The MOT test covers almost all safety aspects of your vehicle. However, there are some things that will not be checked, as they are deemed ‘not safety critical’. It is important to be aware of this, and how to spot the signs that these areas might need some attention.



The parts of a vehicle that are not checked during an MOT test include your spare tyre, your engine, your clutch and your gearbox. It is important to keep an eye on these aspects as they could end up costing you money in hefty repair bills. Getting your car serviced will alert you to any issues or concerns about the parts not checked for on an MOT. You can compare prices and book your service with us - just enter your reg plate and postcode to view the best deals near you!


What Is Not Checked For On An MOT Test?

There are four main aspects of your car that will not be checked for on an MOT Test. They are:

  1. Your spare tyre 
  2. Your engine 
  3. Your clutch 
  4. Your gearbox

These are all essential components to the car, but they are not deemed ‘safety critical’ - it is unlikely these issues would cause immediate danger whilst driving. In fact, if you have a big enough issue with your engine, clutch or gearbox, chances are you won’t be able to drive anywhere. 

It is important to be able to spot the warning signs that these components might need some attention.


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Will A Service Help?

The difference between a service and an MOT is that an MOT checks that your car is roadworthy and safe, and a service checks that your car is in its top condition. The mechanic performing your MOT is not allowed to take any part of your vehicle apart, hence why the engine, clutch and gearbox are not checked during an MOT test. However, during a service, no part of the car is left unchecked, so getting a service could alert you to any problems that the MOT may not have picked up on. 

If you would like to compare prices of services in your area, use our online booking tool. Just enter your reg plate and post code and start saving money today!


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Spare Tyre 

Most cars carry a spare tyre that could be used if one of yours goes flat whilst driving. Since it doesn't get used (and if it does, it is hopefully replaced) it is not tested for on the MOT Test. However, if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you have to use your spare tyre, it is important that it is in good condition.

Your tread depth must meet the legal limit of 1.6mm. The tread on your tyre is to help your car grip the road and avoid aquaplaning on slippery surfaces. If the tread isn’t deep enough - often referred to as ‘bald tyres’ - you may not have enough friction with the road, and it could result in you losing control of your vehicle. You can check the tread with a 20-pence piece - fit it into one of the grooves in your tyre tread. If you can see the rim around the edge of the coin, your tread isn’t deep enough and you need to replace the tyre. If you are stopped by the police with an illegal tread depth, you could face points on your licence as well as a hefty fine. 

It's also important to check the pressure and that there is no significant damage to your spare tyre. You don’t want to get caught short!



This one may sound hard to believe, but the condition of your engine doesn’t get checked on an MOT - the only part they check is all to do with the emissions test. But of course, the engine is of great importance to your car, so it's best to keep it in top condition.

The first place to check is your dashboard - if your engine management light is on, it means there is a problem under the hood. It is worth noting that your car will fail its MOT if you take it with an engine management light on (This is included in the ‘dashboard light’ part of the MOT, even though it is signifying an issue with the engine). If you see the light come on, check your engine oil cap is on tight enough. If it still doesn’t turn off, it could be an issue with the catalytic converter or the spark plugs. Take it to a garage to be looked at.

Pay attention to any strange noises, smells or leaks coming from your car - these are all symptoms of an engine problem.  If you notice your car is using fuel quicker than usual you could have a problem, as well as just generally struggling with power. Also watch out for thick, black smoke. This could lead to failure on the emissions test.

If you notice any of these issues, have your engine inspected by a professional mechanic.



The clutch allows you to change gear on your car, but unfortunately, it is not checked during an MOT test. A clutch has a lifespan of around 60,000 miles, so if your mileage counter is clocking in around there, it might be worth looking into a clutch replacement. 

There are several tell-tale signs your clutch may be on its way out. If it feels spongy when you press down on it or makes a squeaking or squealing noise, you could be in need of a clutch replacement. If you are able to rev the engine but gain no additional acceleration power, you may want to have a professional take a look. Same if you can feel your clutch ‘slipping’.



Your gearbox works in conjunction with your clutch and again is not checked for on the MOT test. If you drive a manual car, you can’t drive without it - so look out for these warning signs that your gearbox is on its way out.

If you can hear unusual noises from the gearbox, it could have some issues that need resolving. A clunking or banging whilst the car is in neutral may mean the clutch is loose. A whistle or click may occur if the gearbox bearings are worn and need replacing. Grinding also indicates clutch wear. 

If the car is slow to respond to your gear changes or just a general change from your usual driving experience, you may have an issue with the gearbox. Taking your car to a mechanic will provide you with the answers you need.


Need Repair Work Done?

If you have passed your MOT but worry that you may have an issue with something that was not checked for, it is best to get it booked into a garage to diagnose and solve the problem. If you’re worried about the potential costs, you can use our price comparison tool to book in your car - just enter your reg plate and postcode, select the job you need, and compare garages in your local area by price, rating, distance, and availability.

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