Single Vehicle Approval Tips

Whilst this page was written in relation to the SVA, it is equally relevant for the IVA.

Contrary to popular belief, the SVA test isn't the 'demon' many people make it out to be.

I hope this page is of use and provides tips to help other builders pass their SVA. I followed the items outlined below, as did my Dad and Neil, and both of our cars passed SVA first time round with no failure points.

The most important point that cannot be stressed enough is to be aware of the SVA regulations and plan solutions to comply with them during the building of your car. Items are a lot easier to design in during building rather than when the car has been built. There are a few things within the regulations that you cannot feasibly test at home, notably checking emissions, noise and braking, but all the other points can be checked. I know it's not the most riveting of reads, but the official SVA testing manual is well worth its weight in gold. This can be downloaded from the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) who were formerly Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and priot to that the Vehicle Inspectorate.

Below are some tips that should be useful and help you avoid common SVA failures. Most of these are fairly common sense items, but are things to watch out for.

During Build

  • Be aware of SVA regulations.

  • When riveting brake lines, fuel lines and panels to the car, space the rivets at around 4-6" apart. Builders have failed for having the spacing closer than this.

  • Protect brake and fuel lines from chafing on any corners using rubber tubing round the pipe. Rubber fuel hose can be used, as can airline hose as used in fish tanks.

  • Affix brake and fuel lines using plastic or rubber lined P clips.

  • DO NOT cable tie the loom to brake or fuel lines, use riveted on cable tie bases. Stick on cable tie bases have failed as they aren't a permanent fixing.

  • Attach loom at a minimum of 12" spacing.

  • If the loom or hoses go near any moving part, tie them as far out of the way as possible.

  • Remember the radius requirements for contactable edges. If you are unsure about an item, put a radius on the edge or use reinforced rubber U trim. Tape is no longer considered a permanent solution and will fail.

  • Use plastic covers over nut and bolt heads to conform to the radius requirements.

  • Affix the roll bar using four 8.8 grade bolts at each side rather than the two each side Tiger recommend.

  • Don't forget that the suspension will settle during your first few drives. This will effectively lower the height of all lights. Make sure you mount the lights at least ½" higher than the minimum allowable hight to compensate for this.


Ideally a few days prior to your SVA take a step back and look at your car. Check over it for anything that has been overlooked. Pay particular attention to any sharp edges at the front of the car around the suspension and the windscreen.

  • If you can, get somebody else who has passed SVA to look over your car as they are more likely to notice potential issues.

  • Check all hoses (water/fuel) and brake lines and ensure there are no leaks.

  • Clean and polish the car. Appearance counts for a lot. If the car is well presented, the tester is more likely to take the view that you care about the car and took care during the build.

  • Make sure all nuts and bolts have been tightened to the correct torque values.

At the Test Centre

  • Remember that the SVA tester is also human.

  • Arrive in plenty of time and have a quick look over the car.

  • Again check hoses for leaking as this is likely to have been the first real drive for the car.

  • Report to reception, and when asked, pull into the SVA lane. At all times, be polite and courteous.

  • If the car got slightly dirty (or maybe even if it didn't), give the outside a wipe over with a cloth as it shows you take pride in your creation. You may not think that it helps, but psychology plays a big part in the testers opinion of you and hence your car.

  • Unless you have done it several times, you are bound to be nervous. The tester is well aware of this.

  • At the beginning of the test, ask the tester if you can make notes. Most won't object to your request. It is useful for you as a reminder of the test in the future.

  • If any points are raised, don't get angry. Politely ask the tester what his (or her) recommendations are on how to solve the problem.

  • If you believe the tester has made a mistake with respect to the application of any regulation, make a note, but don't try and argue with the tester at the time. After the end of the test, you will typically have to wait around 20-30 minutes before receiving notifications of the pass or fail. During this time, double-check the regulations to ensure you are 100% confident the rule was applied incorrectly. In many cases, the wording of the manual itself is enough to cause confusion. If you fail and it is one of the failure points, explain what you believe the regulations to be and ask the tester politely to clarify why they thought it was a failure point. As stated earlier in this list, the testers are human and do occasionally make mistakes.

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