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What does an MOT Check? MOT Information

The Ministry of Transport test, or MOT as it is usually abbreviated to, assesses whether a vehicle meets the legislative safety and environmental standards to be considered roadworthy in the UK.

Everyone who owns a vehicle is legally obligated to ensure that it meets these requirements. All cars and vans must pass an MOT test once they reach three years, and each year thereafter (different rules for taxis).

Never miss your MOT, Sign up for our FREE MOT reminder service

The following information details a Class 4 MOT Test which covers all cars, private hire and public service vehicles (up to 8 passenger seats), motor-caravans, 3 wheeled vehicles* and Quads**, dual-purpose vehicles, ambulances, taxis and private passenger vehicles (9-12 passenger seats). *over 450 kg unladen weight. **400g max unladen weight – for goods vehicles 550 Kg and max net power of 15kw.


MOT Checks


You may know that your MOT covers vital areas like brakes, exhausts and tyres, but there’s a lot more to your MOT Test than just these areas. An MOT Tester inspects the following components to assess whether it meets the minimum legislative requirements.

The general condition of the vehicle

Must be free from corrosion and damage, with no sharp edges which could cause injury.

Fuel system

Must be free from leaks and the fuel cap must close securely. Please be aware it will be opened so leave us your key.

Exhaust emissions

Must meet with legislative emission standards according to age and fuel type.

Exhaust system

Must be secure and complete, without any leaks and silences effectively.

Seat belts

Are checked for type, condition and security. All mandatory seat belts must be fitted and in full working order.


Front seats must be secure, and all seat backs must be able to be secured in the upright position.


Must latch securely when closed. Front doors must open from inside and outside the vehicle, rear doors from outside. Hinges are checked for condition and security.


Minimum numbers of mirrors are on the vehicle and are checked for condition and security.


The boot or tailgate can be secured when closed.


Condition, operation and performance checks are carried out.

Tyres & Wheels

Condition, security, tyre size/type and tread depth checks.

Registration plate

Plates are checked for condition, security, colour and characters being correctly formed and spaced.


Condition, operation (includes HID and LED) for cleaning, self-levelling and security. Headlamp aim. Main beam warning light.


Must securely latch when closed.


Operates correctly and is of a suitable type.

Wipers & washers

Must be in full working order to give the driver a clear view of the road ahead.


Condition check and gives the driver a clear view of the road ahead.

Steering & suspension

Are of a satisfactory condition and operation.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Present on all vehicles manufactured after 1980.


Must be fitted and free from damage.

SRS components

Operation of airbags, seat-belt pre-tensioners, load limiters and warning light.

Engine mountings

Condition check.


Visible electrical wiring, connectors and battery (includes electric/hybrid vehicles). In addition operation of devices where fitted including electronic parking brake, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), steering lock, TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system), indirect vision devices where they replace mirrors and headlamp leveling/cleaning devices (HID/LED lights). Trailer electrical socket security/damage, operation of 13-pin trailers electrical sockets.

Dashboard warning lights

Now covered by MOT test; applies to (where fitted): headlight main beam, electronic power steering, TPMS, brake fluid level, airbag, seat belt pre-tensioner, electric steering lock and SRS malfunction.


On the 20th May 2018, the DVSA announced a change to the way that MOT's are performed within the United Kingdom. MOT defects are now identified within the following categories: dangerous, major, minor, advisory or pass. Dangerous and major defects will result in your vehicle failing its MOT.

If a car is identified to have a minor defect then it will still pass its MOT. However, any minor defects will be recorded on the car's MOT certificate as well as its online MOT record.

Rules will also change for diesel cars. If your vehicle has a diesel particulate filter and any smoke is seen to be coming out of your exhaust then this will be categorised as a major MOT defect. If your diesel particulate filter has been tampered with in any way this will also be identified as a major MOT defect, unless the owner can prove that this was done for a legitimate cause such as filter cleaning.

There will be a number of new items checked during the MOT.

These items include whether or not your tyres are underinflated; as well as if your brake discs are significantly worn. There will also be new checks on reversing lights, bumper condition, rear drive shafts and also prop shafts. AdBlue Systems will be tested for defects as new assessments are to be brought in for emission control equipment. Due to this, all vehicles will be inspected to ensure they do not pose a risk to the environment through fluid leaks.

If your vehicle is over 40 years old then it will no longer be a legal requirement to obtain an MOT.


Vehicles that meet the criteria are awarded an MOT certificate which confirms that when tested, the vehicle met with the minimum legal requirements to be considered roadworthy. It does not mean that the vehicle is roadworthy until the certificate runs out – it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure the vehicle is regularly serviced and in good condition. If in doubt, ask for a FREE safety check at National.


Certain regulations apply which are mandated by the DVSA. If your vehicle fails its test, our MOT technicians will identify the problem areas and offer you the best solution possible.

  • If you choose to have the repairs carried out at the test centre, we can offer a FREE partial re-test, providing it is within 10 working days of the original test.
  • Alternatively, you can take your car away for repair and as long as it is returned to the original test centre before the end of the next working day, then we can offer a FREE partial re-test (this only applies to certain failure items, a full list can be found at
  • If you take your vehicle away and return it to the original test centre within 10 working days, we can offer a partial re-test at HALF PRICE (based on the prevailing MOT test fee as shown at
  • In any other circumstances, the full test fee would be applicable.

Remember, it is an offense to drive a vehicle without an MOT certificate unless it is being:

  • taken to a testing station for an MOT Test/re-test
  • brought away from a test station after failing the MOT to a place of repair
  • taken to a place of repair, by previous arrangement, where the problems that caused the vehicle to fail can be repaired
  • brought from a place where the problems with the vehicle have been repaired

Even in these circumstances you may still be prosecuted for driving an unroadworthy vehicle if it doesn’t comply with various regulations and your car insurance may also be invalid – so do ensure that the MOT test is carried out in time. You can subscribe to our free reminder service here.


The condition of the engine (except mountings), clutch and gearbox are not covered by an MOT as these are not considered a safety risk. Spare tyres (which aren’t fitted) are not checked in the tyre inspection. Also, any aftermarket fittings are not covered.


Motorists are able to book an MOT up to one month in advance of the expiry date of the current certificate without affecting the MOT annual expiry date.


You can book an MOT check online today. We have thousands of slots available and you can pick your preferred appointment date and time.


All MOT Testers at National are authorised by VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) and complete regular training courses to ensure they provide the highest level of service available to you, our customers.


  • Make sure there is water for the windscreen wipers and check that they work properly.
  • Check all lights and signals are working, replacing any bulbs where required. Don’t forget the registration plate light too.
  • Don’t present the car for test with the boot crammed full – the Tester may have to look into the boot to examine the rear suspension mounting.
  • Have a look at the seat belts. Do they properly engage? Is the belt frayed? They need to be in full working order to pass.
  • Visually check tyre condition – make sure the tyre is free from lumps, bulges or cracks.
  • Check tread depth is above 1.6mm with the 20p test. Insert a 20p coin into the tread at various places on the tyre. If the rim of the coin is hidden by the tread then it’s likely that tread depth is safe and legal; however if you can see the rim of the coin then it may be that you need to replace your tyres. Not replacing them could result in a fail so ask at National for a free check.



We now offer a free MOT Reminder Service to take the hassle out of remembering your MOT and to avoid any last minute panics. Sign up for FREE at and we'll email you a month before your MOT is due to expire.

* Not all MOT ramps can accommodate a Motorhome, please check before travelling

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