How To Pass An MOT First Time

An MOT is done annually to test the safety of your vehicle. This includes overall roadworthiness and exhaust emissions as required by UK law. If your car is older than three years, you need to do an MOT test every year as defined in the Road Traffic Act of 1988.

MOT is compulsory and driving a vehicle without a valid MOT is essentially illegal. You will also receive a fine of up £1,000 and your insurance will be invalidated. To help you remember your MOT date, why not sign up for our free MOT text reminder?

What Happens During An MOT?

The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) regulates what the test includes, which garages are licensed to perform MOT’s and the associated costs. They also keep records of and compiles reports on common MOT failures.

During the test, technicians will conduct a thorough inspection and a series of checks around the vehicle. This includes the interior, exterior, under the bonnet and under the vehicle. Some of the major parts checked include vehicle structure (body), fuel system, steering, suspension, brakes, tyres, wheels, windscreen, wipers/washers, horn, electrical wiring and battery among others.

It’s important to note that an MOT does not cover the overall mechanical condition of your vehicle. The test does not look at the condition of your engine, clutch or gearbox so you still need to book a car service.

What To Check Before An MOT

Reasons for failing are often related to minor faults that can be fixed beforehand. Carrying out the following checks can help you avoid the most common issues:

  • Check that all lights are in working order including headlights, indicators, fog lamps, brake lights and hazards
  • Ensure that all warning lights on the dashboard work
  • Test your brakes, handbrake and steering wheel to confirm that they are working as they should
  • Make sure all your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure
  • Check that your tyre tread depth is at least 1.6mm
  • Remove all stickers in the drivers view, and check the wiper blades for damage
  • Mirrors should be intact
  • The VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number) must match your car’s logbook (V5C registration certificate)
  • Registration plates should be in good condition, clear and easy to read
  • If you have personalised number plates, they should still meet the DVLA’s standards
  • Check that there is no damage to the filler cap and the seal
  • Always check the horn to make sure it’s loud and clear
  • Clean your car beforehand as testers can refuse to inspect a cluttered car

What Happens After The MOT?

Once the test is completed, you will either receive a Pass or Fail – with a corresponding certificate. Any defects identified in the test are classified as either minor, major or dangerous. The defect category will depend on the type of problem and the severity thereof. Examiners will offer advice on the items that need close monitoring and repair if necessary.

Minor faults can be compared to the current advisory notices that testers add to certificates. These are only intended for items not serious enough to fail the car but that still require repairing. As far as major faults go, vehicle owners must get them repaired before the car can pass the test. You may still drive your car from the test centre to another garage for repairs if needed.

If your car has dangerous faults, it will automatically fail and you cannot drive on public roads until everything has been fixed. It can be quite serious if you are caught driving with a dangerous fault, fines can reach up to £2500 and three penalty points on your license.

Breakdown Of Defect Categories

Defect Category  Item Description MOT Result
Dangerous A defect that has a direct and immediate risk to road safety or presents a serious impact on the environment. Do not drive the vehicle until it has been repaired. Fail
Major Possible effect on vehicle safety and may put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment. Repair the defect immediately. Fail
Minor No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment. Repairs are required as soon as possible. Pass
Advisory Not a safety concern yet but could become more serious in the future. Monitor and repair if needed. Pass
Pass It meets the minimum legal standard. Ensure that it continues to meet the standard. Pass

There are now stricter emission limits for diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). Your vehicle will get a major fault if they detect smoke of any colour during the test or if there is clear evidence that the DPF has been tampered with.

 Related: ‘What To Do If My MOT Has Expired?

 Pass Your MOT With Elite Garages

While the centre performing the MOT does not automatically repair your car if needed, some do offer that service. As our service centres are DVSA accredited, we can conduct MOTs and book a service if your vehicle requires any repairs. Our services are of dealership quality without footing the hefty bill. If we detect any additional issues, we won’t commence any work without your strict permission.

We believe in full transparency to give you and your family the peace of mind you deserve. Our checks usually apply to safety-critical items such as tyres and brakes. We never carry out unnecessary work and we will keep all the old parts for your inspection.

We are here to assist in expert car maintenance from full servicing of all makes and models, tyre maintenance, wheel alignment, batteries and more. Talk to our friendly and knowledgeable staff if you need any additional information. Contact your local branch to book your MOT or simply do it online.