History of the MOT test

Thursday 21st April 2022



The MOT test is compulsory for every car - however, have you ever wondered why we must have an MOT test and where it all began? In this helpful guide, we will uncover the history of the MOT test and the reasons why it was introduced.

The first MOT tests

Compulsory testing for British cars was officially introduced in 1960 - this happened when the Motor Vehicles Regulations (MVR) began to operate. Before this, testing was only confined to vehicles that were ten years old or older. The economy started to grow in the 1950s which meant that more people were able to afford cars – they became more of a staple and less of a luxury item. The first MOT tests only examined:

  • Brakes
  • Lights
  • Steering
  • Tyres

The test was conducted to ensure the technical elements of the vehicles were working properly and, therefore, were safe to drive.

However, the MOT test still had a long way to go – for example, initially the minimum tread depth was 1mm in comparison to 1.6mm of today.

In 1977, a whole host of new checks were introduced, which included additional testing of:

These new checks were added as cars started technologically advancing and were now able to reach speed of 100mph. This meant drivers’ safety was more at risk and safety checks had to be implemented. With these changes, seatbelts became compulsory for children under the age of 14.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that we saw the MOT test become similar to the one we have today. During this decade, checks on seatbelts for all passengers, anti-lock braking system and even emissions were included in the MOT assessments.

MOT tests today

Most recently, the MOT has undergone further changes with the influence of Europe. The new test checks:

  • Dashboard warning lights
  • Airbags
  • Electronic systems
  • Wire damage
  • Mileage history

Since its introduction, the MOT test has made massive improvements in both road and passenger safety. Though it took a long time to get testing to the standards we have today, it is essential you need to take your car for an MOT every year to avoid any possible mishaps. MOT tests are required by law and the police can check your vehicle registration to see if you have a valid MOT test

Pop into your local Formula One Autocentre today to get your routine MOT test we do tests for all vehicles – including fuel-powered cars, hybrids and electric vehicles. You may also want to check out our fuel-saver services. Contact our helpful team to find out more information today.

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