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I am looking at a second hand Vito van, and note that it previously failed its MOT for:

Nearside Rear Coil spring fractured or broken (5.3.1 (b) (i))

There was also a warning for:

Nearside Front Tyre worn close to legal limit/worn on edge (5.2.3 (e))

I assume these were fixed as it subsequently passed its MOT. But, should I be concerned about this pair of defects having arisen at 85k miles in the first place? Does it indicate bad driving, or perhaps something that might still be wrong with the vehicle that could have caused them?

2 Answers 2

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Nearly certain the spring failed by fatigue at a defect. Likely a "one of". Metallurgical defect of inclusions or wire drawing most likely ; small chance of manufacturing defect like a grinding nick. Service loads only determine the rate of crack growth, they do not cause the crack. Strangely, a case can be made that a service overload can plastically deform and blunt the crack tip and extend life, but only of academic interest.

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  • That is fascinating, thank you for the helpful info.
    – gub
    Sep 19, 2021 at 11:18
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Well tire wear is normal. Certainly by 85K the vehicle should have gone through at least one set. But why only the one tire? Perhaps there is an alignment problem or other suspension issue related to the coil spring issue.

As far as coil springs, yes they do break. It might have been a pothole, overload condition, or some combination. I'd be looking for any other signs of damage. It might be an isolated issue or it might be a symptom of other issues.

If possible taking it to a mechanic for your own inspection based on the information above would make sense.

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  • Inspected the vehicle myslef in the end, and the service log showed multiple changes for the tyres on that side only, and nothing done to investigate or remediate any alignment problem, which was worrying. Also, the spring on the other side was clearly a different age (older) to the one that had been replaced, and I've have preferred they'd been changed as a pair I think.
    – gub
    Sep 19, 2021 at 11:21

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