DVSA face pressure to keep manual advisories following plans to have them abolished

Testers highlight the value of manual MOT advisories and call on agency to keep some form of manual notes

DVSA face pressure to keep manual advisories following plans to have them abolished
The DVSA says it is determined to resolve issues of manual advisories. Image: Bigstock.

Testers are calling on the DVSA to keep manual MOT advisories, as the agency prepares for next year’s MOT changes as part of the European Union Roadworthiness Package.

One of the number changes will see vehicle defects rated as dangerous, major or minor.

Writing on the DVSA’s Matters of Testing blog, product specialist for the MOT testing service at DVSA, Alasdair Cameron said: “With a minor being very similar to an advisory, we need to look at the existing way advisories work.”

However, many testers have been highlighting the importance of manual advisories and are calling on the agency to allow some form of manual advisory notes once the new defect categories are introduced in May 2018.


Lee Heywood said: “The reason I use manual advisories is because the wording available is simply not suitable.

“As an example, ‘slight play’ doesn’t get anywhere near correct when the play is close to the allowable limit.

“Protecting ourselves with our own words is also very important if an appeal was to occur.”

Similarly, Peter commented: “On a system that has 26 failures for a number plate but no test for a number plate light, we need manual advisories.

“Removing the function because some testers misuse it is not the way forward.”


The agency says many testers are currently using manual advisories because they’re unable to find the fault in the defect list on the MOT testing service.

Alasdair added: “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.”

In a bid to tackle the problem, the DVSA is designing a new browsing list that will feature “a more intuitive structure and clearer wording”.

The defect search will also be overhauled to make it easier to use.

General vehicle faults

Testers have been told that they shouldn’t use manual advisories to list faults that are not part of the MOT.

Alasdair said: “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.”

Related: Everything you need to know about MOT changes coming in May 2018

Protection from repercussions

The DVSA believes testers are also using manual advisories as protection from possible repercussions.

Alasdair said: “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.”

Practical problems

MOT tester, John commented: “I understand that these changes are law-led.

“However, you need to have much better representation at a government level to advise what is actually practical at a ground level.

“Why are VEs on the ground actively promoting the use of advisories, when desk based assessment is damning their use?

“I actually received disciplinary points from not manually advising a slight binding brake, where is the ready-made advisory for that?”

How often do you leave manual advisories? Do you believe it’s an essential part of the MOT or do you support plans to abolish manual advisories? Share your comments and experiences below.


  1. From May 20, 2018 vehicle defects will be categorised as either ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’.

    ‘Dangerous’ and ‘major’ defects will result in a fail, while ‘minors’ can be considered similar to what is currently known as advisories.
    So minor Defects are advisory ?
    What’s the difference in a word?

  2. I often advise perished tyres where I am un able to see the cords through the cracks on manual advisories, tyres are a testable item but we do not have any way of advising a customer they have 20 year old perished tyres on their car without a manual advise, how is this meant to be done? Who will protect me if an old tyre burst and caused injury or death? Is this another attempt to dilute the standard of the test?

  3. Why should we hide advisories from customers. The last refresher course i went on we were told always advise, under trays fitted, cannot fully inspect brake pipes ect

  4. Manual advisories are very important to keep there are a great deal of anomalies in the test. all ve’s are only to aware that they could be sued and to cover our backs is the only way we have of protecting ourselves that way we have all acknowledged that there is a concern or concerns on a vehicle that has been brought to the customers attention. Keeping manual advisories is very important.

  5. Change should only happen if it is going to improve the scheme. Any safety or reliability defect that is vehicle-related should be brought to the attention of the owner and placed on-record, whether it is a testable item or not. To try and make things sound better than they truly are is at best, un-wise. Further, to expect the MoT tester/AE to expose himself to risk because he can’t specifically tailor his comments is grossly unfair and the implications of such short comings will reach beyond the MoT scheme. I do however think that any one that uses the test to try and sell work should be suspended from testing, but the material facts should always be allowed to speak for themselves.
    PLEASE do not remove the manual advisory facility. If you are not happy with the way it is being used (?) then educate us!

