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Vehicles are being checked at the Wasel Vehicle Testing Centre before the renewal of registration / Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Archives, gulfnews.com
Almost 25 per cent of vehicles in Dubai failed the annual roadworthiness test last year mandated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Gulf News can confirm.
According to a top RTA official, the authority has introduced a centralised system which makes it difficult for unsafe vehicles to escape the net.
''The percentage of vehicle test failure has increased because the tests have become more stringent, the equipment more advanced and technicians more qualified. However, the main reason that I believe is helping detect a greater number of unsafe vehicles is the centralised system that has unified the results and made it almost impossible for a defective vehicle to escape,'' said Ahmad Hashem Behroozian, CEO of RTA's Licensing Agency.
RTA has outsourced the testing facilities to private firms and, before last year, each centre followed its individual system, though the parameters were same.
''Different systems and equipment used by different testing centres meant the results differed. In many cases, owners of vehicles that failed at one centre would get the vehicles passed at another centre. With the unified system all centres are linked to RTA's system and all have access to the history of vehicles. Once the inspector keys in vehicle identification he will know the history of the vehicle and whether the vehicle has failed before,'' Behroozian said.
Last year, 1.7 million vehicles were tested for roadworthiness across the 29 centres in Dubai, but the number of vehicles registered in Dubai is 1.5 million. The rest of the vehicles either failed or were exported out of the country.
The highest number of vehicles, 36.6 per cent, failed for damaged chassis, while 15.8 per cent of failed vehicles had defects in axles, wheel, tyres and suspension systems and 10.3 per cent of the failed vehicles had lighting problems, and 7.7 per cent had visibility issues.
Sultan Al Marzouqi, director of Vehicle Licensing in RTA, said that there are three major aspects of vehicle inspections — technical parameters, testing equipment and inspector competency.
He said RTA continuously focuses on tightening all the aspects.
''Apart from looking into the technical standard of a vehicle, we have also enhanced testing equipment as well as inspector competency. We have Introduced and developed training curriculum for inspectors to meet technological and industrial advances. We regularly examine and certify the inspectors and this has helped in improving their competency level.''
He added that to further improve the system RTA is in the process of creating an electronic link that will bring the dealers, testing centres as well as RTA on a common platform, while giving access all three parties access to the vehicle's history.
Dubai currently has 29 vehicle testing centres across the city with a total of 119 lanes, including 69 dedicated lines for light vehicles. RTA plans to license more testings centres this year, giving people more options.
Why so many vehicles fail test?
Lack of maintenance and use of fake parts are among the main reasons that lead to vehicles failing tests, said a top official from one of the leading auto dealers.
Ralf Zimmerman, director of after sales at Al Futtaim Motors, said such a high percentage of failure of vehicles could be linked to lack of regular servicing. ''One of the reasons why so many vehicles fail the RTA inspection is because vehicles are repaired and maintained at non-certified workshops and handled by unqualified technicians which do more damage to the vehicle rather than any good,'' said Zimmerman.
He added that an average lifespan of a vehicle in this region is 20 years, but that could be increased or reduced depending on how you treat the vehicle.
''Modern vehicles are highly advanced and only those technicians who are professionally trained to handle these vehicles can do a good job of taking care of these vehicles. Also, a regular service is not just about oil and filter change, which is what you get when you approach a non-authorised service centre, whereas an authorized dealer takes care of everything that a vehicle needs,'' he noted.
He also added that use of counterfeit spare parts also causes damage to the vehicle and leads to it failing the test.
''Counterfeit parts may look the same as the original but their performance differs immensely and it causes damage to the vehicle in the long run,'' he said.
Key Testing Parameters
- VIN number