Most vehicles that are 3 years old or more are required by law to undergo a Ministry of Transport (MOT) test. The test must then be carried out every year to ensure that all the safety critical components are in good condition and are not excessively worn.
In addition to the safety checks the vehicle will also be given an emissions test to ensure that the levels of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons in the exhaust are at acceptable levels. If the vehicle fails any of these tests then you will not be issued with an MOT certificate and you will have to get the relevant components replaced before it can be re-tested.
Anyone who owns a vehicle must ensure that it has a valid MOT certificate and it is their responsibility to get it booked in for a test at a registered test centre every year before the certificate expires.
Driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate could make you liable to prosecution. Your insurance company may also take a dim view if you do not have a current MOT certificate. You will also not be able to purchase a new tax disc without producing a valid MOT certificate and an insurance certificate.
With the advent of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) systems, the police can now automatically check that all your vehicles documents are in order by comparing your number plate against various databases, so it's wise to ensure that your MOT is up to date.
At the MOT test your vehicle will be subjected to the following checks:-
Vehicle identification number - a vehicle identification number must be permanently displayed and legible on any vehicle first used on or after 1 August 1980
Registration plate - condition, security, legibility and format of letters/numbers
Lights - condition, operation, security and correct colour. The aim of the headlights will also be checked.
Steering and suspension - correct condition and operation
Wipers and washers - operate to give the driver a clear view of the road
Windscreen - condition and drivers view of the road
Horn - correct operation and type
Seatbelts - all seatbelts installed are checked for type, condition, operation and security. All compulsory seatbelts must be in place
Seats - front seats secure. Front and rear seats can be secured in the upright position
Fuel system - no leaks, fuel cap fastens correctly and seals securely. The fuel cap will need to be opened. Make sure the key is available
Exhaust emissions - vehicle meets exhaust emission standards. These will vary on the age and fuel type of the vehicle
Exhaust system - complete, secure, without leaks and silences effectively
Vehicle structure - free from excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas. No sharp edges
Doors - open and close. Latch securely in closed position. Front doors should open from inside and outside the vehicle. Rear doors may need to be opened to gain access to testable items
Mirrors - presence, condition and security
Wheels and tyres - condition, security, tyre size and type, and tread depth. Spare tyres are not tested
Brakes - condition, operation and performance (efficiency test). Suitable vehicles will be tested on a rolling road tester. Vehicles such as those with permanent 4-wheel drive will be tested either on a suitable road using a properly calibrated and maintained decelerometer or, if one is installed at the test station, a plate brake tester
If you are not happy with the results of an MOT test you should discuss it with the garage technician who carried it out and ask them to explain exactly why it failed.
If you are still not happy with the outcome then you can get an appeal form either from the garage or from VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) and send it back within 14 days of your MOT taking place, along with payment for another test. They will organise a re-test for you and if your appeal is upheld they will refund the money to you. If have any repairs made to your vehicle before the re-test this will probably invalidate your appeal.
Call us now on 02392 484 244 for free help and advice from one of our experienced claims advisors.