MOT guide

Every vehicle in the UK requires an MOT test to ensure that it is kept in a roadworthy condition. An MOT test consists of various checks to ensure that each vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards, required by law. The first MOT test is due when a vehicle is 3 years old and each year thereafter.

Under the DVSA (formerly VOSA) requirements, an MOT will test all these important items on your car to check that they meet the legal requirements:

Exhaust and emissions - the exhaust should be secure without any serious leaks and vehicle emissions should meet the necessary requirements, which are dependent on the age and fuel type of the vehicle.

Seat belts - all compulsory seat belts must be in place and are checked for security, operation and condition.

Steering - the steering wheel should be in an acceptable condition and securely attached to the steering shaft

Windscreen - this will be checked for all aspects affecting the driver’s view of the road; its condition, the wipers and the washers.

Bonnet catch - this will be tested to ensure that it securely latches in the closed position.

Horn - the horn should be operational and of a suitable volume to be heard by pedestrians and other vehicles.

Number plate - the registration plate should be present and secure, not faded, dirty or obscured. All letters must conform to the approved font design with the correct spacing between them.

Lights - all required lights are checked to ensure that they are operational, in a good condition and secure.

Brakes - their condition, efficiency, operation and performance will be tested to ensure that they meet the legal requirements.

Tyres and wheels - tyres must be the correct size, condition, type and must have the correct tread depth.

Mirrors - mirrors will be checked to make sure that they are secure and visible from the driver’s seat and that they are not distorted or damaged so as to impair the driver’s view to the rear.

Doors - both front doors must be operational and have the facility to be opened from inside and outside the vehicle.

Seats - the driver and passenger seats must be secure and all seat backs in a stable upright position.

Suspension - suspension is checked and must be of a satisfactory operational condition.

Fuel system - this should have no leaks and the fuel filler cap must fasten securely.

Body and structure - the car body must be free from damage and excess corrosions.

What should I take with me?

You should take your vehicle’s current Registration Document or the ‘V5’ document as it is commonly referred to.

What if my car fails its MOT test?

When your car fails its MOT test this means that it does not meet the legal requirements that allow it to be driven on the road and must be repaired so that it meets these requirements.

If, in the unlikely event you disagree with your MOT test results you can appeal the decision. For more information visit

For more information about the MOT test scheme visit the website.

How do I know if my MOT has expired?

You can check the current status of any vehicle online; the date of the last test, the mileage at the time of the last test and the expiry date of the test by visiting for more information.

How can I be reminded when my MOT test is due?

Did you know that around a quarter of drivers forget to renew their MOT each year, with nearly a third of those more than 1 month late?

Formula One’s free MOT reminder service tells you by email and/or SMS when your next MOT is due, so register today. Remember that you can have an MOT test completed up to one month before the expiry of your current certificate.


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