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Who, What, Where, Why, When…Your Handy MOT Guide

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mot test logo

MOT n. (in the UK) a compulsory annual test for safety and exhaust emissions of a motor vehicle
of more than a specified age.

Although most would assume the abbreviation MOT is a combination of the words ‘motoring’ and ‘test’, it actually stands for Ministry of Transport, despite the organisation since being replaced by the Department of Transport.

A legal requirement for all vehicles over 3 years old, an MOT test ensures that every vehicle on the road is in a roadworthy condition; meeting environmental and road safety standards. So yes, whilst booking for your MOT fills most with dread, you have to agree that a potential bill for a few repairs is better than the cost of your safety?

All MOTs must be carried out by an approved MOT test centre as identified by the three blue triangles (pictured left). Who authorises these centres? The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, better known as VOSA. And with over 21,000 test centres across the UK, it is their job to ensure each and every garage is adhering to the correct standards as set out by government.

As of 1st April 2014, VOSA will be merging with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to form the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency; recognised as the DVSA. The overall objective of forming this single agency is to offer the public a better, more efficient service whilst also reducing costs on factors such as driving tests and vehicle testings.

What is included in an MOT test?

On the day of your MOT test, your car will go through a number of inspections before it is considered a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, including checks on the condition of your tyres, lights, seatbelts, brakes and windows. Each item on the MOT checklist is tested for its competence and legality, ensuring they’re in full working order to guarantee maximum safety for you and your passengers. Please take a look at the diagram below demonstrating every check that is carried out by your MOT tester.

mot checks

Out of all the checks, if one item is amiss then you will instantly fail your MOT. No ifs, no buts. In some cases it could be something as minor as changing a light bulb, but in others there is potential to conjure up a hefty bill. It is the minor items concern us most, especially when you learn these small jobs contribute to a third of all fails. Therefore, before heading off to the test centre why not take a look at our blog on basic checks to carry out at home.

TIP: Diesel owners take note. Since your last MOT test, VOSA have introduced a new check on all diesel vehicles. As of December 2014, test centres must inspect the exhaust system for a critical exhaust filter. This rule only applies to vehicles fitted with the filter as standard.

How much should I pay for an MOT test?

Although many test centres do offer great deals and offers to lure in custom, VOSA have stamped a limit on the amount they can charge. You can find a full list of MOT test fees on Gov.uk, but for now we have provided a shortened table of the most used vehicles below.

Vehicle Type MOT test fee Age for 1st MOT
Cars (up to 8 passengers) £54.85 3
Motorbike £29.65 3
Motor homes £54.85 3



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