MOT Check List: What is Checked in an MOT?
Why get an MOT test?
An MOT test check is undertaken to assess whether a vehicle meets the legislative safety and environmental standards that deem whether your vehicle is considered roadworthy in the UK. According to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (formerly VOSA), 40% of cars and 50% of vans will fail their MOT tests.
The most common reasons for a vehicle to fail an MOT test can be found here: The Most Common Reasons for MOT Failures.
Everyone with a vehicle over the age of 3 years old is legally obligated to ensure it meets these requirements once every 12 months. Need further information about When your new vehicle needs its first MOT?
It is possible to check a vehicle's MOT Status online. Use our nifty MOT Checker by clicking the button below:
Besides the obvious safety reasons for having an MOT test check, there are other factors to consider:
It is illegal to drive without a current MOT certificate
You will be unable to renew your road tax without a valid MOT certificate
Police and mobile camera units can check remotely to see if your vehicle has a current MOT. If you are caught without a valid certificate you are liable for a £2500 fine and 3 penalty points.
Following on from the points above, make sure you don't miss your MOT due date! Book your vehicle in for an MOT using the button below:
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency or DVSA (formerly VOSA) authorise garages and individuals to perform a thorough inspection consisting of a series of comprehensive checks.
It is worth taking the time to prepare for your next MOT test and reduce the risk of an MOT test failure by completing some visual checks shown here:
What does an MOT test check include?
An MOT check covers vital areas like brakes, exhausts and tyres, but your MOT check will also include the following:
The general overall condition of the vehicle will be checked over. It must be free from corrosion or damage with no sharp edges.
Your vehicle will be checked to see if the required number of mirrors is in place. These are checked for condition and security. They must also provide a sufficient enough view of the road.
Your boot or tailgate must be secured when closed.
Registration plates will be checked for condition, security, colour and characters being correctly formed and spaced. Registration plates must be fitted to the front and rear of the vehicle and clearly legible to someone standing 20 metres away from the vehicle.
The vehicle’s bonnet must securely latch when closed.
Exhausts & Fuel
The fuel system must be free from leaks and the fuel cap must close securely.
Exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons must meet legislative emission standards according to the age of the vehicle and fuel type. A visual check for any excessive blue or black smoke emitted from the exhaust will also be carried out.
Exhaust system must be secure and complete, without any leaks and silences effectively.
A thorough check of the electrics will be undertaken. This will include any visible electrical wiring, connectors and battery. Also, operation of devices including electronic parking brake, Electronic Stability Control, steering lock, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, auxiliary vision devices, mirrors and headlamp levelling/cleaning.
Dashboard warning lights are now covered in MOT checks. This applies to (where fitted) headlight main beam, electronic power steering, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, brake fluid level, air bag, seat belt pre-tensioner, electric steering lock and SRS malfunction.
A speedometer must be fitted. It will be checked that it’s free from damage and is adequately illuminated.
All compulsory seatbelts will be checked for type, condition and security
Front seats must be secure, and all seat backs must be able to be secured in the upright position
Doors must latch securely when closed. Front doors must open from inside and outside the vehicle and rear doors from the outside. Hinges are checked for condition and security.
Lights & Visibility
The overall condition of the lights will be checked, along with the operation for cleaning, self-leveling and security. The MOT check will also review the headlamp aim and main beam warning light.
The MOT tester will check your vehicle’s wipers and its washer bottles. Both must be in full working order to give driver clear view of the road ahead.
The windscreen will be checked by the MOT tester for any chips or cracks. It must give a clear view of the road ahead, without any damage or obstruction larger than 10mm directly in front of the driver. The maximum damage size elsewhere within the sweep area is 40mm.
Correct and efficient use of SRS Components, including the operation of airbags, seatbelts, pre-tensioners, load limiters and warning lights.
The horn will be checked to see if it operates correctly, effectively and is of a suitable type
The condition of the vehicle’s engine mountings will be checked.
The overall efficiency of the brakes will be examined during the MOT check. This includes the brake's condition, operation and performance checks.
The overall condition of tyres and wheels will be thoroughly checked, alongside the security, size, type and tread depth. Tread depth must not be below the legal limit of 1.6mm. The tyres will be checked for any visible lumps, bulges, tears and cuts.
Your vehicle (if manufactured after 1980) will have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) present. The MOT test checks this number is present and legible either on a VIN plate or displayed on the body or chassis.
Steering and suspension must be of satisfactory condition and operation. If a locking device is present on the vehicle's steering, it will be checked to ensure it only locks when the vehicle is stationary without the engine running.
Will I be issued with MOT Certificate?
When your vehicle passes its MOT test, you will be issued with a new-style MOT certificate number which consists of an A4 sized piece of paper with the certificate printed on it. You should keep the certificate somewhere safe. Click here to find out more about lost or damaged certificate.
What’s not covered by an MOT check?
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 also not checked in the tyre inspection.
After the MOT Test is completed, if the vehicle passes, a certificate will be given to the vehicle owner. If the vehicle fails the MOT test, a VT30 certificate will be issued, which will state the items that are causing your MOT failure.
For guidance on how to understand the failure codes on a VT30 certificate, please see the following link: MOT Failure Codes
If you do fail your MOT test you might be eligible for a free MOT retest