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Birmingham Driving School

The MOT Test A Guide For Drivers



The MOT Test A Guide For Drivers


This guide has been prepared by Birmingham Driving School, and is intended to provide general information to help drivers to understand the MOT Test and to stay legal; whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date, it is not intended to be a legal guide.


What Is An MOT Test And When Is It Due?


An MOT is a test of roadworthiness and safety of a vehicle. MOT stands of ‘Ministry of Transport’ and even though that has now become the ‘Department for Transport’ the name has not changed.

A car is due to have it’s first MOT when it is 3 years old, and then every year after that.

An MOT certificate lasts 1 year, so for example if an car passes it’s MOT test on 12th October 2019 the MOT would expire on 11th October 2020.

An MOT can be conducted within the month that the previous MOT is due to expire and still benefit from the unexpired period.


Example:

Car passes MOT 12th June 2019

MOT is due to expire 11th June 2020

Car passes MOT 13th May 2020

MOT is due to expire 11th June 2021


Can A Car Be Driven Without An MOT?


If a car does not have a valid MOT certificate, it can be driven on a public road providing that the car is insured, but only to and from a garage to be repaired, or to a garage for a pre booked MOT appointment, if driving a car under these conditions it is important that the vehicle is roadworthy.


Driving a vehicle that is not roadworthy is an offence (and probably dangerous) regardless of whether a car has an MOT, or whether it is being taken to an MOT appointment.


At The End Of An MOT Test


When a vehicle passes an MOT test a certificate is issued, a list of ‘advisory’ items to monitor, or ‘minor’ items to fix may also be issued.


When a vehicle fails an MOT test, the easiest option is often to leave the car at the garage to repair the relevant items, the vehicle can only be driven away if there are no ‘dangerous’ items recorded, and the previous MOT is still valid.

Driving a vehicle away in these circumstances could also potentially leave a driver open to prosecution for driving an unroadworthy vehicle.

A vehicle that has failed an MOT test with ‘dangerous’ items recorded can not be driven, the options would be to leave the car at the garage to be repaired, or to have the car moved by a car transporter to another garage.


Does An MOT Guarantee That The Car Is In Good Condition?


An MOT only means that the car was roadworthy at the moment that it was tested, it would be possible for a car to pass an MOT, drive away from the garage and an item immediately fail making the car unroadworthy, illegal or dangerous.

The MOT has over the years been made more comprehensive, it still does not test everything, and is largely a test of legality and safety.

The emissions of a car are tested, but nothing else about the condition of the engine is assessed; there are no testable items relating to the gearbox.

Whilst a MOT will be taken into account when buying a car, the fact that a car has a valid MOT should not be taken to mean that everything about the car is in good condition, the presence of an MOT certificate should only be one part of the assessment made by a car buyer.


Penalties For Driving A Car Without A Valid MOT Certificate


Fixed £60 penalty notice, or a fine of up to £1000

6-8 penalty points

Potential impounding of your vehicle

Invalidate insurance cover


What  Is Tested In An MOT?


Body, vehicle structure and general items

These will be inspected to check that:

they’re free from excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas

there are no sharp edges likely to cause injury

for fluid leaks posing an environmental risk

Towbars

Towbars will be inspected for:

secureness

condition

inappropriate repairs or modification

The MOT tester will also check that:

the 13 pin electrical socket is working correctly

the speedometer is in good working order

the engine mountings are secure

Fuel system

The fuel system will be inspected to check that:

there are no leaks

the pipes and hoses are secure and in a good condition

the fuel cap fastens and seals securely

You should make sure that the key is available as the fuel cap will need to be opened.

Exhaust emissions

The vehicle will be inspected, depending on the age and fuel type of the vehicle, to check that it meets the rules for exhaust emissions.

Diesel vehicles

The MOT tester will refuse to test your vehicle if they think that the smoke test may damage your engine.

You should tell them at the start of the MOT if you think this may happen.

