What happens in a car MOT test
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) vehicle test is required by law to be carried out annually on any vehicle that is 3 years old or more. A registered testing centre will carry out a number tests on various parts of your vehicle to ensure that it meets the minimum safety standards to drive on the road. In addition to this the levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions in the exhaust emissions will be checked to make sure that they are at acceptable levels.
It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to ensure that their vehicle is booked in for a MOT test at a registered testing centre each year, and any remedial work is carried out. The vehicle will then have to be re-tested, and the owner issued with a valid MOT certificate only when the required standards have been met.
If you use a vehicle on the road without a valid MOT certificate, you may be liable to prosecution as it will probably invalidate your insurance. You are only allowed to drive the vehicle if you are going to the garage for a re-test, or a pre-test repair.
You will not be able to purchase a new vehicle Tax Disc without a valid MOT certificate, or a valid Certificate of Insurance.
What things do they check?
- Vehicle identification number - a vehicle identification number must be permanently displayed and legible on any vehicle first used on or after 1 August 1980
- Registration plate - condition, security, legibility and format of letters/numbers
- Lights - condition, operation, security and correct colour. The headlamps will also be checked to see if the aim is correct
- Steering and suspension - correct condition and operation
- Wipers and washers - operate to give the driver a clear view of the road
- Windscreen - condition and drivers view of the road
- Horn - correct operation and type
- Seatbelts - all seatbelts installed are checked for type, condition, operation and security. All compulsory seatbelts must be in place
- Seats - front seats secure. Front and rear backseats can be secured in the upright position
- Fuel system - no leaks, fuel cap fastens correctly and seals securely. The fuel cap will need to be opened. Make sure the key is available
- Exhaust emissions - vehicle meets exhaust emission standards. These will vary on the age and fuel type of the vehicle
- Exhaust system - complete, secure, without leaks and silences effectively
- Vehicle structure - free from excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas. No sharp edges
- Doors - open and close. Latch securely in closed position. Front doors should open from inside and outside the vehicle. Rear doors may need to be opened to gain access to testable items
- Mirrors - presence, condition and security
- Wheels and tyres - condition, security, tyre size and type, and tread depth. Spare tyres are not tested
- Brakes - condition, operation and performance (efficiency test). Suitable vehicles will be tested on a roller brake tester. Vehicles such as those with permanent 4-wheel drive will be tested either on a suitable road using a properly calibrated and maintained decelerometer or, if one is installed at the test station, a plate brake tester
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