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 Mot Whats Checked


  In this Mot Guide                                                      More info        

    Something Else                                                                                                              Mot Homepage   

    Something Else                                                                                                              Mot Whats Checked

    Something Else                                                                                                              Mot  Q&A

    Some thing else                                                                                                              Vosa Website




What is checked during an MOT? (Including new MOT test items)

The bodywork – the car will be checked to ensure there is no excessive rust, significant damage or sharp edges.

Towbars – are they secure and in good working order?

Fuel system – are all pipes and hoses in good condition and without leaks?  Does the fuel cap fasten tightly?

Exhaust emissions – does the car meet the necessary environmental requirements, given its age and fuel type?

Exhaust system – the exhaust system will be checked for potential noise, leaks and any missing catalysts.

Seat belts – all seat belts must be in place and in good working order.  The malfunction indicator lamp for air bags will also be checked as will the presence and condition of the air bags themselves.  If a seatbelt pre-tensioner and/or seatbelt load limiter was originally fitted, the examiner will check for its presence and condition.

Seats – can the driver’s seat be adjusted correctly into different positions?  Can all seats be manoeuvred to the upright position?

Doors – all front doors should be able to be opened easily both from the inside and the outside for safety purposes, with the rear doors able to be opened from the outside. 

Mirrors – are all mirrors in place and are they clean and in good condition?

Boot – can the boot be opened and closed easily?

Brakes – the general condition and effectiveness of the brakes will be tested, along with the electronic stability control if appropriate, the electronic parking brake and brake fluid warning light.

Tyres & wheels – all tyres currently fitted on the car will be checked for condition, appropriate type, tread and tyre pressure if necessary.

Registration plates – examiners will check both registration plates are not cracked but are visible, fixed securely and are of the standard type. 

Lights – all headlamps and car lights will be checked to ensure they are clean, effective and working correctly.  Any products applied to lamps or lights which are designed to reduce the degree of light or change its colour will result in an MOT failure.  Where HID or LED dipped beam headlights are used, both levelling and cleaning devices will also be checked.

Bonnet – does the bonnet open and close properly?

Wipers/washers – do both wipers work correctly to clear the windscreen?  Is there enough washing fluid available?

Windscreen – the windscreen should enable the driver to see clearly without any scrapes, cracks or significant dirt.

Horn – is the horn of the correct type and does it work?

Steering & suspension – are both systems in good working order?  Are all pipes and hoses rust free?  There should be enough steering oil in the car and the steering lock and/or power steering should work well. 

Vehicle identification number – should be visible.

Electrical – The battery and all related car electrics will be tested to ensure they are working correctly, secure, well insulated and not leaking.  13 pin sockets will have a full electrical connectivity check.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)  - as part of the antilock brakes check, the ESC malfunction warning light and all related parts will be checked to ensure they are in good working order.

Warning lights – all your car’s warning lights will be checked, including the SRS malfunction light.

Speedometer – the speedometer should be in good condition and working correctly.

Exhaust – a missing catalytic converter where one was originally installed will result in an MOT fail.






    Mot guide

  •  What is an Mot10 min DIY check that could save you money                      Free retest items

  • Top 5 reasons for failing an MOT                                           Vosa

  • Whats checked in an MOT                                                       

  • Your rights if your car fails an MOT

  • www.garageadvisor.comNew mot checks for 2012



What is an mot test


Everyone who uses a vehicle on the road must keep it in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that vehicles meet road safety and environmental standards. The first MOT test for a vehicle is required when it’s three years old. 


 Why Taking 10 mins to check your car could save you pounds 

A large proportion of MOT failures can be put down to the simplest of things, a blown lightbulb, a split wiper blade or worn tyre. Its not the examiners responsibility to get your car through the mot, only to inspect your car to vosa standards. Taking 10 minutes to check your car for possible  fails is an easy task for most  people and could save you unnecessary costs. Make sure your car is parked in a safe place before doing these checks, well away from moving traffic and not on the road.


Check Tyre treads are above 1.6mm depth in a continuous band across the centre ¾ of the tyres width,Inflate tyres to the correct pressure,Check Rubber is not badly perished and that their are no deep cuts or bulges on the tyre
Front tyres are the same size, make and style
Rear tyres are the same size, make and style
Wheels are not badly damaged, cracked or distorted
No wheel nuts missing
Wheels secured to vehicle with no free play

Check no Windscreen chips above 10mm in drivers line of sight (roughly width of steering wheel)
or Windscreen chips above 40mm in the area swept by the wipers
No Scratching to the glass that limits the drivers view of the road
That Wipers clear the screen effectively for entire length
Rubber not split or perished

Windscreen wipers

Check that wipers clear the screen effectively for their entire length, Wipers are securely attached to arm, that Washer jets work and water bottle is topped up


Have someone help you for this part, one of you sit in the car and activate the lights whilst the other checks they work from outside.

