https://mattersoftesting.blog.gov.uk/why-were-changing-manual-advisories/

Why we're changing manual advisories

I’d like to start by thanking you for your feedback on our last blog post. Looking through your responses, one topic really leapt out at us - manual advisories.

We understand that lots of you want these to stay as they are. So we wanted to take this opportunity to explain in detail why we think there should be changes to how they work.

The need for change

One thing we can say for certain is that changes are needed in this area. As explained in the last blog post on the Roadworthiness Directive, we’ll need to change the categorisation of defects so that they’re rated as dangerous, major, or minor.

With a minor being very similar to an advisory, we need to look at the existing way advisories work.

We’ve been doing research with motorists and visiting garages to talk to testers about how and why they use manual advisories. It turns out there are a lot of reasons they use them. Some are good, others are less so, and we’re determined to resolve them.

Finding the right defect

The first thing we have found out is that a lot of you are using manual advisories to make up for things you can’t find as you browse down through the defect lists in the MOT testing service.

We’ve had a look at how you use the MOT Testing Service to see what’s been going on. What happens is that people search for the defect, find that they can’t locate it, and then finally enter a manual advisory.

You shouldn’t have to use manual advisories because you can’t find the defect in the MOT testing service. In lots of cases, we’ve found that a manual advisory has been used when there’s already one listed.

Therefore, the issue isn’t that the defects aren’t listed, it’s that they need to be easier to find.

How we’re fixing this

To fix this, we’re designing a new, improved browsing list that should be much easier to use. It should feature a more intuitive structure and clearer wording. We will keep you updated when it’s ready to test.

We’re also going to back this up by revamping the defect search. We aren’t happy with the way it works right now and haven’t promoted it widely. Some of you might not even know there is a search option.

So, we’re going to completely overhaul the search feature to make it both useful and easy to use.

Protecting yourself

The second thing we found out is that a lot of you are using manual advisories to avoid unfair criticism, either from us at DVSA or from your customers, and to protect yourselves from possible repercussions.

This is fair and we understand the need to protect yourselves. That’s why we’re thinking about setting aside a specific area where you can make test observations about what you saw, or couldn’t see, while you were testing.

The customer wouldn’t see this information, but having it noted down could prove useful if there were any issues down the line. We’ve done research with motorists that shows most of them don’t find this information helpful.

Extra service

Another thing we noticed is that you like to provide your customers with a great service. If you spot a problem that isn’t part of the MOT, lots of you still want to tell them about it. This is because you take pride in your work and want to do a proper job. That’s great and we absolutely encourage you do that.

We just don’t need to see it on the MOT. It’s a structured test and only things that belong in the MOT should be included.

If you want to tell your customers about additional issues you find out while conducting an MOT, please do so. You can just do it in the same way you tell them about issues you find while servicing their vehicle. Consider it part of your customer service, not part of the MOT.

Proceeding carefully

We realise this is a big change and we’re not going to do anything rash. Each of the new features we’re building will be extensively tested and we’re going to put a package of support in place so you're not disrupted by them.

Watch this space for further updates.

Changing for the better

There might be a bit of a learning curve, but we’re confident that the changes will help you. Our improvements to the MOT Testing Service will make it easier to find the right defect, which will remove the need for manual advisories.

You’ll also be able to protect yourself from any unfair criticism using the section where you can record any extra observations you make during the MOT.

And you’re still more than welcome to deliver extra value to your customers by making them aware of anything else you find during your inspection. In fact, we encourage you to do this.

As ever, we welcome your feedback. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

331 comments

  1. Comment by Mark posted on

    As a car user, my biggest concern is getting ripped off by garages for unnecessary work. You go in for an MOT and come out with a long list of parts that ‘need replacing’. You then take the car to a trusted mechanic, only to be told that most, if not all of the ‘recommended’ work is unnecessary! An common example would be ‘brake discs need replacement’, which usually turns out to be the tiniest lip or groove, the kind of wear that is perfectly normal to see on any functioning brake disc!
    The fact that garages have different interpretations of what is a pass and what is a fail leaves the door wide open for the system to be abused by unscrupulous garages looking to make money out of unsuspecting motorists. Some say offering additional services, I hear underhandedly making some extra cash.

