The MOT Test – All You Need To Know
The MOT test is an annual check required for all vehicles over 3 years old in the UK. The purpose of MOT is to check the various areas of your vehicle to ensure they are roadworthy and meet the legal standards for safe operation. The areas to be checked include suspension, brakes, emissions, tyres, and many more.
Now, this isn’t the same as servicing your car. That is entirely different. More so, MOT doesn’t check the mechanical condition of your vehicle (clutch, engine, etc.). These services are limited to car service centres.
Areas Tested in MOT
- Body of Vehicle and Other General Items: These are checked to make sure that there are no sharp edges that can cause injuries, and to ensure the vehicle is free from excessive corrosion.
- Wipers: The wiper blades of your vehicle should not smear and should be able to adequately clear your screen. The rubber blade of the wiper should be intact. You can check the rubber piece attached to the wiper to ensure it isn’t splitting, especially at the edges.
- Tyres and Wheels: These will be checked for tread depth (legal tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm), condition, size & type, and security. Spare tyres and wheels are not checked. The tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) MIL for vehicles used on or after January 1, 2012 will be checked to make sure it’s working.
- Exhaust Emissions: Your vehicle will be checked to ensure it meets the legal requirement for exhaust emissions. This will depend on the fuel type and age of the vehicle.
- Diesel engines
The person in charge of MOT test will not test your vehicle if they suspect that the smoke test may damage the engine of your vehicle. Inform them on time if you think this is a likely scenario. Here’s what you should do to increase your chances of passing the engine test and reduce the possibility of damage:
- Never fiddle with the governor settings of the vehicle
- Always service your vehicle
- Change the camshaft drive belt at the recommended intervals
- Have your engine properly warmed up before the MOT test
5. Warning Lights and Bulbs: Headlights will be checked for operation (main and dipped). The condition of all lights checked, and also whether main beam warning light is working properly. The cleaning, security and self-levelling of the headlights will be checked as well.
- Towbars: These will be checked for wrong repairs, condition, and secureness. In addition, the MOT tester will check to see that the speedometer is in good condition, and that the 13 pin electrical socket is working perfectly. The engine mountings are also checked to make sure it’s secure.
- Seatbelts: The MOT tester will check that the vehicle has the mandatory seatbelts in place and that they are attached securely. The seatbelts should also be suitable for the vehicle, in good condition and work properly. The malfunction indicator lamps (MILs) will be checked for the:
- Seatbelt load limiters (This slacks the belt when it’s too tight)
- Seatbelt pretensioners (Removes the slack from the belt during collision)
- Air bags
- Fuel System: The vehicle’s fuel system is checked to ensure that there are no leaks, that the fuel cap fastens properly, and the hoses and pipes are in good condition. The fuel cap will have to be opened during test, so you should have the key available.
- Horn: Your horn will be checked to see it works properly and suitable for the vehicle.
- Seats: These will be checked to make sure all the seats are fitted securely, and the driver’s seat adjustable.
- Exhaust System: This will be checked to ensure it is secure, not too noisy and that there are no serious leakages. And also, to make sure there is no missing catalyst where one was fitted as standard.
- Brakes: The brakes are the most important parts of any vehicle. The MOT test will check their overall condition, operation and performance. The electronic stability control (ESC) and anti-lock braking system (ABS) are also checked. In addition, the dashboard warning lights will be checked for electronic park brake, ABS, ESC, and brake fluid warning lights.
- Bonnet: The MOT test will check that the bonnet of the vehicle closes securely.
- Doors: These will be checked to ensure that all the hinges and catches are secure and in good condition. It will also check that:
- Front doors open from both inside and outside of the vehicle
- Back doors open from outside
- The latch is properly secured in the closed position
- Mirrors: The MOT test will check for the minimum number of mirrors for the vehicle, their security and condition. It will also inspect the indirect vision devices of the vehicle.
- Windscreen: The vehicle’s windscreen will be checked to make sure it’s in good condition and that the driver has a clear view of the road.
- Steering and Suspension: MOT test will check that:
- Steering works properly and in good condition
- Steering oil level is normal
- There is no inappropriate modifications or repairs
- Steering lock mechanism works properly
Dashboard warning lights will also be checked for steering lock and electronic power steering.
- Registration Plates: These will be checked for overall condition (colour, secure attachment, characters properly formed and spaced).
- Load Security: The MOT test will check that the boot or tailgate of the vehicle can be properly closed.
- Electrical: All the electrical wirings of the vehicle will be checked, including the battery.
- VIN: All vehicles first used on or after August 1, 1980 should have a VIN, except on multistage build vehicles like BMW, van conversions etc. MOT will check that your vehicle has a single VIN displayed.