The Complete Guide To MOT Tests in the UK
Are you a used car owner in the UK? If so, then you will need to get your car MOT tested yearly. The MOT test is a legal requirement in the UK for all cars that are three years old or more. It is important to keep your car up-to-date with its MOT test, as it is used to ensure that your vehicle is safe to drive on the roads.
There are a few things that you need to know about MOT tests in the UK. In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know, from booking your MOT test to what happens if you fail.
What Is an MOT Test?
MOT test stands for ‘Ministry of Transport’ test. It is an annual test that is required by law for all cars in the UK that are three years old or more. The MOT test checks that your car is safe to drive on the road. It is important to keep your car up-to-date with its MOT test, as it could be unsafe to drive if it fails.
The purpose of the test is to make sure that your car is roadworthy and does not have any major defects that could potentially be dangerous. The test involves a series of checks on your car, including its tyres, brakes, and lights.
The following are the essential facts you should know about the MOT test:
- The purpose of this test is to assess a vehicle’s safety and roadworthiness, particularly its brakes and emissions.
- It’s required on a car’s third birthday, and it should be done annually after that.
- Internal and external checks are included in this list.
- Only a visual inspection is permitted, and inspectors are not allowed to modify or remove anything on your vehicle, so you must continue to maintain it.
- The cost of the test is limited to £54.85 (excluding VAT).
Why Do I Need an MOT?
It is a legal requirement to make sure you get your car MOT tested every year in the UK. The test is used to ensure that your car is safe to drive on the roads. If your car fails its MOT test, it could be unsafe to drive. You don’t want to be driving around in a car that is not roadworthy, as it could put your life and the lives of others at risk.
When Do I Need an MOT?
You need to get your car MOT tested every year once it reaches three years old. You will need to renew your MOT certificate every year after that to keep your car legal to drive on the roads.
How to Book an MOT Test?
You can schedule your MOT test up to 28 days ahead of time. You can do this online, over the phone, or in-person at a local MOT centre. The location of the MOT centres include:
- Dealer/franchised: These are linked to a car manufacturer, and they’re the ideal spot to go if you have complicated repairs or issues. You could also get a courtesy vehicle. Labour costs and manufacturer-based services are generally the most costly, but your repair bill will not always be the most expensive.
- Fast repair: Branded chains such as Halfords, Kwik Fit, or National are known for offering the fastest repairs possible. They can usually service and repair your automobile. When it comes to repairing work, they generally cost less than the main dealer, although they are still more expensive.
- Independent garage: Independent garages have a lot of variations on the theme, but they all offer the same thing: low-cost labour. If they don’t specialize in a car brand, however, they almost always provide the cheapest labour rates. While some are fantastic, others aren’t nearly as good, and they can still be pricey. Some locations simply give MOTs but no repairs.
When booking your MOT test, you will need to provide the following information:
Your car’s registration number
- Your car’s make and model
- Your contact details
- You will also need to choose a date and time for your test.
It is important to note that you cannot take your car for its MOT test more than one month before its due date. It is also important to book your test early, as you may not be able to get a slot if you leave it too late.
Who Can Perform the MOT Test?
MOT tests are performed by qualified and certified testers under the authority of the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency). All MOT testers must be qualified and certified by the DVSA to carry out MOT tests.
What Happens During the MOT Test?
During the MOT test, the tester will carry out a series of checks on your car. The tester will check for any signs of wear and tear, and they will assess the car’s overall condition. These checks include:
- Tyres and wheels – The tester will check the condition of the tyres and wheels, looking for any signs of wear and tear. They will also check the tyre tread depth and pressure.
- Brakes – The tester will check the condition of the brakes which includes the brake pads, discs, and fluid level. This check will also assess the brake system for any leaks.
- Lights and reflectors – The tester will check all the lights and reflectors, including the headlights, brake lights, fog lights, and indicators. They will also check the condition of the bulbs and the reflectors.
- Bodywork – The tester will check for any signs of damage to the bodywork including rust, dents, and scratches. The check will also assess the car’s doors, windows, and mirrors. The tester will make sure that the mirrors are clean and free from cracks or damage.
- Windscreen and wipers – The tester will check the condition of the windscreen and wipers, looking for any cracks or damage. They will also check that the wipers are operating correctly.
- Suspension – The tester will check the condition of the suspension, looking for any signs of wear and tear that could affect the car’s safety.
