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What does an MOT not test

What an MOT doesn’t cover

The MOT is not an alternative to properly servicing and maintaining a vehicle and is by no means a 12 month guarantee of the vehicle’s roadworthiness.

It is important to realise that the MOT test does not cover areas of a vehicle’s mechanical condition that are not related to safety or emissions (important features such as the clutch, gearbox and the entire engine are not tested).

Neither does it determine whether or not after market features fitted are legal for use on the public highway, so a vehicle with a recent MOT certificate could still have major mechanical defects or have features which would deem it illegal to be used on the road.

Do all test centres give a free re-test?


Your vehicle may be able to have a partial retest for free or reduced MOT fee in the following cases.

Leaving your vehicle at the test centre

If the vehicle is left at the test centre for repair and retested before the end of 10 working days following the day it originally failed, then only a partial retest is needed. There is no fee.

Bringing your vehicle back to the test centre

Before the end of the next working day

You won’t have to pay again if the vehicle is brought back to the same test centre before the end of the next working day for a partial retest on one or more of the following items only:
• access panels
• battery
• bonnet
• bootlid
• brake pedal antislip
• break glass hammer (Class 5 vehicles only)
• doors (including hinges, catches and pillars)
• door open warning device (Class 5 vehicles only)
• dropsides
• electrical wiring
• emergency exists and signs (Class 5 vehicles only)
• entrance door remote control (Class 5 vehicles only)
• entrance/exit steps (Class 5 vehicles only)
• fuel filler cap
• headlamp cleaning or levelling devices (that doesn’t need a headlamp aim check)
• horn
• lamps (excluding headlamp aim)
• loading door
• main beam ‘tell-tale’
• mirrors
• rear reflectors
• registration plates
• seatbelts (but not anchorages)
• seatbelt load limiter
• seatbelt pre-tensioner
• seats
• sharp edges or projections
• stairs (Class 5 vehicles only)
• steering wheel
• tailboard
• tailgate
• trailer electrical sockets
• towbars (excluding body around anchorage points)
• tyre pressure monitoring system
• vehicle identification number (VIN)
• windscreen and glass
• windscreen wipers
• windscreen washers
• wheels and tyres (excluding motorbikes and motorbikes with sidecar)

Bringing your vehicle back within 10 working days

If the vehicle is removed from the test centre for repair and returned within 10 working days following the day it originally failed, then only a partial retest is needed. In this case a partial retest fee may be charged.

In all other cases, you’ll need to get a full retest and pay the full MOT test fee again.

Is my vehicle exempt from an MOT?

MOT Exemption – pre 1960 vehicles

From 30 September 2013, motor cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles manufactured or registered before 1960 will be exempt from the mandatory MOT test.

DVA and the DVLA will continue to offer tests on a voluntary basis, but only at the request of the vehicle owner. It is anticipated that the bulk of voluntary tests will be from vehicles intended for Cherished Transfers as the registration transfer scheme still requires a test certificate.

The vehicle inspection process has not changed, and any pre 1960 vehicle booked for testing will continue to be inspected in the normal way, MOT reminders for these vehicles will no longer be sent out automatically.

Can I drive a vehicle without an mot

You may drive without a test certificate when
• travelling to a test station for a test booked in advance
• driving from a test centre to a place of repair when a vehicle has failed the test
• driving the vehicle to or away from a place where, by previous arrangement, repairs are to be made or have been made to fix the problems that caused the vehicle to fail its test
Even in these circumstances, you may still be prosecuted for driving an unroadworthy vehicle if it doesn’t comply with various regulations affecting its construction and use. Your insurance may not be valid if your vehicle doesn’t have a valid test certificate.

What are the most common causes for failing an mot?

