MOT Explained

An MOT is an annual examination that deems whether or not your car is roadworthy. It’s a legal requirement for all vehicles of three years or over.

An MOT test is an annual inspection that is required by law on all vehicles in the UK that are older than 3 years. The test follows strict criteria that is set out by the DVSA to determine whether your car is fit for purpose and in roadworthy condition. A broad range of vehicle safety checks must be completed by an MOT garage with DVSA-approved examiners, including lights, tyres, seatbelts and emissions.

During the MOT test, the nominated tester, a person accredited by the DVSA to assess your vehicle, will conduct a comprehensive inspection to ensure the vehicle is in roadworthy condition.

However, it is not the same as having your vehicle serviced and the MOT test does not check the general mechanical condition of the vehicle. Also, the assessment is based on the condition of the vehicle on the day.

If the vehicle passes, the nominated tester will provide you with a pass certificate. They will also separately list and inform you of any 'advisory' or 'minor' items that will require attention in the near future so you can keep an eye on them.

If the vehicle fails, you may be entitled to a free re-test.

How can I help my car pass its MOT?​

Did you know that roughly 1.5 million vehicles fail their MOT each year? So what can you do to avoid this situation for yourself? Well, quite a lot, in fact. Here are 10 things you can check before your car’s MOT is due.

1. Headlights and indicators

Test all exterior lights: headlamps, indicators, sidelights, taillights and hazard lights.

2. Brake lights

In order to check the brake lights, you’ll need to position the car in front of a reflective surface and press the brake pedal. Alternatively, ask a friend to stand behind the car to see if they’re working.

3. License plate

Make sure that front and rear license plates are clean and legible, and check that the font and the spaces between the numbers/letters meet with legal requirements.

4. Wheels and tyres

Look to see if there’s any damage such as tears or bulges. Check each tyre to ensure the tread depth is a minimum of 1.6 mm (although it’s recommended that the tread is no less than 3mm deep).

5. Seats and seatbelts

Examine the driver’s seat to see if there are any defects, and make sure that it’s able to move back and forth properly. Fully extend each seatbelt and search for signs of wear and tear – and give each seatbelt a sharp tug to see how it might perform in a crash situation.

6. Windscreen

Ensure the windscreen is cleaned inside and out. Check the ‘swept’ area of the glass in front of the driver’s position. Is there a chip or scratch that measures 10mm or more? If so, your vehicle will probably fail its MOT. Also, check other parts of the windscreen for damage measuring 40mm or more.

7. Windscreen wipers

Spray or splash water onto the windscreen and activate the wipers. If the water is cleared, there’s no issue. If not, the wipers will need to be replaced.

8. Screen Wash

An innocuous thing such as an empty screen wash bottle could result in a failed MOT.

9. Horn

Sound the horn. If it’s not working, you’ll have to have it repaired or replaced.

10. Fuel and engine oil

If you drive a petrol, diesel or hybrid car, ensure that the tank has enough fuel for the emissions-testing part of the MOT to be successfully completed. And make sure there are sufficient levels of engine oil and brake fluid.

Please note: before carrying out any checks, ensure that your vehicle has cooled down sufficiently in order to avoid injury due to hot surfaces.

Do I need an MOT?

Yes, assuming it’s three years old or more. You can check here for further details:

What if my MOT has expired

Typically, between 45 minutes and an hour.

How long does an MOT take?

One of two things will happen:

If your car is deemed to be dangerous, you won’t be permitted to drive it away. However, we’ll provide you with a repair quote – and we won’t carry out any further work until you give your permission for us to do so.

If the identified issues aren’t serious and your existing MOT certificate is still valid, you’ll be able to drive your car away. However, the vehicle will need to be repaired sooner rather than later in order for an MOT re-test to take place.

Book an MOT with Brayleys today

If your car is due its MOT, make an appointment with your local Brayleys branch today. The easiest way to do so is by completing our online contact form.