To book an MOT appointment click the link above for the centre of your choice or leave your details with our web chat team, stating which of our centres you would like to go to.
All cars over three years old must by law pass a yearly Ministry Of Transport, commonly known as an ‘MOT', test to show they are roadworthy. Continue reading to find out more about the MOT test, including the five most common & simple reasons why cars fail it. There's also a checklist to help you give your car the best chance of a pass, and so avoid the potential cost and hassle of a re-test.
Because it's a Ministry of Transport test, it makes the MOT
tester impartial when inspecting your car as there's no commercial incentive to
find problems with it.
An MOT involves dozens of checks on your car, ranging from the brakes and fuel system to lights, mirrors, seatbelts, windscreen wipers and exhaust system.
MOT tests are carried out at around 21,000 authorised test centres around the country, all of which display an official blue sign featuring three white triangles.
MOT's do not cover the condition of the engine, clutch and gearbox.
An average MOT test takes between 45 and 60 minutes, but there are a couple of other things to take into consideration.
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency sets the maximum fee official test centres can charge for an MOT.
It's currently £54.85 for cars and motor caravans, but we
charge less than this.
Here are the top five simple reasons for an MOT fail,
according to research published the DSVA for failures in 2014 to 2015:
Nearly one in 5 (18.4%) of all cars taken for MOT had a problem with lighting and signalling – including simple problems, like blown bulbs.
Checking your lightbulbs is easy to do. You just need to give them a light tap to see if they are loose or damaged. You can also check the colours are right and match.
In a lot of cases replacement bulbs are fairly cheap and you can change them yourself if you have your car handbook. If not, many garages will change your bulb for free.
DVSA has published a series of short videos on YouTube about simple car maintenance - including one on how to carry out checks on lights and indicators.
During 2014/15, 7.4% of car MOT fails were due to tyre issues.
Use a tread depth gauge to check your tyre tread. The minimum tread for a car is 1.6mm.
Also check that the tyres:
One in 10 (9.6%) MOT fails are due to brake issues.
You can test your brakes every day as you set off.
If you hear any strange noises, or if your car pulls to one side, contact your local garage immediately.
You can also check your brake fluid levels. Look for the high/low markings on the reservoir and make sure that your brake fluid is topped up.
4: Windscreen &
6.6% of MOT fails are due to issues with the Driver's view of the road.
You can avoid this by carrying out simple checks by making sure:
5: General Up-keep
If the car is dirty or full of clutter. Clear the mess from the boot and cabin and give the windows and mirrors a quick wipe.
Make sure you're not caught out by any of the five simple reasons for a fail shown above, then inspect your car against our 11-point checklist below.
If you find any problems in the following areas, you can fix some yourself to help keep garage costs down.
Headlights and indicators: front, rear, headlights (main beam and dipped), hazard lights and indicators.
If any aren't working, first check for broken bulbs and replace them.
Brake lights: ask another person to check the rear brake lights come on when you press the brake pedal.
Tyres: check all the tyres have at least the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm, or they'll be marked as an MOT ‘fail'.
This can easily be done with a 20p coin – see the diagram on the Tyre Safe website.
Check for any damage such as splits in the tread, bulges or cuts in the sidewalls.
Also check the tyre pressure is correct – the car's manual will list the right pressure and they might also be on the sidewall of the tyre itself - and increase it at a petrol station if necessary.
The handbrake: check the tension in your handbrake.
If it slides up and down without resistance and can't be ratcheted to a set level, there's likely to be a problem needing fixing by a professional mechanic.
Seats and seatbelts: check the driver's seat adjusts forwards and backwards and inspect the full length of the seatbelt for any damage.
Check all the seatbelts latch and fasten securely, and lock when you give them a sharp tug.
Windscreen: any damage wider than 10mm in the driver's central view will cause an MOT fail, as will any damage larger than 40mm in the whole of the swept area.
Windscreen wipers: make sure your wipers clean your windscreen effectively along with the washers.
Remember, any tears or holes in the wiper rubber can mean an MOT fail.
Suspension check: check the shock absorbers by applying your weight to each corner of the car then quickly releasing it.
The corner of the car should quickly return to its original position.
If it bounces more than twice, this could mean the shock absorbers are faulty and need to be checked.
Horn: give a short blast of the horn – if it doesn't work or isn't loud enough to attract the attention of pedestrians or other motorists, get it repaired.
Exhaust: check for exhaust leaks by starting the engine in a well-ventilated space at normal temperature, then listen from the rear of the car for any unusual noises or abnormal smoke.
Fuel and engine oil: make sure your car is filled with enough fuel and engine oil – you can be turned away from the MOT if there isn't enough to test your car's emissions levels properly.
