MOT

The Ministry of Transport test (MOT), assesses whether a vehicle meets the legislative safety and environmental standards to be considered roadworthy in the UK. Everyone who owns a vehicle is legally obligated to ensure that it meets these requirements. All cars and vans must pass an MOT test once they reach three years, and each year thereafter (different rules for taxis).

The following information details a Class 4 MOT Test which covers all cars, private hire and public service vehicles (up to 8 passenger seats), motor-caravans, 3 wheeled vehicles* and Quads**, dual-purpose vehicles, ambulances, taxis and private passenger vehicles (9-12 passenger seats). *over 450 kg unladen weight. **400g max unladen weight – for goods vehicles 550 Kg and max net power of 15kw.

WHAT DOES AN MOT TEST COVER?

You may know that your MOT covers vital areas like brakes, exhausts and tyres, but there’s a lot more to your MOT Test than just these areas. An MOT Tester inspects the following components to assess whether it meets the minimum legislative requirements.

GENERAL CONDITION OF VEHICLE.
Must be free from corrosion and damage, with no sharp edges which could cause injury.

FUEL SYSTEM.
Must be free from leaks and fuel cap must close securely. Please be aware it will be opened so leave us your key.

EXHAUST EMISSIONS.
Must meet with legislative emission standards according to age and fuel type.

EXHAUST SYSTEM.
Must be secure and complete, without any leaks and silences effectively.

SEAT BELTS.
Are checked for type, condition and security. All mandatory seat belts must be fitted and in full working order.

SEATS.
Front seats must be secure, and all seat backs must be able to be secured in the upright position.

DOORS.
Must latch securely when closed. Front doors must open from inside and outside the vehicle, rear doors from outside. Hinges are checked for condition and security.

MIRRORS.
Minimum numbers of mirrors are on the vehicle and are checked for condition and security.

LOAD.
Boot or tailgate can be secured when closed.

BRAKES.
Condition, operation and performance checks are carried out.

TYRE/WHEELS.
Condition, security, tyre size/type and tread depth checks.

REGISTRATION.
Plates are checked for condition, security, colour and characters being correctly formed and spaced.

LIGHTS.
Condition, operation (includes HID and LED) for cleaning, self-levelling and security. Headlamp aim. Main beam warning light.

BONNET.
Must securely latch when closed.

HORN.
Operates correctly and is of a suitable type.

WIPERS/WASHERS.
Must be in full working order to give the driver a clear view of the road ahead.

WINDSCREEN.
Condition check and gives the driver a clear view of the road ahead.

STEERING AND SUSPENSION.
Are of a satisfactory condition and operation.

VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER.
Present on all vehicles manufactured after 1980.

SPEEDOMETER.
Must be fitted and free from damage.

SRS COMPONENTS.
Operation of airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, load limiters and warning light.

ENGINE MOUNTINGS.
Condition check.

ELECTRICS.
Visible electrical wiring, connectors and battery (includes electric/hybrid vehicles). Also, operation of devices where fitted including electronic parking brake, Electronic Stability Control, steering lock, TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system), indirect vision devices where they replace mirrors and headlamp levelling/cleaning devices (HID/LED lights). Trailer electrical socket security/damage, operation of 13-pin trailers electrical sockets.

DASHBOARD WARNING LIGHTS.
Now covered by MOT test; applies to (where fitted): headlight main beam, electronic power steering, TPMS, brake fluid level, airbag, seat belt pre-tensioner, electric steering lock and SRS malfunction.

TOP TIPS BEFORE YOUR MOT

  • Make sure there is water for the windscreen wipers and check that they work properly.
  • Check all lights and signals are working, replacing any bulbs where required. Don’t forget the registration plate light too.
  • Don’t present the car for the test with the boot crammed full – the Tester may have to look into the boot to examine the rear suspension mounting.
  • Have a look at the seat belts. Do they properly engage? Is the belt frayed? They need to be in full working order to pass.
  • Visually check tyre condition – make sure the tyre is free from lumps, bulges or cracks.
  • Check tread depth is above 1.6mm with the 20p test. Insert a 20p coin into the tread at various places on the tyre. If the rim of the coin is hidden by the tread then it’s likely that tread depth is safe and legal; however if you can see the rim of the coin then it may be that you need to replace your tyres. Not replacing them could result in a fail so ask for a free check.

Questions and Answers

What does the MOT stand for?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport (it is named after a defunct government department).

What do I need to take with me for the MOT?

The only thing you need to bring with you is the vehicle being tested!

How long can you drive a car without MOT?

If your vehicle is more than three years old, you can't drive without an MOT unless you're on the way to the garage for your pre-booked MOT appointment.

Can police tell if you have no MOT?

A vehicle that does not have a valid MOT test certificate has its registration details automatically passed onto the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) of police vehicles. Certain static road-side cameras use ANPR also.

Can I drive my car home if it fails MOT?

It's illegal to drive with an invalid MOT certificate. If your car has failed and the date on your certificate has passed, you can only drive your car to be repaired or to a pre-arranged MOT appointment, and only if it is completely roadworthy at all times.

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