Types of MOT Test Bay for 2020 – Part Two: Lift Based MOT Test Bays

In previous blog posts we have commented on the types of test bay that are available to new applicants and those existing test station operators who are already approved within the MOT scheme who may be seeking a new bay or an upgrade to an existing installation.

The last article we published on this started the 2020 story and covered the Class I & II motorcycle MOT bay. This article covers mixed class premises (Class IV or Class VII) with the common thread being the use of a hoist for the underside inspection aspect of the MOT test

Previous Blog Post – Motorcycle MOT Test Bays

General Information

There are 3 common classes of vehicle which we use to transport ourselves and light freight around the UK. These are;

  1. Motorcycles tested on a Class I/II MOT Bay
  2. Motor-tricycles and Cars and Light Vans tested on a Class 4 compliant MOT bay
  3. Vehicles in excess of 3.5 Tonnes GUW – such as dual wheel sprinter type vans which are tested on a Class 7 MOT testing bay (which normally also allows Class 4 testing).

Equipment for Class IV & VII testing with a Hoist

In order to test classes 4 and /or 7 you will need the following equipment to be installed, to be calibrated and with all the supporting paperwork proving the equipment can be used in an MOT bay.

Headlight Tester – This should be a rail mounted and from the DVSA’s list of acceptable equipment. Dependant on the bay layout the rails may require recessing.

Vehicle Lift – For Class 4 bays a 3.5 Tonne maximum capacity is required for the MOT bay. For Class 4 & 7 premises; since the vehicles you would test start weigh in excess of 3.5 Tonnes, you will require a lift with platform lengths of at least 5m and with this capacity in mind.

For most bays a 4 Tonne ramp suffices but normally uprated to a platform length of 5.7m to comfortably deal with dual wheelbase sprinter vans. Most installations in 2020 would be a one man type and so therefore a set of play detectors (either hydraulic or pneumatic), fitted to the lift and approved by the manufacturer would also be required under those circumstances.

Roller Brake Tester – Again from the DVSA’s acceptable list of equipment and must be a connected brake tester capable of communicating directly to the DVSA’s MTS system.

Decelerometer – Also to be from the approved list of acceptable equipment and be above to connect to the MTS system.

Emissions Tester – This must be from the DVSA’s approved list – normally the gas and smoke units for petrol and diesel testing are controlled by a PC or a tablet interface. In some instances manufacturers combine this platform with the roller brake tester however this just makes you doubly vulnerable for any PC related operating issues.

Signage & Ancillaries – The following signage and ancillaries are required;

  • 3 Triangles – this must be the approved DVSA sign which should not be displayed until the authorisation is granted at the end of the project process.
  • Reception & Waiting Area Sign
  • Viewing Area Available Sign
  • Viewing Area Sign
  • MOT Notice Board suitable for 6 sheets of A4 paper in portrait orientation

Installation Arrangements for Class IV and IV/VII testing

  • For dedicated car and light commercial premises there are 2 common solutions;

Bay 1

Recessed In-Line installations are by far the most common installation arrangement you would see across garages nationwide. The main reason for this is to compact the size of the bay to the bare minimum to allow the greatest leftover space to be utilised for other profit making areas of the business such as a service lift or an alignment / tyre bay.

Using an in-line symmetrical installation requires a floor space of around 12.5m long in total and 3.6m wide (for Class 4 testing) although part of this length can run through the door – This means that in reality you can get an MOT bay into a building of not less than 8.5m!

Class 7 testing bays are obviously larger than a Class 4 bay to allow for the longer vehicles, but you will still be able to package a Class 7 recessed bay into a building of approximately 10.5m long x 4.2m wide with the total bay size being in the order of 15.7m long x 4.2m wide overall.

With respect to the above styles of installation some care needs to be taken with respect to the entrances and the roof height in the area where the lift is to be situated.

Entrances for a Class 4 building are easy to understand – a straightforward throughway of 2.4m x 2.4m will get the job done, but for a Class 4 & 7 bay more care must be taken. Firstly the configuration of the bay must be known in order to understand if the MOT will be fully contained within the building. In other words, using the dimensions given above, where the building internal length is a minimum of 15.7m long.and the bay is entirely within the building a 3m wide x 3.2m high doorway will suffice.

