Guide To The MOT Test
Vehicles used on the road in the UK must be kept in a roadworthy condition. The MOT (an abbreviation of the Ministry of Transport) test checks that a vehicle meets the road safety standards required in this country.
It is worth noting that an MOT is not the same as a vehicle service and it does not check its general mechanical condition, just its roadworthiness.
When And Where To Get An MOT Test
Once a vehicle is three years old it must pass an annual MOT test. An MOT can be renewed up to a month prior to the expiry date and the earliest date it can be tested is printed on the pass certificate.
Only approved centres showing the blue sign with three white triangles can be used to carry out MOTs. Approved centres must display an official "MOT Test: Fees and Appeals" poster on a public notice board on the premises.
The cost of an MOT differs depending upon the vehicle and the testing centre. A full list of vehicles and associated standard MOT costs can be found here: www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/mot-test-fees. Note that many centres offer price promotions.
What Is Covered In An MOT And What To Look Out For
The approved MOT test centre will check the suspension and brakes to ensure they are in good working order and the bodywork of the vehicle will also be checked for signs of corrosion or serious damage.
The petrol cap is checked to ensure it fits and is not leaking and tyres are checked to make sure that they have the correct tread depth. The car’s lights, mirrors, doors and seatbelts must all be in good working order and are evaluated for safety.
Registration plates need to be visible and secure and the speedometer needs to be fully operational. The garage will also check the car’s windscreen for chips and scratches and determine whether the windscreen wipers are working correctly.
The exhaust should be quiet and securely in place and it needs to meet the UK requirements for exhaust emissions, depending on the vehicles age and fuel type.
Changes to the MOT test at the start of 2012 mean that the "pass" criteria now includes the checking the power steering, brake fluid, warning lights, seat belt pre-tensioner, electronic parking brake equipment and electronic stability control.
The recent changes also mean that if the vehicle's battery is not secure or it has a leaking electrolyte, it will not pass its MOT. The car's steering will also be closely examined, checking for absent or dysfunctional steering locks.
In addition, the seats will be checked carefully to ensure they move forwards and backwards and can be secured in two or three positions. Doors must easily open and close, tow bars must be free from inappropriate modifications and airbags must function correctly.
If A Vehicle Passes The Test
If the vehicle passes the test the owner will be issued with an MOT certificate and the test record will be entered on to the secure central MOT database.
If A Vehicle Fails The Test
The owner will receive a "notification of failure" from the test centre if the vehicle fails the test. The failure will be recorded in the secure central MOT database.
Until it passes a re-test, the vehicle can only be driven:
- To a pre-arranged appointment at a garage to have the repairs made
- To a pre-arranged MOT test appointment
The vehicle should be re-tested at the same test centre that carried out the original test.
If a car fails its MOT and the test was carried out at a garage, the owner is entitled to a free re-test, as long as the repairs are carried out at the test centre and the re-test is undertaken within 10 working days.
If the repairs are carried out away from the test centre, the free re-test can still be claimed, providing it is done the next working day and that the car failed for a specific reason.
Finally, if a vehicle was taken to a local council test centre for its MOT and the repairs are carried out elsewhere, a partial re-test will need to be paid for, but it will be up to half of the original test price, providing it is undertaken within 10 working days.