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Safetstop | Landmark study shows some brake testing methods are inaccurate

Safetstop brake testing

The University of Adelaide Centre for Automotive Safety Research has conducted a landmark study into brake testing methods – the first in 30 years.

The study looked at the brakes of a common passenger vehicle by simulating faults routinely found in cars. Modifications were made to the car’s braking system to allow for the adjustment of hydraulic pressure to each wheel from 100% to zero. In addition to the valves, sensors were placed on each wheel to ensure precise measurements, and the data recording and accuracy was reviewed by the National Institute of Measurement. The tests were repeated for accuracy.

The basis of assessing the test methods was a stopping distance test on an airport runway which was then compared with results from a decelerometer, a roller tester and a plate brake tester. In an attempt to find the best method of testing the hydraulic and mechanical operation of brakes, the ability of each method to find brake faults was explored.

The decelerometer is the most common method of testing for light vehicles, although it is not able to identify brake faults. When the pass/fail criteria are set to comply with current NSW requirements, the device failed ONLY the most severe brake fault scenario in the study. In every other case, this testing device PASSED the vehicle as safe, according to current regulatory requirements, although many of these had brake faults that dangerously increased stopping distances.

The decelerometer also cannot measure left to right braking imbalances, or front to rear braking imbalances, and both must be correct for a vehicle to stop in an emergency without affecting handling. Left to right and front to rear balances are both part of the NSW safety requirements (pink slip inspection) but this device is not able to measure either.

It’s not all bad news though: the SafeTstop plate brake tester was able to identify all the brake faults in the study. It accurately measured the brake imbalances on each axle, both front to rear, and left to right. It identified all the simulated brake faults in all the scenarios in the study. It was also able to measure the reduction in peak and average deceleration of all the brake fault simulations and to accurately pass or fail vehicles against the current requirements for road safety.

A SafeTstop check will give you an accurate and detailed report that will enable you to make the adjustments necessary to keep you and your family safe. Goodspanner has recently installed the new generation Safetstop Short Track Ultima 4 in 1 at the Harbord Road Tyre Centre. Get your brake performance and balance, wheel alignment and suspension results, in less than one minute, with a printed report for peace of mind. Contact us today.