Cars over three years old must by law pass a yearly MOT to point out they’re roadworthy. Here you’ll determine more about the MOT, including the five commonest simple reasons why cars fail it. There’s also a checklist to assist you give your car the simplest chance of a pass, then avoid the potential cost and hassle of a re-test.

Key facts about the MOT

Did you know?

You can also get an MOT done at an area council test centre.

These test centres don’t normally perform repairs also as MOTs.

This makes them impartial when inspecting your car – there’s no commercial incentive to seek out problems with it.

Once a car is three years old (four years in Northern Ireland) it must be tested annually to see it meets road safety and environmental standards.

This Ministry of Transport test is usually referred to as an ‘MOT’.

MOT tests are administered at around 21,000 authorised test centres round the country, all of which display a politician blue sign featuring three white triangles.

An MOT involves dozens of checks on your car, starting from the brakes and equipment to lights, mirrors, seatbelts, windscreen wipers and exhaust .

It doesn’t cover the condition of the engine, clutch and gearbox.

To find your nearest authorised MOT centre, visit these websites:

* England, Wales and Scotland – UK MOT

* Northern Ireland – NIDirect and book a test online

How long does an MOT take?

An average MOT takes between 45 and hour , but there are a few of other things to require into consideration.

First, if your vehicle fails the test and repairs got to be made this may take longer.

A test centre isn’t allowed to allow you to chase away a car that has failed an MOT until the issues are fixed, unless your existing MOT certificate remains valid, or you’re taking the car to possess the faults fixed.

Second, the test might take an hour or less, but, albeit there aren’t any repairs, this doesn’t mean your vehicle will only need to be at the garage for sixty minutes.

Test centres can require you to drop your vehicle off very first thing within the morning and collect it when ready.

This means you ought to be prepared to be without your vehicle for the day.

How much does an MOT cost?

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency sets the utmost fee official test centres can charge for an MOT.

It’s currently £54.85 for cars and motor caravans and £29.65 for motorbikes, but many garages charge but this – sometimes up to 50% less.

Search online for “cheap MOT” or “MOT discount” to seek out out how you’ll economize on your car’s next MOT.

Top 5 simple reasons for cars failing the MOT

Nearly two in five MOT tests are a fail first time.

Yet often this is often due to minor faults the owner could easily have fixed beforehand.

Here are the highest five simple reasons for an MOT fail, consistent with research published by What Car? Magazine in April 2014:

1. Screen wash not topped up. This basic task takes minutes, so don’t be caught out by it.

2. The car was dirty or filled with clutter. Clear the mess from the boot and cabin and provides the windows and mirrors a fast wipe.

3. A registration plate problem. for instance , the plate used the wrong type face/spacing, or was dirty or missing altogether. If you’ve got a personalised plate, confirm it follows DVLA rules.

4. Stickers on the windscreen blocking the driver’s view. confirm anything stuck to the windscreen like parking permits is outside the wipers’ sweep area.

5. Lit-up red light on the dashboard. The MOT has included lit-up warning lights since 2012. So confirm you recognize what lit-up car warning lights mean and, if you’ve got , any mapped out the underlying problem before the MOT.

Checklist to assist your car pass its MOT


An MOT certificate confirms at the time of the test your car met the minimum road safety and environmental standards required by law.

It doesn’t mean your car will remain roadworthy for the subsequent 12 months. you continue to got to confirm you maintain your car well, including regular servicing.

Make sure you’re not caught out by any of the five simple reasons for a fail shown above, then inspect your car against our 11-point checklist below.

If you discover any problems within the following areas, you’ll fix some yourself to assist keep garage costs down.

Headlights and indicators: front, rear, headlights (main beam and dipped), hazard lights and indicators.

If any aren’t working, first check for broken bulbs and replace them.

Brake lights: ask another person to see the rear brake lights come on once you press the pedal .

Tyres: check all the tyres have a minimum of the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm, or they’ll be marked as an MOT ‘fail’.

This can easily be through with a 20p coin – see the diagram on the Tyre Safe website.