If your car fails its MOT, the test centre will give you a VT3O Certificate showing the reasons for the fail.
On 20 May 2018, the MOT categories for fails and passes changed.
If your car has a dangerous fault, you won't be able to drive it away. Get a quote from the garage you got the MOT from if they do repairs, and then call around for some quotes from other local garages. You might be able to find the repairs cheaper even if they need to tow your vehicle to their garage.
If your car has a major fault you may be able to drive it away if it's still roadworthy and your previous MOT has not expired yet.
If your MOT has run out and the car is roadworthy you can drive it to have the faults fixed and to a pre-booked MOT.
If you drive a car without an MOT under any other circumstances, or drive a car with dangerous faults, you can be fined £2,500, be banned from driving and get three points on your licence.
Read more about the new MOT categories.
You need to fix all major and dangerous faults to make your car roadworthy and then arrange a partial MOT retest in which your car must pass before you can drive it on the roads again.
If you leave your car with the test centre for repair, you'll be able to get a partial retest for free, as long as this is done within 10 working days of failing the MOT.
If you take your vehicle away for repairs and return it before the end of the next working day, the test is normally free. Whether it's free or not depends on which parts are retested.
If you return within 10 working days to the same test centre for a partial retest, you'll get charged a lower fee, but it won't be free.
You can find out more about retests on the GOV.UK website.
If your MOT has expired, it's illegal to drive your car on the road and you could be prosecuted for doing so.
Driving without a current MOT also makes your car insurance invalid.
The only exception would be if you already had an MOT booked and were driving your car directly to the test centre.
There are two ways to get a replacement MOT test certificate.
The first is free, go to the GOV.uk website where you can view, print and save any MOT certificate issued after 20 May 2018. All you need is the vehicle's registration number and the 11-digit reference number, with no spaces, from the vehicle's V5C, also known as a logbook.
The second way costs £10. You can go to any MOT test centre and give them your vehicle's registration number and the V5C reference number.
You don't need a MOT certificate to sell a vehicle, but many buyers will want to see it.
You also need an MOT certificate to tax your vehicle and to change the vehicle's tax class, such as getting free tax for a disabled driver.
Find out more on GOV.uk
MOT Tests Questions
What is a car mot test for?
Nominated testers (people or a person authorised by the Government body called the Vehicle & Operation Services Agency or VOSA) will conduct your MOT test. Your vehicle is inspected and the nominated tester will carry out a series of comprehensive checks around your vehicle. Included in this comprehensive check will be your vehicle interior and exterior, an inspection under your bonnet and an inspection under your vehicle. These checks are then recorded and will either be passed, failed or passed with an advisory notice. If the vehicle is deemed to met the minimum required standards than a pass will be issued and you will receive a VT20 "pass" certificate. If the vehicle is deemed to have failed some of those minimum required standards to pass your MOT then a VT30 "failure" document is issued. The checks that your vehicle has failed on will be shown in order for you to rectify them before a retest should be undertaken. Sometimes your vehicle will pass but the tester will note some advisory items that whilst they weren't below the required minimum standards to fail, he or she believes you need to be aware of them and ideally get them rectified at some point in the future. An example of an advisory notice could be the amount of tread left on your tyres - it could be above the required legal limit to pass the MOT however the tester believes that the tyre(s) will need replacing before the next MOT is due and that it would be safer to get them changed sooner rather than later.
How to check car mot history and tax?
To check the MOT and tax status of a car, visit the gov.uk website: https://vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk/
How long does car mot take?
Your MOT test will take approximately one - two hours to carry out during which you are welcome to relax in our comfortable reception area.
Not found the answer you're looking for?Read More
What does a car mot cost?
The government sets the maximum cost for MOTs by vehicle type. The current maximum price list can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/mot-test-fee Call your Bush Tyres MOT centre for details of our latest MOT prices.
Who is responsible for car mot?
The legal owner of the vehicle is responsible for ensuring that their car has a valid MOT.
How to pass car mot?
There are a number of ways you can minimise the risk of your car failing its MOT. Here's some useful information from Which that includes a handy checklist for interior and external checks before your MOT: http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/new-and-used-cars/article/how-to-pass-an-mot-check
What fails car mot?
Regular maintenance on your car can help to reduce the probability of failing the MOT. The DVSA reports that around 50% of failed MOTs could have been prevented with regular maintenance. MOTs often fail due to bulbs, wiper blades and tyres being worn.
Which car needs mot?
Most vehicles require an MOT from 3 years old onwards however some vehicles are required by law to have MOTs from 1 year. This useful page from Gov.uk provides a list of MOT requirements for each vehicle type: https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/mot-test-fees
Still not sure?Call our MOT Tests specialists