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Annual Testing


When used for non-commercial purposes, your horsebox will be subject to an annual test.


If your horsebox is a 3.5 tonne lorry, it will fall under the MOT requirements much like a car.


If your horsebox is over 3.5 tonne it will need to be tested by a VOSA Inspector once a year to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy and safe for travel. Use our Business Directory for testing stations in your area.


It is a good idea to book your lorry in for a service prior to your annual plating or testing date. Due to high demand at lorry testing centres, you may need to book well in advance to ensure your lorry is tested and passed in the required time frame.


Why does my horsebox need to be tested?

Your horsebox must pass an annual inspection to ensure it meets minimum safety and environmental standards.


Who is my lorry tested by?

A VOSA employed inspector will carry out the inspection of your lorry, whether at a VOSA Testing Station or a privately owned garage with Designated Premises status.


What will be tested?

The test consists of four parts:

  • Topside
  • Underside
  • Lights
  • Roller Brake Test
  • The common sites of failure
  • Headlights and lamps
  • Service and secondary brakes
  • Fuel systems
  • Brake systems
  • Speedometer
  • Tachograph
  • Speed limiter
  • Parking brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Suspension
  • Reflectors
  • Wheels and tyres

What can I do to maintain my horsebox and prevent failure?

Remember, your horsebox should be roadworthy all year round. The checks and guidance below should be followed at regular intervals and will help you to identify and head off potential problems. 

Lights: Check that they work and are the right colour. Look for faded and broken lighting housing.

Brakes: Regular use of your horsebox can help maintain braking efficiency by preventing the moving parts of the braking system from seizing. Check for air and fluid leaks and drain air tanks if required.

Fuel system: Check for obvious fuel leaks and black smoke coming from the exhaust pipe as well as the condition and security of the exhaust system.

Speedometer: Make sure that it illuminates and that the needle moves as you increase your speed.

Tachograph: Has the vehicle got a tachograph? (If the vehicle is exempt from using a tachograph, an exemption form must be completed, which is available from your local HGV testing station).

Speed limiter: Has the vehicle got a speed limiter? Check that it has the appropriate calibration plaque and seals.

Parking brake: Regular use of your vehicle can help to keep the hand brake efficient. Check the condition of the parking (hand) brake application mechanism.

Steering: Check for obvious oil leaks and any unusual noises whilst driving.

Suspension: The obvious sign is if the vehicle is sitting lopsided. Once again, listen for knocking noises in motion.

Reflectors: Check for obvious missing reflectors at the rear and the sides of your vehicle. If your reflectors have lights in them, they must be in full working order.

Wheels and tyres: Check the wheel nuts for security and your tyre pressures. Use your vehicle regularly and park with the tyres in alternating resting positions. Parking your vehicle out of direct sunlight can also help to prevent tyre sidewalls from perishing.


Booking your horsebox test

You can book your test 93 days in advance by using the online booking system at


In preparation for the test you should...

  • Inform the station of any changes you have made to the vehicle since the last test
  • Ensure that the plating certificate (VTG6) is displayed in the cab, and bring the duplicate or record copy of the certificate (VTG7) with you
  • load the vehicle using heavy items such as bags of feed, fertiliser or straw bales - but not livestock - so that the brakes can be checked for maximum efficiency
  • If your vehicle has a tachograph, but you do not use it, you should ensure it was initially calibrated and all seals are intact, with the calibrations and K factor plaques in place.If you do not use tachograph charts, take a complete tachograph exemption form (VOSA Form 75, available from VOSA) and take it with you to the test.

At the end of your test, any minor faults found by the examiner that can be rectified on site, can be completed and a test certificate issued. Otherwise, failing vehicles will have to be taken away and represented on another occasion for a re-test (at a reduced fee).


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Last updated: 02/07/2010
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