  6. The MOT is a bare minimum safety check and not a substitute for vehicle servicing. Drivers need to be educated regarding the importance of quality routine maintenance.

  7. Mike’s point above about perished tyres is a very good example, and one I quite often use myself.
    I accept that if there is a pre-worded advisory we should use it but often there simply isn’t and that will always be the case. So, yes, keep manual advisories to a minimum but don’t take the facility away.

  8. I’m not an MOT Tester but a Vehicle Technician I think at times the test is too lenient based on the fact that testers are not allowed to remove parts for test such as engine top covers, wheel bolt covers etc these can hide potentially dangerous faults that cannot be seen but it’s out of sight out of mind in this case I think a tester should be allowed to remove covers to check these provided they aren’t too time consuming to remove also i feel cars should be tested every year even from new as a lot of new cars I work on have had some faults they’re always campaigning for people to look after there cars but there’s not always something in place to force people to take care of their cars so cars go unserviced repairs required can be let go and only get done when they have completely failed, there needs to be more regulation in place to help the motor trade for example if there was an MOT every year on every car then there could be measures implemented to ensure cars are fully serviced yearly as intended and if they’re not they fail the MOT test, you wouldn’t leave your boiler in your house unserviced for obvious reasons and there’s measures in place to ensure people get this done so why not for the motor trade

  9. This is good, over the years I’ve found out that different testers come up with different advisories, sometimes even worse than previous year. The way I see it is mostly testers judgment are based on the car’s age rather than doing the actual test, this is being abused by bigger companies like Halfrauds autocentre which is the most notorious in failing MOT for a subsequent repair thus generate income totally unnecessary.

  10. If a wheel bearing when rotated by hand does not feel rough, is not noisey and has no play, but when the vehicle is driven a slight bearing noise is audible. How does dvsa expect one to advise. Clearly, there are anamolies. What the dvsa must understand is that testers are day in, day out testing testable items are involved on the ground in a practical sense and are better in understanding the condition of the testable item . It is my opinion, that currently there are shortcomings on the advisory list and making some form of notes is the only answer from a safety aspect for future use of the vehicle.

  11. We need to keep manual advisories to protect us .why cant customers read them .only car sales benefit and if tyres perished as an examble are possibly selling dangerous cars..is a disgrace

  12. All this has come about because the mot scheme is governed by politicians who aren’t renowned for their intelligence and implemented by spineless civil servants.
    At no point is knowledge of the product or road safety taken into consideration.
    It’s an appeasement exercise to make them look good to Joe public and the mot tester will get the bad end of the stick everytime.
    PS I carry 2500+ tests on all classes every year.

  13. All of you above are dead right. Civil servants are the biggest culprit of the problems.I daresay that the DVSA seems to agree with them.What European law got to do with us. Why do we have to abide by their rules and regulations. Do they conform to ours? Find ways to improve our system and listen to testers and practical technicians.

  14. Lets hope anomalies in number plates and number plate lamps become minor defects, I bet not as it would cause problems to ANPR so loss of revenue to the treasury! What other current failures are going to be added to the minor defects list? when was the consultation done and with whom? The test is already very low quality and that has nothing to do with Europe, another smoke screen, we decide the quality of our test,not someone in Brussels so own up and get these changes right without blaming testers for your shortcomings.

  15. please leave the manual advisory alone it is very useful as some testors have mentioned some wording is not correct for the advisory to hand,the mot scheme is only a basic test anyway and what can pass today can easily be a failure tomorrow

  16. the test is about road safety, so any thing we find on a car which we think the owner should be aware of should be listed as an advisory note . ie tyres can be bald of tread on the edge but we can not fail that, we can advise the tyre tread is low, but that really is not the same . that tyre could were to the cord in a few miles. I think car makers are behind a lot of this new law they do not like the public to se how bad there cars are and the list of advisory on them


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Have your say!

3 0

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.