Headlights main beam, Headlights dipped beam
Sidelights front, Sidelights rear
Indicators: front, Indicators: rear, Indicators: side repeaters
Brake lights
Number plate lights (rear only)
Reverse light (not part of MOT but worth checking)
Rear fog light
Rear fog light ‘tell-tale’ works (indication on the dash or switch that the rear fog is on)
Hazard light circuit (check the hazard lights seperately to indicators )
Check bulbs shine the correct colour (coloured coating can peel with age)
Light fittings are secure
Light fittings are not badly cracked or damaged
Light systems do not interfere with each other (i.e. when you operate the indicators the headlights don’t start flashing)
Two rear reflectors fitted either side of the car must operate as intended

Check that Steering must move freely from lock to lock, Steering wheel is in good condition
Steering wheel securely attached to steering column (Power steering must be operational if fitted)
Fuel cap locks securely
Fuel cap rubber seal not split or perished
Exhaust securely mounted
No blows (holes) in the exhaust


check the Horn is operational, loud enough to attract attention and that it is a uniform tone (i.e. not two tone or a musical air horn)

Mirrors and glass secure

Glass not cracked or smashed and limiting drivers view
Body free of protrusions that could cause injury
No excessive corrosion
Front doors work from inside and out
Rear doors need to work if other parts of the test cannot be completed without their operation. (i.e. rear belts)
Boot closes and latches securely
Bonnet closes and latches securely
ABS warning lamp goes out after ignition sequence
Pedal rubbers give good control of pedals
Handbrake holds car sufficiently
Footbrake does not go all the way to the floor
Brake pipes are free from corrosion
No brake fluid leaks including brake servo & master cylinder
Number plates secured & not cracked
Number plates not faded or hidden by dirt
Standard numbers and letters with standard spacing

Seats and Seatbelts
Check Seatbelts latch and fasten securely that  belts are  in good condition (not split or frayed)
Seat belts retract into reel

That Seats are secured down properlyand that seat back will stay securely in an upright position

Theres not really away of checking your Emissions at home but  – If the car has only been used for running around town, take it for a long run to clear away the sooty deposits that can build up in the engine.

VIN (Vehicle registration number) present & secure to the car body
VIN not dirty, faded or obscured
VIN has legible & uniform letter / number spacing
Make sure you have enough fuel in the tank to make it through the test!

 Top 5 reasons for failing an Mot

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Lighting and Signalling
  • The headlamps are checked for alignment with a Beam Setter. After first aligning the equipment with the vehicle, the left and right headlamp beams are checked to ensure they are correctly set so as not to dazzle other road users. 

    All required lights are checked for: 

    §  operation

    §  condition

    §  security

     Side lights and headlamps

     §  are the correct type and colour

    §  dip and aim.

     Stop lights, indicators and hazard lights*

     §  are the correct type and colour

    §  do not interfere with each other in operation

    §  driver's tell-tale works with respect to indicators, or there is an audible warning system.

     Rear Fog lamps**

     §  must be fitted to the centre or offside of the vehicle

    §  tell-tale must work

    §  must not be affected by other lamps and not be obscured

    §  must be red.

     Number plate lamps

     §  All lamps fitted must be working.

     Rear reflectors

     §  There must be two red reflectors fitted reasonably symmetrically, securely attached and not obscured.

     * Must be fitted to all vehicles first used on or after 1st April 1986, but if fitted, must be Tested.

    ** Must be fitted to all vehicles first used on or after 1st April 1980.

  •  Brake efficiency and balance is usually checked on a roller brake tester. In certain cases where a roller brake tester may not be used (for example on certain 4-wheel drive vehicles) it may be necessary to check brake efficiency and balance on a road test, with a portable decelerometer.
    Inside the car
    Anti-lock braking system (if fitted) warning lamp is checked for:
  • function
    sequence of operation
    sufficient reserve travel on the footbrake
    pedal rubber not worn to excess
    correct operation of the servo assistance system

    Parking brake
    This could be hand, foot or electronically operated. Checked for reserve travel so that it doesn't reach the stops on application. The mountings will be checked for security and/or corrosion.

    Under bonnet checks

    master cylinder and servo unit are checked for leaks with the engine on and the brakes applied
    servo unit will be checked to ensure it is operating correctly
    visible metal or flexible brake pipes will be checked for corrosion, condition, fouling or leaks

    Under vehicle checks

    flexible brake pipes and any other metal brake pipes visible beneath the car are checked
    discs and drums (external only) checked for condition and contamination
    brake back plates and caliper securing devices are checked for condition and security
    condition of the brake pads will be checked if visible
    The assistant operates the handbrake and the condition of the linkages and/or cables is checked.
    on some vehicles there will be a brake compensating valve beneath the car which will need to be inspected for fluid leaks

    Brake performance check

    The performance of the front and rear brakes and handbrake are checked for efficiency and balance using specialised equipment.

