An MOT is a mandatory annual inspection designed to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy and meets certain environmental and safety standards.

Once your vehicle is 3 years old, it is a legal requirement that you book an MOT test for your vehicle every year.

MOT testing is one of the most effective and essential ways of looking after your vehicle, along with car servicing, but how much do you actually know about MOTs?

 

What Is an MOT?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport, which was the government department which first introduced the MOT test back in 1960. The test was introduced in an effort to test vehicle safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions. 

An MOT test is issued by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

 

What Is Checked During an MOT?

An MOT test can take between 45 minutes and an hour to complete.

During an MOT, a certified MOT tester will check the condition of several parts of your vehicle, including the following:

  • Battery
  • Body
  • Brakes
  • Electrical wiring
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Horn
  • Lights
  • Mirrors
  • Number plates
  • Seatbelts 
  • Structure
  • Tyres
  • Wheels
  • Windscreen
  • Wipers

However, there are several key components which are not checked during an MOT, including your engine, clutch and gearbox. This is because these components are not viewed as being an immediate safety risk.

 

How Much Is An MOT?

In the UK, there is a set maximum amount of £54.85 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!

 

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What Is an MOT Certificate?

An MOT certificate is a document which confirms that your vehicle has met certain appropriate legal road safety and environmental standards. Once your car has passed, you will receive a paper copy of your 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. If you need to check when your MOT is due, you can use our free MOT checker tool.

Without a valid MOT certificate, you are not legally allowed to drive your vehicle - except in very specific circumstances like driving to a pre-booked MOT test.

If you lose your MOT certificate, then you can replace it using the gov.uk website, free of charge. An MOT centre can also provide you with an MOT certificate replacement, if you give them your original MOT test number and your V5C number. 

 

What Is The Difference Between an MOT Test and a Car Service?

An MOT test ensures that your vehicle meets the minimum safety requirements laid out by the DVSA, whilst a car service is designed to keep your vehicle running safely and smoothly for longer. 

A car service is an incredibly effective means of furthering the lifespan of your vehicle, but is not compulsory in the same way an MOT test is.

That being said, booking an MOT and a car service together is one of the best ways of taking care of your vehicle. 

 

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When Is The Earliest You Can Get an MOT?

Once your vehicle is 3 years old from the date of its registration, it will need its first MOT test. The vehicle will then need to be retested each year on the anniversary of the last MOT test. 

You can have your vehicle MOT tested up to a month - minus a day - before it runs out if you wish to keep the same renewal date. You can find the date of expiry on the MOT test certificate, provided the vehicle passed the test.

 

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 speak to a historic vehicle expert.

 

What Is an Advisory Notice?

An MOT advisory notice offers the driver a warning as to a problem that could develop and lead to a future MOT fail, perhaps even before the end of the most recent MOT certificate. 

Common advisory notes such as low tyre tread or signs of corrosion can help the car’s owner plan for any necessary maintenance.

By addressing advisory notes sooner rather than later, you can give your car the best chance of passing future MOT tests. 

In some cases, an MOT tester may provide you with an extensive list of possible issues. Whilst you may not need to solve a problem straight away, you should never ignore these faults for long. You can speak to an MOT tester or mechanic if you would like to know a repair timeline - some issues will need to be resolved a lot sooner than others. 

 

What Happens If My Car Fails Its MOT?

If your vehicle fails its MOT, 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 your car needs a welding job or failed its emissions test, the mechanic will not be able to make the repairs there and then.

As long as you return the vehicle to the garage within 10 working days of the initial test date, you can have it retested for a reduced fee or for free - please note that 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.

If your car fails on the same day the MOT expires you may drive it to your pre-booked MOT appointment or to a garage for a pre-booked repair - but you cannot drive for any other reason.

If you are caught driving your vehicle without a valid MOT you could face a £2,500 fine, and points on your licence. You could even be banned from driving, so make sure that you always put your safety first by making sure that your vehicle is roadworthy.

 

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We hope that you have enjoyed learning about MOT testing. If your MOT test certificate is due to expire, be sure to book an MOT test near you at your earliest convenience.