Do you need to establish:

  • How has the damage to a crucial vehicle component occurred?
  • Did the damage occur during the accident, or at some earlier stage?
  • Is the damage likely to have caused inability to control the vehicle?
  • Should the driver or operator have been aware of the damage?
  • Has there been malicious damage to the component?


Failure types that can arise:

  • Metals (impact failures, fatigue cracking, corrosion, wear, casting defects, welding defects, not-to-specification metal)
  • Tyres (delamination and tread detachment, kerb crush-damage, puncture and repair issues, tread recutting, x-ray examination of damage)
  • Wheels (impact damage, detachment, cracking)
  • Vehicle light bulbs (state of illumination at impact, pre-accident failures, manufacturing defects)
  • Brakes (accident damage, pre-accident defects, heat damage)
  • Towing connections (trailer detachment, pre-accident damage)
  • Seat belts (evidence of use, retractor defects, buckle locking mechanism failure, attachment failures)


Most of these fall into the following 3 groups:

1. Primary Safety (i.e. items that affect control of the vehicle)

  • Tyres & Wheels
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Trailer couplings


2. Secondary Safety (i.e. items that protect the vehicle occupants)

  • Seat belts


3. Other (i.e. items that provide conspicuity or information for the driver)

  • Light bulbs
  • Speedometers and other instruments
Damage following tread delamination and detachment
The aftermath of a wheel detachment from a lorry
SEM view showing glass fragments fused onto a hot filament when the bulb was smashed open