  •  Under bonnet checks

    upper suspension joints

     any other suspension components which can be inspected from beneath the bonnet

    Under vehicle checks

    Applies to the front and rear suspension

     no split pins or nuts missing, no components broken or excessively damaged
     road springs are checked for condition
     all suspension joints are checked for condition
     shock absorbers must not leak and must be secure (the vehicle will be 'bounced' by the Tester to check that they damp the springs adequately).

    The suspension is checked for wear by the assistant applying loads in various ways with the wheels jacked up whilst the Tester observes the result from beneath the vehicle. This may include the use of approved wheel play detectors in some Test Stations.

    Note: There are numerous different suspension systems, and the specific nature of any examination will depend to a large extent on the design of the suspension system.
  •  Tyre condition
    The reason for failure with respect to tyre wear is:

    "The grooves of the tread pattern are not at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band comprising: the central three-quarters of the breadth of tread around the entire outer circumference of the tyre".
    Tyres must be correctly matched with regard to:

  • NB. type or structure but not both.

    tyres on the same axle must be of the same structure and size.

    Also examined:

    general condition of tyre
    condition of valve.

    Tyres fail if they have serious cuts, bulges or other damage.

    The wear on the tyre is checked with a tyre tread depth gauge to ensure compliance.

    The tyres are examined to ensure that there is no fouling with any part of the vehicle.

    1. Although under-inflation is not in itself a reason for failure, a brake test may be inadvisable because of possible damage, and it may affect headlamp alignment. The condition of the spare tyre is not part of the MOT.
    2. From 2012, Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) will form part of the MOT Test. Vehicles on which TPMS was originally fitted will have to have it fully operable. When this test is implemented one faulty sensor will result in a fail.

    Wheel condition

    distorted bead rim
    securely attached to the vehicle
    no wheel nuts or studs missing.

    An externally fitted spare wheel or spare wheel carrier must not be so insecure that it is likely to fall off.
  •  Body condition and security
  • for vehicles with a separate body, the body must not be so insecure or displaced so that it might lead to loss of control of the vehicle when driven, or be a danger to other road users
    there must be no dangerous sharp edges or projections caused by corrosion or damage which is dangerous to other road users including pedestrians.
  • Corrosion
  • A vehicle can fail with respect to corrosion for:

    excessive corrosion in a 'prescribed area' — within 30 cms of certain safety related components, e.g. brakes, steering, suspension, seat belt mountings etc.
    Excessive corrosion not in a 'prescribed area', but which is likely to adversely affect the vehicle's braking or steering. 'Excessive corrosion' can mean a hole or a significantly weakened structure.

 Whats Checked in an Mot


Tread Depth, is your tread at least 1.6mm depth all the way around? Are there any bulges, cracks or tears on the tyre? If the tyre is in anyway damaged it will most certainly fail its MOT so better to change the tyres immediately. ( Did you know that there was a statutory £60 fine and 3 penalty points for each illegal tyre on your car? You could also be prosecuted with fines up to £1000 a tyre. 

Check your windscreen wipers Are there any splits or cracks, Change them easily yourself for less than a tenner rather than having to take your car back for a retest. plus dont forget to top your washer bottle up with water.


Lights get someone to sit in the car for you and check all your light are working! Brake lights hazards indicators headlights dipped and full beam and dont forget number plate lights! you can change a bulb in your car for just a couple of pounds rather than fail your MOT.


 Your Rights if you fail an Mot

After failure, fees for re-examination vary according to different circumstances
Where a vehicle fails its MOT Test and stays at the Test Station in order to undergo repairs, only a partial re-examination will be required, provided the re-examination is carried out before the end of the tenth working day after the day of the initial test. This re-examination will be free.

If the vehicle is brought back to the same Testing Station by the end of the next working day for one or more of the following items only, a partial re-examination is again required and this re-examination is also free:

Bonnet, boot lid, brake pedal anti-slip, direction indicators, doors, dropsides, fuel filler cap, hazard warning, horn, lamps, loading door, mirrors, rear reflectors, registration plates, seatbelts (but not anchorages), seats, sharp edges or projections, steering wheel, tailboard, tailgate, vehicle identification number (VIN), windscreen and glass, windscreen wipers/washers, wheels* and tyres*.

(* Not applicable to motor bicycles and side cars.)

If the vehicle does not qualify for a re-test as listed in 1) or 2) above, and is brought back to the same Testing Station by the end of the tenth working day following the day of the initial test for retest, only a partial re-examination is required for which a maximum of half the full fee may be charged.

Previously, in this instance, a full re-examination of the vehicle was required for which a full fee was chargeable.
NOTE: It should also be noted that should a vehicle be submitted for an MOT Test whilst still having an unexpired and valid MOT pass certificate, and fail the inspection, the original pass certificate remains legally valid until it expires. However, should any vehicle have developed faults which renders it un-roadworthy in legal terms, it would be unlawful to use it on the road irrespective of whether or not it has a current and valid MOT pass certificate.


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