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Is Your Vehicle Ready for its MOT?

Most divers are responsible road users, every vehicle owner has a duty of care to themselves and other road users to ensure their car is roadworthy and kept in good condition.

MOT Mechanic

In this article we take a closer look at what to expect from the mechanic or motor trade expert you choose to inspect your vehicle for its MOT test certificate, along with a checklist of requirements to help your vehicle pass.

Motoring guidelines require all vehicles to be legally roadworthy by passing an annual Ministry of Transport test (MOT), owners can be prosecuted for driving used vehicles that are not roadworthy.

Any driver found without a valid MOT can be fined up to a £1,000, which may also invalidate a private or motor trade insurance policy. You should diarise your MOT expiry date, and ensure your vehicle is taxed.

Any vehicle under 3 years old will not need an MOT certificate, but UK government guidelines require an annual inspection from its 4th year and thereafter.

MOT inspections do not test the engine, gearbox, or clutch, but many vehicles fail their MOT due to something quite straight forward, like the tyre tread depth.

The Department for Transport (DfT) require garages in the motor trade to carry the triple blue triangle logo to be an authorised MOT facility. MOT vehicle examiners, or vehicle diagnostic technicians will test all types of light vehicles to ensure they legally comply.

Examiners are licenced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’ (DVSA) to test Class 3, 4, 5 or 7 vehicles. The DVSA is a government agency that check MOT testers to ensure they meet exacting standards and have completed the light vehicle maintenance and repair level 3 training requirements as a minimum.

MOT technicians will focus on the following vehicle components for the test:

  • Registration plate and ‘Vehicle identification number’ (VIN)
  • Tyre and Wheel Condition
  • Brakes
  • Fuel and Exhaust and Emissions
  • Seats and the Seat Belts
  • Steering and Suspension
  • Windscreen, Wipers and Screen Wash
  • Horn and Mirrors and Lights

For each of these individual test’s specialist motor trade tools and equipment will be used to look for any excessive damage or wear and tear, whilst also ensuring that all vehicle parts and accessories are in line with the UK government guidelines. You can save yourself both time and money before booking your vehicle in to the local garage by carrying out a few simple checks:

  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should match the one in the logbook, and all registration plates must be in good condition and visible.
  • Check the pressure of all tyres, including their tread depth, the tread should meet the legal requirement which is a minimum of 1.6mm.
  • Make sure the windows and mirrors are secure and not cracked or broken. They should be clean and not obstructing the drivers view. Also check and replace wiper blades if required.
  • Ensure all the lights are working throughout the car in case you need to replace any, including the ones on the dashboard.
  • Finally, sound the horn to make sure it works.
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After the MOT you will receive a service report outlining all the results and whether the vehicle has passed or failed, which will be categorised:

  • Pass
  • Pass with advisories
  • Pass with minor faults
  • Fail with major or dangerous faults

If the vehicle passes, congratulations, you will receive your MOT test certificate which can then be used for buying an insurance policy from a reputable motor insurance provider.

The garage will also submit the results to a central database where the MOT status of your vehicle can be checked, or reminders sent out for when you need to renew it.

If your vehicle fails its MOT you will need to fix the problems outlined in the report, once these repairs have been carried out you will need to re-book another MOT and have it tested again.