Why is there a shortage of MOT testers?

There are several reasons for the shortage, for example:

  • more MOT testers are reaching retirement age
  • there is a lack of new entrants to the profession
  • the cost of training and certification continues to rise
  • the lack of financial incentives for people to become MOT testers
  • advancements in technology are increasing the complexity of vehicles.

 You can read more about this topic in our article here.

 Why does the shortage of MOT testers matter?

The shortage of MOT testers is a serious problem, as it could put road safety at risk. MOT tests are essential to ensure that vehicles are roadworthy and meet safety standards, and without enough MOT testers, there’s a risk that vehicles that are not safe will be allowed on the road.

What is DVSA doing to about the shortage of MOT testers?

The DVSA is working to address the shortage of MOT testers by increasing the number of training courses available, and there are (potentially) steps being taken to attract new people into the profession by making it easier for people to become MOT testers. There could also be financial incentives to train as an MOT tester.

What should I tell my customers about the MOT tester shortage?

While this challenging situation is being resolved, help your customers to stay ahead of the game as much as possible … and this will help you to manage a difficult situation, too!

The last thing you need is angry customers clogging up your phone lines. So use your lines of communication: website, emails, newsletters, social media platforms, etc., to keep customers informed. For example, let them know to:

  • book their MOT test as early as possible
  • be prepared to wait a few weeks for an appointment.


How long do MOT Testers have to train?

The DVSA requires all MOT Testers to complete a minimum of three hours of training each year between 1st April and 31st March. Then, every five years it’s necessary to complete 16 hours of training.

When do I need to complete the annual MOT Tester training?

All MOT testers need to have completed their three hours of training before 31st March each year. In our experience, it will help your stress levels no end if you if you complete the majority of the training before the end of January each year!

What happens if I don't complete the MOT Tester Training on time?

Failure to complete the DVSA required MOT Tester Training within the time constraints each year may lead to suspension from testing. The DVSA have the right to withdraw any MOT tester’s licence to test if a tester has not completed and recorded a minimum of three hours
of training each year.

How long does the exam take to complete?

Each exam is made up of 30 multiple choice questions with a time limit of 60 minutes to complete. Your result will be taken from the number of questions you answer within that hour of training each year.

When do I need to complete the annual mot Tester exam?

Every MOT Tester will need to complete the annual exam before midnight on March 31st each year.

Can I take the MOT Tester exam in two sessions?

Unfortunately DVSA rules state it’s not possible to take your MOT Tester exam in two seperate sessions.

How do I get the DVSA Authenticator app on my new phone?

It could be that you have a shiny new mobile phone, you will now need to re pair the app to your new mobile.

To pair a new app, you should follow these steps:

  • Sign into MTS using email authentication
  • Go to ‘My Profile’
  • Click ‘Set Up Authentication App’
  • When prompted to enter a six digit code, click ‘sign in via email’ – this is shown below the box to enter the six digit code.
  • User is then sent a code to enter before signing in again 
  • Once signed in go to ‘My Profile’ once again
  • Click ‘Set Up Authentication App’
  • The user will then be prompted to scan a QR code with their new phone and set up the app.

Once set up the user can then authenticate using their new app or device.

How does the RAG system work?

Each tester has their own RAG rating on their testing service profile. In line with GDPR, the info is for ‘their eyes only’ and unavailable to Managers. However, the standard best practice is that the testers share the information so that managers know the risk attached to their testers and can record the information: Needs Improvement Template Observations.

What happens if you’re rated red … what should you do?

First, don’t go into panic mode.

It doesn’t necessarily mean a visit from DVSA. What’s more likely is that it will trigger a monitoring process to see what happens over a few months. If the red rating continues, a visit might indeed be imminent. But if it’s a ‘one off’ and they can see that measures have been put in place to turn the reds to greens, they are more likely to allow you to manage the situation yourselves.

To do that, monitor your risk rating and dig through your test logs and test quality information to see what could be causing it. You should also speak to your colleagues and manager, who can help you determine why you’re on a higher rating.

What is a datum line?

Datum is Latin and means “something given”; the datum line is a marked point or base of reference for measurement.

When it comes to MOT testing, the datum line is referenced in conjunction with headlamp testing equipment. New MOT Centres must have DVSA approved headlamp testing equipment. There must be a datum line (or lines) clearly marked as per the equipment installation manual.

