Car MOT Manual 2012 onwards

Body, Structure and General Items - 6.3 Registration Plates

Unregistered vehicles need not be fitted with registration plates.

This inspection does not apply to foreign registered, diplomatic or military vehicles. Vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1973 may have registration plates displaying white, grey or silver characters on a black background. Three-dimensional characters are permitted to use grey edging in order to achieve the 3D effect on any age of vehicle.

Quadricycles must be fitted with a front number plate.

A three-wheeled vehicle with motorcycle derived steering and suspension does not require a front number plate.
Method of Inspection
1. Check that there is a registration plate at both the front and the rear of the vehicle, and check each one for security and condition.

2. On vehicles first registered on or after 1 January 1973, check:
• the colour of the characters and background
• that the registration plates are fixed vertically, or as close to vertical as is reasonably practical.

3. On vehicles first registered on or after 1 September 2001, check that the registration plates do not display a honeycomb or similar effect background.

4. Check visually that the characters are correctly formed, spaced, and are not obviously likely to be misread due to, for example, badly positioned or uncovered retaining bolts etc.

See Diagrams at foot of page

Reason for Rejection
1. A registration plate:
a. missing or incorrect
b. so insecure that it is likely to fall off
c. letter or figure missing or incomplete
d. faded, dirty, delaminated, deteriorated or obscured, for example by a towbar so that it is likely to be misread or is not easily legible by a person standing approximately 20 metres to the front/rear of the vehicle
e. background overprinted or shadowed with text e.g. vehicle manufacturer name.

a. a front registration plate does not have black characters on a white background
b. a rear registration plate does not have black characters on a yellow background
c. a registration plate not fixed vertically, or as close to vertical as is reasonably practical. 3. A registration plate obviously displaying a honeycomb or similar effect background. 4. A registration plate with: a. characters which are obviously not the correct height, character width, stroke width, not of equal width along their entire length or incorrectly spaced b. a character not correctly formed, sloping, or likely to be misread c. any feature that has the effect of changing the appearance or legibility of any of the characters, so that the true identity of the vehicle is less easily established d. characters formed using a font which is not substantially similar to the prescribed font e. characters formed using broken or multiple strokes f. characters laid out in an incorrect format g. a margin obviously less than the minimum requirement h. a non-reflective border obviously wider than permitted or positioned too close to the characters.

Body, Structure and General Items - 6.3 Registration Plates 2

A Vehicle Identification Number VIN or chassis number is required on all vehicles first used on or after 1 August 1980, except those which are:
• kit cars

• amateur built vehicles

If a VIN cannot be found the vehicle presenter should be advised of the likely location of the VIN and asked to thoroughly search for the number with the aid of the registration certificate.

If following this action the VIN cannot be found, or in circumstances where more than one different VIN is present the vehicle presenter should contact the nearest Vehicle Registration Office.
Method of Inspection
5. Check that the vehicle is permanently displaying a legible Vehicle Identification Number.

This can be either:
• on a VIN plate secured to the vehicle, or
• stamped or etched on the vehicle body or chassis.
Reason for Rejection
a. A Vehicle Identification Number not permanently displayed, incomplete or not legible Note: Only one VIN is required to be complete and legible.
b. more than one different Vehicle Identification Number displayed. Note: It is acceptable for a vehicle that has been manufactured as part of a multistage build, a modification taken place to a vehicle at the manufacture stage before sold as new to show more than one VIN.

The second and subsequent stage VINs will also be a 17 digit VIN and will be displayed on an additional plate. When a multistage built vehicle is presented for test the last stage VIN must be used for MOT documentation.

Body, Structure and General Items - 6.3 Vehicle Identification Number

Original vehicle
design characteristics are to be accepted.

Temporary fixings
such as rope, cable ties etc. are not acceptable.
Method of Inspection
Vehicle Identification Number
Reason for Rejection
1. A bootlid, tailgate, loading door, access panel,hinged tailboard or dropside cannot be secured in the closed position.

2. An externally fitted spare wheel or carrier insecure to the extent that it is likely to fall off.
Vehicle Identification Number.1

Reproduced from the MOT Inspection Manual by kind permission of THE VEHICLE INSPECTORATE.

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