In the UK it’s the MOT, in the USA it’s the DMV and here in Bermuda it’s the TCD (which stands for Transport Control Department). Everyone still calls it the ‘TCD’, not the ‘BECL’ inspection, even though it’s been conducted by Bermuda Emissions Control Ltd (BECL) for two and a half years. It’s a bit like the Annual Exhibition that will never be known as anything other than the ‘Ag Show’.
BECL operates three facilities at Southside, Rockaway and North Street in Hamilton.
The inspection applies to all road-going vehicles bikes, buses, trucks, trailers and construction equipment, etc. But for the purpose of this article we will discuss private cars and motorcycles/scooters only. Brand new cars are exempt from the inspection on their second and fourth years. Bikes need to be inspected every year.
To license your car/bike, it must be insured and have passed the safety and emissions inspection. There are some simple steps to successfully getting your car through the inspection:
- Check the vehicle to ensure that all headlights, sidelights, brake lights, hazard lights, indicators, horn, front and rear wipers, and door window mechanisms are working.
- Check the instrument panel to ensure there are no warning lights on (eg ABS or the engine (MIL) light and that the speedometer is working.
In the interior, the upholstery should be in good condition (ie no major tears), the seats should be properly secure and the seat belts should be working. (To check the seat belt, give it a good yank and it should lock).
If you have tint fitted to your windows make sure it meets the legal minimum light levels. The strip across the front of the windscreen must be no more than six inches wide at any point. Window tint, if fitted, must permit at least 35 percent light on the driver and front passenger windows and at least 30 percent light on all other windows behind this point. All the window tint installers (car dealers, bodyshops and detailers) know this. BECL have electronic tint level meters that measure the light levels accurately.
- Check the tyres (including the spare, if fitted) for damage, correct inflation and wear. Emergency ‘skinny/doughnut’ tyres must not be fitted.
When braking and steering there should be no juddering, shimmying, excessive noise, wobbling, etc. The emergency/parking brake should hold your vehicle on a slope.
- Ensure there are no major leaks of fluid (oil, engine coolant) from the vehicle.
- Check the exhaust for leaks. Briefly block the end of the exhaust pipe with a rag or heavy glove and listen for a leak.
- Check the body work for damage. There should be no major scratches or dents or visible rust, especially around structurally important areas like door pillars, suspension components and window frames.
For a motorcycle/scooter, the key inspection points are:
- The noise level must be under 93 decibels at 20 miles per hour in top gear.
- Check all headlights, rear and stop lights, indicators (if fitted), horn and the brakes.
- The bodywork/paintwork should have no major dents or corrosion and seats, fenders and baskets should be in good condition and secure.
- The frame, front and rear wheels should be aligned, spokes and forks in good condition.
- The handle bars should be no wider than 30 inches, have no excessive free play in the headstock and have a grip on each end of the handle.
TCD has a very informative web site. Go to www.tcd.gov.bm then click on ‘Forms and Publications’. Among the many guides are “TCD Guide to Private Car Inspection”, “TCD Guide to Cycle Inspection”, “TCD Guide to Tinted Windows” and “How do I Relicense My Vehicle?”
Since April 2009, BECL has also conducted the emissions test. Exhaust emission data collected in the first year was collated and analysed to determine suitable cut (pass/fail) points for all engine and fuel types. This information is now with the Government and the new emissions legislation may come into force in the first quarter of 2012.
When legislation is in place, any vehicle not meeting the required emissions standard will fail and have to be repaired and presented for a retest. Information will be released in advance which will inform the public of the options available to them if their vehicle fails the emissions test.
Many owners give their vehicle to their automotive dealer/garage that checks and/or services it then takes it to BECL for the inspection. After the introduction of the emissions legislation, having the vehicle serviced immediately prior to the annual inspection will greatly increase the chances of it passing the emissions test.
If you are buying a second-hand vehicle, then it must be ‘Transfer’ tested. Have the seller test it and then you do the deal once it has passed.
And lastly, you are advised to make an appointment to have your vehicle inspected. You can easily do this online at www.etcd.gov.bm or by phoning the BECL office at 296 4232, or in person at the BECL offices which are on the east side of the TCD building on North Street, Hamilton. However, for cars only, BECL opens at 7 am at the North Street facility, and takes the first 12 non-appointments up to 8 am.
By : Ian Hind www.rg.bm