Trailers with a maximum mass exceeding, 3,500kg must be tested one year after they were first sold or supplied and every year after. A trailer test certificate will be issued if it passes the test. This however, does not guarantee a trailer’s condition.

Trailer identification

Trailers that are subject to type approval in the UK (see below) must be fitted with UK trailer identification (ID) number before entering service. The manufacturer or ‘final supplier’ is required to obtain a Consent to Supply authorisation, which includes a trailer ID number, from Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) before supplying these trailers to the operator.

The UK trailer ID scheme has been introduced as a practical means of controlling entry into service requirements. DVSA are responsible for administering the trailer ID scheme in the UK.

Trailers will fail the annual roadworthiness test if presented without the UK ID number fitted to the trailer, or a chassis plate attached securely to the trailer.

Trailers manufactured before 29 October 2012 will continue to be issued with an NI identification number at the time of booking the trailer’s first annual test.

Type approval

Heavy trailers (primarily those with a maximum mass exceeding 3500kg) manufactured from 29 October 2012 are required to be constructed in compliance with European or National type approval requirements, if built in single stage.

A trailer constructed in single stage has been built and finished in one stage, by one manufacturer.

Heavy trailers manufactured from 29 October 2013 are required to be constructed in compliance with European or National type approval requirements, if built in multiple stages.

A trailer constructed in multiple stages has been built and finished in more than one stage, normally by two or more different manufacturers. For example a tipping trailer, where a second manufacturer has finished the vehicle by adding the additional components (for example, the tipping body).

Small trailers (those not subject to annual testing)

For trailers not subject to annual testing with the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) control will be at point of sale. The retailer will be prohibited from selling a trailer without a valid approval certificate, and will be required to keep a record that they made such a check for each trailer sold. The retailer would not be required to issue any recordable document to the owner other than usual commercial transaction papers.

Enforcement of the point of sale record-keeping requirement, for trailers not subject to annual test, would be carried out by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA). In future, small trailers built for a person for their own use must be manufactured to the required approval standards and they will require an approval certificate before they can be used on the road.

This will most probably be attained by attending a DVA centre for an IVA inspection.

To sum up:

  • most trailers, no matter what size they are, manufactured on or after 29 October 2012 will need approval before they can be sold or used on the road
  • from 29 October 2014 all trailers require approval

Apply for an annual test

Applications for a trailer (for first time tests only) can be made by completing an application form and posting it to a Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) test centre or by calling in person to any DVA test centre.

You also have the option of online (not for first time test) booking service or the telephone booking line.

When using the online booking service or the telephone booking line to book an annual test for trailer, you will be provided with a booking reference number only. You will then have to contact your selected test centre to obtain your test date and time.

An appointment letter will be issued when the booking has been confirmed with the test centre.

If you require further information you can contact DVA Enquiries team on 0300 200 7861.

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