MOT test

Don’t fail your MOT test on something minor! Do your own pre-test check on the car and you might find something that can be easily sorted. Avoid the hassle and additional cost of a MOT failure.

The purpose of the MOT test

The MOT test is a road safety measure to ensure that all vehicles more than three years old comply with the law and meet road safety and environmental standards.

The test confirms that at the time it was taken, the vehicle met the minimum standards.

  • It doesn’t mean the vehicle is roadworthy for the length of time the MOT is valid.
  • It doesn’t cover the condition of the engine – clutch and gearbox.
  • It is not a substitute for regular maintenance or servicing.

Cost of the MOT test

The maximum amount chargeable for an MOT test as set by the Department of Transport is £54.85, but many MOT test centres charge less than the full fee.

If your car fails the MOT test you will need to pay for a retest. Some MOT test centres will reduce or waive this fee if you allow them to carry out any repairs.

How to book an MOT test

You will need to book your MOT test with an approved MOT test centre. Only centres showing the blue sign with three white triangles can carry out your MOT.

When you put your car in for a new MOT, you can do so up to one month before the existing MOT expires – providing you have the current MOT certificate.

You should do a pre check before your car has the MOT test

Why not do your own pre-test check. You might find something that can be corrected before the test and avoid the stress of an MOT failure.

  • Driver’s controls – check for any play in the steering wheel and column, handbrake and footbrake.
  • Windscreen – confirm there aren’t any large chips or cracks that could affect your vision.
  • Seatbelts – make sure they work properly and there is no damage to them.
  • Shock absorbers – push the corners of the car down. It should bounce and then return to starting point. (Extra movement or noise may mean new shock absorbers are required).
  • Wheel alignment and tyre pressures – it’s important the wheels are aligned correctly and tyres inflated to correct pressure. Don’t forget the tyres should be a minimum tread of 1.6 mm to be legal.
  • Light bulbs – casings should be free of damage or cracks. Check all lights work, including indicators, fog lights and number plate lights.

If your car passes the MOT

Assuming your car passes, you will receive a new VT20 MOT certificate valid for a further year. The certificate will also detail any recommended advisory work. This is any potential problem that was not bad enough to result in a test failure.

If your car fails the MOT

If your car fails the MOT test, you will be issued with a VT3O Certificate detailing the items causing the failure. This is so you know what needs to be rectified in order to get a pass next time.

Whilst there is no set time limit before a retest has to be taken, remember a car that does not have a current MOT certificate is not allowed to be used on the road except when going for repairs for an MOT test or to a prearranged MOT test.

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