How To Choose A Good MOT Test Centre

As a car owner, it’s important to ensure that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy at all times for the benefit of all road users. One way to do this is by using a reputable MOT test centre and garage for peace of mind knowing your vehicle is safe to operate. In this article, we look at why you should only visit a trusted MOT test centre with a few pointers on what to look out for. Inside, you will also find a few handy FAQs and answers about the MOT test and MOT failures.

What Is A Car MOT?

A Car MOT is a legal requirement for all vehicles in the UK that are at least 3 years old. The MOT test involves a visual inspection of various parts or components, including the condition of the brakes, suspension, tyres, and lights, along with the exhaust system and any other safety-critical systems. The test also covers items such as the fuel system, emissions and driver information.

Although a car MOT is a legal requirement for most vehicles, there are a few exceptions to the rule, including the following:

  • Cars built more than 40 years ago (owners are still legally required to maintain them in a safe and roadworthy condition)
  • Some historic or classic cars that have not undergone substantial modifications
  • Electrically powered goods vehicles registered before the 1st of March, 2015
  • Tractors

If you think your vehicle might be MOT exempt, complete an MOT exemption form (V112) on the government website.

How To Find A Reputable MOT Test Centre

Looking for a trustworthy MOT test centre is just as important as the testing itself; doing so ensures that you get an accurate and reliable evaluation of your car’s level of safety and roadworthiness. Choosing a good MOT test centre can save you time, money, and potential headaches in the long run. Here are some tips for finding a trustworthy garage for your annual MOT test and vehicle repairs.

Is The MOT Test Centre Authorised To Perform A Car MOT?

Look for an MOT test centre that is authorised by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA). This government body is responsible for regulating MOT testing in the UK and only an authorised MOT testing station may carry out MOT tests.

Does The MOT Test Centre Have A Good Reputation?

Considering the importance of online reviews and customer feedback, make sure you look at the reputation of the MOT test centre. Search online for customer reviews and ratings and ask friends or family members for recommendations. Remember, a reputable centre should have a good track record and a reputation for honesty and reliability.

Do They Have Updated Equipment and Facilities?

Any MOT test centre should use up-to-date equipment and facilities, such as the latest diagnostic tools, scanning devices and computerised systems. This ensures that they can keep pace with changing technology and industry standards. Make sure the facilities are in good condition and that the technicians are trained and competent in carrying out MOT tests.

Are They Conveniently Located?

Finally, look for an MOT test centre that is conveniently located and easy to reach. This will make it easier for you to drop off your car and collect it when the testing is done.

Does The MOT Test Centre Offer Vehicle Servicing and Repairs?

While not all MOT stations provide car servicing and repairs, many of the best MOT test centres do offer competitive rates. This means you can get everything you need for your car in one place.

When it comes to vehicle servicing and repairs, price is an important factor to consider but it certainly shouldn’t be the only one. Always remember that a lower price may mean you’re sacrificing quality service or parts. Make sure that you compare prices from multiple centres before choosing one.

What’s Included In A Car MOT?

At the MOT test centre, a DVSA-approved examiner will conduct a visual inspection and a comprehensive series of checks all around the vehicle. They look at the interior, exterior, under the bonnet and even underneath the vehicle to effectively assess every working part. Some of the checks during a car MOT include:

  • seatbelts
  • brakes
  • steering systems
  • exhausts and emissions
  • doors
  • mirrors
  • car tyres (condition, pressure, tread depth)
  • shock absorbers
  • suspension system
  • condition of wheels and wheel bearings
  • registration plate
  • fuel tank cap

For more information on what a car MOT entails, read our MOT services page.

What Happens If My Car Fails Its MOT?

If any part of the car fails to meet the legal requirements, it will fail its MOT. The report will list any faults and you will need to have these repaired before your car can be retested. You can often have your car repaired at the same vehicle test centre where it failed its MOT, and they may offer a discount on the repairs.

Once the faults have been repaired, you need to book an MOT retest. You will usually have to pay for this, but it is often cheaper than the initial MOT. However, many reputable MOT test centres like Elite Garages offer a free retest within 10 days. If you want to pass your MOT the first time, we highly recommended reading this comprehensive article.

Can I Drive A Car Without A Valid MOT Certificate?

If your car doesn’t have a valid MOT certificate, it is illegal to drive it on any public road unless you are en route directly to an MOT test centre. The police can stop you along the way and will expect proof of a pre-booked test to avoid paying hefty fines.

Driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate is illegal under Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and simply pretending you didn’t know won’t help. Not only is it dangerous to drive without an MOT but your insurance can be invalidated and you may face a £1,000 fine and six to eight points on your licence.

Also Read: MOT Expired? Risks Associated With An Expired MOT


By following the advice in this guide, you should be able to find a reputable MOT test centre near you that meets all of your requirements. Remember, a reliable MOT centre is the key to ensuring your car passes its MOT and remains safe for you and other road users. We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of finding a trusted MOT testing station and how to do so.

Elite Garages Car Servicing And MOT Test Centre Locations

Elite Garages Service and MOT Testing Stations
If you are looking for a trusted MOT testing centre in the south and southeast of England that can also perform vehicle servicing, all of our Elite Garages offer standard or premium car services alongside MOTs, except Strood. For your convenience, below you will find a list of our MOT test centres.

For more information about MOTs, vehicle servicing, wheel alignment, free safety checks, vehicle tyres and other related services Elite Garages provide, please visit our website or call your nearest MOT test centre.