What is Checked on Your MOT?

Dec 21, 2021 | All About Cars | 0 comments

Putting your car through a yearly MOT test is imperative, and a legal requirement for any car over three years, to assess the safety and environmental standards of your vehicle. This guide will cover everything you need to know about MOT tests and a look at a comprehensive checklist to help you prepare for your MOT test.

How does an MOT test work?

An MOT test has to be performed every year from the date you had your last MOT test. You can test up to 30 days before the expiry on your MOT, and can still keep the original renewal date, so you gain an extra month. If your car fails, and you don’t have a valid MOT and there are ‘dangerous’ problems with your car, you have to get it repaired before you’re allowed to drive away.

If you decide you don’t want the repairs carried out at the same garage you had your MOT test, you have to ensure your vehicle meets the minimum roadworthiness requirements.

How do I find out when my MOT is due?

You can find this information on your MOT test certificate, however if you’ve misplaced this then you can check on the gov.uk website. You can also get a new MOT test certificate sent to you to replace your lost one.

Can I drive to the test centre if my MOT has expired?

Yes, you can drive to the MOT test centre if your MOT has run out, but only if you’re actually booked in. If your car doesn’t have a valid MOT and you won’t be driving it, you must declare it SORN, which means it’s off the road.

How much does an MOT cost?

Depending on your size and type of vehicle, the price can fluctuate, and all prices can be seen on the Gov website.There is a maximum fee though, set at £54.84 for one vehicle. As for motorcycles, the maximum amount payable is £29.65. Bare in mind, this is only for the test and doesn’t include any additional repairs.

What’s checked in an MOT test?

An MOT is quite comprehensive, and covers everything from electricals, wear and tear items like brake pads to emissions, and takes approximately 45 minutes, excluding the time for potential repairs. Here’s a full list and breakdown:

Electricals- including front, rear, brake, fog, indicator and registration plate lights if applicable. These must aim correctly, be the correct tint and operate with a single switch.

TIP- before your MOT test, turn on the lights while you’re sat in the car and get a friend or family member to walk around the vehicle and inspect the lights.

Steering- This check determines how secure your steering wheel is and if it is in good condition. Steering components will be inspected for wear and tear. Vehicles with power steering should also have at least the minimum level of power steering fluid in the reservoir.

Shock absorbers will also be inspected at this point for excessive corrosion and wear.

Brakes- The overall condition of brakes, pedals and levers are checked to determine brake efficiency.

TIP- If your car seems to pull to one side when you brake, this could be a serious problem you need to get seen to before your MOT.  

Tyres-Tread depth has to be 1.6mm or above as this is the legal passing requirement, and the tester will also look for any cuts, bulges, tears, tread separation or exposure of any cords that could be hazardous.

TIP-Regularly check your tyre tread depth using a tyre tread gauge and use a tyre inflator if your tyres seem to be low on air so the handling isn’t impaired.  

Seat Belts-Testers check to see the restraint systems and locking systems are working as they should be.

TIP-Tug on all your seatbelts to check the restraint system is working properly and check the locks operate correctly.

Car body and structure- A check is done for excessive corrosion on the body, chassis, seats, bonnet, engine mountings, boot and doors. Your registration plate must be legible and legal and your speedometer must be easily readable.

Exhaust & Emissions-

Exhaust system- Your catalytic converter has to be present and a check is done for any leaking.

Emissions- Your car’s emissions have to fall within a certain specified legal limit. The tester will also look out for any excessive smoke escaping from the exhaust at the time of testing.

Mirrors, wipers & windscreen- 

Mirrors-They must provide an adequate view, there can’t be any damage on them that obscures your view and they must be secure.

Wipers-Wipers must function well, without skipping on the windscreen, and cover a broad enough area to clean effectively without obstructing the driver’s road vision.

Windscreen-No damage can be larger than 10mm directly in front of the driver and outside of the drivers direct view, no damage can be larger than 40mm. 

That completes our guide on everything to expect when it comes to your MOT test, and a few handy tips to help get you prepared. And remember, an MOT test certificate only confirms your vehicle has met the minimum standard of safety and environmental requirements set out by law. So, to keep things in order, make sure you continue to service your vehicle and perform basic maintenance over the next 12 months.