultimate in terms of measurement accuracy. Data can be acquired from individual wheels and axles and it can then be assessed against various criteria to understand if any individual component within a braking system is not performing as designed.

The main problem with this solution is one of simple cost. Roller brake testers cost many thousands of pounds and for small fleets this cost is simply unjustifiable. The solution is simple – and actually more than accurate enough to give confidence of the correct operation of the system under test. The solution is the hand held decelerometer braking meter.

Decelerometer’s are a fairly simple piece of equipment. They measure forces that act on the device as a vehicle is braked. By analysing this data it is possible for braking efficiency calculations to be made and, although the system does not generate as detailed test data as that which is produced by a roller brake tester, the overall system data can still be understood – including any imbalance in braking between near and off-side of the test vehicle.

Once the data is captured and assessed as acceptable the next important stage is to evidence this data which can be either handwritten, downloaded or printed form. Clearly printing is the favourite, as it does not allow for any “manipulation” of the test data [It is important to think of such things negatively in order to build a robust regime] or indeed cross contamination between PC and brake meter if the PC is remotely located.

The next issue is to source the correct type of decelerometer. What you are looking for here is a unit that has the same number of memory slots as the vehicle you intend to test i.e for HGV testing a 3 slot unit is ideally required [Service brake, secondary brake, parking brake] this enables you to do a single test run and print on each vehicle before attaching the result to the vehicle record.

TPlanned or Unplanned - Bowmonkhe final paragraph comes with the best news of all because it refers to cost! Whereas the roller brake tester will have cost many thousands, a decelerometer with printer starts from just £525+VAT. That’s a fairly significant reduction in costs, and what has been lost by “downgrading” (or saving as GETECH prefer to call it).

You only get overall data rather than individual wheel data but in obtaining this data with hard copy evidence you will have achieved a robust brake testing strategy that both satisfies the DVSA and  didn’t cost the earth!

See more on our commercial braking range HERE.