01-19: towbar electrical socket test tools, diesel smoke meters and annual training and assessments

1. Towbar 13-pin electrical socket test tools

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is aware of the ongoing issues with the operation of some 13-pin socket test tools. It’s continuing to work with The Garage Equipment Association (GEA) to resolve them.


Your test tool may continually flicker when plugged into the socket of a vehicle that uses controller area network bus (CANbus) systems.

This may not be a fault with your socket tester, it generally indicates that there’s continuity at each pin on the vehicle’s socket. When the lamps are operated in turn you will usually see that that individual LED will function correctly.

You must continue to test 13-pin sockets. If the example provided happens, and the self-test facility on your tester does not show any faults, then you should pass the socket test.

2. Diesel smoke meter upgrades

MOT special notice 06-18: EU roadworthiness directive updates advised that a mandatory upgrade or replacement of diesel smoke meters was required by 20 May 2018.

Equipment manufacturers have now carried out all orders made for upgrades and replacements.

You must stop testing all vehicles immediately if your equipment has not been updated or replaced.

Check if your diesel smoke meter meets the requirements

DVSA is aware that there’s been a problem with some devices after the upgrade. For example, the entry and use of a plate value to assess the test standard. DVSA is working with individual manufacturers and the GEA to investigate and resolve issues.

If your diesel smoke meter doesn’t appear in the list, or if you have any questions about the upgrade, contact the GEA.

3. Annual assessments and training

You must complete your training and pass your assessment by Sunday 31 March 2019.

Testers must record their annual assessment certificate on their MOT testing service profile, as soon as possible.

If you do not pass and record your assessment result by 31 March 2019, you’ll be suspended in the MOT testing service. You will not be able to carry out any further MOT tests until you have:

  • done next year’s training and passed that annual assessment
  • taken and passed an MOT demonstration test with DVSA

This could mean you’re unable to test for some time.

It’s important that you complete the assessment in plenty of time before the deadline. There will not be an extension made to the deadline.

3.1 If you’ve opted for your details to be passed on by your assessment provider

You need to check that the details have been recorded on the MOT testing service and that they’re correct. The details are shown under the Annual assessment certificates tab on your tester’s profile page.

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