A Guide to MOT Test

MOT Test

If you have just purchased your first vehicle and don’t know what an MOT test is, then this article will be very useful to you. The MOT (Ministry of Transport) is an annual test of vehicle safety, roadworthiness aspects and exhaust emissions required in the Great Britain for most vehicles defined in the Road Traffic Act 1988. It does not only apply to highways but also includes other places available for public use, that aren’t highways such as streets, main roads etc. Every vehicle over the age of three years has to have an MOT test done after every twelve months, failure to do so can impose £1000 penalty.

The MOT test is a source of employment for about 53,000 people working in 20,100 garages, who are authorised to perform testing and issue certificates. Any individual in UK can apply to run an MOT station, however they should meet the minimal criteria set out by the government in order to acquire an authorisation from Drivers and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

How is it Different from the Normal Mechanic Services Offered?

MOT is a legal requirement and is conducted solely to ensure the safety and roadworthiness of the vehicle. Surprisingly, it is a visual check only, where examiners are not allowed to alter or remove anything on the car. On the other hand, a normal car service includes checking and changing of oil, filters, spark plugs etc.

So, basically, an MOT is like an annual diagnosis of your car. The car should be checked at any local garage. If it clears all the tests, then it is good to go, but if it doesn’t, then you have to get it fixed or sold (depending on the amount of repair needed). There are strict penalties for those drivers who drive cars that need an MOT certificate.

How Much Does it Cost?

Well, it varies from garage to garage. But a standard rate is £54.85 (excluding VAT) for cars and £29.65 (excluding VAT) for motor bikes, including collection and delivery. The cost of the test is very low because they make up for repairing of failures detected by the MOT test. Garages that charge less, about £25 or so, usually exaggerate the problems and labor time, and charge excessively for the repair parts. So, stay cautious and do not be attracted to garages offering cheap MOT tests.

How to Prepare the Car for a MOT?

Don’t want your car to fail the test? Then here are some tips to help you and your car.

  • Check the lights of your car and replace them if need be.
  • When was the last time you got your car checked? Keep track of the car check history.
  • Check the tires for any changes (pressure, wear, and tears), and make sure the tread depth is 1.6mm.
  • If the wiper blades are making noise or not cleaning properly, change them.
  • Ensure the windscreen does not have any cracks or scratches.
  • Make certain the horn works loud and clear.
  • If your old MOT is about to expire, then it is wise to apply at least a month before the expiry date of the certificate.
  • Clean your car thoroughly inside out.


Chances of clearing the test are high if you strictly follow the guidelines stated above.

As previously stated, there are more than 20,100 garages in the Great Britain that conduct a MOT test. But how do you know which is the right place to go?

There are Three Types of Garages:

  1. The main dealers/ franchise garages:

These garages can solve any complicated problem since they are equipped with the most modern and advanced equipment. Be sure to check the quality of your local dealer by insepecting reviews and ratings online. This website dealer reviews offers reviews and cars for sale from Ford Dealers for example.

  1. Garages that give quick service:

These garages are best for quick repairs and replacements. However, it is not advised to go to them for a complicated matter. They are cheap and affordable as well.

  1. The Independent ones:

These garages vary in quality and services. Some are very professional, whereas others are traditional and are not equipped with the latest machinery. Similarly, some may be expensive, while others could be reasonable.

Not all cheap garages are bad and not all expensive garages are good. Therefore, always prioritise the quality of the work more than the cost. Ask around people (friends and relatives) and choose based on their experience.

The drawback of this test is that it is only a visual check, which means if your car ‘looks’ clean and functional, it will pass otherwise it won’t. If your vehicle fails, the garage will give you a list of the parts that need changes and repairs. Another disadvantage of MOT is that it is snapshot in nature. This means if the vehicle is working properly on that specific day, (does not matter if it’s a mess all year around), then the tester will approve it based on the condition of the vehicle on that one day.

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