EP Training

Fri, January 19, 2024

HGV MOT Checks and Certificates: Everything You Need to Know

HGV MOT Checks and Certificates: Everything You Need to Know

Annual testing for vehicles was initially introduced voluntarily on 12th September 1960 before becoming compulsory at the end of 1961 for vehicles over 10 years old. This testing process was initiated by what was then the Ministry of Transport, leading to the term MOT. Over the years, the test has evolved into its present form. The annual MOT examines specific vehicle components to enhance road safety and assesses vehicle emissions to improve air quality.

For a new commercial vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) over 3.5 tonnes, it is mandatory to undergo the first MOT within one year from the end of the month of its first registration. For instance, if a vehicle is purchased on 11th January 2024, its first MOT must be completed by 31st January 2025.

Similarly, a trailer with an unladen weight exceeding 1020 kilograms must undergo an MOT no later than one year from the end of the month of its initial sale or supply, which corresponds to the date mentioned on the invoice.




Understanding the importance of MOT checks for HGVs

Maintaining the roadworthiness of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) is a crucial objective for any operator, not only to uphold road safety but also as a fundamental commitment outlined in the operator's license signed undertaking. This commitment emphasizes the need to ensure that "vehicles, including hired vehicles, are kept in a fit and serviceable condition."

While an MOT (Ministry of Transport) test sets a minimum standard for roadworthiness, operators are encouraged to surpass this minimum standard consistently whenever their HGVs are on the road. MOT failures can have detrimental effects on an operator's compliance risk score, potentially leading to regulatory investigations and, in serious cases, a summons to a Public Inquiry.


Exploring the process of conducting an HGV MOT check


Before presenting your HGV MOT check is crucial to ensure that it is in a condition that will lead to a successful pass on the first attempt. Striving for a 100% first-time pass rate is the goal. To prepare for the MOT, a Pre-MOT Inspection is essential, which should encompass a laden roller brake test and a headlight alignment—common causes of failures.

Check whether your chosen maintenance provider employs qualified technicians if they are IRTEC registered, and if they use the latest version of the Inspection manual, which can be found at govt.uk. Additionally, ensure the vehicle is exceptionally clean, which may involve steam cleaning underneath, as the DVSA has the right to refuse to examine a dirty vehicle.

Presently, HGVs are taken to Authorised Testing Facilities (ATF) for their tests, not Ministry Test centers. These ATFs are essentially commercial workshops where a qualified DVSA examiner conducts the test. The examiner thoroughly checks essential components, including brakes, tyres, steering, suspension, lights, and exhaust emissions.

After the test, the examiner will either pass or fail the vehicle. If the failure is due to a minor issue that can be rectified on-site, the DVSA examiner may issue a PRS (Pass Rectified at Station). However, while the vehicle has officially passed its MOT, it will be marked as PRS, affecting the initial MOT pass rate.

Monitoring the MOT pass rate is advisable to assess its impact on the OCRS rating. The OCRS (Operator Compliance Risk Score) is a tool used by the DVSA to identify operators with potential compliance issues. The rating is based on data from MOTs, roadside stops, and company visits. Each defect or infringement attracts points based on severity, contributing to the overall score. A RED score indicates a higher likelihood of vehicle stops. Operators can access their OCRS rating through their VOL account and request their MOT history.

In the case of an MOT failure, the DVSA expects the operator to conduct an internal investigation into the cause and take proactive steps to prevent recurrence. The most common failures include headlight alignment, issues with lamps (insecure, wrong color, too dim), and problems with the braking system, either due to component failure or not meeting test values on the roller brake test.   


Overview of the DVLA's role in HGV MOT checks


The DVSA continues to conduct MOT inspections on vehicles over 3.5 tonnes GVW, trailers over 1020 kg unladen weight, and any part of an articulated combination or converter dolly. Enforcement of MOTs is carried out through roadside stops and company visits. With the establishment of the National ANPR Service, the DVSA uses the database to identify HGVs without MOTs, resulting in a Desk Based Assessment Questionnaire (DBAQ) and potential Public Inquiry.


Tips for ensuring compliance with trailer MOT regulations


Before presenting your trailer for an MOT, ensure the underside is clean, and consider steam cleaning. Check that the VTG6 Ministry plate is in place, inspect the lights for proper functionality, and examine brake components and airline couplings. Additionally, ensure there is an adequate load on the trailer, at least 65% of the plate weight and the axle weights, to conduct a meaningful roller brake test.


