Smart tachographs are coming to your workshop

In the coming months many workshops will have to perform a periodic inspection (for the first time) as extended according to the Annex 1C legislation.

In the summer of 2019, vehicle workshops began applying the extended test procedure for the new generation of smart tachographs, as required by EU Regulations 165/2014 and 2018/502.

The DTCO tachograph was calibrated accordingly in new vehicles. However, the first vehicles with smart tachographs that are due for mandatory two-year periodic inspection and maintenance will start coming to workshops only now.

This will open up new opportunities for them, and with the help of digital equipment they will be able to limit the greater complexity and manage the test procedure successfully.

Against this background, technology company Continental is calling the attention of commercial vehicle workshops to changes in the testing of smart tachographs as compared to devices of earlier generations. At the same time, it is reminding them of the coming extension of mandatory testing to new vehicle classes and the phased introduction of the next DTCO generation, including mandatory retrofitting, starting in 2023.

Smart tachographs have new interfaces, and workshops will have to be able to test them. Besides performing familiar tasks like checking the integrity of the KITAS seal and testing the tachograph’s memory functions, they will now have to test the DSRC interface and satellite reception. The test personnel will have to demonstrate that they have the technical prerequisites for activating, testing, installing and later inspecting smart tachographs.

In addition, workshops that perform these tests will need a workshop card of the second generation. Continental advises workshops to update their equipment and knowledge and make sure that their technicians are trained and certified for the new generation; in the UK all new workshop cards issued by DVSA are Smart tachograph ready.


Workshops know about this, but many are still not prepared for the new tachographs. “We’re in constant contact with our workshop partners in order to provide maximum transparency,” says Continental’s tachograph expert Markus Weide who is not at all surprised by the hesitancy of these businesses. “After all, many are asking themselves whether it’s worth the effort and expense to invest in DSRC and GNSS test equipment, plus additional peripheral devices.”

When confronted with such misgivings, he reminds the workshops that tachograph checks are linked with other service appointments. If they no longer offer periodic inspections as part of their service portfolio, they run the risk of losing regular customers, because the advantages of “one-stop shopping” for inspection and tachograph testing are much appreciated.

“Transport companies will hardly accept the unnecessary downtimes that come from making an appointment in workshop A for inspection and a separate appointment in workshop B for tachograph testing,” he explains.


It must also be considered that a large number of tachographs requiring new calibration can soon be expected. The EU Mobility Package I stipulates that all vehicles with a gross weight of 3.5 metric tons and over must be retrofitted for the coming second generation of smart tachographs no later than autumn of 2025 – if they are to be used for cross-border journeys. In less than a year after that, digital tachographs will also be required for light commercial vehicles weighing 2.5 tons and over – again if they are used for cross-border transport.

“In view of this market potential, workshops should not ask themselves whether or not to offer periodic inspections in the future, but rather how to make the inspection process as fast and reliable as possible,” says Weide.