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February 1, 2019Everything you Need to Know About MOTs

Following on from our article on last year’s MOT changes, we wanted to provide a comprehensive guide on the MOT test, giving you everything you need to know before you take your car in for its annual checkup.

Who needs an MOT test?

To be considered roadworthy, any car over three years old is legally obligated to have an MOT test carried out every single year and must hold a valid MOT certificate. If your car is less than three years old, then the date of its first MOT will be no later than three years to the day of its registration.

What is an MOT for?

An MOT test is a general examination on the health, safety, emissions and overall roadworthiness of your vehicle. An MOT test does not examine specific components or test them for damage or wear and tear — this is done by booking your car in for servicing.

Annual MOTs are carried out to make sure you are driving a car that is safe for you, your passengers and other road users.

As part of the newest batch of changes to the MOT test, emissions are now more closely scrutinised. This means the MOT is also looking at a car’s environmental impact, as well as its roadworthiness from a performance and safety standpoint.

What does an MOT cost?

The maximum price for an MOT is capped at £54.85. Keep in mind, too, that there is a possible £1000 fine for driving without a valid MOT certificate.

What are the possible test results?

Your MOT test results will track any faults found with your vehicle. Under new rules, the simplified fault system looks like this:


  • Dangerous — Instant failure — defects which present a significant, immediate risk to you, passengers, other road users, or the environment.
  • Major — Instant failure — defects considered a serious problem that need to be rectified before being allowed back on the road.
  • Minor — Pass, but repairs need to be made as soon as possible.


You can also receive an advisory. This is a pass, but will list one or more slight issues that should be looked at in the near future.

Once your MOT is completed, your results will be presented to you in a certificate. The certificate will categorise each fault clearly under the relevant fault level, making it easy for you to understand and refer back to in the future.

What will be tested?

As stated, an MOT test doesn’t look at mechanical features of the car in great detail — so no engine, gearbox or clutch tests are involved. However, an MOT will consist of visual tests of many different components, including but not limited to:

For a more thorough examination of the health of each individual component in your car, an annual service is recommended.

What happens if I fail my MOT?

Failing an MOT — and thus not obtaining a valid MOT certificate — means you cannot legally drive your car on the road until the defects have been rectified and another test has been carried out.

The only situation where you are allowed to drive without a valid MOT certificate is if you are driving the car to a testing centre — but you’ll need to prove this if you’re stopped and questioned.

If you fail, you have a couple of options:

  • Have the issues fixed there and then
  • Arrange to have the issues fixed on another date
  • Take it to another garage and have the issues fixed and the MOT retaken

The easiest option would be to have the faults fixed in the same garage on the same day, but sometimes that’s not feasible. In that case, you’ll need to make other arrangements.

How to prepare for an MOT

The best way to prepare for an MOT — and to give yourself the best chance of passing — is to keep on top of your regular car maintenance. That means regular servicing, getting minor issues fixed as soon as they arise, and keeping an eye out on the general condition of your car as you use it.

Make sure to keep an eye out next month for our article on some common reasons for MOT failures and how to avoid them.

Who should perform my MOT?

Because an MOT is a legal requirement, and one which directly impacts driver safety on the UK roads, it’s of vital importance that you choose a company you trust to perform your MOT test. Choose someone who can verify their accreditations and qualifications, and one who clearly demonstrates a deep knowledge and skill working with vehicles of all makes and models. It’s also helpful to choose someone who can offer to fix major and minor issues there and then, to get you back on the road, legally, as efficiently as possible.

At Treadfirst, we offer thorough MOT tests for class IV and class VII vehicles. We always perform a thorough test to full legal guidelines, ensuring your vehicle is given an objective MOT result every time. Should you fail your MOT — or should minor issues be identified during the test — we can make arrangements for the necessary repairs straight away. To find out more, contact our friendly team today by email or call: 0800 0309 204

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