An MOT is a test that all UK vehicles that are older than three years old are required to have to prove that they are roadworthy and safe to drive. An MOT is a yearly occurrence, and it is a legal requirement for most vehicles, meaning you could find yourself in some trouble if your car does not have a valid MOT.

The MOT can feel like a huge task – there is a lot that goes into it, and that’s why we’re here to help. We’re going to talk you through everything you need to know about your MOT, as well as some fantastic tips on how to save money when booking your MOT.

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to consider yourself an MOT expert!

Summary

An MOT is a required-by-law test that all vehicles older than three years must take annually to ensure it is safe. The test is carried out by a registered, qualified mechanic who will check a long list of things on your car, including your tyres, suspension, brakes, seatbelts, number plates, exhaust emissions, and much more. Once your car has been deemed ‘a pass’ you will receive an MOT certificate and you will not have to have it tested again for another year. We recommend setting yourself a reminder, either on a calendar or a phone, for at least a week before it is due, so you have enough time to get booked in again before your MOT expires.

What Does MOT Stand For?

The acronym 'MOT' stands for Ministry of Transport Test. So, while many of us refer to it as an 'MOT Test', we're actually just repeating ourselves. 

When Was the MOT Introduced?

The first MOT inspection was introduced in 1960. Initially, it only tested vehicles that were over 10+ years old, but that quickly changed to include all vehicles over the age of 3 by 1967.

To keep up with vehicle development and keep the UK's roads safe for drivers and pedestrians, the test has evolved a lot since the 1960s.

How Do I Check My MOT History?

The easiest way to check your vehicle's MOT history is on the UK Government website. All you need to do is enter your vehicle's registration and have the 11-digit number from the car's logbook (V5C) handy. This allows you to view the official test certificate (in case you've lost the paper version) and see which MOT centre completed the test.

This service also shows you what your car failed on, the mileage at the time of your test and your vehicle's new MOT expiry date.

What Happens If I Drive Without an MOT?

It is illegal to drive a 3+-year-old vehicle without an MOT on public roads in the UK. In fact, you can't even park your car on a public road if it doesn't have a valid MOT.

If you are caught by the police, you can receive a fine of up to £1,000 plus 3 points on your driving licence and a potential driving ban. You can also receive a £2,500 fine if you're found to be driving a vehicle that is dangerous or unroadworthy.

Other road users can also report a vehicle that is being driven without an MOT. If this happens, you will receive the same punishment as you would if caught by the police. It's important to make sure you book your MOT in plenty of time every year.

What is Invalidated If I Don't Have an MOT?

Your car insurance is invalidated if you don't have a valid MOT certificate.

Most insurers provide you with policy cover on the condition that you always have a valid MOT. In the very rare event that your provider doesn't include this condition, you may still be insured to drive on UK roads (providing that your car is roadworthy).

In all other instances, you'll break the law twice: once for having no MOT, and the second time for driving without valid car insurance.

As such, it is best to assume that you need a valid MOT to avoid invalidating your car insurance. Make sure you don't have any problems and book an appointment at a local test centre before yours expires.

 

 

What MOT Class is My Vehicle?

Different vehicles need different checks as part of their MOT. In the table below, you can see which MOT class your vehicle falls into:

 

Type of Vehicle MOT Class
Motorcycle, with or without sidecar, engine size up to 200cc 1
Motorcycle, with or without sidecar, engine size over 200 cc 2
3-wheeled vehicle, up to 450kg unladen weight 3
3-wheeled vehicle, over 450kg unladen weight 4
Car with up to 8 passenger seats 4
Caravan/Motorhome 4
Quadbike, up to 400kg max unladen weight 4
Dual purpose vehicle 4
Private hire/public service vehicle with up to 8 seats 4
Taxi 4
Private passenger vehicle/ambulance with 9-12 passenger seats 4
Goods vehicle, up to 3,000kg gross weight 4
9-12 passenger seat class 4 vehicle with a seatbelt installation check 4a
Private passenger vehicles and ambulances, with 13+ seats 5
Play bus 5
13+ seat passenger class 5 vehicle with a seatbelt installation check 5a
Goods vehicle, 3,000-3,500kg gross weight 7

 

What is a Class 4 MOT?

A class 4 MOT is the most common test completed in the UK. Most drivers will receive a class 4 test when they take their car or light commercial vehicle to a local test centre.

 

Seats & Seat Belts Warning Lights Switches (position lamp, headlights, hazard lights) Windscreen Condition, Wipers & Washers Brake Controls Steering Wheel & Column Doors, Mirrors & Horn
Licence Plates Lights & Licence Plate Lights Indicators & Hazard Lights Headlights & Aim Brake Lights, Fog Lights & Reflectors Wheels & Tyres Shock Absorbers
Mirrors, Wiper Blades & Fuel Tank Cap Boot Lid, Loading Doors, Bonnet Towbars Bodywork Condition Chassis Brake System Exhaust & Fuel Systems
Speed Limiter (if applicable) Steering & Power Steering Components Suspension Components Fuel Tank Drive Shafts (if applicable) Emissions Wheel Bearings

 

What is a Class 5 MOT?