  2. Comment by Helen posted on

    Checking back on the MOT history for a vehicle. I see that recently "Dangerous" is now listed against some items highlighting them. I also notice that this is happening against items that have been Advisory's and Failures. Surely if it is "Dangerous" then it should not be possible to Advise, it should be a "Failure". Clarity would be appreciated.

    • Replies to Helen>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Helen

      Dangerous has always been on the history service if the tester has selected that the defect as dangerous, so this is nothing new.

      It is possibly to mark an advisory as dangerous. A good example of this is an oil leak. Currently an oil leak does not fail the MOT (it will in May) therefore it is an advisory. If it was a bad oil leak getting on the exhaust then the tester might mark that as dangerous.

  3. Comment by Peter posted on

    I have just had a look through the new inspection manual, and found what I think are mistakes unless i'm reading it wrong.
    Indicators must flash at between 60 and 120 times per minute
    Defect - Rate of flashing not between 60 and 120 times per minute
    Category - Minor ?
    Vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
    One or two reversing lamps may be fitted but must all work.
    Defect - A reversing lamp inoperative
    Category - Minor ?
    I thought "Minor" was advise and that "Major" was fail, which means both of these should be major and not minor.

    • Replies to Peter>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Peter

      Item 7 in the Introduction points out that minor defects are those that don't have a significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment and other minor non-compliances. Indicator flashing rate and inoperative reversing lights therefore fall into this category.

  4. Comment by A. JONES. posted on

    Stop asking us for our views as you are clearly and blatantly ignoring us which is disrespectful to say the least and is an insult which also shows the very low regard you have for our views as MOT testers . Be warned you are limiting our ability to do our jobs which is to keep dangerous vehicles off the road while passing on admin to us that you should be doing . Well done and maybe time to give yourselves another award.

  5. Comment by Phil posted on

    With the introduction of 'Minor Faults' in the new manual, will we be penalised with points against us as testers if we fail to record any 'Minor Faults' that might be found on a reinsertion by DVSA?, like we currently do for missing a Fail item.

    • Replies to Phil>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Phil

      DVSA will expect that all findings from the test, including minor faults, are correctly recorded. But we do recognise there'll be a period of time when testers are familiarising themselves with the new standards. So we'll initially provide advice to improve adherence to the rules rather than go straight to disciplinary.

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Phil posted on

        Thanks for the reply,
        It's good to know some more advice will be coming.

        Just another query, will we be expected to record every single 'slightly corroded' spring or 'slightly worn bush'? and will all this be printed on the 'minor faults' section of the pass certificate? Will there be any leaway or room for 'our opinion' given by DVSA or will even slight surface rust be counted as 'slightly corroded' on a re-inspection, and therefore have to be printed on the VT20 sheet?

        I can imagine customers might get fed up of 2 or 3 sheets every time with endless lines of 'slightly corroded this' or 'slightly worn that' that's all. Thanks Phil

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by cheekyboy posted on

        so with the removal of manual advisories how are we to advise bald tyres on inner edges or badly perishing, brakes slightly binding, high level stop light not working etc etc? whether the customers sees it on their pass or failer sheet or not it should be recorded should it not?

        • Replies to cheekyboy>

          Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

          Hi

          Apologies if we didn’t explain this as well as we might. We'll add test item related advisories to the selectable list of advisories where appropriate.

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by mark posted on

        Thats very kind of you 35 years of experience gone in 60 seconds by people behind desks

  6. Comment by R Upton posted on

    I have always been told to pass and advise. Half of the items that need to be advised are not currently covered. Can we not have a separate VT32 printed like we use to. If the vehicle presenter then want to throw it in the bin then it is up to them. At least the advisories are logged online and if a problem arises then we are covered.

