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Some things you may not know -

  • The V.O.S.A. requires that all vehicles aged 3 years and above must be inspected and pass an M.O.T test.
  • All tests are computerised and Test stations are linked directly to the V.O.S.A........ so your car can be taxed online almost imediately after receiving an MOT pass.
  • REMEMBER M.O.T. is a test of the vehicle at that moment in time. Should your tyres be as low as 1.7mm, (against a legal minimum limit of 1.6mm) and you immediately go off on a 500 mile trip, they may well become illegal during the journey!
  • From a safety viewpoint, some things (such as tyres) can pass the M.O.T even if the tread is only 1mm above the legal 1.6mm........which means tyres with a noticeably longer stopping distance will still pass an MOT. If this is the case you will be issued with an advisory notice by the testing station
  • An MOT station can refuse to carry out the M.O.T. test if the rear seat or boot of your car is untidy, covered (including child buggies), or so full of rubbish that it would impede the testers ability to conduct the test to the required standards.
  • The condition of the spare wheel and tyre is not part of the M.O.T.

What does an MOT cover?

An MOT checks a vehicles 'safety systems' to make sure they can do the job they were designed for.

The test will check a range of things such as -

Brakes -

  • The internal ABS warning light
  • Footbrake travel and condition of the pedal rubber
  • Operation of the servo assistance system
  • Operation of the handbrake

Under bonnet -

  • Master cylinder and servo unit
  • Brake Pipe condition
  • Under Vehicle -
  • Brake pipes
  • Disks and drums
  • Calipers
  • Cables
  • Valves
  • Overall braking efficiency and balance

Doors -

  • Doors should be capable of latching and of being opened from both the inside and outside

Exhaust Emissions -

  • These are checked using special equipment and are analysed to determine the levels of emissions and smoke that a vehicle emits. For example, diesel vehicles will have their engines run at high revs for a period of time so, unless you want an expensive repair bill, it is advisable to ensure that the Cambelts are in good condition before you have an MOT.

Fuel System -

  • Fuel pipes are checked from the tank to the engine. All caps and seals should be in good operational condition and any leak is an automatic failure.

Horn -

Your horn needs to work properly, not be sequential multi-toned, and loud enough to be heard by pedestrians and vehicles

Lights -

Your lights, brakelights, foglights, numberplate lamps and indicators will be checked to ensure they work correctly and are in good condition, and that the dip and main beam are at the correct levels. They also should not affect each other whilst in operation.

Mirrors -

These need to be in good condition, secure, and visible from the drivers seat.

Registration plates and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) -

  • Registration plates need to be clean, not faded, use correct letters and spacing, and not be cracked.
  • The VIN number (required on all post August 1st 1980 vehicles) should be legible and clearly displayed.

Seats and Seat Belts -

  • Seats must be secure and securable in an upright position, and Seat Belts must be securely fixed, lock and unlock, be in good condition, and retract - even if this means retracting manually.

Steering -

  • The steering wheel, column and shaft must be in good condition, secure and not have excessive play. The test will also assess things like the steering rack, couplings, power steering and joints and the nuts and bolts holding them in place.
  • Steering rack gaiters and Constant Velocity (CV) boots are checked - A CV boot is basically a rubber protective sheath which helps protect delicate parts of the CV joint.
  • Wheel bearings are also checked, together with metal and rubber bushes (large rubber washers) and all relevant nuts, bolts and split pins.

Suspension -

All suspension is checked to ensure it is in a good and secure condition, and tested for 'bounce' to ensure they function correctly.

Tyres and Wheels -

  • Tyres will be checked to ensure adequate tread depth (1.6mm throughout a continuos outer circumference band, across 3/4 of the tyre width). Tyres on the same axle should be the same size, and the correct specification for the vehicle (EG: Vans and MPV's should run on heavy duty tyres capable of carrying a heavier load).
  • All tyres should be in good condition, without any cuts, uneven wear, bulges or nails in them.
  • Wheels will be checked for buckles, dents, cracks and distortion plus the correct number of wheel nuts and studs.

Bodywork -

  • There should not be any sharp edges or projections. Excessive Corrosion (a hole, or corrosion bad enough to significantly weaken the structure) within 30 cm of a designated area such as supension, brakes, steering etc will cause a vehicle to fail.

Windscreen -

  • This will be checked for general condition including cracks, chips larger than 10mm in your immediate line of vision, and larger than 40mm in the rest of the swept area will result in a fail.

Washers and wipers must operate correctly and wipers should not be split or be generally damaged.