Motorists will spend longer time at test centres with stricter inspection standards

Leading vehicle inspection specialist Vicom said a new test which will measure emissions at high and low idling speeds "will take an additional five minutes".
Leading vehicle inspection specialist Vicom said a new test which will measure emissions at high and low idling speeds "will take an additional five minutes".PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A stricter vehicle inspection regimen for petrol vehicles, slated to roll out in April, will extend the inspection process by 33 per cent.

Leading vehicle inspection specialist Vicom - part of transport giant ComfortDelGro Corp - said a new test which will measure emissions at high and low idling speeds "will take an additional five minutes".

The average time taken for a petrol vehicle inspection is no more than 15 minutes, Vicom said.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said that he would be reviewing "how to reduce vehicular pollution from older, more polluting vehicles".

"We will announce our recommendations in due course," he said, without elaborating.

Same time last year, Mr Masagos announced that a more stringent vehicle inspection regiment will kick in from April 1, this year.

He said: "The in-use emission standard for diesel vehicles was already tightened in January 2014. We will now introduce new in-use emission standards for petrol vehicles and motorcycles, similar to those already in place in Europe and Japan.

"These standards are designed to be easily met by properly maintained vehicles. The new standards will take effect on April 1, 2018, and will help minimise excessive emissions due to vehicle defects or poor maintenance."

As the cost of vehicles rises on the back of lofty certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums, vehicle owners are increasingly choosing COE revalidation - extending the 10-year lifespan of a COE by paying a prevailing quota premium - rather than buying a new vehicle.

As a result, Singapore's vehicle population - especially that of cars - has aged significantly. According to Land Transport Authority (LTA) statistics, the number of cars nine years or older stood at 163,323 as at end-2017, making up 26.7 per cent of the car population. In 2007, there were 30,529 such cars, which accounted for 5.9 per cent of the car population.

According to the LTA, 91 per cent of vehicles above 10 years of age passed inspection on the first attempt last year. It was the highest passing rate for this category of vehicles in at least 10 years. Previously, only around 85 per cent passed on the first inspection.

A Vicom spokesman said: "In preparation for the new tests that come as a result of the tightening of exhaust emission standards, all Vicom vehicle inspectors will have to undergo at least eight hours of theory and practical training."

She added that new equipment such as gas analysers, external tachometers and engine speed signal converters, as well as air ventilation systems have also been brought in.

"To ensure the smooth functioning of all systems once the new tests are implemented, an engineer from our Japanese supplier flew in recently to re-programme the inspection software to ensure both high and low idle tests work concurrently," she said.