A Ministry of Transport (MOT) test is a yearly inspection on any vehicle to assess its safety and emission level. Numerous checks and tests need to be carried out to assess a car on this and usually takes around 30-40 minutes. In the UK it is a legal requirement that all vehicles older than three years get MOT tested.
The regulations of MOT testing at MOT centres are enforced by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA). VOSA overlook all aspects of MOT’s and say what requirements need to be met to ensure vehicles are safe.
Vehicle owners are held responsible for ensuring that their car has a valid MOT certificate and must get their car tested every year. An MOT certificate is one of the most important parts of owning a car as you won’t be able to purchase road tax without a valid certificate and also your car insurance will be made void. It is advised to take your V5 logbook with you when you go to get your car MOT tested.
So when can you book an MOT? You are allowed to renew your MOT certificate within 28 days from when the current one expires. If you have a newer car you must get your first MOT within the 28 days before it turns three years old. If you take the current certificate when you go for your MOT then the new expiration date will be matched to the current MOT certificate. There is no grace period after your certificate has expired so if you have forgotten and gone past your expiration date then you will not be able to drive your car unless you’re going to a pre-booked MOT test centre to get the car checked. The reason for there being no grace period is because you can take your car to be tested 28 days before it expires and they will pull the date forward to match the old one so you don’t lose out on time. If you do go past your MOT date then make sure the only driving you’re doing is to an MOT test centre.
Your MOT assessment will be made based on your cars condition at the time of the test. If your car fails on any of the checks then these issues will need to be fixed before you can be given a new MOT certificate. If a vehicle fails an MOT test you will be given a report describing the issues. These issues need to be addressed then you can get a re-test which I know at my MOT Norwich centre don’t charge for and I think most test centers don’t too. If you take it to a different place however you will get charged again. The free re-test only applies if your return your car within 14 days from the first test.
If your car passes an MOT with flying colours then you will receive a brand new MOT certificate and you can drive away good to go for another year. Sometimes you may pass an MOT but the inspector will have spotted certain issues that will arise before your next MOT test and will need looking at in the coming months. These problems with be explained in your detailed MOT report and should be looked at as soon as possible before they cause more problems.
Not any car mechanic can carry out an MOT test. The MOT test centre and tester themselves must be licensed and registered with VOSA. If they are not then the MOT certificate won’t be valid so it is best to make sure all garages and testers have the necessary licensing.