FAQ About Your Car MOT Test

Unlike regular servicing, a vital aspect in itself, a car MOT is a legal requirement to check vehicle safety and general roadworthiness. A car MOT has to take place annually, on or before the anniversary of the previous test and applies to all cars and motorcycles. There are a few MOT exemptions that we will cover in the next section.

Why Does A Car Need An MOT?

The car MOT test (Ministry of Transport) is an annual test of vehicle safety, roadworthiness aspects and exhaust emissions. Every vehicle using UK roads must be in a roadworthy condition at all times to keep the driver and other road users safe.

Getting an MOT is not the same as having your car serviced. A car MOT only involves a visual inspection while servicing involves looking at (and repairing) the general mechanical health of a vehicle. An MOT is there to ensure vehicles are properly maintained and comply with the necessary legal requirements.

What Is Included In An MOT?

During car MOTs, a DVSA-approved examiner will conduct a visual inspection and a comprehensive series of checks around the vehicle. No stone is left unturned as they look at the interior, exterior, under the bonnet and even underneath the vehicle.

An MOT test effectively assesses every working part of your vehicle from seatbelts and brakes to steering systems, exhausts and emissions. For a full list of what is included in a car MOT, have a look at the breakdown below:

Interior MOT Checks

  • Seatbelts and seats, including all attachments and adjustments
  • Dashboard warning lights
  • Switches/controls, e.g. headlights, headlight adjustment, indicators, windscreen wipers etc.
  • Doors
  • Horn operation
  • Mirrors
  • View out of front and rear windows
  • The steering wheel and column (check if it’s fully operational and not damaged)
  • Pedal operation

Exterior MOT Checks

  • Condition of the wheels
  • Car tyres (condition, pressure, tread depth)
  • The general condition of the bodywork and whether it’s corrosion-free
  • Headlights, indicators and other external lamps
  • Glazing
  • Tow bars (if applicable, it includes electrical sockets, general condition and lights
  • Check if the registration plate is present and visible
  • See if boot and bonnet open and close correctly
  • External mirrors
  • Shock absorbers
  • Fuel tank cap
  • Wiper blades

Components Checked Under The Bonnet

  • Braking system
  • Suspension
  • Steering (including power steering)
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system

Under Vehicle MOT Checks

  • Suspension system
  • The condition of the wheels and wheel bearings
  • Tyres (general condition, pressure and tread depth)
  • Fuel system and fuel tank
  • General condition
  • Exhaust system
  • Check if emissions levels are acceptable

Which Vehicles Are Exempt From An MOT?

Whilst car MOTs are a legal requirement for most vehicles, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Cars that were built more than 40 years ago do not need an annual test but owners are legally required to maintain them in a safe and roadworthy condition. Other vehicles that are exempt from an MOT include some historic (classic) cars, electric-powered goods vehicles and tractors.

How To Find Out When My MOT Is Due?

Your MOT due date is one of the most important things to remember as a vehicle owner. However, it’s also frequently forgotten which can lead to some uncomfortable conversations (and fines) if you are stopped by the police, not to mention the safety concerns of a faulty car.

The good news is you can easily find out when your MOT is due by either visiting the government website or through Elite Garages. All you need is your vehicle’s registration number (the number plate) and our system will do the rest. You can now also sign up to the Elite Members Club to receive FREE MOT reminders.

What To Do If Your MOT Has Expired?

Driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate is illegal under Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and pretending you didn’t realise will not get you anywhere. In addition to your insurance being invalid, you could also face a £1,000 fine and six to eight points on your licence.

If your vehicle doesn’t have a valid certificate, you cannot drive it on any public road unless you are going straight to an MOT test centre. If the police do pull you over on the way, you must be able to prove you have a pre-booked test.

Recommended: ‘MOT Expired? Risks Associated With An Expired MOT

What To Do If I’ve Lost My MOT Certificate?

Losing important paperwork is never ideal but it happens more often than you may think. If you’ve misplaced your test certificate, you can get one re-issued without having to book a new test. Any MOT testing centre will be able to supply you with a replacement document. Just make sure you have your vehicle registration number and either the original MOT test number or your vehicle’s V5C number.

Can You MOT Your Car Early?

You can have your vehicle tested up to a month (minus a day) in advance and keep the same renewal date. It’s important to remember that MOTs are valid for 12 months from the expiry date of your old certificate and not the test date.

What Happens If I Fail My MOT?

In the likelihood of failing your car MOT, the test centre will issue a VT30 ‘Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate’. This will include the details of your car, the MOT test number and the reasons for the failure.

It is then possible to get the car repaired and book a re-test.

At Elite Garages, we give you the option to book a service and rectify the MOT issues which will help get your car ready as we offer a free re-test within 10 days.

What Is The Average Car MOT Price?

MOT testing centres can charge a maximum fee that depends on the type of vehicle. The Government Agency, VOSA, determines these MOT rates which can be found here.

How Can I Book My Car MOT With Elite Garages?

If your MOT is about to expire, you can simply book an MOT test online or call your nearest Elite branch. We have service and MOT testing centres across the south and southeast of England providing dealership quality services with greater value and no hidden costs.

Not sure when your MOT is due? You can quickly find out on our website and sign up for the Elite Members Club to receive FREE MOT reminders and get early notifications of special offers.

MOT Testing Centres Near Me

We have 14 Elite branches at various locations where everyone except Strood can perform MOT testing. Below is a list of our MOT branches for your convenience: