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Improving mileage recording errors in the MOT Testing Service

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: MOT Modernisation, MOT testing service, News and updates

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Every year, we receive over 14,000 requests to correct MOT mileage readings through our contact centre and directly via GOV.UK.

Incorrect readings can go unnoticed by vehicle owners at the time of test. But at the point of trying to sell the vehicle, errors are highlighted by online car sales websites, dealerships or potential buyers.

Recording the odometer reading is a part of the MOT test. The tester enters the mileage into the MOT Testing Service (MTS). After the test is complete, the reading is shown on the MOT certificate and on the vehicle’s online MOT History.

Researching mileage errors

After conducting some user research visits at MOT testing stations, we were able to understand how and why errors in mileage recordings occur. Speaking with MOT testers, we were able to broadly categorise reasons why mistakes are made.

Entering incorrect readings

The correct mileage is identified and usually written down on an inspection sheet or other paperwork. The mileage can then be entered incorrectly into MTS. This is often due to keying errors, where testers can accidentally catch another number on the keyboard when typing in the reading.

When speaking with some MOT testers, they all told us that they have made a mistake entering the mileage at least once. I caught two buttons and hadn’t realised. It’s easy to catch keys on a keyboard.”

Reading and entering incorrect numbers

An incorrect number is often identified on the dashboard and entered as read into the system. Through our research, testers told us that it’s not always a simple task to read the odometer. Inconsistency across different manufacturers in how they display the mileage means that it’s not always easy to identify the mileage reading. Mistakes such as reading the trip meter instead of total mileage can also happen.

Dyslexia and dyscalculia

Recording data accurately is made more difficult for people with dyslexia and/or dyscalculia. These conditions have an impact on the task of reading, typing numbers, and other information into MTS.

These two conditions can be combined, with 60% of individuals with dyslexia also having difficulties with numbers.

We don’t currently have exact figures on the number of MOT testers who have these conditions. However, calculating against the national averages, 3000-6000 MOT testers are likely to have dyslexia, dyscalculia or a combination of both. The numbers are most likely  higher than this, as people with dyslexia often go into careers that are more practical and involve less reading and writing.

Helping testers recognise errors

Last July we added a new feature to MTS to highlight differences entered in the odometer reading in comparison to the previous MOT test. If the reading is the same as the previous one, or considerably different, a warning message now tells the tester if the reading is lower than, or significantly higher than the last test.

The feedback from the research was that the message is helpful in identifying potential mistakes when entering mileage readings. When the message is shown, testers must confirm that the reading they’ve entered is correct or edit and correct the reading.

“You have to double-check it. It’s there to help you.”

Since the new feature launched, the warning message has been triggered 1.5 million times, which equates to around 4% of all MOT Tests; this has resulted in 42% of these being re-entered, avoiding future corrections.

Future improvements

We have identified some content improvements to the odometer warning message, such as displaying last years’ mileage reading. This will make it easier to compare the readings and help testers quickly realise if they have made an error. This is part of our on-going design and research looking at other improvements to make the screen even more helpful in identifying mistakes.

Recognising that we have thousands of MOT testers who have difficulties in entering data into MTS, we are working on improvements to automate MOT data entry. Connected equipment was the first step in automating test results into the system, reducing the amount of information that has to be manually typed into MTS.

We are also planning on carrying out a second trial for cameras in garages. The aim of bringing camera technology into garages is to help reduce record keeping errors so that testers won’t need to enter the registration plate manually. By starting to automate data into MTS, including downloading data from the vehicle direct to MTS, we will have less reliance on manual typing of numbers. This will make it easier for those with dyslexia and dyscalculia. For more information, Chris Price discusses how we are working to trial the use of cameras in garages in his most recent blog post on Matters of Testing.

What to do if you think the mileage is recorded incorrectly

With the best of intentions, unfortunately mistakes can occur. Where errors are noticed within 28 days of the MOT being conducted, these can be corrected and a replacement certificate produced by the MOT centre.

Where errors are noticed over 28 days, these must be reported to DVSA. You will also need to email proof of the mileage, such as a scan or a photo of:

  • An invoice for the MOT
  • An emissions printout
  • A service receipt
  • A vehicle job card from the MOT centre

They need to show what the mileage should be, and show the same date as the MOT test.

This is important as if you do not send the right evidence, DVSA will not fix the mistakes.

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  1. Comment by Andrew Fox posted on

    You mention 1.5 million times the warning of the same mileage has been triggered, how many of them is because the vehicle failed an MOT and never left the station and was repaired the same day or maybe the same week then retested hence the same mileage ?

  2. Comment by Ronnie posted on

    Maybe testers should pay more attention just saying

    • Replies to Ronnie>

      Comment by ph posted on

      brilliant!! what a stupid statement

  3. Comment by Mark Neal posted on

    it can be an honest mistake , like a lot say just a slip on the keyboard , if its happening regular by the same tester obviously there's an issue

  4. Comment by P Dane posted on

    I agree that a mistake with the mileage can be annoying for the customer & a possible inconvenience in the future but it does not mean that the quality of the test was any more shoddy or indeed without the same amount of care taken during the test so to be given penalty points for a genuine mistake goes against commonsense !! If the same mistake was being repeated by the same tester on more than one occasion after previous warnings then yes penalty points would be a fair outcome

  5. Comment by A kelly posted on

    Sometimes difficult to obtain proof of correct mileage as the incorrect mileage is also recorded on service and mot receipt as I have just had that kind of incident .very difficult to rectify

  6. Comment by Bob Hutton posted on

    Great ideas, but what happens if the previous Mot mileage was entered incorrectly & recorded on the certificate & the customer was unawRe. We now have a mileage on this MOT entered correctly for this initial year but is lower than the previous year? It's about not rushing, check twice & enter once. Double checking on reception against the jobcard for a second check.
    Good ideas coming along recently, impressive. Thank you.

