A crucial aspect of MOT testing and general car safety is regular maintenance and testing of the vehicle braking system.
Garages and MOT Bays in the UK have long relied on various tools to ensure vehicles meet the stringent DVSA safety standards. Among these tools, decelerometers have long since been a valuable solution, providing accurate and efficient brake testing capabilities, taking up less room than a roller brake tester, and at a fraction of the cost, as well as being capable of taking braking readings for a wide range of vehicles.
What is a Decelerometer?
A decelerometer is a device designed to measure the rate of deceleration or braking efficiency of a vehicle. It plays a pivotal role in assessing the condition of a vehicle’s braking system, ensuring that it complies with the rigorous safety standards mandated by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) in the UK.
It utilises multiple sensors to detect changes in speed and acceleration, providing accurate data on the vehicle’s braking capabilities. Decelerometers are commonly used in the automotive industry to assess brake performance during MOT tests and in garages
Common Uses of Decelerometers
Decelerometers serve a variety of purposes in garages and MOT bays. Their primary function is to conduct brake efficiency tests, ensuring that vehicles meet the required braking standards. Additionally, they can be used to identify potential brake issues, including hand brakes, allowing for timely repair and prevention of more severe problems.
The most common uses for decelerometers include:
- MOT Testing: The primary application of decelerometers lies in MOT testing. These devices offer a quick and efficient way to evaluate the braking performance of a vehicle, a crucial aspect of the MOT test.
- Routine Maintenance: Garages use decelerometers as part of routine maintenance to identify potential brake issues before they become major problems. This proactive approach enhances overall vehicle safety and reduces the risk of accidents.
- Post-Repair Checks: After brake repairs or replacements, decelerometers are utilised to verify the effectiveness of the newly installed components, ensuring that the vehicle meets safety standards.
Decelerometer Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Decelerometers operate by measuring the vehicle's deceleration during a controlled braking event. The device calculates the braking efficiency by analysing the rate at which the vehicle slows down.
Yes, decelerometers are designed to provide accurate and reliable measurements of braking efficiency. Regular calibration is essential to maintain accuracy, and reputable manufacturers often include calibration features in their devices.
Decelerometers are versatile and can be used to test a wide range of vehicles, including cars, vans, and light commercial vehicles. Some models including the Tapley Electronic Decelerometer are also suitable for motorcycles when used with a suitable handlebar bracket and clamp.
While both decelerometers and roller brake testers (RBT) serve the common purpose of brake testing, they differ in their methodology and application.
- Testing Process:
- Decelerometer: Measures braking efficiency by assessing the rate of deceleration during controlled braking.
- Roller Brake Tester: Requires the vehicle to be driven onto a set of rotating rollers, simulating real-world road conditions while measuring braking performance.
- Space Requirements:
- Decelerometer: Compact and suitable for garages with limited space.
- Roller Brake Tester: Larger footprint, necessitating more space in the garage or MOT bay.
- Decelerometer: Portable and easy to move, making it convenient for on-site testing.
- Roller Brake Tester: Fixed installation, limiting mobility and flexibility.
- Decelerometer: Generally more cost-effective, especially for smaller garages.
- Roller Brake Tester: Involves a higher initial investment and may require more extensive infrastructure.
- Decelerometer: Versatile, suitable for a variety of vehicles, including motorcycles.
- Roller Brake Tester: Tailored for specific vehicle types, with different models for cars, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles.
Decelerometers vs. Roller Brake Testers
|Roller Brake Testers
|Measures deceleration during vehicle movement
|Simulates braking on fixed rotating rollers
|Portable and easy to use
|Requires fixed installation
|Reflects real-world braking performance
|Provides simulated braking data
|Suitable for various environments
|May not be suitable for all vehicle types
|More expensive due to unit and installation costs
Advantages and Disadvantages of Decelerometers
- Space Efficiency: Decelerometers are compact and require less space than traditional roller brake testers. This is particularly beneficial for smaller garages with limited floor space.
- Portability: The portability of decelerometers allows for on-site testing, enhancing convenience for mobile mechanics or garages offering off-site services.
- Versatility: Decelerometers are versatile and capable of testing a wide range of vehicles, including motorcycles. This versatility makes them a cost-effective solution for garages dealing with diverse vehicle types.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to roller brake testers, decelerometers often present a more budget-friendly option, making them accessible to smaller garages without compromising on testing accuracy.
- Testing Location: To test brakes using a decelerometer you will require a suitable area to be able to perform the test, whereas a roller brake tester can be performed on-site in a space limited to the garage or MOT testing area.
- Initial Learning Curve: While user-friendly, there may be a short learning curve for technicians unfamiliar with decelerometers. However, comprehensive training programs provided by manufacturers can mitigate this issue, and newer versions of the decelerometer do tend to have fairly simple operating instructions.
- Dependency on Surface Conditions: The accuracy of decelerometer readings can be influenced by the condition of the testing surface. It is crucial to conduct tests on a level and suitable surface for precise results.
Need a Decelerometer, or Roller Brake Tester for your Garage or MOT Bay?
Concept Garage Equipment is a leading supplier of decelerometers and other garage and MOT bay equipment. Our team of experts can provide you with the guidance and support you need to select the right decelerometer or brake tester for your specific requirements.
Whether you’re upgrading your brake testing equipment or looking for expert advice on garage tools, Concept Garage Equipment’s knowledgeable team is ready to assist.