To reduce the possibility of damage and increase the chances of passing, you should:

keep your vehicle maintained at all times

have the camshaft drive belt replaced at the recommended intervals

go for the MOT with a fully warmed up engine - it will produce less smoke and is safer to test

not tamper with the governor settings

Exhaust system

The exhaust system will be inspected to check that:

it’s secure and complete

a catalyst isn’t missing where one was fitted as standard

it’s without serious leaks and not too noisy

Seatbelts

The vehicle will be inspected to check that:

the mandatory seatbelts are in place

they are suitable for the vehicle

they are in a good condition

they work properly

they are attached securely

The malfunction indicator lamps (MILs) or dashboard warning lights will be checked for the:

air bags

seatbelt pretensioners (which remove the slack from a seatbelt in the event of a collision)

seatbelt load limiters (which release a small amount of belt when it’s too tight)

Seats

These will be inspected to check that:

the driver’s seat can be adjusted

all seats are securely fitted and that seat backs can be fixed in the upright position

Doors

These will be inspected to check that:

the latch is secure in the closed position

the front doors open from inside and outside the vehicle

the rear doors open from outside the vehicle

hinges and catches are secure and in a good condition

Mirrors

The vehicle will be inspected to check for the minimum number of mirrors, their condition and security. Indirect vision devices will also inspected.

Load security

The vehicle will be inspected to check that the boot or tailgate can be closed properly.

Brakes

These will be inspected to check:

their condition, including inappropriate repairs or modifications

their operation and performance (the efficiency test) - the wheels and trims aren’t removed as part of the test

the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) (where fitted)

The MILs or dashboard warning lights will also be checked for the ABS, ESC, electronic park brake and brake fluid warning lights.

if the brake fluid has been contaminated

brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing

Tyres and wheels

These will be inspected to check for:

condition

security

tyre size and type

tread depth

Spare wheels and tyres are not inspected.

Vehicles first used on or after 1 January 2012 will be checked to make sure the tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) MIL is working.

if tyres are obviously under inflated

Registration plates

These will be inspected to check for:

condition

secure attachment

colour

characters correctly formed and spaced

Lights

These will be inspected to check:

their condition

operation, including high intensity discharge (HID) and light emitting diode (LED)

the headlamps for cleaning, self levelling and security

headlamp aim

main beam warning light working

reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009

headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)

daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they’re 3 years old)

Bonnet

This will be inspected to check that it closes securely.

Wipers and washers

These will be inspected to check that they work properly so the driver has a clear view of the road.

Windscreen

The windscreen will be inspected to check for:

condition

the driver’s view of the road

Horn

This will be inspected to check:

that it works properly

it’s suitable for the vehicle

Steering and suspension

These will be inspected to check:

their condition

steering oil level

they work correctly

for inappropriate repairs or modification including corrosion to power steering pipes or hoses

that the steering lock mechanism works properly

The MILs or dashboard warning lights will also be checked for the electronic power steering and steering lock.

Vehicle identification number (VIN)

The VIN will be on vehicles first used on or after 1 August 1980. Your car will be inspected to check that a single VIN is displayed, except on multistage build vehicles (eg van conversion, BMW, Alpina etc).

Electrical

Visible electrical wiring and the battery will be checked.



More information about the MOT test can be found at the GOV.UK website.



Law and Documentation A Guide For Drivers


There are guides for drivers on various subjects regarding law and documentation relating to owning and using a car and to stay legal; whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date, they are not intended to be legal guides.


Law and Documentation A Guide For Drivers


Car Insurance A Guide For Drivers


The MOT Test A Guide For Drivers


Road Tax or Vehicle Excise Duty A Guide For Drivers


SORN: Statutory Off Road Notification A Guide For Drivers


Vehicle Registration Certificate V5C A Guide For Drivers


Driving Licences A Guide For Drivers


Driving Licence Categories: What Can I Drive? A Guide For Drivers


Viewing Or Sharing Driving Licence Information A Guide For Drivers


Driving Licence Points A Guide For Drivers


Medical Conditions And Driving Licences A Guide For Drivers