Q&A - Inspection Facilities & Tire Inflation
I operate a 14 Passenger 2012 Ford Econoline E350 Passenger Van, which is registered both as a Class 4 Driving School vehicle, and a Bus. Government Inspection rules appear strict (as they should be) for this type of vehicle, used in these circumstances; annual inspections for DTS vehicles under MVA(R), twice annual though for Passenger Transportation.
Yesterday, I took my vehicle to my favourite Government Inspection Facility, where it passed inspection as anticipated. But I question the ability and thoroughness of the mechanic who did the work; for one thing (probably because I had asked for a front/rear tire rotation at the same time) the vehicle was handed back to me with 80psi in the front tires and 55psi in the rears, which is of course bass ackwards; not very clever, that - a good thing I spotted it.
But when the vehicle was returned to the shop to have this condition corrected, I also asked what pressure they had inflated the spare tire to. It turned out that the mechanic hadn't even bothered to check the spare, and was not in the habit of doing so.
To me, this is completely unacceptable, a crucial safety issue; when you need the spare, it has to be reliable and properly inflated (that would require 80psi minimum, as it could always be reduced if going on the front). Particularly given the concerns raised about this type of vehicle, and the clear indications that single vehicle crashes involving them often relate to poor maintenance including low tire pressure in heavily loaded vehicles.
So, what's the rule, the bottom line? Is it acceptable to BC Vehicle Inspectors that 'Government Certified Mechanics' intentionally ignore the spare tire (not to mention the sticker on the driver's door jamb advising on correct pressures) or were serious errors made at the time of my vehicle inspection? I'm not too concerned for myself - I'm mechanically experienced and knowledgeable, not to mention diligent when it comes to safety issues; but what is the Government Standard for tire pressure checking. And is it good enough, I may ask?