Checking HGV MOT Extension


Addressing the procedures for checking HGV MOT extensions


During the COVID pandemic, MOT extensions were provided, ranging from 3 to 12 months, based on the operator's OCRS score rating and Earned Recognition accreditation. However, these extensions are no longer valid. Presently, a DVSA manager has the authority to grant a temporary exemption from testing for up to 3 months, but only in specific circumstances such as industrial disputes, epidemics (e.g., Covid), fires at testing stations, or other unforeseen events preventing DVSA testing. A VTG33 certificate is issued, confirming the temporary exemption, which can be used at roadside stops or for taxing a vehicle instead of an MOT certificate.


The impact of MOT extensions on HGV safety and compliance


Indeed, despite the temporary exemption, operators must continue to ensure that their vehicles remain in a roadworthy condition. This may involve conducting additional preventive maintenance inspections (PMI) and extending the scope of daily walkaround checks to maintain safety standards during the exemption period.


How to Check if a Lorry Has an MOT


Steps and resources for checking the MOT status of a lorry


You can verify the HGV MOT expiry date by visiting the government website. This online service allows you to not only check the current MOT status but also view and download previous MOT certificates, providing a convenient way to stay informed about the roadworthiness of heavy goods vehicles. Regularly utilizing this service is essential for compliance and ensuring the safety of HGVs on the road.  


Importance of regularly checking and maintaining up-to-date MOT records


Maintaining a proactive approach to check and analyzing MOT expiry dates is crucial. This practice ensures that there are no gaps in vehicle coverage without a valid MOT certificate. Additionally, consistently keeping and reviewing MOT records serves as a valuable tool for planning and implementing an effective maintenance program, contributing to the overall safety and compliance of the fleet.


Renewing an Expired MOT


Steps and considerations for renewing an HGV MOT after expiration


When an HGV's MOT has expired, it cannot be legally used on the road except under specific circumstances. If you're on the way to a pre-booked MOT test or if the vehicle is at a repair center awaiting repair, a mechanic can drive it as part of a road test within 3 miles of the repair center. However, for an extended period while waiting for an MOT, the vehicle should be taken off the road.

During this time, the DVSA expects operators to complete a Vehicle Off Road (VOR) notice, including the odometer reading at the time. The keys should be securely locked away, a VOR banner placed in the vehicle's windscreen to prevent unauthorized use, and consideration given to declaring a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) for the vehicle. When the vehicle is eventually put back into service, the VOR notice should be updated, and any odometer discrepancies investigated. This process ensures compliance with regulations and helps maintain road safety standards.


Penalties and consequences for driving with an expired MOT


Driving a vehicle without a valid HGV MOT can lead to serious consequences for both the driver and the operator. A fixed penalty notice of £100 can be issued to the driver, and if the matter goes to court, a fine of £1000 could be imposed. The operator, defined as a user of the vehicle, may also face the same fine, particularly if they are a sole trader.

Using an HGV without a valid MOT is considered a Most Serious Infringement (MSI), which can result in a red OCRS score and trigger a DVSA company visit. Without a reasonable explanation or robust systems in place to prevent a reoccurrence, the operator may be called in front of the Traffic Commissioner at a Public Inquiry, risking the O license.

Additionally, if a vehicle without an MOT is involved in a collision, the insurance company may decline to pay out for damages, further emphasizing the importance of ensuring vehicles are roadworthy and legally compliant.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Do HGVs require an MOT?

The majority of HGVs do require an MOT. However, there are exemptions, and it's advisable to seek specialist advice before claiming an exemption.


What class is an HGV MOT?

There is no specific class number for the HGV MOT; it is commonly referred to as an HGV MOT.


How do I check if my HGV MOT is out of date?

You can check the expiry date of an HGV MOT online at https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history.





Maintaining a 100% pass rate on MOTs is crucial for ensuring road safety and the overall roadworthiness of HGVs. Implementing a robust monitoring system, planning maintenance schedules, and conducting pre-MOT inspections contribute significantly to achieving this goal. Road safety should always be a top priority, and proactive maintenance practices play a key role in upholding these standards.


People Also read: 

Find best HGV training in UK