If you can’t find the answer to your question below, please feel free to contact us:
Once a car / motorcycle / light goods vehicle is 3 years old or over, the Law requires that you run an annual safety test on your vehicle, otherwise known as an MOT test, to ensure it meets the minimum road safety and environmental standards.
M.O.T. stands for Ministry Of Transport. The abbreviation “MOT” dates back to the 1960s when the Ministry Of Transport was the government body responsible for carrying those tests when they were first introduced.
You must get an MOT for your vehicle by either the third anniversary of its registration or the anniversary of its last MOT if it is over 3 years old.
*COVID-19 update: if your vehicle is a car / motorcyle / light van and its MOT certificate expires on or after 30 March 2020 and up to and including 31 July 2020, your MOT will be automatically extended for 6 months because of the coronavirus crisis.
Most vehicles require an MOT every 12-months and must pass to remain road legal. However, there are some exceptions to this rule: brand new cars are not required to take an MOT until they are 3-year old, but after that they will need to pass a test annually like all other cars.
No, you should not as you will not receive a reminder: it is your responsibility to book your test when your vehicle is 3-year old.
Yes, you can, but please bear in mind that an MOT test can be carried out up to one calendar month (minus one day) prior to the expiry date of the existing MOT certificate, whilst still preserving the anniversary expiry date (effectively making your new certificate valid for 13 months). Otherwise, your MOT certificate is only valid for 12 months from the date of the test. You can check when your vehicle’s current MOT expires on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history
Manufacturer servicing is carried out to the specification of the vehicle’s manufacturer and therefore maintains your vehicle’s warranty. The service plan is specific to your car’s make, model age and mileage.
It takes approximately 45 mins to make a full MOT test.
The MOT fees are determined by the Government Agency – you can see them online at: https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/mot-test-fees. But as a summary, the maximum fee for a car is £54.85 and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle. There is not VAT on the fee.
During the MOT, important parts of your vehicles will be checked to make sure they meet the legal standards. You can watch the test from a viewing area but are not allowed to interrupt the tester.
You can read more about what is tested for cars on https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/car-parts-checked-at-an-mot and motorcycles onhttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/motorcycle-parts-checked-at-an-mot.
The test does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox.
You will get an MOT certificate from the test centre and this will be recorded in the MOT database. You may also be given a list of minor or advisory problems to monitor or fix in the future.
Your vehicle will fail its MOT if the test result lists dangerous or major problems with your vehicle.
If this were to happen, you will be issued with a VT30 certificate explaining the reason your vehicle failed its MOT test and this will also be recorded in the MOT database. You might also be given a list of minor or advisory problems to monitor or fix in the future. Should you wish to keep on using your vehicle on the road, it is imperative it is repaired to comply with MOT test standards.
It is illegal to drive a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate. However, if your current MOT certificate has not expired just yet and no dangerous problems were listed on the MOT, you can take your vehicle away. If the date has passed, you may only drive your vehicle to be repaired or to a pre-booked MOT appointment, and even then only if it is road-worthy (https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-safe).
Please bear in mind that you may not be covered by your insurance if you are driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate and also that you will not be able to renew your road tax until a current MOT pass certificate is issued.
For peace of mind, you may want to book your MOT before your old one expires – you can book up to one month in advance (minus one day) and your old date will roll over to the next year, meaning you will not lose out on the days in between.
It is indeed possible to sit an MOT re-test free of charge if your circumstances fall in either of the following cases:
- If the vehicle has failed the MOT but does not leave the testing station until it is repaired and re-tested.
- If the vehicle fails because of one or more specific items (see list below), provided it is repaired and returned for re-test before the end of the next working day.
You will otherwise have to pay for your re-test.
