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Everything You Need to Know About Your MOT


MOT, the dreaded word that rolls around every year. Somehow always managing to forget when it’s due, the realisation is an annual unpleasant surprise. Despite pushing this to the back of your thoughts, unfortunately it is unavoidable.

As a car owner, booking a yearly MOT is just a given when buying a car. While some may fully understand the ins and outs of what a MOT involves, and why we have them, the majority of us simply know it as a way to ensure your safety within the vehicle.

So, what is a MOT, what does it involve, and how can you make a MOT a little less costly?

When should your car get its first MOT?

If you have bought a new car, then you will not need a MOT for 3 years from your car’s registration. This is only applicable if your car is brand new or less than 3 years old. Once you have received your first MOT after 3 years, this will then need to be completed annually.

The reason for this is because a brand-new car shouldn’t have any faults during these years, however, servicing your car in-between is always recommended and could save you any issues upon your first MOT.

On the other hand, there are certain types of vehicles that will need a MOT every year, no matter the registration date. These vehicles are public service vehicles such as ambulances and taxis.

If you’re unsure about your car’s exact registration date, call up your local garage to find out, or simply use an online MOT checker.

What is tested in a MOT?

A MOT is an extensive test of your vehicle, covering roadworthiness aspects and vehicle safety.

Over time, various features put in place for vehicles to enhance our safety can go wrong, without us even knowing or realising the importance of the situation. We can often ignore many signs that our car has a fault, putting them on a backburner. However, this can clock up the pennies and land you with a large sum after a MOT if not fixed prior.

A MOT helps to identify these faults and your mechanic will be able to appropriately quote an amount to fix this. Once a MOT has been carried out, refusing to fix the problem deems your vehicle illegal and unworthy to drive on the road.

During your MOT, your chosen garage will check over all vital areas, such as brakes, exhausts, tyres and seatbelts.

As well as the exterior and interior of the body, the electrics, your vehicle’s lights, and the overall condition.

Examples of tests carried out include:

  • If there are any signs of sharp edges, corrosion, or damage.
  • Whether your bonnet latch closes securely.
  • Your vehicle registration will be thoroughly checked over, making sure it is presented on both the front and the back of the car, and can be read clearly by someone 20 metres away.
  • All mirrors will be looked over to ensure they are providing a good view and in good condition.
  • There must be no leak within your exhaust, and this must be secured tightly.
  • There must be no leaks in your fuel system, and the cap will be checked over to make sure it closes correctly.
  • The exhaust will be tested for extreme blue or black smoke.
  • Electrics within the car will be looked over. For example, if you have electrics to help assist with braking, steering, vision or headlamps, a thorough check will take place to look into the wiring. Looking into your dashboard warning lights will also be part of your MOT, as this signals any issues with airbags and oil levels.
  • Your speedometer will be checked for any damages, and for clear readability.
  • Seat belts will be looked at for their general condition and any fraying.
  • Your doors will be tested to ensure that the latches are working correctly, and all shut securely.
  • Your brakes will be trialled and tested for their overall condition and efficiency.
  • Your horn will be tested for effective operation.
  • Steering will be tested. Primarily, looking for any locking that should only happen when your vehicle is stationary.

Once all these checks have been completed, your garage will determine whether or not your vehicle is fit to pass its MOT.

If your vehicle passes, you will receive an up to date MOT certificate clarifying this. Should your vehicle fail its MOT, the garage will give you a list of reasons and solutions to fix these issues

From this, the necessary work on your car can take place once confirmed by you, where it will then undergo another MOT test to ensure nothing was missed.

If your car does fail its MOT, you will not be able to drive your vehicle until this has been rectified.

What do I need to take to a MOT?

There are only a couple of documents and items you need to concern yourself with and take along to your MOT:

  • Your vehicle registration document (V5C)
  • Your appointment letter if you were given one
  • Any current certificates for your vehicle, for example, your last MOT certificate
  • The keys to your vehicle

If you have misplaced these documents, for example, your previous MOT certificate, this can be found on the government website and can be printed off.

In hindsight, MOTs don’t always have to be a stressful and costly time. Servicing your car each year before a MOT will help to not only ensure your safety but can also help to save you money in the long run and prevent your car from failing.

Before your MOT, make sure to run your own tests. Such things as keeping an eye on your oil levels, that your tyres are in a good condition, and making sure that your windscreen has no damage or cracks should be checked regularly by the owner to keep the vehicle running smoothly.

Particularly easy checks involve honking your horn to ensure it’s working and checking your brake lights and headlights.

Carrying out these simple self-checks can help to prevent a failed test or unexpected costs. Above all, they should provide you peace of mind that your vehicle is safe to drive.

If you feel like your car could benefit from a simple service or you require your annual MOT soon, call our team on 01603 700128 today to book an appointment.