Roller Brake Testers: What to know before you buy
Brake Testers are an essential piece of equipment for MOT vehicle testing, and of course particularly for brake testing. They represent an important garage equipment investment for any workshop, so you want to be sure that you make the right choice before you buy. In this article we will be taking a look at what you should consider before purchasing the right equipment for your garage workshop.
DVSA Approval is a necessity
First of all in the UK, all MOT brake testing equipment must be DVSA approved. The DVSA produce a list of approved models of roller brake testers which is available to view on their website.
Next, you should always check the manufacturer’s warranty policy. In the case of roller brake testers, it is especially important that you verify the warranty provided on the rollers. Although some may look good initially, they may have a poor quality surface coating and could thus require regular re-gritting, costing time and money. Furthermore, re-gritting rarely lasts very long and is not a substitute for good quality MOT Brake tester rollers. Some manufacturers offer a 5 year warranty on the rollers as standard; be wary of anyone offering less than a 3 year warranty.
Installation & Maintenance of your roller brake testing equipment
Nowadays, most brake testers are PC operated and quite technically involved to set-up. It is important that the equipment is installed, set-up and maintained by an experienced engineer who is fully trained and accredited by the manufacturer of the roller brake tester in question. This will also ensure that the engineer has the correct calibration equipment.
Most models are installed directly into a concrete recess; however some suppliers also offer the option of an installation cartridge. This has the benefit of increasing reliability (especially for models with weighing systems), making service and maintenance much easier.
Remote Control Brake Tester Operation
Remote control operation is a must and many manufacturers rely on cheap infra-red line of sight controls with limited range. Always look for a supplier that provides Radio Frequency (RF) Remote Controls with extended range so that you can perform a test reliably from within the vehicle without requiring a clear line of sight. Some manufacturers also offer tablet or smartphone remote controls using Wi-Fi.
In our experience, mobile or tablet operation simply isn’t practical in a workshop environment and these devices are much fiddlier to use during an MOT brake test than a simple handheld remote would be.
Motorcycle & Four Wheel Drive Brake Testing
With an increasing number of motorbikes on the road, motorcycle brake testing is becoming commonplace. Motorcycle brake tests can be carried out on both Class 4 and Class 7 roller beds provided there is a DVSA approved adapter plate and the software to test motorbikes is available. Always check with the manufacturer first.
Although most high end models include four wheel drive (4WD) brake testing, not all manufacturers offer this feature as standard so it is important to check this first too.
Brake Tester Support & Software
Should you ever require help in the form of technical support or remote assistance with your brake tester, it will make your life much easier if this is built-in to the software directly. This means you won’t need to exit or toggle through different screens and applications. Another point to consider, especially for new garages, is whether the manufacturer allows other equipment to be managed using the same software.
If your brake testing and emissions equipment are all operated using the same program, you’ll save time by not having to repeatedly enter vehicle and customer details into different software, probably at different computer stations.
Where to buy?
Boston Garage Equipment is a leading manufacturer and supplier of MOT, Vehicle Testing and Workshop equipment. We offer a range of high specification DVSA approved brake testing equipment with all the above mentioned features as standard (except for motorcycle testing which is available as an optional extra).
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our technical sales department on +44 (0)1708 525585.