For a garage conducting MOT tests, the accuracy and reliability of the equipment used are paramount.
Regular maintenance and crucially calibration of MOT equipment ensure that the measurements and assessments made during these tests are precise and in line with regulatory standards.
The DVSA mandates that for all garages conducting MOT (Ministry of Transport) tests, “All testing equipment must be kept in good order and measuring apparatus must be calibrated regularly in accordance with DVSA’s requirements. In all cases, calibration records must be kept for a minimum of two years.”. This is to ensure accuracy and compliance with safety standards.
What is MOT Equipment Calibration?
MOT equipment calibration refers to the process of adjusting and verifying the accuracy of testing instruments used in vehicle MOT inspections. This procedure is critical in guaranteeing that the equipment functions within specified tolerances, ensuring consistent and accurate readings.
Why is Calibration Important?
Calibration is crucial for maintaining the integrity of MOT tests. Accurate equipment provides reliable assessments of a vehicle’s safety and emissions, contributing to road safety and environmental protection. Regular calibration ensures that the readings obtained are trustworthy and in compliance with legal standards.
- Accuracy and Reliability: Calibration ensures that testing equipment produces accurate and consistent results, preventing false passes or MOT failures.
- Safety: Accurate MOT test results are paramount for road safety. Properly calibrated MOT testing equipment identifies vehicles that pose safety risks, preventing them from operating on public roads.
- Compliance: Failure to maintain your MOT garage equipment can lead to non-compliance with DVSA regulations, resulting in fines, penalties, or even suspension of MOT testing privileges.
Commonly Used MOT Equipment Requiring Calibration
- Emissions Analysers: These measure the levels of harmful gases emitted by a vehicle.
- Brake Testers: Assess the braking efficiency of a vehicle.
- Headlight Aligners: Ensure proper alignment of headlights for optimal visibility and safety.
- Lifts and Jacks: Used to elevate vehicles for inspection and maintenance.
The calibrations include connected MOT equipment such as more recently purchased brake testers (RBTs) and emissions (gas and smoke) analysers.
Calibration Frequency and Regulations
Regulations dictate the frequency of calibration for MOT equipment. Typically, it is recommended to calibrate annually or bi-annually, but this can vary based on usage and manufacturer recommendations, see common questions below for more details.
Regular maintenance and calibration schedules ensure that the equipment is in optimal working condition.
Common Questions about MOT Equipment Calibration
1. How Often Should MOT Equipment Be Calibrated?
The frequency of calibration varies based on the specific equipment and regulatory guidelines. Annual calibration is common for most MOT equipment, but more frequent checks might be necessary for heavily used instruments, for example:
- ATL or one-person test lane (OPTL): Every 6 months for pneumatic equipment, 12 months for hydraulic equipment.
- Emissions Testers: Depending on the make or type, every 3, 6 or 12 months.
- Decelerometers (Tapley meters): Every 12 months (effective from April 1, 2023).
- Brake testers and headlight testers: Every 6 months.
2. Who Performs MOT Equipment Calibration?
The calibration of MOT equipment can be done by the original manufacturer, an authorised representative, or an MOT equipment calibration specialist. The calibration is typically conducted by specialised technicians or accredited calibration services such as Concept Garage Equipment engineers.
- Exhaust gas analysers and diesel smoke meters should be calibrated by a technician accredited by UKAS. There are two exceptions:
- equipment (non-catalyst or catalyst) with an approved automatic monthly self-gassing facility requires a 12-monthly UKAS calibration with monthly calibrations which may be performed by VTS staff
- non-catalyst OIML Class 1 equipment with an approved self-gassing facility requires a 6-monthly UKAS calibration with an intermediate calibration which may be performed by VTS staff
- Decelerometers may only be calibrated by:
- the manufacturer
- a calibrator accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)
- Roller brake testers (RBTs), plate brake testers (PBTs), ATL and motorcycle weighing facilities, and headlamp aim testers must be calibrated by either:
- the original manufacturer
- firm that has taken over responsibility for equipment support from the manufacturer
a calibration specialist
- Salter meters can be calibrated by:
- the manufacturer’s local depot if available
- a firm that has taken over responsibility for equipment support from the manufacturer
- a calibration specialist
- a local trading standards office
- ATL and motorcycle weighing facilities should be calibrated by either:
- the original manufacturer
- a company which has taken over responsibility for equipment support from the manufacturer
- a calibration specialist
VTSs employing calibration specialists must satisfy themselves with the technical competence and viability of the company concerned and be able to demonstrate this to DVSA upon request.
Trained calibration specialists, such as the engineers at Concept Garage Equipment, have the expertise and tools required to calibrate the equipment accurately.
3. What Happens During MOT Equipment Calibration?
Calibration involves a series of tests and adjustments to verify the accuracy of the equipment. This can include comparing readings against known standards, making necessary adjustments, and issuing a calibration certificate upon successful calibration.
The MOT equipment calibration process involves the following steps:
- Scheduling: Garages should schedule calibration appointments with accredited calibration service providers in advance to avoid disruptions to their testing operations.
- Preparation: Before the calibration technician arrives, garages should ensure the testing area is clean and clutter-free, and that all relevant equipment manuals and documentation are readily available.
- Calibration Procedure: The calibration technician will follow a standardised procedure using specialised equipment to test the accuracy and performance of each piece of equipment.
- Documentation: Upon completion of calibration, the technician will issue a calibration certificate for each calibrated device, documenting the date of calibration, the equipment’s performance, and any necessary adjustments made.
4. What Are the Consequences of Not Calibrating MOT Equipment?
Failing to calibrate equipment can result in inaccurate readings, potentially leading to incorrect assessments of vehicle safety and emissions. This not only compromises road safety but can also lead to legal consequences for the garage, ultimately risking suspension of MOT testing privileges.
Ensuring Accurate MOT Equipment Calibration
Garages can take several steps to ensure accurate and reliable garage equipment calibration:
- Regular Maintenance: Routine maintenance helps identify issues early, preventing potential inaccuracies.
- Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: Adhering to manufacturer recommendations for calibration ensures the equipment’s longevity and accuracy.
- Use Professional Calibration Services: Use authorised, trained and certified calibration services to maintain the highest standards of accuracy.
Can garages perform their own MOT equipment calibration?
Effective from April 1, 2023, garages are no longer permitted to calibrate their own brake testers and headlamp aim testers. These devices must be calibrated by the original manufacturer, an authorised representative, or an MOT equipment calibration specialist.
Garages can still calibrate gas analysers internally if they have the skills and equipment to do so and decelerometers if they are accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
Challenges and Solutions during Equipment Calibration
- Challenge: Cost and Downtime:
Calibration often involves costs and equipment downtime, impacting the garage’s operations.
- Solution: Planning and Investment:
Plan calibrations during slower periods and consider it an investment in maintaining quality standards, preventing potential larger costs due to inaccuracies or equipment breakdowns.
Choose Concept GE to Maintain and Calibrate your MOT Equipment.
MOT equipment maintenance and calibration are essential steps in maintaining vehicle safety standards. Regular calibration ensures that measurements are accurate and in compliance with regulations, contributing to road safety and environmental protection. MOT Bay owners should prioritise and invest in calibration to maintain the reliability and integrity of their MOT testing equipment.
With Concept Garage Equipment by your side, as well as supplying and installing your MOT equipment, we can set you up with a regular maintenance plan to ensure everything is kept up to scratch, including all MOT equipment calibrations when required, to keep your garage equipment working for you with the minimal downtime possible.
We also offer many finance options to make payment as pain-free as possible for you!