29 Nov 2011 04:29 pm
The opening of a Vehicle Testing NZ station in Silverdale last month brings one of the biggest players in the motor vehicle safety industry to the region.
VTNZ was originally a state owned enterprise, but was sold to the Motor Trade Association in the late 1990s.
It has 86 stations nationwide, and has captured around 80 percent of the market for Certificate of Fitness checks for commercial vehicles such as trucks.
VTNZ Silverdale, in Furnace Place (off Forge Rd), is a large, state of the art, two-lane facility that can carry out safety inspections on heavy vehicles such as trucks and trailers, as well as doing Warrant of Fitness (WoF) checks.
VTNZ has the latest technology, enabling it to test to the Heavy-Vehicle Brake Rule, which means staff can simulate a load within the lane (trucks don’t have to come in laden for testing).
A machine that checks each wheel for balance and performance under braking is used for every WoF.
Recently VTNZ introduced its WoF Plus service, which provides checks of the tyres, oil and water and battery. Other services that can be handled on site include motor vehicle registrations, road user charges, the processing of change of ownership papers and pre-purchase inspections, saving the customer time.
The company also provides specialist training for mechanics who want to become authorised vehicle inspectors.
Area manager Kevin Atkinson says VTNZ has come to Silverdale after noting that a large proportion of its customers at the North Shore, Kumeu and Warkworth testing stations were from the Hibiscus Coast.
He estimates that the Silverdale VTNZ’s three qualified vehicle inspectors and manager will be able to put through as many as 1200 cars in a month.
“A big advantage for VTNZ is its independence, and the fact that customers don’t need to book ahead. We focus on providing a friendly and efficient service,” Kevin says.
Kevin has been in the industry for 25 years and has seen big changes in motor vehicle safety.
“As an apprentice in the late 1960s, I saw the makeshift way in which seat belts were installed and that bears no comparison to the high safety standards of today,” he says. “Cars are increasingly engineered with safety in mind, with things like frontal impact standards, and as many as 20 airbags in a vehicle. WoF rules have also changed over the years, and there is now a far more high tech, thorough inspection of every aspect of vehicle safety.”
Image: Kevin Atkinson (centre), with vehicle inspectors Mo Khan (left) and Dave Coe