The DVSA requirements for authorisation manual makes reference to the datum line(s) here:

Headlamp aim testing

A headlamp aim testing facility will be considered suitable if it has a calibrated rail mounted 2005 specification headlamp tester on DVSA’s latest list of acceptable equipment.

Headlamp tester installation

A headlamp tester installation must have a designated vehicle standing area which is certified as flat and level to within +/- 6mm in any 3m.

It must have a clearly outlined area of floor 3.6m long measured from the datum line by 2.1m wide, which may:

  • be the lift platforms (lift platforms must rest on positive stops when lowered)
  • straddle a pit or roller brake tester
  • be the plates of a plate brake tester

If during headlamp testing vehicle wheels rest on turning plates which are not longitudinally adjustable by at least 600mm, they must be within the +/- 6mm limits.

Additional equipment fitted in the standing area must comply with the +/- 6mm level requirements.

The headlamp tester installation must have rails certified as level to within +/- 2mm and parallel to the standing area. The rails must be straight and the headlamp tester must not have significant rock or twist at any point along the rails.

The certificate for the above must show height measurement from a level plane at all intersecting points on a 300mm (max) square grid covering the standing area and at points 300mm (max) apart on the rails. It must be signed by a competent person, such as a surveyor, manufacturer’s representative or agent and include date, status, address of firm and VTS address. A copy must be provided to DVSA for the garage file.

The headlamp aim tester must have 600mm clearance behind the headlamp aim tester optical head. Floor mounted equipment must not be installed in this area.

The standing area must be durably and clearly marked with a datum line (or lines) at the headlamp tester manufactures operational tolerance limits for positioning the vehicle headlamp in relation to the headlamp tester.

Headlamp aim equipment operating instructions must be available.

I have a conviction that will show up on a DBS check - can I still become an MOT Tester?

Yes If you have a criminal conviction you can be an MOT Tester but… It will depend on the offence involved and the punishment that was given. This is what the MOT Guide has to say –

The DVSA understand that certain convictions can be emotive in nature and as such DVSA will take into consideration any conviction which is defined to be a serious offence.

The DVSA considers a serious offence to be defined as any unspent criminal conviction of an individual or business entity to which that individual had an association to, where any of the following has been imposed:

  • a prison sentence (including suspended sentences) of three months or more
  • a fine exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (currently £2500)
  • a community service order (or equivalent) requiring unpaid work for more than 60 hours
  • any punishment outside the UK corresponding to the above

If the conviction does not fall under these categories then the conviction will be considered acceptable for participation within the MOT scheme, unless there are grounds for consideration as part of an individual’s good repute.

In real terms then –

A 1 or 2 month suspended or served sentence should be fine

A fine that was less than level 4 should be fine

A community service order for less than 60 hours should be fine.

TIP – Always follow the guidelines in Appendix 7.3 in the MOT Guide. Down load/print and keep a copy of that appendix from the Guide with the application form so if the rules change, a candidate can show that they were within the rules at the time of application.

Do I need to stop testing if there are any changes to my MOT station’s legal entity?

It’s not necessary to stop testing immediately for changes other than those described in automatic cessation. However, DVSA must be notified and receive a full application within 28 calendar days if there are any other significant changes to the control or operation of the business.

What do I do if the only qualified MOT Manager at my VTS is deceased?

If a sudden death occurs and the deceased was the only qualified MOT Manager and AEDM of the business, the team members at an MOT site may experience difficulty accessing the MOT Testing Service. In the case of a partnership, if a second partner is listed on the MOT service, continuity can be shown when the time comes to complete the  VT01 application for DVSA to change the partnership details. Remember, this must be carried out within 28 days – and that’s not much time when people are grieving, so having a step-by-step process in place beforehand will help. You can read more on how to do that here.

As an MOT Tester, I don’t need to worry about the Number Plate not being right do I?

Yes you do, if you miss a non-compliant Number Plate you’re at risk of being given 6 disciplinary points.

My Number Plate looks so boring – can I change the font to something more fun?

No – all Number Plates must be produced using the Charles Wright font.

Can I move the numbers in my Number Plate to the right so they join with the last three letter to spell my name?

No – there must be 11mm between the first two letters and the numbers, and 33mm between the numbers and the last 3 letters.

Can I use the MOT noticeboard to display other things relating to my business?

Other than the VT9 and the VT9A, the only things you can display on your MOT noticeboard are your Public Liability Insurance docs and certificates of incorporation.  Anything else needs to find a new home! 