Check for any damage like splits within the tread, bulges or cuts within the sidewalls.

Also check the tyre pressure is correct – the car’s manual will list the proper pressure and that they may additionally get on the sidewall of the tyre itself – and increase it at a petroleum station if necessary.

The handbrake: check the strain in your handbrake.

If it slides up and down without resistance and can’t be ratcheted to a group level, there’s likely to be a drag needing fixing by knowledgeable mechanic.

Seats and seatbelts: check the driver’s seat adjusts forwards and backwards and inspect the complete length of the seatbelt for any damage.

Check all the seatbelts latch and fasten securely, and lock once you give them a pointy tug.

Windscreen: any damage wider than 10mm within the driver’s central view will cause an MOT fail, as will any damage larger than 40mm within the whole of the swept area.

Windscreen wipers: confirm your wipers clean your windscreen effectively along side the washers.

Remember, any tears or holes within the wiper rubber can mean an MOT fail.

Suspension check: check the shock absorbers by applying your weight to every corner of the car then quickly releasing it.

The corner of the car should quickly return to its original position.

If it bounces quite twice, this might mean the shock absorbers are faulty and wish to be checked.

Horn: provides a short blast of the horn – if it doesn’t work or isn’t loud enough to draw in the eye of pedestrians or other motorists, catch on repaired.

Exhaust: check for exhaust leaks by starting the engine during a well-ventilated space at normal temperature, then listen from the rear of the car for any unusual noises or abnormal smoke.

Fuel and engine oil: confirm your car is crammed with enough fuel and engine oil – you’ll be turned faraway from the MOT if there isn’t enough to check your car’s emissions levels properly.

If your car fails its MOT

If your car fails its MOT, the test centre will offer you a VT3O Certificate showing the explanations for the fail.

On 20 May 2018, the MOT categories for fails and passes changed.

If your car features a dangerous fault, you won’t be ready to drive it away. Get a quote from the garage you bought the MOT from if they are doing repairs, then call around for a few quotes from other local garages. you would possibly be ready to find the repairs cheaper albeit they have to tow your vehicle to their garage.

If your car features a major fault you’ll be ready to drive it away if it’s still roadworthy and your previous MOT has not expired yet.

If your MOT has run out and therefore the car is roadworthy you’ll drive it to possess the faults fixed and to a pre-booked MOT.

If you drive a car without an MOT under the other circumstances, or drive a car with dangerous faults, you’ll be fined £2,500, be banned from driving and obtain three points on your licence.

MOT retests

You need to repair all major and dangerous faults to form your car roadworthy then arrange a partial MOT retest during which your car must pass before you’ll drive it on the roads again.

If you allow your car with the test centre for repair, you’ll be ready to get a partial retest for free of charge , as long as this is often done within 10 working days of failing the MOT.

If you’re taking your vehicle away for repairs, and return it before the top of subsequent working day, the test is generally free. Whether it’s free or not depends on which parts are retested.

If you come back within 10 working days to an equivalent test centre for a partial retest, you’ll get charged a lower fee, but it won’t be free.

If your MOT has expired

Top Tip

To find out more about the MOT or to register to receive MOT reminders by text, attend the GOV.UK website.

If your MOT has expired, it’s illegal to drive your car on the road and you’ll be prosecuted for doing so.

Driving without a current MOT also makes your automobile insurance invalid.

The only exception would be if you already had an MOT booked and were driving your car to the test.

If you’ve lost your MOT certificate

There are two ways to urge a replacement MOT certificate.

The first is free. Just visit the website where you’ll view, print and save any MOT certificate issued after 20 May 2018. All you would like is that the vehicle’s license number and therefore the 11-digit reference number, with no spaces, from the vehicle’s V5C, also referred to as a logbook.

The second way costs £10. you’ll attend any MOT centre and provides them your vehicle’s license number and therefore the V5C reference number.

You don’t need a MOT certificate to sell a vehicle, but many buyers will want to ascertain it.

You also need an MOT certificate to tax your vehicle and to vary the vehicle’s tax class, like getting free tax for a disabled driver.