Should you present a vehicle or trailer for a brake test laden or unladen?

One of the most common questions the DVSA receive is whether a vehicle or trailer should be laden or unladen when brake tested.

Vehicles must be laden for testing – ideally to 65% of their total maximum weight.

The DVSA recommend that you should load your vehicle yourself if you can. If you can’t, you’ll need to arrange for someone else to do it.

Some ATFs offer this facility. They can inform you in advance if they do and how much it will cost.

Are there any vehicles that this doesn’t apply to? 

Yes, there are some vehicles that can’t be presented laden. This could be due to basic design limitations or other restrictions.

You can find more by reading the “Conditions for testing when unladen” section in the DVSA’s best practice guide for heavy vehicle brake testing.

What about tri axle semi-trailers?

Tri-axle semi-trailers can be tested unladen. This is because it can be difficult to get a load for these trailers. 

However, the best way to pass a brake test is to always present a loaded trailer.

For more information read the DVSA’s heavy vehicle brake test best practice guide.

Source: Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency