An MOT is basically an annual check up for your car. The MOT test checks important parts of your vehicle to make sure they reach legal standards.
The test was originally introduced by the Ministry of Transport, which is why it's called an MOT. It just stands for Ministry of Transport test.
If your car is over three years old, it's a legal requirement to have it checked once a year by an approved MOT test centre.
You can tell if a garage is 'approved' for MOT testing, as it will display a blue sign with three white triangles on it.
If your car is less than three years old, you need to get an MOT test by the third anniversary of its registration.
Check online to find out when your MOT is due.
There is a different set price for an MOT on a motorbike, a car and a van. The maximum fee for a car is currently £54.85.
However, shop around, as many garages will offer an MOT test for much less than this.
It's the law. A valid MOT certificate proves that important parts of your vehicle reach certain standards. If you don't have a valid certificate, you could receive a maximum fine of up to £1,000.
Your insurance is invalid without one. If you don't have an MOT then your car insurance won't cover you in an accident.
This means you'll need to pay for any repairs to your car yourself and cover the costs of any other drivers involved if you are at fault. And, if your insurance is invalid, you could also receive a fine and points on your licence.
If you don't have a valid certificate, you could receive a maximum fine of up to £1,000.
It's a good idea to give your car a look over a week or so before your MOT test is due. According to Halfords, 30% of MOT faults relate to lighting and signalling, another 10% to brakes and a further 10% to tyres.
So by checking that your lights and indicators work, there's enough tread on your tyres and that your brakes aren't sticking, you could pre-empt any issues being raised at the MOT.
An MOT takes between 45 minutes to an hour and checks a range of parts on your car including:
If your car fails, you'll need to get it repaired to MOT standards and have it retested. Many test centres will retest your car for free if the repairs are carried out at their garage.
It's a good idea to book your MOT well in advance of the due date. So, if your car fails, you're still covered to drive it under the old MOT until it runs out. This gives you time to get your car repaired and have it retested. Please bear in mind technically your vehicle will be unroadworthy and so could invalidate your car insurance.
If your MOT expires, the only time you can drive your car on a public road is when you drive it to the test centre. If the police stop you, you'll need to prove you're on your way to get an MOT.