MOT Bays – A guide to the equipment

An MOT Bay consists of various items of equipment which are used in order to evaluate the roadworthyness of a subject vehicle.

Equipment contained within approved premises usually consists of a;

  1. Headlight Tester – Rail Mounted
  2. Means for Underside Inspection (A Lift or a Pit)
  3. A Roller Brake Tester (RBT) or Plate Brake Tester
  4. Vehicle Emissions Analyser (Classes 4 & 7 Only)
  5. Ancillary Items – Signs, Small Tools & Decelerometer etc.

When selecting MOT equipment for your premises you should first consult the DVSA’s “List of Acceptable Equipment” which can be ‘googled’ or located on the website – This document lists the equipment which can be installed and used as part of an authorised premises.

The difference between Obsolete & Obsolescent;

There is a difference between the 2 columns on the master list. Obsolescent means that “no-longer manufactured” rather than “not acceptable” however if you are buying equipment which you know is no longer manufactured have you considered what you will do when spare parts are required in the future or why the equipment is being sold in the first place (if you are obtaining the equipment yourself).

One Person Testing;

There are two different types of MOT bay which could be termed “One Person Bays”. These are the Fully Automated Bay (ATL) & the One Person Test Lane (OPTL) but they are subtly different.

In simple terms an automated bay is more expensive (mainly on account of the weighing system within the brake tester) and is capable of conducting the test routine with the vehicle analysed in the “as presented” condition (as well as by using the tabular weights given by the MOT system when the vehicle is logged on.)

From a technical perspective the ATL bay remains the ultimate solution as it is a “real-word” test for the vehicle using the actual; “as presented”, weight of the vehicle for the brake efficiency calculation. However from the garage owners perspective the key driver, understandably but regrettably, is one of cost versus benefit – and the additional cost of an ATL bay is not considered important when one understands that a One Person Test Lane (OPTL) gives the same key financial benefit to the garage owner of employing one MOT tester to conduct the entire testing process.

Unfortunately in recent years even the DVSA, or VOSA as was, seemed to push new stations toward OPTL rather than ATL due to the improved brake readings that can be obtained from a standard brake tester by comparison to the ATL version.

These reduced readings are in fact the fault of the DVSA themselves! Caused by the fact that in an ATL test both the near and off sides of the vehicle are required to test simultaneously which has the unfortunate effect of reducing the force measurements (due to the tendency to be “thrown out” of the rollers more readily.) The rather confusing irony to this is that within their own procedures the DVSA brake test should always be completed with both rollers operating at the same time with the test being repeated one side at a time only if the tester is not happy with the achieved readings during the initial analysis. Unfortunately many test stations actually bypass the correct procedure knowing they can achieve greater forces values by testing wheels independently.

In fact it is actually the case that low readings is actually reflective of a poor test procedure (where the brakes are suddenly applied) rather than being gradually increased until the last moments before a lock out occurs and the vehicle is ejected from the roller brake tester – so it actually a pity that ATL has not been pursued more by the DVSA given that the MOT test is meant to ensure safety.

Choosing the Right System for your Garage

Happily, with a GETECH supplied bay you can “have your cake and eat it” so to speak. Our equipment is modular giving workshops the possibility of minimising their initial expenditure whilst maintaining the option for an inexpensive upgrade in the future to a full blown ATL system – or a combined MOT bay which tests all vehicle classes.

An additional benefit is an inclusive 5 year extended parts warranty giving you confidence that you are purchasing high quality solution with many years service life – and all this at a comparative price to other suppliers who are offering less initial warranty.

Financing the Equipment

Financing the equipment should in most instances be a fairly straightforward decision to make. Opting for a lease on the equipment offers the opportunity to spread the cost of the investment over a number of years. The fact that this happens also to be the most tax efficient way of making the purchase is a happy coincidence but one which most businesses accountants will testify.

They do say that you get “nothing for nothing” but actually that is not accurate when you consider the true nett cost of leasing such equipment over a 3 year period when, for most established business operating at a 10% tax rate, benefit from a nett cost at the end of the term which is as near to 0% as makes no difference.

Want to find out more?

In order to eliminate these risks most garages employ the services of an expert to navigate the various issues associated with gaining that all-important MOT status . GETECH operate within the market as a manufacturer and so are therefore ideally positioned to advise on the issues relating to the MOT application, civil & electrical works and much more besides.

So, if any of the issues raised in this blog article raise any questions, or you would like further advice speak to a nationwide supplier manufacturer such as GETECH. We will assist with accurate advice in any exchange and we can be employed to supply the project management of your MOT bay project through to the supply of the equipment, its ongoing servicing, maintenance and calibrations – we are truly a “One Stop Shop”.


For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit or mail


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