Which specific items can allow for a free MOT re-rest if the vehicle is repaired and returned to the same testing station before the end of the next working day after failing a test:
These are: access panels, battery, bonnet, bootlid, brake pedal antislip, break glass hammer (*), doors (including hinges, catches and pillars), door open warning device (*), dropsides, electrical wiring, emergency exits and signs (*), entrance door remote control (*), entrance/exit steps (*), fuel filler cap, headlamp cleaning or levelling devices (that does not need a headlamp aim check), horn, lamps (excluding headlamp aim), loading door, main beam tell-tale, mirrors, rear reflectors, registration plates, seatbelts (but not anchorages), seatbelt load limiter, seatbelt pre-tensioner, seats, sharp edges or projections, stairs (*), steering wheel, tailboard, tailgate, trailer electrical sockets, towbars (excluding body around anchorage points), tyre pressure monitoring system, vehicle identification number, windscreen glass, wipers, washers, wheels and tyres (excluding motorcycles and motorcycles with sidecar).
(*): class 5 vehicles only
You will only need a partial re-test if you take your vehicle from the test for repairs and take it back within 10 working days. You can be charged a partial re-test fee for this.
You can appeal an MOT test failure or complain to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if you think your vehicle should not have passed.
- If you think your test failure is wrong, fill in the complaint form (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/complain-about-an-mot) and send it to DVSA within 14 working days of the test. The DVSA will contact you within 5 days to discuss your appeal. If DVSA decides to re-check your vehicle, you will need to arrange a date and pay the full test fee again. They will send you an inspection report listing any vehicle defects. It is essential you do not have any repairs made until the appeal process has finished.
- If you think your car has passed when it should not have, you will need to fill in the complaint form (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/complain-about-an-mot) and send it to DVSA within 3 months if it is a corrosion-related problem or within 28 days otherwise. The DVSA will contact you within 5 days to discuss your appeal. If DVSA decides to re-check your vehicle, you will need to arrange a date but will not need to pay the test fee again. They will send you an inspection report listing any vehicle defects.
You can get a duplicate certificate from the testing station where you last had your vehicle tested. It will cost you £10.
You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle that has failed its MOT because of a dangerous problem.
The MOT status of all UK-registered vehicles is kept in a central database and accessible by police cars and traffic cameras thanks to the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology. So offenders driving without a valid MOT test can easily be caught on the roads.
If your MOT is about to run out, it is wise to book your MOT test and make sure you don’t get caught!
A vehicle that is in good condition and has been regularly serviced and maintained to the manufacturer’s specifications should pass the MOT test smoothly. However, items may deteriorate between services and tests so here is a useful guideline on tips:
- Check your vehicle regularly: you should regularly check the lights, the windscreen washers, wipers, horn, mirror, seatbelts, fuel and tyres (incl pressure) and also prior to the test. It can be frustrating to fail just because a washer bottle was empty, a wiper blade was torn or a lamp bulb is not working…
- Check your number plate: ensure that the number plates and the VIN are clean and legible.
- Suspension: check your suspension by applying your weight to each corner of the car then release. The car should settle down quickly.
- Brakes: Check the operation of footbrakes and handbrakes. Also check the Anti-lock Breaking System (ABS) light operation if fitted. Check under the bonnet that the brake fluid reservoir, windscreen washer bottle and engine oil reserves are topped up correctly.
- Check that the seatbelts all operate correctly.
- Tyres: a tyre depth of 1.6mm is the legal minimum requirement. Check that the tyres are inflated, also making sure that they are not damaged. Whilst the spare tyre is not part of the test, it is advised that a correctly inflated and legal spare tyre should be carried.
- Windscreen: check the driver’s view for damage to the windscreen.
- Exhaust and emissions: to check the exhaust, start the engine and from the rear of the vehicle, listen for excessive noise which could indicate an exhaust leak. Emission checks are an important part of the test – regular servicing should alleviate problems with emissions.
- A general check around the vehicle should be made to ensure that the fuel cap is secure, the mirrors in good condition, wipers not damaged or split, and finally that the locks work.
- Paperwork: make sure you take your V5C Vehicle Registration Document and current MOT certificate to the test.