A class 5 MOT is a more specialised test, designed for vehicles with more seats. We've highlighted the main differences between a class 4 and class 5 MOT in bold text.

 

Seats & Seat Belts

Warning Lights

Switches (position lamp, headlights, hazard lights)

Windscreen Condition, Wipers & Washers

Brake Controls

Steering Wheel & Column

Doors, Mirrors & Horn

Speedometer & Driver Controls

Licence Plates

Lights & Licence Plate Lights

Indicators & Hazard Lights

Headlights & Aim

Brake Lights, Fog Lights & Reflectors

Wheels & Tyres

Shock Absorbers

Mirrors, Wiper Blades & Fuel Tank Cap

Glazing

Doors, Boot Lid, Loading Doors, Bonnet

Towbars

Bodywork Condition

Chassis

Brake System

Exhaust & Fuel Systems

Speed Limiter (if applicable)

Steering & Power Steering Components

Suspension Components

Fuel Tank

Drive Shafts (if applicable)

Emissions

Wheel Bearings

 

What is a Class 7 MOT?

A class 7 MOT is a special test for the largest vehicles within the MOT testing framework. All commercial goods vehicles that carry between 3,000 and 3,500kg total weight (the vehicle itself and associated goods) need a class 7 MOT.

A class 7 MOT checklist covers all areas tested on a class 4 vehicle, as well as the following:

 

Entrance and Exit Doors Emergency Exits Passenger Grab Handles Steps & Stairs Seat belt Installation Checks

 

When is a Car MOT Exempt?

A vehicle becomes exempt from the MOT test if it was registered more than 40 years ago, providing that no substantial changes have been made to the vehicle in the last 30 years.

If the vehicle has had any of the following replaced in the last 30 years, it must still get a yearly MOT:

  • Axles
  • Body
  • Chassis
  • Engine

However, the list above is not exhaustive. If you're not sure whether your vehicle still needs an MOT, the UK Government recommends that you read the full guidance on MOT exemptions for historical vehicles or to speak to a historic vehicle expert.

How Long Does An MOT Take?

An MOT test usually will take between 45 minutes and an hour to complete. This is because there is a lot that the mechanic needs to check for to ensure that the car is running as safely as possible. Many garages have waiting rooms you can wait in, or most mechanics will be happy to give you an estimate of what time to come back for, so you don’t have to wait at the garage for an hour.

How Much Is An MOT?

In the UK there is a set maximum amount of £57.85 that a mechanic can charge you for your car’s MOT. This amount for motorcycles is £29.65. This isn’t a fixed price, and you can shop around for a better deal. Be aware of garages that seem to charge very little for an MOT – you may not get as thorough checks for a cheaper price. Your car’s safety is not something you should skimp on!

With BookMyGarage you can compare prices of MOTs near you by using our online booking tool. Just enter your registration plate and postcode and start saving money today. You can choose from a variety of garages in your local area based on their locations, ratings, prices, and availability!

Book online today!

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What Is Checked For On An MOT?

Essentially every part of your car that relates to your safety is checked during an MOT test. Some of these include your wheels and tyres, suspension, battery, lights, electrical wiring, horn, seatbelts, and much more. For a more extensive list, read our much more detailed blog, which will talk you through each aspect in detail.

What Is Not Checked On An MOT Test?

There are a few parts of a car that are not included with the MOT. These include the clutch, gearbox, and the engine (excluding the engine mountings) as these aren’t regarded as being ‘safety-critical’. An MOT will also not test your spare tyre. If you are concerned about your clutch, gearbox, or engine, you should book yourself in for a service – these three components are included.

Unlike an MOT, a service is not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended by all professionals to ensure the safety of your vehicle. You can compare prices of services by entering your reg plate and postcode below!

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What Happens If My Car Fails Its MOT?

An MOT failure is something we all dread, but unfortunately, sometimes it is unavoidable. There are a series of steps you now need to take.

First, your mechanic will give you a refusal of your MOT certificate. This will state the reasons your car has failed, and what needs to be fixed in order to pass. If the jobs are something such as welding jobs or emissions failures, the mechanic will not be able to make the repairs there and then.

As long as you return the vehicle to the garage within ten working days of the initial test date, you can have it retested for a reduced fee or for free - this differs from garage to garage. If the repairs take longer than 10 working days, you will have to pay for a full MOT again, so time is of the essence.

It is worth pointing out that if your car fails its MOT, it is deemed unroadworthy. If it fails on the same day the MOT expires you may drive it to your MOT appointment and to a garage to be repaired but under no other circumstances. If you’re caught driving your vehicle without a valid MOT you could face a £2500 fine, points on your licence, be banned from driving, and even stand the risk of being prosecuted. Always put your safety first!