- Exhaust and emissions – The tester will check the condition of the exhaust and emissions, looking for any leaks or damage. They will also check that the car is not emitting too much smoke.
- Fuel system – The tester will check the condition of the fuel system, looking for any leaks. They will also check that the fuel cap is secure and that there are no loose fittings.
- Seatbelts – The tester will check that all of the seatbelts are in good condition and are correctly fitted.
- Child seats – If you have a child seat fitted, the tester will check that it is correctly fitted and that it meets current safety standards.
- Under-the-bonnet checks – The tester will check under the bonnet for any signs of leaks or damage. This includes checking the oil level and coolant level so that they can be topped up if necessary.
The MOT test also includes an ‘advisory notice’ section which will highlight any areas of concern which may need attention in the future, such as the car’s registration plate and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to make sure that they match the car. They will also check the car’s odometer to make sure that it is accurate. These advisories are not failed items, but it is important to be aware of them so that you can address them if necessary.
What Happens if My Car Fails its MOT Test?
There are possibilities that your car may fail the MOT test. If this happens, you will be given a ‘refusal of an MOT certificate’. This means that your car has not met the required standards and it cannot be driven on the road until the necessary repairs have been made.
If your car fails its MOT test, you will be given a ‘report of failure’ which will list all of the areas which need to be addressed. You will then have 14 days to get your car repaired and retested. You need to take your car to an authorised garage or repair shop to have the necessary repairs made. Once the repairs have been made, you can then take your car for a re-test. There is usually a fee for this, but it is important to make sure that your car is safe to drive.
If you do not get your car repaired and retested within 14 days, you will have to re-register your car and pay for a new MOT certificate. It is also important to note that if your car fails its MOT test, you will not be able to renew your car insurance until it has been repaired and retested.
What Happens if My Car Passes its MOT Test?
You will get an ‘MOT certificate’ if your car passes its MOT inspection. This is good for a year from the date of the test. You will need to keep this certificate in a safe place as you will need to show it if you are stopped by the police or if you have to make an insurance claim.
You will also be given an ‘MOT pass certificate’ which lists all of the items that were checked during the test. This is a good record to keep as it will help you to keep track of the maintenance and repairs that have been done on your car.
How Often Do I Need to Get My Car Tested?
You need to get your car tested every 12 months. You will receive a reminder from the DVLA when your car is due for its MOT test. It is important to note that you cannot renew your car tax until your car has passed its MOT test.
If you buy a used car, it will need to have a valid MOT certificate. If it does not, you will need to get it tested within 28 days of buying it. This is why it is important to run a car check before you purchase a used car, as you will be able to see if it has a valid MOT certificate.
You can also get your car tested early if you think there may be a problem. For example, if your car is making strange noises or if it is not running smoothly, you may want to have it checked before its next MOT test.
It is also important to note that if your car is more than 3 years old, you will need to get it tested every 6 months. This is known as an ‘interim MOT’ and it is designed to help keep older cars in good condition.
If you are not sure when your car is due for its MOT test, you can check the date online. You will need to enter your car’s registration number and you will be able to see the date of its next MOT test. You can also sign up for a reminder service which will send you a text or email when your car is due for its MOT test. This is a useful service as it means you will never forget to get your car tested.
What Happened If I Missed My MOT Test?
If you miss your car’s MOT test, you will not be able to renew your car tax. You may also find it difficult to get your car insurance as most insurers will not cover a car that does not have a valid MOT certificate. If you do not have a valid MOT certificate, you can be fined up to £1,000 if you are stopped by the police. You may also be prosecuted if you are involved in an accident and it is found that your car did not have a valid MOT certificate.
It is important to note that if your car’s MOT has expired, you cannot legally drive it on the road. If you are caught driving a car without a valid MOT, you may be fined and you could also have your driving licence revoked.
If you miss your MOT test, you will need to book another one as soon as possible. You can do this by contacting your local MOT testing centre or by booking online.
What Should I Do If I Lost My MOT Certificate?
If you have lost your MOT certificate, you can request a replacement from the DVLA. You will need to fill out a ‘lost certificate’ form and send it to the DVLA along with a fee of £15. You should receive your replacement certificate within 7-10 working days.
How Do I Prepare My Car for its MOT Test?
There are a few things you can do to get your vehicle ready for its MOT test. To begin, confirm that all of the lights on your car function properly. The headlights, taillights, brake lights, and indicators are all examples of this. You should also check that the windscreen wipers are in good condition and that there is enough washer fluid.
