MOT A Complete Guide

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Each year, the Ministry of Transport or MOT requires a test for vehicle safety, roadworthiness, and emissions. This is a legal requirement in the UK so it's important you understand what is required by you.

We realise everyone must take their first MOT test at some time so we are offering the information you need to know and what information or documents you should have available when taking the annual check-up.

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Why Is A MOT Test Needed?

The purpose of the MOT test is to ensure your vehicle meets all road safety requirements and environmental standards and it's a requirement that must be performed each year.

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When Is The MOT Test Required?

When the MOT Test must be performed -

• The vehicle's 3rd anniversary registration

• The anniversary of its last MOT test if the vehicle is over 3 years old.

Note – there are some vehicles that must be tested after being on the road for one year. Please read the following information to learn if your car is applicable – government MOT fees table.

Keep in mind, you can be fined up to £1000 if you are driving a vehicle that does not have a valid MOT certificate. Make sure you have this test done in a timely manner.

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When Is The Earliest I Can Have A MOT Test Run?

The MOT is certified for one year and the date when this test runs out is printed on the latest certificate. You can get the MOT performed up to a month, minus one day, before the certificate runs out. You will be allowed to keep the same date for renewal each year.

If you prefer, you can have the MOT performed earlier than that date. If you choose to use this option, your next renewal date will change to that date.

If your MOT runs out, you are not allowed to drive your vehicle on the road. If you do, you will be prosecuted if you are caught. The only exceptions are:

• If you are driving your vehicle to have it repaired

• If you are heading to a prior MOT Test you previously set up

If you want to check when your car is due for the MOT test or find the information regarding your car's MOT history, visit the site -

Check the MOT History of a vehicle

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How Can I Book A MOT Test For My Vehicle?

The test must be performed at an approved MOT centre. To ensure you are at an authentic site, look for the blue sign with three triangles which is the symbol that represents certification.

Keep in mind, do not pay more than you are required to. MOT centres have maximum fees in place and they cannot charge more than what is required.

What Is The Test Process At MOT?

Several important parts of your car must be checked to ensure they meet all the legal standards. If you wish to oversee the test, you can go to the viewing area but you may not interfere or interrupt the person performing the test.

If you would like more information to learn what parts of your car will be tested, go to the government pages for cars and motorcycles. It's a good idea to discover the MOT guide and inspection manuals which offer a wealth of valuable information.

What is tested at MOT?

The MOT test covers dozens of components on your vehicle including the brakes to the fuel system, lights to windscreen wipers, and the exhaust system.

What is not tested at MOT?

The condition of your engine.

The clutch.

The gearbox.

How long does the MOT test take?

On average, the test takes between 45 to 60 minutes but if your vehicle fails the test or needs repairs, it will take longer. The MOT centre staff will go over what is necessary to make sure you are aware of how long anything will take.

Please Note – the MOT centre is not allowed to let you drive away from the centre with the vehicle that failed the test until the problems have been fixed and the car passes the test. The exceptions are as follows:

Your current certificate from MOT is still valid

You are taking the car somewhere to have the issues repaired.

Some MOT centres require you drop your car off early in the morning and collect it after the test is completed. You should make other plans to get around for the day.

Understanding the Results Of The Test

MOT will give you a pass or fail result. If your vehicle fails, you will be given a list of things you will need to repair in order for it to pass.

If your vehicle passes, MOT will take this information and place it in the MOT national database. You will receive the MOT certificate from the test centre results.

The MOT certificate will show the mileage currently recorded as well as the previous three test passes. It's very important you look over the figures that are recorded as the “odometer reading and history”. If there is a mistake in the reading you must notify the centre immediately. Also, you only have 7 days to obtain a replacement certificate.

What's Next If My Car Fails The Test?

If your vehicle fails the test, you will be given the “Refusal of an MOT test certificate from the test centre. Test results are recorded in the MOT database.

Keep in mind, you can appeal the results.

If your vehicle fails the test, you can take it somewhere else to have it repaired if your certificate is valid. If the MOT has run out, you must have the car's failed defects repaired.

Your vehicle is legally required to meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times. If not, you can be fined up to £2,500, you will be banned from driving the vehicle and incur 3 penalty points on your license.

The common reasons why a vehicle fails the MOT test

Almost 2 out of 5 MOT tests will fail the first time and usually are simple things you can fix before taking your vehicle to the test centre.

• There is an issue with your registration plate. The plate used the incorrect typeface/spacing, the plate is missing, or it's dirty. If you have a personalised plate, make sure it meets the DVLA rules.

• The screenwash was not topped up, check it and do it beforehand.

• If your car is dirty or loaded with clutter and the MOT tester can not access various parts of the vehicle, you've got a problem.

• You have stickers or decorations on the windscreen blocking the driver's view. Please clean up the screen and make sure these stickers such as parking permits, phone chargers/holders, are out of the way of the screen wipers' sweep.

• A lit-up warning light on your dashboard. Since 2012, MOT has included lit-up warning lights. If you do not know what the light means or how to fix it, take it to a garage and get it checked out before heading to MOT.

What to expect if you appeal your MOT findings

As mentioned earlier, you can appeal the MOT test failure and complain to the Driver and Vehicle Stands Agency (DVSA). You can view the complaints procedure detailed here.

You can take action against the MOT centre with legal proceedings, report them to the police, or trading standards. But keep in mind, the DVSA will not help you take action against the centre.

Appealing To DVSA

Should you go down that road, you will have to fill out their complaint form and mail it back to them within 14 working days of the test. They will give you an appointment within 5 days to recheck your vehicle but you will have to pay the full test, once again. They will send you an inspection report detailing any vehicle defects and advisory changes that must be made.

What if your car passed but there were defects?

If you believe your car passed but it should not have, you should fill out the complaint form and send it to the DVSA with the following time frames:

• Within 3 months of the MOT test if the problem is corrosion-related.

• Within 28 days if the car has passed with other defects.

How to know if your certificate is genuine

You can find out by visiting the following link – MOT status page here

Contact DVSA

If you have any questions or concerns about your MOT test, you can contact DVSA:

Telephone: 0300 123 9000

Monday - Friday from 7:30 AM to 5 PM

Are there any vehicles that are exempt from the MOT Test?

You are not required to get the MOT test until it reaches the age shown in the MOT fees table.

Some vehicles do not require an annual MOT test

• Vehicles registered before March, 2015, and powered by electricity..

• Tractors

• Some classic historic cars

Lorries, buses, and trailers. These vehicles still require an annual test often

called the “annual vehicle test”.

Keep your car in great shape

One of the best ways to ensure your car is in great shape and stands a better chance to pass the MOT test is by replacing older parts.

Keep in mind, you are responsible to have your car checked through the MOT test annually. If you have parts or other defects that can affect your passing or not, take care of them ahead of time.

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Customer Reviews

A small sample of our thousands of satisfied customers.

Jack Walker

Top service, knew straight away what the problem was. Had it back next day which was great, glad I've found a garage I can use in the future would defiantly recommend. Even gave my car a wash.

Alan Rait

Great people to deal with. Trusted with my family's cars for many many years. Great service, go the extra mile. Thoroughly recommend for anyone looking for work on their car whatever the marque.


Had my car service and mot with Bury branch. Excellent service kept me posted with everything they were doing. Professional, friendly and helpful definitely recommend them. Thanks.


Just a quick line, I have finally found a garage where I have complete confidence. Professional and informative, Lisa and Mike are a pleasure to deal with. Thank you.

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0161 302 0201

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