What paperwork do I have to have on my MOT noticeboard?

You must display the certificate of authorisation (VT9) issued by DVSA and the current fees and appeals poster (form VT9A) showing vehicle classes, test fees and appeals procedure and the details of how to contact DVSA.

What things do I need to check to ensure my MOT noticeboard is compliant?

Take a look at your MOT noticeboard and ask yourself?

  • Is it visible to those booking or waiting for their MOT? 
  • Is it covered by a protective transparent covering?
  • Is it clearly marked as an MOT Noticeboard? 
  • Does it have the correct paperwork on it? 
  • How old are the papers on the board, are they up to date?  Anything that says VOSA or Vehicle Inspectorate probably needs updating!  (VOSA become DVSA in 2013. Vehicle Inspectorate became VOSA in 2003).
Our MOT Station is pretty small, can we just direct anyone who wants to stand at the front of the workshop?

A viewing area can be situated in the workshop itself but, in order to be compliant with the current guidance, it must still be clearly identified as the MOT Viewing area, have safe access for the customer and have an unrestricted view of the MOT test being carried out. 

Our MOT Viewing area is never used, can we get rid of it?

Unfortunately, the simple answer is no!  Although many MOT stations say that their MOT viewing areas are rarely (if ever!) used, not providing one can have serious repercussions.  The official guidance can be found in MOT Guide – Section D, Requirements for Authorisation. 

We use a fixed screen which the marketing team use for promotion purposes unless a customer specifically asks to view their MOT being carried out, does that meet the guidance?
The latest guidance states that:
  • the monitor must be available to view the test when requested by the vehicle presenter 
  • the relayed images cannot be interrupted or used for other purposes during that period, for example displaying advertisements
What should I do if I forget to log off an MOT test and leave it overnight/weekend?

To ensure you comply with the MOT Guide you must abort the test and start again, carrying out the full examination again.  Don’t be tempted to finish the test!

Where can I find the guidance about the consequences of not logging off MOT tests?

The guidance is appendix 8, Section 5f of the MOT Guide

What are the potential consequences of not logging off an MOT test?

It’s possible that the MOT Tester and/or the MOT Testing Station could lose their MOT Testing license.

What is an MOT Test Log?

A Test Log is a record of all MOT tests carried out at your VTS. Click here to learn more

What is MOT Test Log Analysis?

An MOT Test Log Analysis involves looking at your Test Log reports and identifying and highlighting trends and anomalies. For example:

  • tests are being completed faster than they should
  • retests are not taking a reasonable length of time to test previously failed items
  • tests are not being conducted within your business operating hours.

You must then act on your findings. You can read more about what to look for here.

How often should I conduct a Test Log Analysis?

DVSA guidelines dictate that the analysis of Test Logs should be conducted monthly.

What should I look for when analysing my Test Logs?

Common issues that crop up for many AEs and AECs when analysing a Test Log are:

  • tests are being completed faster than they should
  • retests are not taking a reasonable length of time to test previously failed items
  • tests are not being conducted within your business operating hours

These are snapshots of what we often see as a Third Party AEC. Less common but a cause for concern is if you identify tests are not being undertaken at the correct IP address for your MOT station.

What’s involved in Test Log analysis?

An AE needs to be able to evidence that the Test Log Analysis is being carried out routinely. You will have to look through and highlight anything out of the ordinary within your test centre MOT test log data.

Take a look at our What is a Test Log Analysis? article for more information.

Who should conduct the Test Log Analysis?

The analysis could be carried out by a third party, such as AEC, and many MOT stations choose this option. But ultimately, it falls to the AE to ensure that statutory MOT tests carried out are to the highest standard and follow the DVSA’s MOT inspection manual.

What will I see when I open the test log?

Once you have downloaded and opened the monthly test log in excel, it will look like this:


What is a Test Quality Information (TQI) Report?

The TQI Report is a compilation of he information needed to help you manage your MOT business effectively. For example, the number of  tests completed by each tester at a site, the average vehicle age, the average test time and the percentage of tests failed. For a more detailed explanation please read our article, What’s involved in a monthly TQI Report.

What is an MOT Consultant?

An MOT Consultant is an external DVSA approved resource that can provide their
experience and guidance to help your business remain compliant with all DVSA
requirements and updates. They can also take on the role of an AEC and, for example, will check test quality information, test logs, tester annual assessment certificates and site review outcomes.

