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What is the MOT test

mot - the rules

The MOT Test is a vehicle check that is compulsory for all vehicles (including cars and motorbikes) that are over 3 years old and registered in the United Kingdom.

The test is carried out by government approved MOT testing centres, and becomes due 3 years after first registration and the certificate is valid for one year, after which the vehicle needs to be re tested.

Testing ensures that vehicles are in a safe and roadworthy condition at the time of the test, but it is worth bearing in mind that a certificate only guarantees roadworthiness at the time of issue although the certificate is valid for a year. Something to bear in mind if you are buying a used car.

A MOT test can be taken up to a month before the due date and if the old certificate, or registration document in the case of the first MOT, is presented at the test, the certificate will be issued from the due date rather than the earlier test date.

Testable Items

MOT Tested Items

  • Registration plates
  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Horn
  • Lights
  • Bonnet Catch
  • Doors
  • Vehicle structure
  • Seats
  • Seat belts
  • Windscreen
  • Mirrors
  • Suspension
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Tyres and wheels

12 Checks To Help Pass The MOT Test

Here is a list of twelve simple checks anyone can do before taking their car for its MOT. Although these checks do not guarantee the car will pass, they will help avoid the easily preventable MOT failures.

  • Tyres: Check all the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, and there is at least 1.6mm of tread across the 3/4 of the tyre. Ensure there are no bulges, lumps or cut. The spare tyre is not tested, but a space saving tyre cannot be fitted to your vehicle when your car is presented for the test.

  • Lights: Check that the following lights are working correctly: front position lights (aka side lights), headlights, rear lights, rear registration plate light, rear fog lamps, headlamps, brake lights and indicator lights. Check all bulbs are working even when light is tapped lightly with a hand and check and lens/casing is not cracked. Pay particular attention to the rear registration plate light as this is difficult to check in daylight, make sure both bulbs are functioning correctly.

  • Hazard Lights: Check all indicator lights flash when the hazard light switch is selected. Check with the ignition on and off.

  • Horn: check this sounds correctly and is not a two tone type horn.

  • Registration Plate: Check that is not cracked, securely fastened and not obscured. Also ensure the letters are of the correct size and spacing.

  • Vehicle Identification Number: Check the car has a Vehicle Identification Number displayed.

  • Seat belts: Check all the seat belts fasten and unfasten correctly and are not damaged.

  • Seats: Check the front seats secure. Front and rear seat backs can be secured in the upright position.

  • Mirrors: Mirrors should be fitted where required, usable and not damaged.

  • Wipers and Washers: Make sure the wipers are not damaged and the washer bottle is full of liquid.

  • Windscreen: Check for chips and cracks in the windscreen. In an area in front of the driver a chip cannot be bigger than 10mm, in other areas swept by the wipers that damage cannot be more than 40mm.

  • Petrol Cap: check that the seal around the petrol cap area is not worn.