The public may or may not be aware, vehicles used by both driving schools or institutes in the country, has to undergo a 6 month inspection exercise. Infact, all commercial vehicles such as taxis, lorries, trailers, buses and vans amongst others, are inspected by the PUSPAKOM authorities and as has been said, once in 6 months. Small vehicles, like motorcars are charged RM50 for the first inspection. If the above should fail its initial test, subsequently, it would be charged RM25.
Previously, inspection exercises were as a matter of fact, conducted by the Road Transport Department or Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan. But as responsibilities and duties of the RTD increased, the department had no alternative, but to privatize or outsource the duty of inspecting commercial vehicles to PUSPAKOM.
The PUSPAKOM authorities today, has inspection centres all over the country. In Selangor alone, this blog writer is aware that PUSPAKOM has inspection centres in such places as Wangsa Maju, Padang Jawa, near Klang and Sungai Mangis, near Banting. All commercial vehicles are issued with a Puspakom discs after every stringent inspection.
These discs are then compulsorily attached to the front windscreens of all commercial vehicles, such as lorries, trailers, buses, vans and driving school vehicles, for the perusal and inspection of both the police and Road Transport authorities which conducts road blocks. Heavy fines are imposed upon vehicles which fail to adhere to such inspections.
Why are the 6 monthly compulsory inspections imposed upon commercial vehicles?
According to the Transport Department, it is believed that such vehicles have to be in good, mechanical conditions in order for accidents to be prevented. As one knows, Malaysia is reputed to possess one of the highest rate of accidents in the world. Such being the case, it is impertinent that such inspection exercises are indeed extremely necessary.
Before proceeding any further with this article, permit me to inform you what are the necessary documents that has to brought along during a PUSPAKOM inspection exercise. Ideally, remember to bring along:
a. The vehicle registration card
b. A letter of authority from the driving institute or school to which you belong
c. The previous inspection exercise result issued by the PUSPAKOM authority
Some representatives of driving schools or institutes in the Klang district prefer to take their vehicles for inspection exercises to the Padang Jawa Puspakom centre. Others, on the other hand, seem to like sending their vehicles to the Sungai Manggis inspection centre, near Banting.
For my vehicle’s latest inspection exercise, my colleague, a Mr. Bala, chose to take the vehicle to Sungai Manggis, near Banting.
Incidentally, my colleague, Bala was paid RM50 for his services.
All in all, my 1998 old Kancil, which instructor uses for providing driving tuition to students, underwent 2 inspections before it finally passed its inspections exercise.
For the 2nd inspection, my colleague Bala, was again paid a further RM50 for his services and RM 25 for the inspection exercise.
What should a vehicle being sent for an inspection undergo prior to being presented for PUSPAKOM’s inspection exercise?
I will inform you what he had to do. Other instructors may have to do things which might be different. It depends actually on the condition of your vehicle itself. All in all, one has to spend at least RM400- 500 to carry out repairs, servicing the vehicle and may be even changing a new set of tyres for the vehicle.
Inspection fees at the PUSPAKOM centre can easily total RM150, while runner expenses can easily come to another RM150.
A moderate calculation for the entire inspection exercise could come to a total of at least RM 600- 700.
What repairs needed to be done to the vehicle in question?
Firstly, obviously the brakes, both the front and the rear, hard to be checked and dust had to be removed. At times, certain brakes were infact jammed or leaking brake oil. Brake pads were most of the time worn out. They had to be replaced.
Secondly, certain ball joints were found to be worn out. This time around, the left wheel bearing was founded to be in poor condition. It was infact humming. On top of that, the connecting rod, was also found to be in unsatisfactory condition. This also had to be replaced.
Besides all of the above, the vehicle also had to have its front tyres replaced and also balanced. After that, the ‘alignment also had to be checked.
When all of the above had been carried out, the vehicle finally had to be sent for servicing at a nearby Mobil Petrol Service outlet. It costs RM20 per service these days. It should be reiterated that PUSPAKOM officials will check the cassis number and the engine numbers as well during the inspection exercise.
There are also other aspects of the vehicle that has to be checked as well. Signages, L signs, brake lights, indicators, 3rd brake lights, wipers, and the instructor’s emergency brake, ought to be checked as well.
At approximately 11.00a.m., the vehicle for inspection was finally sent by my colleague, Mr. Bala to PUSPAKOM’s inspection centre in Sungai Manggis, Banting.
And what was the result? Unfortunately, the Kancil FAILED the first, initial test.
What caused the above vehicle to fail its test?
PUSPAKOM in reality subjects a driving school car to a 5 point check. Amongst the things which is checked includes:
i. Checking its cassis and engine numbers
ii. The conditions of a vehicle’s brake system
iii. Its suspension system, especially the front portion of the vehicle
iv. Its alignment system
v. Over all vehicle conditions
It should be reiterated here that, a driving school vehicle is not checked for its engine condition as it is a petrol driven vehicle. The condition of its exhaust system, including pollution problems, only pertains to diesel driven vehicles!
Readers would like to know what aspects of inspection did my Kancil fail.
The Kancil, my friend Bala told me, failed in the following aspects during inspection.
i. Its alignment test. The JPJ felt its ‘alignment test conducted by private tyre shops or outlets, were not done satisfactorily.
ii. The left hand side front suspension system was discovered to be in poor or weak condition. Therefore it had to be rectified.
iii. Surprisingly, although the vehicle was sent for servicing earlier, the engine was found to be in dirty condition. The officials were unable to decipher to its failure eventually.
The afternoon after the Kancil failed its initial test, this instructor went to a 2nd hand spare parts outlet in Padang Jawa, Klang to secure an imported suspension part. It costs the author RM50. A new suspension set would have easily cost RM 150 at the least.
My current mechanic, Ah Siang, whose workshop is located at 2nd mile, Jalan Kapar, Klang, took nearly half an hour to assemble the 2nd hand suspension system onto my car. And what was the price I had to pay for the job done? RM 20 only!
After that the mechanic advised me I had to send the vehicle for alignment purposes. The alignment exercise, which I did at my usual tyre outlet at Simpang Empat, near Telok Pulai, Klang, costs me RM 10.
After all repairs had been done to the Kancil, the vehicle was once again sent to the service station to have its engine washed for a second time, in preparation for the Kancil’s second inspection date with PUSPAKOM, which was scheduled for Monday.
Even though the Kancil passed its suspension test the 2nd time around, it failed PUSPAKOM’s engine number test again. According to officials, they were still unable to see the engine number clearly. This led to the vehicle being sent to a nearby service centre outside PUSPAKOM’s inspection centre to have its engine washed again.
It was only after the 3rd inspection that the Kancil finally passed its inspection test!