Q&A - Inspection Facilities & Tire Inflation

Q&A ImageI 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?


Partial Answer

I had a look in the inspection manual (standards guide used by Designated Inspection Facilities) under light vehicles, tires and wheels. It says that tires must be inspected for proper markings, load capacity, tread depth and inflation among other things. There is no specific mention of the spare tire, so to me that would not exclude the spare but simply include ALL the tires the vehicle is presented with.

Not being confident of my interpretation, I've fired off an e-mail to the CVSE people and asked them for specifics. Sometimes they are not terribly prompt to reply so further information may not appear here quickly.

Information from CVSE

I was able to get a response from the team lead for the vehicle inspection program with CVSE.

There is no requirement to have a spare tire or to inspect it if there is one present on a non-commercial light vehicle.

If a spare tire is present on commercial passenger vehicles (such as a taxi) it must be inspected visually to insure that it is attached securely to the vehicle. Nothing more.

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