  7. Comment by Malcolm Wilcox posted on

    Print a warning across the top of the MOT Certificate to tell the vehicle presenter or owner to check all the details before leaving the VTS.

  8. Comment by peter glover posted on

    this is a more recent problem on motorcycles as the odometer on latest digital clocks often does not show the current total mileage the mileage indicated could be a trip or a countdown to the next service. Some only show the current mileage when you switch the ignition off and is only available for a few seconds easily missed, or you have to go through a complicated process off finding it in a scroll type menu changing the customers settings, plus it may be in kph not mph this often happens when a battery is changed and it reverts to default settings. Many a European bike have a mph/kph analogue speedo but record the odometer mileage in kph you see an mot certificate has both mph and kph recorded on it, no wonder there are some errors in recordings ! .

  9. Comment by Frank Mason posted on

    I think the idea of showing last years mileage is a great idea as you can instantly realise something may be wrong with the figures that you are about to enter

  10. Comment by Martin Pulleyblank posted on

    I agree. Also not helpfull is when the car is set up as metric so will show kilometers, then entered as miles, again as mentioned difficult to see properly. Then the printout shows a mileage loss.

  11. Comment by Bill gould posted on

    Correct mileage is often difficult to read with a lot of modern cars having 2 trip readings beware of trip a and trip b but by switching ignition off you can get correct mileage most of the time

  12. Comment by L R Craven posted on

    It's good when a warning comes up saying milage error higher or lower.

  13. Comment by Ian Wills posted on

    Maybe DVSA should accept that mistakes do happen ( 14,000 of them )
    and allow the AE to be able to change it for up to one year !!!

    and keep the evidence should DVSA require it,

    allowing this would save DVSA a aweful lot of work and give a better costomer service

    its the garage that gets it when we have to explaine to the custome that thay have to go to dvsa

    result : customer lost

    • Replies to Ian Wills>

      Comment by Martyn Woodcroft posted on

      I am finding a significant amount of vehicles, the dash, Miles/KM and infotainment are in another language, which if the tester does not notice or fails the vehicle and then enters millage instead of KM.

  14. Comment by Anthony W Wood posted on

    Errors in mileage can also occur when, after entering the mileage you scroll down on the mouse whilst the cursor is still in the mileage box, the mileage then alters. I did this on a number of occasions before I got into the habit of clicking the cursor outside the box somewhere in the page. I now enter the mileage and click the return/enter button

    • Replies to Anthony W Wood>

      Comment by James posted on

      I had a colleague that had the same issue, thankfully he noticed that it was happening. I had never noticed the issue as I have always used the tab, enter and space keys when entering mileage and brake readings, not the mouse.

  15. Comment by Peter Goodspeed posted on

    I agree, some manufacturers make finding the mileage difficult! Mercedes etc we often remove key again just to see mileage, crazy times
    Some Volvos awkward too.
    Auto log on with cameras be good idea.

  16. Comment by Chris Turner posted on

    I drive an average of around 33,000 to 34,000 miles per year. I am curious, what constitutes a "significant increase" in mileage? Is this worked from the UK average which I believe is around 7,000 miles P.A. currently? Or is it based on previous mileage entries for the car (where available). For example, my car's first MOT in 2020 was at 87,000 miles, then at 113,000 in 2021, 147,000 in 2022 and most recently 180,000 in 2023, so my car's annual mileage is consistently higher than average.

    I just wonder if my car and my typical mileage will trigger this warning for my MOT tester when he's testing the car?

  17. Comment by Paul Barrow posted on

    It would be helpful if the system highlighted excessive mileage difference between failure & retest within a short time period.
    I made a typing error resulting in the vehicle showing 3000 miles in 1 day.
    This wasn't noticed for 4 months & there was no longer any evidence to prove the correct figure to DVSA.

  18. Comment by Adrian johnson posted on

    Hi there,
    On testing motorcycles it is sometimes hard to see if the milage is in miles or kilometres especially on scooters.

    • Replies to Adrian johnson>

      Comment by Mike Hamilton posted on

      I have an Audi TT where a previous owner switched the miles to kilometres when he was stationed in Germany, it has a discrepancy about 10 years old logged onto its history once the maths have been done it’s obvious it was read wrong but nothing can be done to correct this error

    • Replies to Adrian johnson>

      Comment by Niall cowan posted on

      Spot on,on printing it sometimes shows a mix of miles and kms.

  19. Comment by Nigel Bloor posted on

    Excellent work undertaken - well done to all involved.

  20. Comment by Iain Atkins posted on

    as an MOT consultant, we feel the current disciplinary for incorrect mileage brought to the MOT test station attention by the customer is excessive at 100 points for complaint about data integrity.

    surely a better approach would be if the test station approached dvsa after the 28 days to get mileage corrected then they should not be penalised for doing so