Mobile Trailer Servicing & Repair Specialists

Mobile Trailer Servicing & Repair Specialists

Significant Changes Ahead for Light Weight Trailer Approvals

As from 29 October 2013, trailers in European Categories O1 to O4 will require a type approval inspection from VCA, the UK approval authority for type approval.

The European Type Approval scheme for cars known as European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) was amended by Directive 2007/46/EC back in October 2007, to cover vehicles such as light weight trailers. This now effects multi stage built trailers.

We realise that there are a significant number of light trailer manufacturers in the UK that build in small volumes or on an individual basis that do not export them to Europe thus making it cost prohibitive to adopt ECWVTA in full.

That leaves manufacturers and converters with two other routes:

- National Schemes for Small Series Approval operated by VCA

- Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) operated by VOSA

The IVA Inspection retains the same technical standards from the EC Directive but aims to keep the cost of compliance affordable. The IVA Inspection Manual contains all the detailed requirements.

VOSA offers the IVA scheme at eighteen IVA test stations around the UK for trailers up to 3500kgs, and at five locations for trailers over 3500kgs

VOSA also actively promote the take up of Privately Owned Test Facilities (POTF) which enables us to taking testing closer to the customer.

Please visit for more information on our approval schemes.

VOSA targets ‘White Van Man’

Light Goods Vehicles, often known as ‘white van man’, are involved in twice as many accidents as HGVs and has an MOT failure rate of 50%. Furthermore, in VOSA checks, light goods vehicles are prohibited six out of ten times, and when weighed, these vehicles are overweight three quarters of the time.

These results not only demonstrate a threat to the safety of road users, but also an unfair advantage over white van man’s HGV counterparts. That low compliance rate is even worse considering that HGVs are subjected to a significantly higher level of regulation than light goods vehicles.

During 2013, VOSA are conducting a targeted programme to address this situation and raise the standards of the LGV industry. The majority who try to be compliant will be offered education and advice to enable them to achieve their goal of operating safe and compliant vehicles.

A mixed tactical approach will be used to address the operator who is ignorant of the requirements. They will be subject to enforcement action at compliance checks, married to the carrot of educational assistance to enable them to raise their standards. The minority who have no desire to comply will be subject to enforcement action in an effort to force compliance.

The first steps in this initiative will be a programme of checks in twenty cities throughout the year to raise VOSA’s profile with LGV operators in specific market sectors, and the first of these will be directed towards the building trade. This will be allied to cooperation with trade bodies and associations to convey the message that VOSA are determined to raise the standards of the LGV fleet through joint working, education, assistance, and if required, enforcement action.

Changes made to brake performance test

On 23 June 2013 changes to the brake performance test procedures and standards were introduced. The changes are not complicated, but it is important that they are well understood.

The minimum brake efficiency requirement for ‘M1’ vehicles first used on or after 1 September 2010 has been increased to 58%. ‘M1’ vehicles are defined as: passenger vehicles with 4 or more wheels and not more than 8 passenger seats in addition to the driver’s seat. Obviously this covers cars, but also includes ambulances, dual purpose vehicles, motor caravans etc. Quadricycles are not included as these are in category ‘L’.

Brake imbalance is now only measured at maximum brake efforts, regardless of wheel lock. The failure criteria has been relaxed to greater than 30% rather than the previous 25%. Additionally, with the exception of trikes and quads, imbalance must be checked across all axles.

These changes have resulted in a simplified manual roller brake test procedure, which no longer requires checks for brake grab or judder, but includes a new check for fluctuation of brake effort. The brake data entry screens on MOT Computerisation will also look slightly different, but the VTS device will automatically apply the appropriate criteria when calculating brake efficiency, and will also calculate brake imbalance.

Those few vehicles still around with a single line braking system will be subject to some additional checks. This is because the parking brake on such vehicles also performs the secondary brake function and will therefore be checked for severe ‘grabbing’ during application as well as for imbalance across the axle. As for the service brake, there must not be more than 30% imbalance measured at maximum efforts.

Testers should familiarise themselves with these changes by reference to the standards and procedures detailed in Inspection Manual Sections 3.7, 3.8 and 3.10.

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