Automated Test Lanes: Are They Worth It?

Automated Test Lanes

This item first appeared in MOT Testing Magazine’s August 2012 edition

Straightset’s Andrew Bates offers a perspective

MOT Costs – where the money goes!
The most expensive item in your MOT bay is the premises. And the next most expensive item when operating an MOT bay item is the cost of staff. Over 10 years one Tester costs, about £250,000? That’s a lot of money no matter how you look at it. Yet equipment costs come a poor third place which is what we’re looking at here.

Right building – right equipment
So what do you need for an ATL? With new premises the minimum dimensions must comply with VOSA’s specifications. But a new build project to those dimensions is short sighted, and asking for trouble, and will limit your future choices. Exceeding those minimum requirements gives a wider choice of equipment, with more flexibility in your purchase.

Get good advice from someone you trust who knows what they are talking about – it’s usually free from the supplier. Also ensure the bay you buy is appropriate for the vehicles you mostly MOT Test, and right for your business. And don’t forget to ask the landlord if you can dig holes in the floor! Remember, headroom, door ways and gates leading into your premises all ‘factor-in’ to get an approval.

An ATL upgrade?
If you’re upgrading to an ATL, usually you will be required to alter the positions of your equipment to current standards. Don’t be put off by building works – usually about10%-25% of equipment cost. And remember, there is a GOLDEN rule:

Whatever you do; don’t buy, or alter anything until you’ve got VOSA ‘Approval’. They prefer it if you consult with them rather than you putting them in the awkward position of having to approve what you have done as a fait accomplis – they just don’t like it!

‘Approved’ manufacturer

Always buy from a member of the Garage Equipment Association (GEA). And check out the maintenance costs before you commit. Some companies fixed price long term contracts. Be sure they can deliver and you can cancel without a penalty.

The right buying decision will reap rewards for many years to come. The wrong one could cost far more in lost revenue/ profit and staff morale than the original price of the equipment.

Related posts

Comment on this article