You can assign the authorised examiner consultant (AEC) role in the MOT testing service to consultants you use to provide advice on MOT standards and how to run your centre. – Gov website
This lets the consultant view:

test quality information
test logs
tester annual assessment certificates
site review outcomes

How often should I do a QC check?

The frequency of checks is (typically) expected to be ONE per tester every TWO months.

However, this is based on the average garage throughput of 2-3 tests per day for experienced testers. So, frequency should be varied to reflect the volume of tests done or any other special circumstances, such as a tester’s experience. For example, if a tester is inexperienced and completing one test a day … or very experienced and doing twice the average of 2-3 tests per day … you should consider increasing the checks to once a month.

How do I maintain quality management and control?

VTSs now use many different approaches to managing quality at their sites. For example, some AEs now use third parties and software to advise them.

However, existing requirements for quality control checks aren’t always appropriate for smaller sites. DVSA has therefore changed how evidence of quality control and management is recorded.

Do I need to record quality control checks carried out on MOT testers?

You no longer need to record quality control.

However, all AEs must give proof of how quality is being managed. This will form part of site assessments in the future.

Your quality system should be tailored to meet the particular circumstances of your VTS, including things like:

  • volumes of tests
  • numbers of testers
  • experience of staff.
How do I reassure DVSA that I’m doing QC checks correctly?

A procedure should be in place to check that at least a sample of MOTs are checked to ensure that the correct routines and procedures are followed and that the proper standards are applied.

An AE may consider implementing an assurance approach which could include a third party or trade representative. Any third party should cover aspects relating to MOT test standards and the administrative management of the MOT business. Alternative approaches we’ve seen that work well are shared in our article: How do I carry out QC (Quality Control) Checks

Who can carry out a QC check?

A procedure should be in place to check that at least a sample of MOTs are checked to ensure that the correct routines and procedures are followed and that the proper standards are applied.

An AE may consider implementing an assurance approach which could include a third party or trade representative. Any third party should cover aspects relating to MOT test standards and the administrative management of the MOT business. Alternative approaches we’ve seen that work well are shared in our article: How do I carry out QC (Quality Control) Checks

How do I conduct a quality assurance check?

Closely watch all parts of the test as they are carried out, or closely observe the testing process and conduct a full re-examination of the vehicle to check standards application.

Once the tester has completed a test that will be the subject of a quality control (QC) check, any difference in the test result standards or observed defects must be discussed and resolved before confirmation of the test result on the MOT testing service.

The result of the assurance check must be recorded, including any agreed action. That agreed action could be additional training, a garage development session or any other appropriate action. The key thing here is to show that corrective action is taken.

Where unusually high numbers of failings are found, it would be expected that the frequency of checks is increased until it is evidenced that the problem has now been solved.

How can I encourage testers to share their RAG ratings?

Encourage them to work with you if they have a problem or question about their RAG rating. One way we know works is to ask during a QC check, so start doing this as part of your monthly checks and record the information on the monthly checklist.

What should I do in the event of a sudden and unexpected change to your MOT station’s legal entity?

The longer answer to this can be found in Section
of the MOT Guide, but in summary:
Any authorisation by DVSA allows only the legal entity authorised to provide the testing service. If a company is reconstituted in a way that leads to a new company registration and number being issued, then it will be regarded as a new entity and a new authorisation is needed.
If, in a partnership, a partner leaves or joins, the partnership becomes a new entity, so again, a new authorisation is needed. This is also the case if a sole trader takes on a partner or forms a company (see also Transfer of records following cessation or disciplinary action).

What changes in circumstances to my VTS do I need to notify DVSA of?

The DVSA need to be notified of any changes to the MOT Centre. Such changes would include:

  • a sole trader entering into a partnership
  • any change in the partnerships constitution (where the AE is a partnership)
  • any change to the directors of the company (where the AE is a company)
  • any change to the person who was required to attended the MOT managers’ course – this only applies where a trained person is required under section B2. Training
  • any change in trading name or court appointed supervision of the business other than that which is described as automatic cessation
  • a company that continues to operate under the same registration and company number may continue testing provided that any changes to the officers of the company or change in the relationship to any parent company have been notified.

Don't be burdened with a question

Whilst we strive to give you all the information you might need, there may be some questions you have been carrying around inside your head, well ask us!