What Does A Vehicle Inspector Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Vehicle Inspectors

Vehicle Inspectors inspect and monitor transportation equipment, vehicles, or systems to ensure compliance with regulations and safety standards.

Salary
$81320
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Vehicle Inspectors inspect and monitor transportation equipment, vehicles, or systems to ensure compliance with regulations and safety standards.

  • Inspect vehicles or other equipment for evidence of abuse, damage, or mechanical malfunction.
  • Identify modifications to engines, fuel systems, emissions control equipment, or other vehicle systems to determine the impact of modifications on inspection procedures or conclusions.
  • Perform low-pressure fuel evaluative tests (LPFET) to test for harmful emissions from vehicles without onboard diagnostics (OBD) equipment.
  • Conduct remote inspections of motor vehicles, using handheld controllers and remotely directed vehicle inspection devices.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Vehicle Inspectors prepare reports on investigations or inspections and actions taken. They issue notices and recommend corrective actions when infractions or problems are found.

A typical day for a Vehicle Inspector will also include:

  • Inspect vehicles or equipment to ensure compliance with rules, standards, or regulations.
  • Inspect vehicles or other equipment for evidence of abuse, damage, or mechanical malfunction.
  • Identify modifications to engines, fuel systems, emissions control equipment, or other vehicle systems to determine the impact of modifications on inspection procedures or conclusions.
  • Evaluate new methods of packaging, testing, shipping, or transporting hazardous materials to ensure adequate public safety protection.
  • Examine carrier operating rules, employee qualification guidelines, or carrier training and testing programs for compliance with regulations or safety standards.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Vehicle Inspectors also evaluate new methods of packaging, testing, shipping, or transporting hazardous materials to ensure adequate public safety protection. They may also conduct vehicle or transportation equipment tests, using diagnostic equipment.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Vehicle Inspectors negotiate with authorities, such as local government officials, to eliminate hazards along transportation routes. They might also investigate incidents or violations, such as delays, accidents, and equipment failures.

In addition, they investigate and make recommendations on carrier requests for waiver of federal standards.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them examine carrier operating rules, employee qualification guidelines, or carrier training and testing programs for compliance with regulations or safety standards.

To some Vehicle Inspectors, it is also their responsibility to inspect repairs to transportation vehicles or equipment to ensure that repair work was performed properly.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
11%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
1%

Some freedom
46%

A lot of freedom
42%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
11%

Very little freedom
1%

Limited freedom
1%

Some freedom
50%

A lot of freedom
36%


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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Low

Is this job meaningful

Average

61% said they were satisfied with their job and 47% said they found their job meaningful.


Lee Silsby
A car servicing and repair company

I am a Ministry Of Transport Tester. I test vehicles to make sure they are in a roadworthy condition to government standards.

Rolling road brake tester which measures the braking force of each wheel

Rolling road brake tester which measures the braking force of each wheel

I have worked in the motor industry for 20 years and although I can say it is a good industry to work in as teamwork and camaraderie is of a high standard, It is a tough job and can be dirty work over long hours and with a low to average pay.

My typical day starts at 8.30 am and finishes at 6 pm and consists of checking vehicles over for roadworthiness to the government standards. If the vehicles don’t meet roadworthy standards then with the customer’s permission we will rectify these faults. Vehicle safety tests (MOTs) are booked online and it is mandatory for people to have them. They will generally either search for Mots centres near them or they will go to the website and book online.

I will go in and check my diary to see how many tests I have and the vehicle details. I can then search the history of the vehicle through the government website. This enables me to see if there are any issues that have arisen before.

Tests typically take between 45 minutes to an hour and involve checking the vehicle over in line with government procedures.

Tests are booked into hour slots, The customer will arrive and hand the keys to reception whereby a job card will be printed out with all the vehicle details and customer details included.

The keys and job card are handed to me and I carry out my test. This is essentially a road safety check I will check lights, seatbelts, steering, suspension, wheels and tyres, structural rigidity and brakes with a rolling road as well as checking with a machine that the emissions meet current EU standards.

I will then enter these details into the online government website and all these details are held on this site so that in an instant government officials, Mot testers and Police can see if the vehicle has a current valid mot test certificate.

Once the test is complete the keys and test certificate are handed back into reception for the customer to be informed as to whether it is a pass or a fail.

My key responsibilities are to make sure that I treat the vehicles with respect so fit seat covers and floor mats and to wear gloves etc. The biggest responsibility is to make sure that I test each vehicle the same and do not miss anything that could lead to the vehicle not being fit for road purpose.

Pros

  • You get to work under your own initiative, Usually, there is only one mot tester per garage and no one else knows how to do the role so when you are doing your job you are left to get on with it alone and your paperwork is yours to fill out correctly. This means it can feel like you are working for yourself.
  • The camaraderie of working in the motor industry. It can be good fun working with others in the workshop. It is also a pro to know that all of the vehicles you have inspected are on the road legally and are safe for the owner and other road users.