For bays which run through the door into the area outside of the building a door width of at least 3.5m wide x 3.2m will be required and that 3.5m wide door width would need to be symmetrical about the centerline of the bay itself (in other words the centreline would need to be approx 2.1m from the side wall of the building.)

Headrooms are impossible to check for suitability without the engagement of a garage equipment specialist who would be able to interpret your requirements and then define the headroom which is actuallyrequired and the positions of where that starts and stops. This is because the bay headroom above the lift is measured about the lift platforms themselves.

For example a Class 4 lift might be 4.56m long, but this 4.56m long lift requires a headroom of 6.06m in total ; and at a height of not less than 3.8m. For the purposes of completeness though it is possible to state that for a Class 4 installation a height requirement of 3.8m “from the lift platforms when fully lowered” is needed – for Class 7 bays this increases to 4.8m.

Side by side installations have the roller brake tester alongside the underside inspection area (the lift). Ordinarily this arrangement is proposed as a means to accommodate 2 simultaneous tests on a single test bay although it might be driven by the building dimensions available.

Side by side installations can be packaged in a 9m long building which is at least 8.1m wide for Class 7. In moving to a side by side type arrangement you can normally avoid the need to recess the lift into the ground and can opt instead for a surface mounted lift which would allows you to sidestep the recessing costs and hence save money on the overall project costs. Class 4 bays can be packaged in a space of 7.2m wide if a scissor lift is used, but most garages opt for a 4 post installation for which the minimum building width needs to be 7.5m.

General Arrangement Drawings for the above lift based packages can be obtained by contacting us direct.

Motorcycle Bays Combined with Class 4 or Class 7 MOT bays

There is another way that the above configurations might be changed and that is if you are opting for a multiple class or combined bay that includes motorcycle testing.

In this instance either configuration of bay can be selected (side by side or in-line), however some amendments are made to the overall building dimensions for recessed installations as you need to be able to accommodate the forward wheel of a motorcycle on a a hardfloor when the rear wheel is being tested. You will also need to be able to drive up a thoroughfare of at least 2.3m wide to the headlight tester when selecting a recessed solution for your bay.

In a “normal” installation where the headlight tester is at the non-drive on end of the bay, the headlight tester rails are usually extended to allow the motorcycle headlight test to be conducted adjacent to the non-drive on end of the hoist. Then, the brake tester is moved further away from the lift by approx 1.3m to allow the front wheel to sit on the workshop floor behind the lift recess. Most commonly, when installing in a long single line, the headlight tester is also moved between the brake tester and the lift recess to allow the motorcycle headlight test to be conducted in this same area although this usually results in a requirement to recess the headlight tester rails into the ground.

None of these complications relate to a surface mounted installation where the motorcycle bay can be combined within the standing area for the motorcycle test.

In integrating the motorcycle testing element into the Class 4 or 7 testing bay we should always be mindful of a couple of factors;

  • An adaptor plate is added to a Class 4 or Class 7 roller set to reduce the aperture size of the rollers. Live weights are required for the Class 2 test and so therefore testing motorcycles is normally only conducted on an Automated Brake Tester.
  • The layout arrangement for the entire bay needs to be designed in such a way as to allow the maximum number of tests to be conducted without the need for additional cover plates. This is achieved by minimizing the amount of overlap of the individual standing areas.
  • Testing a motorcycle using a Class 4 or Class 7 brake tester is an DVSA approved, but it is a rudimentary method of brake force measurement by comparison to using a dedicated motorcycle brake tester. Therefore if you are serious about testing motorcycles rather than just “adding a string to your bow” then investing in the correct product still remains the correct solution.

So from 2015 to 2020 it is true to say that lots has changed from an equipment and layout perspective!

If you are considering including any kind of MOT testing bay to your garage operations then call us on 0844 800 9785!

As a manufacturer of this equipment we can supply you with the best equipment at a very competitive price and with the peace of mind at the outset that all GETECH equipment is supplied with a 5 year extended part warranty as standard. Our motorcycle mot bay package can be viewed online simply by clicking HERE.


GETECH supply MOT bays for all vehicle classes. As a manufacturer within the MOT scheme we are perfectly positioned to remain abridged of current and future known legislation. With a design ethos for total modularity, our equipment is some of the most flexible currently available in the UK.

For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail info@getech.org.uk.

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