How Not to Fail your Fleets Annual Vehicle Test

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That’s the last thing you want to see on any of your own fleet’s annual vehicle test.

But, around 11% of vehicles will fail their annual test the first time.

There are some steps you can take to ensure you’re lorries, buses and trailers don’t make up part of that statistic.

What is the annual test for lorries, buses and trailers?

The annual test (or MOT) must be taken each year by HGV’s (heavy goods vehicles) and PSVs (public service vehicles).

Vehicles must be tested 12-months after registration with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), and then annually after that. The test must be carried out by DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) staff, at an authorised facility (either a DVSA  test station or a privately owned Authorised Testing Facility).

What does a failed annual test mean?

If an HGV or PSV fails its annual test, the vehicle is classed as unroadworthy.

Unlike with your day-to-day car’s annual MOT, HGV and PSV test centres won’t normally be able to make repairs for you.

For most faults, you’ll have to take the vehicle away for repairs, but some major faults are so serious that emergency repairs are required onsite. When a qualified mechanic or shop has resolved the faults, you’ll have to book (and pay for) another test – all while the vehicle is unusable and off the road.

How can you avoid failing the annual test?

Common reasons for failure

Annual testing for lorries, buses and trailers is much more rigorous than for private cars. Many of the most common reasons for vehicles failing the annual test are simple faults, that could easily have been picked up and resolved during your daily walkaround check. Nonetheless, these faults could have dangerous (even fatal) consequences.

Keeping your vehicle roadworthy

The annual test isn’t just for the entertainment of DVSA enforcement offers. It’s a way of ensuring that vehicles are safe and compliant.

If you can be confident that your vehicles are always roadworthy, the annual test should be a breeze. It’s like taking an exam in school – yes, you might be able to skip class, cram at the last minute and still pass the exam – but will you have actually taken in any of the information?

The whole point of the test is to ensure that vehicles remain roadworthy, and ultimately to keep roads safe.

A large part of this is the drivers walkaround checks, which drivers should carry out before every shift / handover / day to ensure their vehicle is safe to drive. Completing daily checks, keeping proper records of those checks (and any defects), and having a process or system, to ensure defects are followed through to resolution should ensure that your vehicles are always roadworthy and test-ready.

Preparing for the test

You can also prepare for the test by getting your vehicles checked over by a qualified mechanic, prior to testing. They should be able to use the MOT inspection manual for HGVs or for PSVs to check the vehicle and ensure everything is in shape for the annual test. You can schedule this pre-MOT check into your bookings calendar, to ensure you never arrive at your test date unprepared.

By staying prepared and keeping your vehicles roadworthy at all times, you are putting your fleet in the best position to pass the annual test without problems. Perhaps more importantly though, by having a proper system in place for vehicle inspections and maintenance, your vehicles stay safe, compliant and on the road. Schedule your demo today to learn more about How Stream Check could help you to pass the annual test.


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