Tachograph Testing & Repairs
All vehicles fitted with Tachograph Units whether Analogue or Digital Units should have these units calibrated, tested and the seals checked periodically. As each vehicle is presented for it's Preventative Maintenance Inspection (PMI) part of the inspection process will be to check that the seal is intact and the last tachograph inspection date is entered on the PMI sheet.
The under-mentioned overview will further assist in your understanding of the overall process of testing, repairs and inspections.
- Who can fit, seal and Calibrate Tachographs?
- Are Tachograph Seals checked by VOSA?
- How Often should Tachographs be Inspected?
- What Should I do if the Tachograph isn't used much?
- Faulty Tachographs or Broken Seals
- Further Reading
Who can fit, seal and Calibrate Tachographs?
All tachographs used for recording drivers hours, whether analogue or digital, must be properly installed, calibrated and sealed. This task must be performed by either a vehicle manufacturer or an Approved Tachograph Centre.
Tachograph systems must be inspected when first installed, and at least every 2 years thereafter to ensure that they fully meet the installation and calibration requirements set out in European legislation, in order to accurately record driving time and other activities within the tolerances laid down by that legislation. Once checked and properly calibrated, tachographs must be sealed and an installation or inspection plaque fixed to, or near, the tachograph itself. UK Approved Tachograph Centres will also issue a certificate showing details of the inspection conducted. Operators must ensure that these tachograph requirements are complied with before putting a new or used vehicle into service.
Are Tachograph Seals checked by VOSA?
Yes, a check on the presence of a tachograph, calibration and the integrity of seals, are part of the statutory annual test for vehicles requiring a tachograph. Roadside checks are also conducted by VOSA and the police.
How Often should Tachographs be Inspected?
Inspection requirements are different for analogue and digital tachographs.
These must be inspected at an Approved Tachograph Centre every 2 years to ensure that the system is operating correctly. The two-yearly inspection can be calculated by checking the date shown on the installation plaque. Additionally, a full inspection of the recording equipment is required 6 years after the date of original installation, and every 6 years after that. A 6-yearly inspection requires a full calibration of the recording equipment and replacement of the installation plaque.
An installation plaque will also be issued where a repair to a vehicle is made that involves recalibration and re-sealing - in such cases the above periods apply from that date.
These must be fully inspected at an Approved Tachograph Centre at least every 2 years or:
- after any repair of the equipment; or
- after any alteration of the "characteristic coefficient" of the vehicle or the effective circumference of the tyres; or
- if the tachograph equipment UTC time is wrong by more than 20 minutes; or
- whenever the VRN is changed
What Should I do if the Tachograph isn't used much?
When a tachograph is not used very often you should make sure, before the vehicle is again used in scope of EC drivers hours rules, that the tachograph:
- has been issued with a valid installation plaque;
- has been satisfactorily inspected within the last 2 years with an appropriate, valid plaque;
- is properly sealed; and
- is in good working order
A tachograph fitted to a vehicle which is never used under the EC rules must - if it is acting as the sole speedometer on the vehicle - still have an installation inspection, be issued with an installation plaque and be properly sealed. Provided the seals remain intact, and the vehicle is not subsequently used for an operation falling within the scope of the EC rules, it is not necessary to have the tachograph inspected or re-calibrated again.
Faulty Tachographs or Broken Seals
If the tachograph becomes defective, seals are broken or there is any doubt about the recording equipment's ability to make accurate recordings, the tachograph should be inspected, calibrated and, where necessary, repaired by an Approved Tachograph Centre as soon as possible. If the vehicle cannot return to its base within a week of failure of the tachograph, or of the discovery of its defective operation, the repair must be carried out en route.
Approved Tachograph Centres in the UK may only undertake minor repairs to analogue tachographs and so offer a service-exchange scheme to provide repaired and replacement analogue tachographs. The exchange of analogue tachographs is sourced either from the tachograph's manufacturers or through the Authorised Repair Scheme approved by the Department for Transport.
Drivers Hours and Tachograph Rules for Goods Vehicles in the UK and Europe Arrangements differ elsewhere across the European Union and some Member States also approve tachograph workshops to carry out major repair work. UK vehicle operators must take care to ensure, when outside the UK, that repairs conducted to tachographs on their vehicles are conducted only by persons or workshops properly approved to do so. Because of the security aspects surrounding digital tachographs, only minor or cosmetic repairs are possible. Approved workshops in the UK may be able to offer help in this respect, and at the very least they are required to be able to attempt to download data from any digital tachograph that needs repair. In cases where data cannot be accessed and downloaded by a workshop, they shall issue an undownloadability certificate.
With respect of recording driver activities when the recording equipment is unserviceable or malfunctioning, drivers may continue to use
the vehicle, but must ensure that they make a temporary record which contains data enabling the driver to be identified (driver's card
number and/or name and/or driving licence number) including the driver's signature, all information for the various periods of
time which can no longer be recorded or printed out correctly by the recording equipment.
NB. Whilst this is the position under the EC rules, it is not advisable to start or continue an international journey with a defective tachograph (even if manual records are kept). This is because many countries will not permit entry to such vehicles since their own domestic laws require a proper working system. UK legislation also provides that a person will not be liable to be convicted if they can prove to the Court that the vehicle was on its way to a place where the recording equipment could be repaired or that it was not immediately practicable for the equipment to be repaired and the driver was keeping a manual record or, where a seal is broken, the breaking of the seal was unavoidable and could not be immediately repaired and all other aspects of the EC rules were being complied with
To determine the nearest registered Tachograph center or Speed Limiter Center closest to you, please refer to the downloadable excel spreadsheets below.
Database of Approved Test,Repair and fitment Centres for Tachographs - VOSA