  7. Comment by J tate posted on

    As an observer to the MOT test I find it interesting that there is no mention of mileage .I recently found a under three year old car that had covered 173,000 miles.When the MOT becomes 4yrs ,this vehicle could have travelled in excess of 200000 miles with no road worthy tests.!!!!
    Then there is the myth of older cars being maintained to a high standard,Having seen brake pads fitted the wrong way round,track rod ends loose, wheel nuts fitted the wrong way round, tyres completly bald on inner tread to the steel cords where suspension components have been fitted changing steering angles by an amateur's then not having the wheel alignment checked .My real gripe is the head lights fitted mainly on modern German cars blinding motorists and causing fatigue on night driving.In my view if you make lights brighter on cars they will be driven faster resulting in more injuries, add that to the fatigue factor,especially the L E D back lights on dark wet nights, which i have recently experienced.Your comments would be appreciated.We need to remind drivers cars are dangerous to drive and you might be killed, not going on about air bags a 5 star crash protection,and making the lights brighter so you can go faster at night. The wrong people are now involved in the motor industry rule makers.

  8. Comment by Marcus Hamblin posted on

    I'm going to say "no comment " due to the fact the majority of testers were not in favour of the 40 year exemption or in favour of changing the present advisorys. You want our views but wont listen anyway.

  9. Comment by castrolrob posted on

    on an associated note why has my fail rate suddenly gone up to 80%?no way did I fail 70% of motors on lights,15% on belts,28% on drivers view,the list just goes on.have you lumped the pre allocated advises onto our failure figures?if so when were you gonna tell us?last month 80% fail,last 3mnths 62%.i can see no other possible explanation.if you are going to do this with the few relevant advises that we actually have we have no hope of keeping manual advises in any way shape or form and you pretending this is the case and we are being "consulted and your opinions matter"is simply rubbish.it makes it almost impossible to interpret my figures in any realistic or reasonable way.in anticipation of you moderating yet another of my enquiries out of existence i have(and will)be posting similar queries on independant forums.i have yet to express any queries that could be construed to be offensive or irrelevant and am fed up with expressing my concerns on my own time and at my own expense simply for you to decide that the issues raised are inconvenient.why consult our trade if you are going to ignore us?madness.

  10. Comment by les posted on

    you say you encorage us to give the customer extra value i feel we do by giving them the manual advises its dvsa taking the extra value away. ifeel thats theres more to this than dvsa let on or you would leave whats not broken alone

  11. Comment by Dave posted on

    "You’ll also be able to protect yourself from any unfair criticism using the section where you can record any extra observations you make during the MOT."

    Will this information be able to be recalled by the tester from a duplicate for example or will it only be DVSA that will have access to this information !
    Reason for asking, if Tester advises something that is dangerous but not Mot testable and something comes of it - will he have to rely on DVSA to produce his advisory note from the system or will the Tester be able to access it to prove he advised it ?

  12. Comment by Roger Thapar posted on

    Please don’t keep making the system more complicated than it needs to be , there is enough pressure from all around ? Is it not enough without introducing more ? The new way stated is clearly going to cause misunderstandings and confusions / Waite and watch

    • Replies to Roger Thapar>

      Comment by chris mee posted on

      hi yes i do agree also its like we have 3 bosses customer ,our boss , and dvsa, if we dont make our targets for our boss hes not happy and we dont keep customer happy they not return and leave bad feed back and then theirs dsva well we all know there your best friend , untill they hammer you with should done this should of done that lol , its all pressure to us testers whom do there jobs well , i think we should be able to have our manual advisory's box as even my lastest dsva check he said car was hard to start ,,,, but it was alright when i done it ,,, he said manual advise it ,, so there you have it in a nut shell . no wounder theres not alot of new blood comming in to mot testing . chris.

  13. Comment by Scott posted on

    Well it seems to me that an overwhelming amount of comments refer to keeping manual advisories. I would imagine that the majority of testers who do not post on this site would also agree. I can see why people within the industry get so frustrated with DVSA/Government and other agencies.

