MOT test explained
Cars over three years old must by law pass a yearly MOT test to show they are roadworthy.
Once a car is three years old (four years in Northern Ireland) it must be tested each year to check it meets road safety and environmental standards.
This Ministry of Transport test is commonly known as an ‘MOT’.
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.
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.
It doesn’t cover the condition of the engine, clutch and gearbox.
Nearly two in five MOT tests are a fail first time.
Yet often this is because of minor faults the owner could easily have fixed beforehand.
Here are the top five simple reasons for an MOT fail, according to research published by What Car? Magazine in April 2014:
- Screen wash not topped up. This basic task takes minutes, so don’t be caught out by it.
- The car was dirty or full of clutter. Clear the mess from the boot and cabin and give the windows and mirrors a quick wipe.
- A registration plate problem. For example, the plate used the incorrect type face/spacing, or was dirty or missing altogether. If you have a personalised plate, make sure it follows DVLA rules.
- Stickers on the windscreen blocking the driver’s view. Make sure anything stuck to the windscreen, including tax disc and parking permits, is outside the wipers’ sweep area.
- Lit-up warning light on the dashboard. The MOT has included lit-up warning lights since 2012.
The MOT test is carried out to DVSA guidelines and includes a comprehensive inspection of the vehicle to ensure it is in a roadworthy condition.
The nominated tester in centre will check the components to ensure each meets the minimum standard set out by the DVSA before issuing an MOT certificate.