Small vans suffer from the parcel boom – lower TÜV rate

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The TÜV finds more defects in commercial vehicles. The positive trend of the past few years with less and less damage did not continue in 2019 and 2020 according to the new commercial vehicle report published by TÜV on Tuesday. The security experts see, among other things, a connection with the parcel boom, which has been intensified by the corona pandemic.

In the main inspections in 2019 and 2020, TÜV inspectors found significant or dangerous defects in almost a fifth (19.6 percent) of all commercial vehicles. In the years before that, the rate had steadily declined. “We have seen a trend reversal,” said Richard Goebelt, Head of Vehicle and Mobility at TÜV Association, the German Press Agency. “In 18 of the 20 age and weight classes shown by us, more vehicles failed the general inspection than two years ago. Unfortunately, we are moving in the wrong direction.”

Over 3.4 million commercial vehicles are registered in Germany. The majority of them – almost 2.9 million – are delivery vans and small vans up to 3.5 tons total weight. The defect rate for these vehicles was particularly high at 20.3 percent. The connection with the Corona crisis: “Small vans are particularly used,” said Goebelt. “The corona pandemic has created a significant boom in online trading. Courier services that frequently use these vehicles regularly go to their limit, but maintenance, care and maximum payload are often treated casually.”

“As the vehicle ages, we have problems with light and oil in particular,” said Goebelt. “We also have wear on the steering systems and the axle suspensions, and the naturally tough operation of these vehicles is also noticeable on the brake drums.”

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For the new commercial vehicle report, the TÜV association evaluated around 1.95 million general inspections. There were more deficiencies not only in small vans, but also in several other classes of commercial vehicles. Heavy trucks over 18 tons performed worst among the larger vehicles with a defect rate of 19.9 percent.

Vehicles with “dangerous defects” were included in the statistics for the first time. According to the commercial vehicle report, there were 10,000 vehicles that had to be brought to the workshop immediately due to worn brake discs, badly worn tires or other serious defects. A further 1,300 or so commercial vehicles were classified as “traffic unsafe” and therefore immediately withdrawn from traffic.

Due to the advancing mechanization of commercial vehicles, the TÜV advocates an expansion of the tests. “For us it is very important that the checking of the driver assistance systems is included in the main inspection,” said Goebelt. “The check of the current software version should always be recorded. Hardware calibration is an important point, system status, glazing, sensors, the driving mode memory. Assistance systems only help to make mobility safer if they actually work.”


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