About the MOT Test

The information supplied in this section of the site is taken from the VOSA section of the DFT website. For more information please Click Here

THE MOT TEST FOR YOUR VEHICLE

Everyone who uses a vehicle on the road must keep it in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that vehicles meet road safety and environmental standards.

The first MOT test for a vehicle is required when it’s three years old. (There are different rules if it’s used as a taxi).

The MOT certificate

The MOT certificate confirms that at the time of the test, without dismantling it, the vehicle met the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards required by law. It doesn’t mean that the vehicle is roadworthy for the length of time the certificate is valid. The MOT certificate is also no guarantee of the general mechanical condition of your vehicle. The test doesn’t cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox.

What the MOT test includes

The MOT looks at some important items on your car to see that they meet key legal requirements at the time of the test.

Components to be inspected:

  • Body or vehicle structure and general items
    Free from excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas. No sharp edges likely to cause injury. Towbars for security, condition, inappropriate repairs or modification. Correct operation of 13 pin electrical socket. Speedometer condition and operation. Engine mountings.
  • Fuel system
    No leaks. Security and condition of pipes or hoses. Fuel cap fastens and seals securely. Note the fuel cap will need to be opened. Make sure the key is available.
  • Exhaust emissions
    Vehicle meets the requirements for exhaust emissions, dependent on the age and fuel type of the vehicle.
  • Exhaust system
    Secure. Complete. Catalyst missing where one was fitted as standard. Without serious leaks and is not too noisy.
  • Seat belts
    All the seat belts fitted are checked for type, condition, operation and security. All mandatory seat belts must be in place. Check of the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) for air bags and seat belt pre tensioners.
  • Seats
    Driver’s seat can be adjusted. All seats for security and seat backs can be secured in the upright position.
  • Doors
    Latch securely in closed position. Front doors should open from inside and outside the vehicle. Rear doors should open from outside the vehicle. Hinges and catches for security and condition.
  • Mirrors
    Minimum number required, condition and security.
  • Load security
    Boot or tailgate can be secured in the closed position.
  • Brakes
    Condition including inappropriate repairs or modifications, operation and performance (efficiency test). Note the removal of the road wheels and trims are not part of the test. ABS or electronic stability control (ESC) where fitted. Check of the MIL for ABS, electronic stability control, electronic park brake and brake fluid warning.
  • Tyres and wheels
    Condition, security, tyre size and type and tread depth. Spare tyres are not inspected. Note: vehicles first used on or after 1 January 2012 – check of the MIL for tyre pressure monitoring.
  • Registration plates
    Condition, security, colour, characters correctly formed and spaced.
  • Lights
    Condition, operation including HID and LED headlamps for cleaning, self leveling and security. Headlamp aim. Main beam warning light.
  • Bonnet
    Securely latches in the closed position.
  • Wipers and washers
    Operate to give the driver a clear view ahead.
  • Windscreen
    Condition and driver’s view of the road.
  • Horn
    Correct operation and of suitable type.
  • Steering and suspension
    Condition, steering oil level, operation, a check for inappropriate repairs or modification including corrosion to power steering pipes or hoses. Operation of steering lock mechanism. Check of the MIL for electronic power steering and steering lock.
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN)
    Is on vehicles first used on or after 1 August 1980. Only one unique VIN is displayed except on multistage build vehicles.

Where to go for an MOT test

There are around 19,000 garages authorised as MOT test stations across the country that can carry out your MOT test. The blue three triangles logo is displayed to identify authorised test stations. The maximum fee for the test must be displayed on a poster inside every test station. The station, however, can charge less than what is on the poster if they want to.

How vehicles are tested

MOT test stations have designated test bays where they conduct the test, using a range of equipment that meets the required specification for MOT testing. The standard test procedures are laid out in an inspection manual that the test station should make available on request.

If your vehicle has failed the test, you’ll be given a failure document with reference to this manual. You can watch the test from a designated viewing area but you are not allowed to interrupt the tester while he is working.

All MOT testers have been on a training course with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and their test results are checked regularly.

Who supervises the scheme?

VOSA is the government agency responsible for supervising the MOT scheme. It does this by:

  • authorising MOT test stations and approving MOT testers
  • setting standards for testing and requirements for authorisation for the MOT test station and testers
  • training authorised examiners and MOT testers
  • visiting MOT test stations and carrying out checks to ensure testing standards and facilities are maintained
  • giving advice and taking disciplinary action where tests are not being carried out to the required standards
  • dealing with appeals and complaints from MOT customers