How to control your MOT bay during COVID-19

Technician under car

In this article: The lockdown has changed the MOT business, we give five tips to make sure your business stays up to date, safe and out of trouble

Log on, stay up to date

It’s easy to stop reviewing notifications from the DVSA during lockdown, however it’s issued a number of important messages and notifications since the pandemic hit. They give advice over a wide range of subjects, such as not printing certificates unless a customer requests it for a specific purpose, closing viewing areas, using functioning equipment without a calibration, security cards and our old favourite, social distancing. Log on and check the updates, they’re important.

Newly qualified testers awaiting demonstration tests

The DVSA may have suspended face to face MOT work, but you should still request your demonstration test with the DVSA in the usual way, entering your certificate number on your profile. This will trigger an “event” on the licence which gives proof you were justified in over running the time for a demonstration test.

Quality Control

I doubt if the DVSA would expect an outside contractor who offers quality control to sole testers to visit at the moment, so I think a reasonable approach could be adopted. For instance, the garages I look after are being offered electronic quality control; I run through the test logs and look at test times, checking the MOT history as well. Recently I found three standout histories:

  • Unable to test rear seats and seatbelts due to load.
  • Excessive corrosion within 30cm of a body mount.
  • Tyres of different construction, winter tyre N/S/F and summer tyre O/S/F.

As I am sure you will know, the excessive load should have been a refusal to test, that body mount looks innocuous enough at first glance, but it’s on a Ford Fiesta and it’s an integral shell. Lastly, construction of tyres refers to cross ply, bias belted or radial construction. Good quality control finds these things and allows testers to improve because they can be given extra training so they don’t make the same errors in the future. The above three tests demonstrate to the DVSA that the garage is actively managing the quality of testing in spite of lockdown.  

Auditing, even when shut

You hope it won’t happen but it’s easy to see how a corrupt tester could take advantage of the lockdown, slipping a fresh MOT onto car that shouldn’t be given one.

Garage managers can be surprisingly unaware that an unscrupulous tester can issue a fraudulent test from under their duvet at home if they wanted. So even if you have shut completely, run your test logs, remotely if needed, so that you know exactly what’s happening in your business.

Action to take if you find a problem

If you look at your dormant site’s DVSA home page and find a vehicle under test that you know is not there, (the site is locked up and the CCTV proves its unattended), click on the test and abort it. If you find such a serious problem then you MUST notify DVSA and support them in taking action against the tester. Failure to do so puts your own authorisation as a garage at serious risk.

For the latest information, advice and support please visit the IMI’s dedicated COVID-19 pages.