An Owner’s Guide to Commercial Vehicle Testing

Guide to Commercial Vehicle testing

Why commercial vehicle testing is important

By law, you must maintain any vehicles used on a public road so that they are unlikely to cause danger to anyone. This means as a commercial vehicle owner you have a duty to engage in regular commercial vehicle testing. Doing this is of vital importance to your business.


According to the RSA, you have a duty to ensure regular inspections and maintenance of your commercial vehicle. Regulations set out by the RSA in 2013 state that as the owner of a CVR vehicle you must develop a system for regular inspection and maintenance of your vehicle. However, you must also periodically review and make changes required to ensure the effectiveness of your system. The vehicles covered in this legislation include goods vehicles and trailers, ambulances and vehicles used for the carriage of passengers with more than 8 seats (excluding the driver’s seat).


How to pass the CVRT

To save you and your business time and money, it’s important to pass your CVRT first time around. There are a number of key areas that you can inspect yourself before you go for your CVRT. Doing this will help ensure you pass your CVRT first time around.


Engine and Coolant Levels

When you bring your vehicle for commercial vehicle testing, ensure that your vehicle’s oil and coolant levels are sufficient. If your commercial vehicle’s oil levels are too low, this can cause problems for the tester when carrying out the smoke test.

A smoke test measure the Co2 emissions of the vehicle and tells the tester how efficiently the engine is burning fuel. If a vehicle is very low on oil, the tester will be running a risk of damaging the engine while performing the test. So, if a vehicle is seriously low on oil, the tester cannot carry out the smoke test.

Coolant levels are also important for the same reasons outlined above, checking coolant can be a little more in-depth than the oil, depending on vehicle type. Vans and jeeps typically have an expansion tank in the engine bay. Usually these tanks are translucent with max and min markers. This means you can quickly tell if your coolant levels are high enough. With trucks the expansion tank is usually mounted externally on the cab, they quite often only have a window and float to show you the level of fluid.


Lighting and Electrical

Another common reason vehicles fail commercial vehicle testing is malfunctioning lights. You will most likely need a second person to help you check all your vehicle’s lights are working. Ensure you check your vehicle’s side lights, main beams, brake lights, indicators and reversing lights.

There are 2 main reasons why your vehicle’s lights may not be working. Firstly, the lightbulbs themselves may be prone to failure. These are easily replaced however.

The second reason your commercial vehicle’s lights may not be working is because of blown fuses. Most vehicles will have spare fuses located in the vehicle’s fuse box. Your vehicle manual will show you the location of the fuse box and the relevant fuse for the malfunctioning light.



Another key area to check before you bring your van for commercial vehicle testing is the tyres. It’s important to check both the condition of your tyres and the tread depth. The guideline tread depth should be above 1.5mm and evenly worn.

However, for many trucks and vans with rigid front axles, uneven tyre wear can be a problem. One way to avoid this is by regularly getting your tyres rotated. This involves swapping the tyres from the front to the rear. When getting your vehicle serviced, you can ask your garage to do this.

Tyre condition involves checking the side walls for impact damage and bulges. As tyres ages, they lose natural oils and develop cracks. Cracks and sidewall damage are the major causes of blow outs.

Prior to bringing your vehicle in for inspection you can check the tyres for wear and inspect the sidewalls yourself and replace if needed. It’s also a good time to check your tyre pressure. Tyre pressure recommendations are usually on the tyre themselves but you can also check the driver’s door frame on the vehicle. Normally there will be a sticker with the manufacturer recommendation of tyre index and operating pressure.


Braking and suspension

This area is more difficult to check yourself without specialised equipment. Generally speaking, if the brakes on a vehicle are sub-par the owner will be aware of it. However, you can examine the condition of the brake pads with the aid of a flashlight. If the brake discs have grooves on the surface, this may indicate that they may be at the end of their usable life.


So, if your commercial vehicle is in need of a CVRT, our experienced team are here to help. Our extensive facilitates can accommodate both light and heavy commercial vehicles. So, don’t delay with your commercial vehicle testing. Get in touch today.