What is an MOT (UK)

What is an MOT (UK)

Car Basics - What is an MOT (UK)

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What is an MOT ?

Car MOT testing is carried out by an approved garage to see whether a vehicle is
roadworthy and safe to use on UK roads.

A vehicle MOT certificate is a receipt of the vehicle test and confirms that
at the time of test it met

the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety
standards required by law.

MOT tests are only carried out and issued by approved garages,
see below how to recognise an approved garage.

You cannot drive a vehicle on the road in the UK without a
valid MOT.

When you purchase a vehicle that is more than 3 years old, you
will need the most recent MOT certificate.

You must ensure that it is current
and that the MOT has not expired.

You cannot use a vehicle on UK roads unless it
has a valid and current MOT certificate.

Above are examples of the old style certificate (left) and the
new style A4 size (right)

What does MOT stand for ?

It stands for Ministry of Transport, this is the government
department responsible for the transport network.

How often does a vehicle need to be MOT tested ?

Every vehicle in the UK must be tested each year. This is to ensure that it
roadworthy and complies

with the relevant standards.  Cars no not need to
have an MOT until they are three years old.

How to recognise an approved MOT garage (mot testing

There are about 19,000 approved garages in the UK. An approved garage will
display the

blue three triangles logo shown here below ;

The garage should also have on display ;

  • VT9a - fees and appeals poster

  • VT26 - list of nominated testers

  • VT9 - authorisation of examiner

What does the garage check during car MOT testing ?

Vehicle identification number - a vehicle identification number must be


displayed and legible on a vehicle first used on or after 1 August


Registration plate - condition, security, legibility and format of


Lights - condition, operation, security and correct colour.


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


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 the requirement for exhaust emission.

These vary on the age and fuel type of the vehicle

Exhaust system - complete, secure, without serious leaks and silences


Vehicle structure - free from excessive corrosion or damage in specific


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


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

How long does an MOT
test certificate last ?

Your vehicles MOT will last for one year. The certificate that the garage
issues will have the date

when the vehicle needs to be tested again.

NOTE - just because your vehicles MOT is not yet due does not
mean that your vehicle is safe to drive on the road. Responsible owners/drivers

will ensure that their vehicle is safe for use at all times and will not just
drive the vehicle and have repair work done at every MOT. 

If you have a
few months left before your MOT test is due and you know that work needs doing
to the vehicle,

dont wait, get the work done as soon as possible - it could
save your life or someone elses.


For the full
version of this article complete with photos, please visit ;