Both the United Kingdom and Germany enjoy a fine tradition when it comes to the manufacturing of automobiles, with the likes of Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Mercedes, and BMW long established as powerhouses within that particular industry. According to statistics, there were 38.4 million licensed vehicles on Great Britain’s roads as of March 2019, while there are reported to be more than 47 million vehicles in Germany. To be legally roadworthy, those cars, vans, and bikes all need to pass regular and rigorous testing. But how do those tests compare in the respective countries?
1 What’s tested and how?
Checks in both nations are carried out on several crucial elements – including brakes, steering, suspension, tires, seat belts, exhaust, and emissions. Around 30% of MOT faults in the UK are said to be due to lighting and signaling, and mechanics will use oscilloscopes to identify any issues with a vehicle’s electronic systems. As well as diagnosing any such problems, an oscilloscope will also determine its cause, which means any mechanic using one will have a much fuller picture of the situation than one who is operating with a simple scanning tool or code reader.
2 The similarities
The primary purpose of these tests is to ensure your car is safe to drive and does not pose a danger to yourself and other road users. With that in mind, mechanics in both countries run checks over a whole range of components that are key to the smooth running of your vehicle. Should your car fail its test, you will need to ensure that repairs are carried out as swiftly as possible. Otherwise, you risk facing legal action. In the UK, any faults with your vehicle can be classed as either dangerous or major. The former means you will not be allowed to drive it away – doing so could result in a fine of £2,500 as well as points on your license – but you may be able to do so under the latter if the car is still roadworthy.
3 The differences
In the UK, this check is called the Ministry of Transport test but is commonly referred to as an MOT. In Germany, it’s known as the vehicle roadworthiness test or, in the native tongue, Hauptuntersuchung (HU). One key difference between the two is that the HU is carried out every two years on vehicles over three years old while in the UK, you are required to take your car in for an MOT on an annual basis. It’s slightly cheaper to do so in the UK; with the maximum fee, a test center can charge for a car or motor caravan set at £54.85 while in Germany, the average cost of a vehicle roadworthiness test is around €85 – approximately £73. Should your vehicle pass, German road users are issued with a circular plaque to be displayed on the rear number plate while cars that pass an MOT in the UK receive a certificate.