MOT Test Guide: Explains MOTs

MOT TestThe MOT test is designed to make sure your vehicle meets all the legal requirements for safe road use. It is not a service and does not guarantee that there is nothing wrong with your car.

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What Does The MOT Test Check For?

If your car needs a service at the same time as its MOT, get the service done first and the have it tested – most MOT problems should be picked up and fixed during the service.

No work is performed on your car during an MOT test, although some repair work may be necessary for it to pass the test.

Here are some of the main areas covered in the MOT test:

  • Brakes – checked for condition and tested for effectiveness using a special roller system
  • Fuel system – checked for leaks and to ensure that the fuel filler cap opens and closes correctly
  • Lights & Horn – including headlights, brake lights, indicators and all other compulsory external lights
  • Vehicle Identification Number & Registration Plate – these are legally required and must be present and correct
  • Seatbelts and seats
  • Windscreen, windscreen wipers and windscreen washer
  • Exhaust system – checked for leaks and tested for emissions
  • Vehicle structure – checked for excessive rusting or damage that would make it unsafe
  • Steering, suspension, wheels & tyres – all checked to ensure they are in satisfactory condition and, in the case of tyres, to ensure they are of the correct type
  • Doors & mirrors – doors must open and close securely, mirrors must be present and in good condition

Remember: Nothing is taken apart during the MOT test – the checks are visual and functional only. For example, your car’s brakes will be tested using a set of rolling road, and its headlights are checked against a fixed pattern on a wall.

When & Where Can I Arrange An MOT?

MOTs have to be performed by government-registered MOT testing centres. The person doing the MOT will be a registered MOT tester and will be qualified to perform the test correctly.

An MOT does not have need to be done on the exact registration date of the vehicle. You can arrange for an MOT to be carried out up to one month before its due date, and it will automatically be dated forwards so that you get a full year’s MOT.

You do not need to take any documents for an MOT – the MOT system is completely computerised now and details of your vehicle will be stored in the system. You don’t even need your old MOT certificate.


The government sets MOT test fees – although some garages will offer discounts, you cannot be charged more than the standard test fee. Click here for current MOT test fees.

Selling A Car?

You can have an MOT test performed whenever you like – it doesn’t have to be due.

If you are selling your car, it’s a good idea to have a fresh test done before it goes on sale. This will give potential buyers confidence that the vehicle is in reasonably good condition.

This article contains affiliate links. This means I get paid a small commission if you buy something after clicking on the links. This money helps to pay for the running of the website.

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