  14. Comment by paul posted on

    when i was trained to be a tester, their mantra was ( pass and ADVISE )
    only the other day a member of dvsa advised me to pass and ADVISE i say no more

  15. Comment by richard parsons posted on

    Advisory sheets will always be needed testers have not got time to explain defects and the person taking payment could be someone with no knowlede of the defects but at least they have a list of defects that they can ask another mechanic to explain to them

    • Replies to richard parsons>

      Comment by george posted on

      pointless read the headline ,WHY WE ARE CHANGING ADVISORYS,THEY HAVE ALREADY SAID IT SO WHY BOTHER WASTING YOUR TIME AND EFFORT.THET'VE MADE THE DECISION REGARDLESS OF OUR THOUGHTS ,

      • Replies to george>

        Comment by Tony S posted on

        Your probably right on that, But their hands are tied so it will most likely go ahead.
        Might give up posting remarks as a lot stay under moderation for ever and a day and others just get deleted.

  16. Comment by stephen phillips posted on

    Hi, One item we often advise customers that they need to be aware off
    Is:- When the brake pad to Brake Disc contact area is reduced due to rust (usually on the inner face) This in my view is a serious defect. That the customer needs to be aware of. When we test vehicles in the brake rollers at very low speed they pass. However on the road at speed the braking stopping distance will be increased. Also it is likely to cause brake fade due to the smaller pad contact area over heating. In the pass we could fail cars for this but the standards were altered due to many unjustifiable failures.

    Or would you accept that the reduced contact area would justify a failure under "Seriously weakened brake disc?"

    • Replies to stephen phillips>

      Comment by Lloyd posted on

      Just because the pad/disc mating area may be reduced, this does not make the brake disc itself "seriously weakened" so no, that failure would be unjustified.

      Personally, to be classed as seriously weakened, a brake disc would have to be in such a state that I would be questioning whether or not it was safe to carry out the brake test

      • Replies to Lloyd>

        Comment by mark posted on

        in your opinion

      • Replies to Lloyd>

        Comment by graham posted on

        Ill second that, im fed up of seeing advises on brake discs for a bit of corrosion. If you are going to fail a brake pipe or brake disc, it should be in such state that you are not prepared to carry out brake test

    • Replies to stephen phillips>

      Comment by Mi So posted on

      How does having a reduced pad contact area seriously weaken a disc??

  17. Comment by Graham posted on

    It is considered best practice to advise the presenter of: • any items which are near to, but which have not yet reached the point of test failure. • any peculiarities of the vehicle identified during the inspection. • any defects on non-testable items which are found during the inspection procedure. <------- Ive copied that straight from the introduction of the manual. How can we advise on peculiarities or non - testable items with out manual advisorys? Thanks

    • Replies to Graham>

      Comment by Graham posted on

      Any chance anyone from dvsa can comment on this?????? Thanks

    • Replies to Graham>

      Comment by Paul posted on

      Perfectly put Graham, could not agree more.

      DVSA, yes there are NT's who abuse the manual advisory facility, so why not allow presenters of vehicles to challenge any advisory items, and then discipline NT's who are abusing the system?

  18. Comment by Tony S posted on

    Posted this further down, so I thought I'd post it again

    What you will find is that a bad back street mechanic will cover things like corroded brake pipes and poor welding with underseal just to get it though the test.
    So suppose that corroded brake pipe, covered in underseal, bursts and causes an accident, maybe someone gets badly injured or worse, killed.
    I'd say that's why the unsuspecting customer, that now won't see the hidden advisory, needs to see it

    • Replies to Tony S>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Tony
      Space is limited on these documents but we do know that motorists can struggle to interpret observations that are not directly about defects.

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by markt posted on

        fair comment julia but if motorists struggle to understand what the advisories are then theres no reason why they cant ask is there? im sure you would?our customer ask if they unclear of whats on there certificate. theres plenty of space on the document to list things..even if there wasnt it prints another sheet with them on.advisories dont have to be about the defects..they are there to ADVISE the customer/vehicle presenter that a particular part of the vehicle,whether it falls into
        the testable items catagory or not,may/will need attention sooner rather than later.

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by martin posted on

        A manual advisory is more likely to be understood by the presenter rather than one from the "list" provided because it will identify more precisely what the problem is and be understood by most.

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Tony S posted on

        Don't really get what that has to do with what I have commented about!
        Are you saying that it's OK to have slapped under seal over that dodgy brake pipe?

        • Replies to Tony S>

          Comment by Tony S posted on

          Some comments get answered quickly and some get left "awaiting moderation" for ages, why is this?

