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Car MOT Manual 2012 onwards






- 2.2 Steering Play

Information
This inspection applies to all types of steering mechanism.

If power steering is fitted, the engine must be running for all checks requiring steering movement.

If ATL or OPTL approved, references to the assistants role in this section do not apply, although an NT may use an assistant to aid with the inspection of components if the NT considers it necessary.

For tricycles and quadricycles with motorcycle derived steering/suspension systems, refer to Section 9.2.
Method of Inspection
1. With the road wheels on the ground pointing straight ahead, lightly turn the steering wheel left and right as far as possible without moving the road wheel.
Check the amount of free play at the circumference of the steering wheel.

Note: Play due to wear or maladjustment must not be confused with apparent play due to the construction of the mechanism, such as caused by the deflection of flexible joints or spring compression in external power steering systems.

Note: The steering wheel free play limit is a general rule for standard diameter steering wheels, 380mm. Lower or higher limits should be set with larger or smaller diameter steering wheels
Reason for Rejection
1. A point on the rim of the steering wheel moves, without the road wheels moving, for more than:

a. 75mm for non rack and pinion
b. 13mm for rack and pinion steering.

Note: Where there are several joints between the steering wheel and the rack, movement up to 48mm on a 380mm diameter wheel may be accepted.

- 2.2 Play Under Load

Information
It may be necessary to open the engine compartment to examine certain steering components on some vehicles e.g. steering rack mounted on upper part of the bulkhead etc. If power steering is fitted:

the engine must be running, and
care must be taken when inspecting components in the engine compartment.

Because dismantling is not permitted, it is accepted that visual examination of some components which are enclosed by protective gaiters will not be possible.

Relative movement due to excessive wear MUST be distinguished from relative movement due to built-in clearance or spring loading of a joint.

Bonded joints may show movement due to elasticity. Slight deterioration is acceptable.

Play in ball joints or pivot points must not be regarded as excessive unless it is clear that replacement, repair or adjustment of the component is necessary.
Method of Inspection
B. Play Under Load 1. With the front road wheels on the ground ask the assistant to rock the steering wheel in both directions firmly against resistance, examine the complete steering mechanism.

Note: If ATL or OPTL approved the wheel play detectors should be used in rotational mode for this inspection.

Check for:
a. insecurity of any components
b. relative movement between sector shaft and drop arm
c. loose ball pin shanks
d. loose track rod end or drag link ends
e. weak or broken socket springs
f. excessive play in ball joints
g. excessive play at pivot points
h. relative movement between the steering arm and its fixings
i. the condition and security of rear wheel steering components, including front to rear connecting shafts
j. if the rear wheel steering is inoperative, check:

the position of the rear wheels and
whether it affects the front wheel steering.
Reason for Rejection
1.
a. Insecurity of any part fixed to the vehicle structure, e.g. steering box, rack housing or intermediate drop arm pivot housing
b. relative movement between the sector shaft and the drop arm
c. a loose ball pin shank
d. a loose track rod or drag link end
e. a weak or broken socket spring
f. excessive play in a ball joint
g. excessive play in a pivot point e.g. an intermediate drop arm
h. relative movement between a steering arm and its fixings

1. a. Insecurity of any part fixed to the vehicle structure, e.g. steering box, rack housing or intermediate drop arm pivot housing
b. relative movement between the sector shaft and the drop arm
c. a loose ball pin shank
d. a loose track rod or drag link end
e. a weak or broken socket spring
f. excessive play in a ball joint
g. excessive play in a pivot point e.g. an intermediate drop arm
h. relative movement between a steering arm and its fixings
j. inoperative rear wheel steering where:

the rear wheels are not held substantially in the straight ahead position, or
the front wheel steering is adversely affected.

- 2.2 Static Inspection

Information
The inspections in this sub-section may be carried out at the same time as the inspections in sub-sections 2.2B and 2.2D.
Method of Inspection
C. Static Inspection 1. With the road wheels on the ground and the steering wheel and system stationary. Check for:

a. wear in the neck of ball pins
b. track rod or drag link ends misaligned
c. condition of ball joint dust covers
d. components fractured, cracked, damaged, excessively corroded or deformed
e. inappropriate modification or repairs, especially by welding, or evidence that excessive heat has been applied, to steering components or structural members

Note: Methods of Inspection d and e also apply to rear wheel steering systems including front to rear connecting shafts.

f. fluid leakage from a steering damper seal or gland
g. the presence and security of retaining and locking devices

Note: It is not always possible to determine the presence and effectiveness of certain types of locking devices e.g. locking fluid or nyloc nuts.

h. excessive corrosion, severe distortion or a fracture in the chassis or integral body attachment area of a main steering component e.g. steering box or rack, idler arm mounting, etc.
Reason for Rejection
1.
a. Sharp or deep grooves in the neck of a ball pin
b. track rod or drag link ends seriously misaligned
c. a ball joint dust cover missing, insecure or excessively damaged or deteriorated to the extent that it would no longer prevent the ingress of dirt etc.
d. a component fractured, cracked, damaged, excessively corroded or deformed so that it is unserviceable
e. inappropriate structural modification or repair by welding to a steering linkage component, or signs of excessive heat having been applied

Note: Reasons for Rejection d and e also apply to rear wheel steering. An inoperative rear wheel steering system is not a reason for rejection if:

the rear wheels are held substantially in a straight ahead position
the front wheel steering is not adversely affected

f. fluid leakage from a steering damper seal or gland to such an extent that it is clear that the seal or gland has failed
g. a retaining or locking device missing or insecure
h. deliberate modification which significantly reduces the original strength, excessive corrosion, severe distortion, a fracture or an inadequate repair of a load bearing member or its supporting structure or supporting panelling within 30cm of a steering component mounting, that is, within a prescribed area.

- 2.2 Lock to Lock Check

Information
This sub-section applies to all suspension types.

It is important that these inspections are carried out:
with the suspension substantially in the normal running position
on vehicles not fitted with a beam axle with the steered wheels resting on turning plates that move freely.

The use of turning plates is not mandatory for Class 5 vehicles but should be used if available and suitable.

Vehicles with a beam axlecan alternatively be raised from the ground as in Figure 1, Suspension Type Diagram, and this inspection carried out at the same time as the inspections in sub-section 2.5a.
Method of Inspection
D. Lock to Lock Check

1. With the front steered wheels resting on unlocked turning plates and using the steering wheel turn the steering from lock to lock and assess the steering system for any tightness or roughness in operation.

2. With the front steered wheels resting on unlocked turning plates turn the wheels from lock to lock.
Check for:
a. fouling, particularly brake hoses
b. brake hoses or brake pipes stretched or twisted
c. presence, security and correct adjustment of lock stops if fitted

Note: Some vehicles have lock stops comprising rubbing pads on the body that the front tyres may contact on a full lock. These are acceptable if they are properly maintained so that they do not damage the tyres.

d. condition and security of steering rack gaiters

Note: Expand steering rack gaiters for proper examination.

e. oil leaking from steering box.
Reason for Rejection
1. Excessive tightness or roughness in the steering mechanism.

2.
a. A component of the steering mechanism, road wheels or tyres fouling any part of the vehicle
b. a brake pipe or brake hose stretched, twisted or seriously damaged
c. a steering lock stop:

incorrectly adjusted
missing, loose, damaged or insecurely locked

Note: A missing steering lock stop should only be failed where it is known to have been fitted as standard.

d. an insecure, split or missing steering rack gaiter
e. a significant oil leak from the steering box





Reproduced from the MOT Inspection Manual by kind permission of THE VEHICLE INSPECTORATE.
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