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An MOT test on your car is designed to ensure the vehicle you are driving is roadworthy. It is a legal requirement and every vehicle driven on UK roads needs to have a valid MOT test certificate once it is more than 3 years old. You will be required to have an MOT test performed on your car every year and the car must pass before it can be legally driven again.

Find out more about the MOT test in our ultimate guide below. 

What is an MOT test? 

The Ministry of Transport test (MOT) is a test which determines whether a vehicle is roadworthy or not. It requires the vehicle you are driving to have the test performed every year. During this test, a trained mechanic at a garage or dedicated MOT test centre will check over certain components and either award it a pass or failure certificate. It is the legal responsibility of the owner of the vehicle to make sure the car has a valid MOT in place every year, once the car is more than 3 years old. Failing to do so can result in a fine of up to £2,500. 

What is tested in an MOT? 

The MOT test aims to ensure important key parts of your vehicle are working as they should. During the test, a trained mechanic will follow the MOT guidelines set by the DVSA and check the below:

  • Wheels, tyres and suspension.
  • Body, structure and attachments (including exhaust system, seats and doors)
  • Steering and brakes.
  • Brake fluid and brake pads.
  • Fuel systems.
  • Exhaust emissions.
  • Fluid leaks.
  • Electrical components.
  • Daytime running and reversing lights.
  • Seatbelts.
  • Speedometer.
  • Wipers, windscreen, mirrors.
man fixing car during MOT

How long does an MOT test take? 

The average MOT test takes around 45-60 minutes to perform. If your car passes its MOT, you’ll be able to collect it when it’s ready and get your certificate.  If your car fails an MOT, the garage will usually fix any issues needed to pass the vehicle re-do the test and then have your vehicle back to you the next day. 

man holding MOT certificate

How much does an MOT cost?

The average MOT test costs around £40 in the UK. Some test centres may offer you a lower or higher rate per MOT test but the maximum a centre can charge you is £54.85. 

What happens if your car fails its MOT?

If your vehicle has failed its MOT, the garage or test centre will tell you why and ask if you want them to do the repairs. Usually, the repairs will be completed, a new MOT test will take place and the vehicle will then pass the test. If the repairs are deemed as ‘dangerous’, you are not able to drive the car and you will have to leave the vehicle with the garage to be repaired. If they are not ‘dangerous’ you can drive the car but will have to have the repairs completed within 10 days of the test. Again, the vehicle will need another MOT test performed and will be issued with a pass certificate.

Can you appeal a failed MOT result? 

The test centre will provide you with reasons why your vehicle has failed its MOT. If you disagree or feel it has been an unfair decision, you can appeal the failure. You will need to fill out a complaint form on the DVSA website within 14 days of the test result. They will then get back to you within 5 working days. You will get an appointment for the vehicle to be rechecked and you will need to pay for another MOT test to be carried out. However, if you win the appeal, you will get a refund for the test. 

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