Next, you should check the tyres. The tread depth should be at least 1.6mm and the tyres should be free from any cuts or cracks. You should also make sure that the tyre pressure is correct. You should also check the fluid levels in your car. This includes the engine oil, coolant and screenwash. If these levels are low, it could affect the performance of your car.
Finally, you should make sure that the mirrors and windows are clean. This will help the MOT testers to see clearly when they are carrying out the test.
If you have a used car, it will be helpful if you have a full service history. This will show the MOT testers that the car has been regularly serviced and it will help to prove that it is in good condition. Running a MOT check also helps to prove that the car is in good condition as it will show any previous MOT certificates. By preparing your car for its MOT test, you can help to ensure that it passes the test the first time.
The Bottom Line
MOT tests are important in the UK as they help to keep cars in good condition. If you miss your MOT test, you could be fined and you may also have your driving licence revoked. It is therefore important to make sure that you book your car in for its MOT test in plenty of time. You can do this by checking the date online or by signing up for a reminder service. You can also prepare your car for its MOT test by making sure that all of the lights are working and that the tyres are in good condition.
If you have a used car, you will want to get a full service history check of the used car to show the MOT testers. Checking online for the used car’s MOT certificate and running a car check can also help to prove that the car is in good condition. By following these tips, you can make sure that your car passes its MOT test with flying colours.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often do I need to get an MOT test?
Vehicles in the UK are required to undergo an MOT test every 12 months once they reach three years of age. It is essential to keep up with the annual testing to ensure that your vehicle remains legal and safe to drive on public roads.
Where can I get an MOT test done?
MOT tests can only be carried out by authorised testing centres known as MOT testing stations, or your local garage. These stations are typically garages or workshops that have been approved by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to conduct MOT tests. You can find a nearby MOT testing station by visiting the official DVSA website or using online directories.
How long does an MOT test take?
The duration of an MOT test can vary depending on the vehicle and the testing station. On average, an MOT test takes around 45 minutes to an hour. However, it’s a good idea to allow for additional time in case any repairs or retests are required.
What should I bring with me for an MOT test?
When taking your vehicle for an MOT test, you should bring the vehicle registration document (V5C), commonly known as the logbook. It’s also advisable to bring any service records or previous MOT certificates, although they are not mandatory. Additionally, make sure your vehicle is clean, as a dirty vehicle might make it difficult to carry out certain inspections.
Can I drive my vehicle if it fails the MOT test?
If your vehicle fails the MOT test, it is illegal to drive it on the road unless you are driving it to a repair garage for necessary repairs or to a pre-arranged retest appointment. You may also be allowed to drive it if the previous MOT certificate is still valid. However, it’s crucial to check the specific guidelines and restrictions with the testing station or the DVSA.
What happens if I miss the MOT test deadline?
If you fail to get an MOT test done before the expiry date of your current certificate, you will be driving your vehicle illegally. Driving without a valid MOT certificate can result in hefty fines, penalty points on your driving licence, and even your vehicle being impounded. It’s crucial to plan ahead and schedule your MOT test well in advance of the expiry date.
Can I book an MOT test in advance?
Yes, you can book an MOT test up to one month minus a day before your current certificate expires. This means you can get an MOT test done and have a new certificate issued while still preserving the original expiry date. Booking in advance allows you to secure a convenient date and time for the test and ensures that you remain compliant with the legal requirements.
What if my vehicle fails the MOT test?
If your vehicle fails the MOT test, the tester will issue a document called a VT30 or ‘Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate.’ It will outline the reasons for failure and list any repairs or replacements required. You are not obligated to get the repairs done at the testing station; you have the freedom to take your vehicle to any garage for the necessary work. Once the repairs are complete, you will need to bring your vehicle back for a retest within ten working days.
What are the costs associated with an MOT test?
The DVSA determines the maximum fee for an MOT test. However, testing stations are allowed to charge less than the maximum fee, so the cost can vary. At the time of writing, the maximum fee for a car (Class 4) MOT test is around £55. It’s always a good idea to inquire about the exact cost when booking the test to avoid any surprises.
Can I appeal if I disagree with the MOT test result?
If you disagree with the MOT test result or believe that the testing station has made an error, you can appeal against the decision. The process for appealing an MOT test result involves filling out a form and submitting it to the DVSA within 14 days of the original test date. The DVSA will then review your appeal and make a decision based on the evidence provided.