Cons

  • The pay is around average but less than most similar trades such as electrician or plumber. It is around the national average for pay but this can vary by 10k or so depending on where in the country you are.
  • Sometimes customers will be annoyed when you have failed their vehicle and it is deemed not safe to go back on the road until repaired. Although we can do the repairs it comes at a cost to the customer and they are usually not happy about that.
  • Their unhappiness is usually directed towards the person that failed their car which would be me. My line is to tell them that I am testing their car in line with government rules and that is not safe.
  • Sometimes it can be dirty work if the engine is leaking oil or the vehicle is rusty etc.

On the whole, it is a good job and there are prospects to work with the DVSA (Driver vehicle standards agency) policing the roads. The pay is ok and generally, the staff and customers are ok to work with.

It is also a job that requires a lot of technical training to be able to do and this does mean that on the whole most MOT testers are of a high quality which can only be good for road safety.

Lee Silsby
Lee is a Ministry Of Transport Tester. He also runs his own personal finance blog EarningsPortal.


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required to get started.

Very good salary.

Normal working hours (40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

How much do they make

Average salary

$81320 per year

Average hourly wage

$39 per hour

Entry-level Vehicle Inspectors with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $35,560 to $54,580 per year or $17 to $26 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $132,710 $64
Senior (Top 25%) $107,200 $52
Median $78,400 $38
Junior (Bottom 25%) $54,580 $26
No experience (Bottom 10%) $35,560 $17

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Vehicle Inspectors based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Federal Executive Branch $116020 $55.78
Nonscheduled Air Transportation $96950 $46.61
Scheduled Air Transportation $96360 $46.33
Support Activities for Water Transportation $91680 $44.08
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services $90660 $43.58
Rail Transportation $89700 $43.12
Support Activities for Air Transportation $84050 $40.41
Charter Bus Industry $83600 $40.19
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing $82220 $39.53
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services $80970 $38.93

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Vehicle Inspectors work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Vehicle Inspectors including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Federal Executive Branch 4480 $116020 $55.78
Local Government 4130 $74860 $35.99
State Government 3220 $58170 $27.97
Rail Transportation 3060 $89700 $43.12
Support Activities for Air Transportation 1760 $84050 $40.41
Automotive Repair and Maintenance 1570 $34690 $16.68
Scheduled Air Transportation 1280 $96360 $46.33
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing 1120 $82220 $39.53
Truck Transportation 1120 $67540 $32.47
Support Activities for Water Transportation 770 $91680 $44.08

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
2%

40 hours
60%

More than 40 hours
38%

Working schedule

84%

14%

2%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
14%

Fairly important
2%

Important
15%

Very important
25%

Extremely important
45%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
36%

Fairly important
5%

Important
25%

Very important
28%

Extremely important
7%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
4%

Fairly important
7%

Important
36%

Very important
12%

Extremely important
41%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
1%

Every day
26%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
44%

Every day
31%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
10%

Every day
90%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
79%

Once a year
6%

Once a month
12%

Once a week
2%

Every day
1%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
17%

Once a year
15%

Once a month
25%

Once a week
26%

Every day
17%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
36%

Once a year
2%

Once a month
4%

Once a week
38%

Every day
20%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
75%

Once a year
9%

Once a month
17%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
3%

Slightly competitive
24%

Moderately competitive
26%

Highly competitive
13%

Extremely competitive
34%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
23%

Fairly important
4%

Important
23%

Very Important
21%

Extremely Important
28%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
1%

Minor impact
0%

Moderate impact
23%

Important impact
10%

Very important impact
66%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
1%

Once a year
0%

Once a month
12%

Once a week
16%

Every day
71%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
11%

Limited responsibility
17%

Moderate responsibility
3%

High responsibility
20%

Very high responsibility
49%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
15%

Limited responsibility
8%

Moderate responsibility
2%

High responsibility
31%

Very high responsibility
45%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
56%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
2%

Once a week or more
2%

Every day
41%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
16%

Once a year or more
1%

Once a month or more
24%

Once a week or more
2%

Every day
57%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
12%

Once a year or more
11%

Once a month or more
13%

Once a week or more
26%

Every day
37%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
30%

Once a year or more
1%

Once a month or more
35%

Once a week or more
12%

Every day
22%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
13%

High School Diploma or equivalent
58%

Post-Secondary Certificate
13%

Some College Courses
10%

Associate’s Degree or similar
6%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
1%

1 month
9%

1 to 3 months
9%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
14%

1 to 2 years
32%

2 to 4 years
18%

4 to 6 years
18%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
1%

1 month
43%

1 to 3 months
2%

3 to 6 months
23%

6 months to 1 year
2%

1 to 2 years
16%

2 to 4 years
12%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

The Builder
95%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
57%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
19%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
19%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
29%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
81%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
48%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
55%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
43%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
43%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
76%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
48%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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