Previously, we have blogged about the different types of MoT bay that are available but some recent legislation changes have not only opened up new possibilities for applicants but also some potential pitfalls as manufacturers and local garage equipment suppliers catch up with the latest rules governing implementation…
So let’s start at the beginning with the standard test lane – essentially there are no changes within the new regulations changing any equipment or dimensions.
A standard or two man test bay is the traditional method of operation for MoT garages. A trained MoT tester has an assistant who operates the vehicle to the tester’s instructions (turning the steering wheel, pressuring the braking system, operating the lights etc.) and this allows the trained tester to physically examine parts of the vehicle externally. A standard MoT test bay usually is the buy in product and offers the cheapest solution to achieve an MoT test lane within your premises. This type of test lane is available to all interested persons but may not necessarily be the most cost-effective solution if you take a medium to long term view of your business. The reason for this is that if you opt for a truly standard test lane, the lift that would be supplied to make the package cheap does not have the option to include the required ATL equipment to it at a later date and so therefore when you want to upgrade, or are forced by planned regulation changes, the entire lift must be removed and a new one installed. This is a significant additional cost of almost £10,000 that can be avoided by installing a GETECH Upgradeable Test Lane which has a lift suitable for fitting play detectors on it at a later date – (our brake tester is totally upgradeable as standard). The additional cost of an upgradeable test lane to a standard lane is relatively little and so therefore installing your bay in 2 parts is not a massive on-cost, you keep your options open to meet future rule changes and also minimise your initial purchase costs. What could be better?
Option 2: One Person Test Lane
The OPTL is different to a fully automated system. This is a major confusion for new applicants as they see that both lanes only require one man to operate the test lane and assume them to be the same. OPTL’s were only available to MoT test stations that were approved before 1st August 2005 and the upgrade to allow this testing is simply a set of approved wheel play detectors fitted to either an existing lift (if it was designed to accept the play detectors by the lift manufacturer) or on the side of the existing pit.
A recent regulation change does allow new applicants to apply for a One Person Testing Lane and for these new applicants a potential opportunity arises – to achieve one person testing without making the full investment to a fully automated system – However although the site benefits from only a single person operation of the test lane, they lose some advantages that are contained within the ATL packages namely;
- The brake test process is longer with a Non-ATL product
- The brake test result is based on tabular rather than live “as presented” data therefore accuracy is reduced
- The repeatability of the brake test is lost since the brake tester is operated manually by the MoT tester
- The brake tester does not automatically calculate the result of the test
- There is no requirement to download the brake test data therefore it is impossible to retrospectively prove that the vehicle was correctly examined during the MoT.
Since an OPTL is a ‘half-way house’ between standard and automated, for existing test stations the equipment required to convert to OPTL will be on a per site basis and therefore a bespoke quotation will be required whereas new applicants can be provided with a “standard quote”.
An ATL or one man test bay is a fully automated means to completely assess a vehicle using only 1 man and no assistant thus offering wage and time saving that can have massive benefits for any garage contemplating adding such a lane to their garage premises. This main difference requires slightly different equipment to a standard 2 man MoT test including; Hydraulic Play Detectors and an Automated Roller Brake Tester with an integrated weighing system and automated brake test control program.
Further opportunities now arise for confusion on ATL systems. Only manufacturers who have been approved to the “2013 ATL Annex” have a brake tester which is approved to an ATL specification under the latest regulations. At the time of writing this blog piece only 6 manufacturers are approved (including GETECH) but rather than statically list those individual companies who are approved the most up-to-date list can be viewed HERE. Individuals who sell an ATL from a manufacturer not on this list are selling you a One Person Test Lane not an ATL so from a new applicant perspective great care needs to be made when selecting your supplier and/or package.
Honest information on the best package for your site circumstance can be gained by calling GETECH Garage Equipment direct on 0844 800 9785 whereas complete bay packages for all types of test lane can be viewed on our company website: http://getech.org.uk.
Finally, videos of the latest specification ATL products can be viewed on a YouTube playlist; For lift based installations the video playlist can be accessed HERE; for pit based MoT bays, the video playlist can be found HERE.