          • Replies to Tony S>

            Comment by Tony S posted on

            Still awaiting moderation and now there's one at the top of the page.

            It's no wonder we're all confused when DVSA are confusing us all the time.
            "Chris (DVSA) posted onon 12 December 2017
            Hello,

            Apologies for the confusion, the reference to the definition of insecure will be in the new manual which we’ll be publishing soon.

            Thanks,
            Chris"

            A quote about the confusion with the Manual

        • Replies to Tony S>

          Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

          Hi Tony

          We note your point and will consider it as part of any decision on the way forward.

  19. Comment by James posted on

    There are far too many fail options that do not have an advisory to remove manual advisories. Cracked tyres, slight binding brakes etc. There are also lots of items that should be fails that are not. For example a nail in the sidewall of a tyre or the seat belt inertia lock being defective. What is the point of any of the seat belt tests if this does not work?

  20. Comment by Shaun posted on

    One of the most the most grey areas in the not system is the word INSECURE...
    there is no definition in the manual to explain how they would like you to interpret this.
    This is mainly for headlamps and mirrors, some vosa staff come out saying it has to be at a point of falling off, yet you could get another vosa staff come out and say any play in the item then it's not secure...
    This makes testing these items very difficult.
    Thanks

    • Replies to Shaun>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Shaun

      The insecure definition is in the introduction at item 11 and the Driver’s View S/N has been incorporated into the manual.

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Graham posted on

        There is no item 11 in introduction. Only goes to no 10, also insecure isnt in definitions / abbreviations table????

        • Replies to Graham>

          Comment by Chris (DVSA) posted on

          Hello,

          Apologies for the confusion, the reference to the definition of insecure will be in the new manual which we’ll be publishing soon.

          Thanks,

          Chris

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by mark posted on

        there isnt a item 11 in the introduction it only goes upto 10

        • Replies to mark>

          Comment by Chris (DVSA) posted on

          Hello,

          Apologies for the confusion, the reference to the definition of insecure will be in the new manual which we’ll be publishing soon.

          Thanks,

          Chris

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Lonewolf posted on

        There is no item 11 in the Testing Manual introduction.

        • Replies to Lonewolf>

          Comment by Chris (DVSA) posted on

          Hello,

          Apologies for the confusion, the reference to the definition of insecure will be in the new manual which we’ll be publishing soon.

          Thanks,

          Chris

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by andrew cripps posted on

        I cannot see an item 11 in the manual introduction - please clarify!

        • Replies to andrew cripps>

          Comment by Chris (DVSA) posted on

          Hello,

          Apologies for the confusion, the reference to the definition of insecure will be in the new manual which we’ll be publishing soon.

          Thanks,

          Chris

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Tim Greenwood posted on

        There is no item 11 in the current IM introduction section. Neither is the SN about Drivers view in the current manual.

        • Replies to Tim Greenwood>

          Comment by Chris (DVSA) posted on

          Hello,

          Apologies for the confusion, the reference to the definition of insecure will be in the new manual which we’ll be publishing soon.

          Thanks,

          Chris

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Shaun posted on

        Well unless I'm being blind, I have loaded the MOT manual and in the introduction it only goes upto 10 there is no 11? So can't find it can you be more specific please

        • Replies to Shaun>

          Comment by Chris (DVSA) posted on

          Hello,

          Apologies for the confusion, the reference to the definition of insecure will be in the new manual which we’ll be publishing soon.

          Thanks,

          Chris

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Steve posted on

        Where is this "introduction Item 11 ". The mot testing guide introduction pages are alphanumeric & the testing manual introduction only goes up to item 10. Where else should we be looking?

        • Replies to Steve>

          Comment by Chris (DVSA) posted on

          Hello,

          Apologies for the confusion, the reference to the definition of insecure will be in the new manual which we’ll be publishing soon.

          Thanks,

          Chris

      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Tony S posted on

        I must be missing something cos I can't find an item 11 in the introduction of the manual.

        • Replies to Tony S>

          Comment by Chris (DVSA) posted on

          Hello,

          Apologies for the confusion, the reference to the definition of insecure will be in the new manual which we’ll be publishing soon.

          Thanks,

          Chris