Department for Tranport statistics
Transport Statistics Great Britain 
Road vehicle testing scheme (MOT): percentage of tests with one or more Fail or PRS1 type RfRs2 in defect group: 2007/08 to 2012/13
2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
Motorcycle body and structure 0.9 1.0 1.0 0.9 1.0 0.9
Motorcycle brakes 5.8 5.9 5.8 5.3 5.1 5.2
Motorcycle drive system 1.2 1.4 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.4
Motorcycle driving controls 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.5
Motorcycle fuel and exhaust 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.4 1.3 1.2
Motorcycle lighting and signalling 10.8 11.5 11.8 10.8 11.0 10.8
Motorcycle reg plates and vin 1.0 1.4 1.9 1.5 1.4 1.2
Motorcycle sidecar - - - 0.0 0.0 0.0
Motorcycle steering and suspension 5.8 5.7 5.6 4.9 4.8 4.5
Motorcycle tyres and wheels 3.7 3.8 3.8 3.6 3.6 3.5
Cars and other passenger vehicles (up to 12 seats):
Body and structure 1.8 1.8 1.7 1.4 1.4 1.4
Brakes 12.9 12.8 12.9 10.7 10.4 10.2
Drivers view of the road 8.0 8.4 8.5 7.7 7.5 6.9
Driving controls - - - 0.0 0.0 0.0
Fuel and exhaust 7.2 6.9 6.7 5.5 5.2 4.8
Lighting and signalling 19.8 20.7 21.0 18.6 18.6 18.7
Reasons specific to motor tricycles and quadricycles - - - 0.0 0.0 0.0
Registration plates and VIN 1.4 1.5 1.7 1.2 1.0 0.9
Road wheels 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Seat belts 1.9 1.9 2.0 1.7 1.5 1.4
Steering 2.9 2.9 3.1 3.2 3.5 3.4
Suspension 12.4 12.7 13.4 11.9 12.2 12.5
Towbars3 . . 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0
Tyres 9.1 9.2 9.0 8.0 7.8 7.7
Private passenger vehicles (more than 12 seats): 
Body and structure 5.4 5.5 5.3 4.6 4.6 5.0
Brakes 13.0 13.5 13.6 12.1 12.2 12.7
Drivers view of the road 6.0 6.4 6.5 6.5 6.2 5.6
Driving controls 1.0 2.3 1.5 1.1 1.0 1.0
Fuel and exhaust 4.7 4.6 4.3 3.6 3.7 3.4
Lighting and signalling 16.0 17.5 17.6 16.7 16.2 17.0
Reg plates and vin 0.5 1.1 1.1 0.8 0.6 0.6
Road wheels 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Seat belts 8.1 8.3 8.1 7.1 6.5 6.4
Steering 3.3 3.6 3.8 3.6 4.1 4.2
Suspension 7.2 7.4 7.4 6.5 6.5 6.9
Towbars3 . . 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1
Tyres 3.6 3.9 3.9 3.7 3.7 3.8
Goods vehicles between 3,000 and 3,500 kg gross weight: 
Body and structure 6.2 6.1 5.8 4.8 4.4 4.6
Brakes 25.0 24.8 25.1 22.2 21.5 21.8
Drivers view of the road 13.1 13.3 13.1 12.1 11.3 10.4
Fuel and exhaust 8.4 7.8 7.2 5.8 5.3 4.8
Lighting and signalling 30.6 31.9 32.3 29.5 28.8 29.8
Reg plates and vin 2.4 2.5 2.6 1.9 1.6 1.4
Road wheels 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3
Seat belts 4.6 4.7 4.5 3.6 3.1 2.9
Steering 6.4 6.1 6.4 7.0 7.5 7.3
Suspension 19.4 18.7 17.8 15.4 15.0 15.4
Towbars3 . . 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.3
Tyres 8.1 8.0 7.9 7.4 7.2 7.2

1.Pass after Rectification at the Station (PRS). This indicates that a vehicle initially failed its test
It was then repaired within one hour of the test, re-tested and passed.
2.RfR = Reason for Rejection
3.The testing of towbars only became part of the MOT test on 27th April 2009

I have lost my MOT certificate, can I get a duplicate copy?

You can get a duplicate MOT certificate from any MOT testing station if you have lost or damaged the original.

You’ll need to give the vehicle registration number and either the original MOT test number,

or V5C document reference number - this is on the V5C registration certificate.

The maximum fee for a duplicate certificate is £10, or half the full MOT test fee, whichever is lowest.

Do I need to stay with my vehicle?

Normally no.

My MOT is due in two months time. Can I take it before this date?

Yes, but the MOT certificate is only valid for 12 months from the date of the test. If you take it 1 month before the due date then the MOT is valid for 13 months

Am I notified by the VIA when my test date is due?

You can use the service provided by GOV.UK but there is a cost. However you can use the reminder service on for FREE.

Do I need to make an appointment for my car to be tested?

Most MOT's are usually pre-booked but if for whatever reason you need one quickly a call to one of your local MOT centres and you can usually be fitted in, remember if your vehicle does not have an MOT and you get stopped without going to an appointment then you will be breaking the law

How long does an MOT test take?

Approximately 45 minutes, but varies.

When is my car eligible for its first MOT?

When is my car eligible for its first MOT?

Mainland Britain You must get a Ministry of Transport (MOT) test every year once your vehicle is over three years old

Northern Ireland You must get a Ministry of Transport (MOT) test every year once your vehicle is over four years old.

If you drive a vehicle on the road you must keep it in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards.

How long do I have after failing an MOT before taking the second test?

There is no set time limit before a retest and it is at the discretion of the individual. Remember - a car that does not have a current MOT Certificate is not allowed to be used on the road except when going for repairs for a test, or to a prearranged test.

Can my vehicle be driven on a public highway after failing an MOT test?

Cars and motorcycles MUST normally pass an MOT test three years from the date of the first registration and every year after that. You MUST NOT drive a vehicle without an MOT certificate, when it should have one. Driving an unroadworthy vehicle may invalidate your insurance. You may drive to a pre-arranged test appointment or to a garage for repairs required for the test.

Can I watch an MOT vehicle inspection?

Yes providing you do not cause any interference to the test.

What is an MOT?

The MOT scheme is primarily a road safety measure designed to ensure as far as possible that all cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles more than 3 years old

are properly maintained and;

at least once a year are examined at an authorised MOT test station to make sure that they comply with certain important requirements of the law

Remember- the test certificate relates only to the condition of the testable items at the time of the test and should not be regarded as evidence of their condition at any other time; nor should it be accepted as evidence of the general mechanical condition of the vehicle

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