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MOT Tests for vehicles in the UK

Date Added: June 06, 2011 01:57:34 PM

In 1960, the UK introduced MOT tests for vehicles in an attempt to improve road safety and reduce tjhe number of road traffic accidents. At that time, the Department for Transport introduced an annual MOT test for vehicles over 10 years old, which meant that only a few cars were ever tested. In 1967 this was changed to 3 years, and this law remains in place today.

Today the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) regulate the MOT scheme and are responsible for authorising MOT Test Centres and garage owners who carry out the testing.  As you would expect, the VOSA strictly enforce the regulations, making sure that only garages that comply and meet the requirements are able to legally carry out the MOT tests.

At the moment, there are around 19,000 authorised MOT test centres in Great Britain. Approved centres will have the recognised MOT sign clearly displayed on their premises.

What’s involved in an MOT test?

The main parts of a vehicle tested during a MOT include:

  • Brakes
  • Car tyres
  • Steering (including suspension)
  • Seat Belts
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Windscreen Wipers
  • Windscreen
  • Exhaust system
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Mirrors
  • The Fuel system
  • Horn
  • Registration plates
  • Vehicle Identification Number

After a successful MOT, the details of the pass are entered into a central database and the driver is then given an MOT certificate detailing the information held on the database.

Driving a vehicle which does not have a valid MOT test certificate is against the law in the UK. So it is important to keep your MOT certificate in a safe, easily accessible place. If you require a replacement certificate, you can get this from a nearby MOT station.

If your car fails its MOT Test, you will be given a failure document which details why the vehicle failed the test. At this point you can take your car away to fix the issues and then book your vehicle in for a new MOT test. Obviously the cost of repairs will be a big factor in deciding whether this is a feasible option for you. In some cases, the cost to repair will actually be greater than the cost of buying a new (used) car.  

Preparing Your Vehicle for an MOT test

There are several ways you can prepare your car for its MOT. In the long term, regular car servicing helps to ensure that the components checked during a MOT are kept in good condition.

Car servicing can be expensive though, depending on the amount of work required on your vehicle. Luckily there are a few simple checks that you can do yourself.

  • Check your tyres are in a good condition – with a tread depth of at least 1.6mm
  • Check all seat belts are working correctly.
  • Check that each light on the vehicle is fitted with working bulbs.
  • Check the body work for any excessive damage, making sure there are no sharp edges which could cause harm pedestrians.
  • Make sure the boot opens correctly and is uncluttered.
By carrying out these small checks, you are preparing your vehicle for its MOT and giving your car a better chance of passing its examination.