Vehicle testing

DVSA vehicle testing

The Driver and Vehicle Services Agency (DVSA) undertakes vehicle tests and issues a certificate on completion of the annual test. A vehicle that fails on any of the items set by DVSA must be re-tested. You may have the chance to repair minor faults at the DVSA site and pass after 'rectification at the station' rather than returning to re-test. DVSA was formed from the merger of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the Driving Standards Agency (DSA).

Changes to roadworthiness tests from 2012

FTA has produced a member briefing note outlining changes to tests that took place from January 2012. View FTA's briefing note on changes to roadworthiness tests from 2012

Future changes to testing

On 29 April 2014, the European Commission published a new ‘roadworthiness package’, a set of directives to update and replace the existing directives on periodic roadworthiness tests, roadside inspections and registration of vehicles. The package extends the scope of existing testing to new categories of vehicles, as well as laying down new requirements for the standard and quality of testing, test equipment and skills and training of testing personnel.

This briefing note details the main elements of the European Commission legislation published on 29 April 2014.

DVSA's Testing Transformation Programme

DVSA’s Testing Transformation Programme aims to reduce the cost of statutory testing by ensuring that testing is carried out at or near the place where vehicles are maintained. DVSA aims to achieve this by delivering testing in the form of Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs) - sites in the private sector that use DVSA testing staff.


Read our FAQs on ATFs and DVSA's Testing Transformation Programme

DVSA has published a full list of all open access ATFs, which includes their capabilities, restrictions, dimensions and contact details. View the weekly updated list.

When must I get my vehicles tested?

You should take goods vehicles exceeding 3,500kg for their initial test before the end of the first anniversary month of their registration date. For example, a vehicle registered in May 2010 will have been submitted for test by 31 May 2011.

After initial testing, vehicles and trailers have to be tested annually, either by the anniversary of the first examination or by the expiry of the current test certificate.

Most common cause for annual test failure

Headlamp aim is the most common reason for annual test failure on large goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles.

Avoid this common fault by using our headlamp aim testing compliance guide (PDF).

More information

Use the downloadable documents and links below for more information on vehicle testing. FTA members can get expert advice on vehicle testing from our Member Advice Centre.

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