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What is an MOT?

The MOT test is a yearly test for vehicles of three years of age or above, operated by MOT test centres and in conjunction with DVLA. If your vehicle in within legal guidelines for structural, safety, and environmental checkpoints then your vehicle will pass its MOT test and the test centre will provide an MOT certificate.

The test looks at the following aspects of your vehicle:

Body and Vehicle Structure

The vehicle should be free from excessive corrosion in areas where this might cause injury.

Emissions

Your vehicle must not exceed the pre-defined limit for its exhaust emissions. This limit depends on the fuel type, age of the vehicle, etc.

Fuel System

The fuel system should be sound and sealed. The garage will check the area of the fuel cap, so ensure you leave the key to open this.

Exhaust System

This should not leak, should be secure and free of excessive corrosion, and use silencers effectively.

Seat Belts

All compulsory seat belts must be in placed. All seat belts are checked at the test and must be in good condition and secure.

Seats

The front seats must be secure and both front and back seats can be secured in upright position position.

Various other components are inspected. These include:

  • Doors
  • Mirrors
  • Boot and bonnet
  • Brakes, tyres and wheels
  • Front and rear number plates
  • Lights
  • Windscreen, wipers and washers
  • Horn
  • Steering and suspension
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)

See DVLA's site for more details on included MOT components.

Garages Offering MOT Tests

DVLA state that there are approximately 19,000 garages authorised as MOT test stations that can perform your MOT test.

MOT LogoLook out for the MOT logo which will tell you whether or not the garage is an authorised test station.

The garage will make available the maximum fee they charge for an MOT test. They can, however, charge less than this figure if they choose to.

The garage should also make available an "inspection manual" which outlines the exact MOT test criteria.

MOT Test Offences and Exclusions

The follow exceptions are made to driving a vehicle without a valid MOT test certificate, for instance when you're driving to, or taking away from (for repair), a test station or another place for an MOT test booked in advance.

Bear in mind that you may still be prosecuted for driving a vehicle that is not roadworthy, especially if it breaks regulations affecting its construction and use. Car insurance may also be invalid during this time. The Police can check DVLA's central database and can ask to see a certificate.

A £1000 fine is the penalty for driving on a public road with an expired MOT. You could also receive a fixed penalty notice from the police (approximately £60).

VOSA

The government agency VOSA supervises the MOT scheme, including authorising garages to become MOT test stations and approving MOT testers, setting required standards, and providing a method for dealing with appeals and complaints from MOT customers.

Last updated: Tuesday 26th July 2011

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