Everything you need to know about Car MOT

An annual MOT check is a legal requirement to ensure that your car is roadworthy, the test reveals potential problems that could affect the safety of your car further down the line.

Warrantywise have put together a blog post that explains everything you need to know about the MOT test.

What does MOT stand for?

MOT is actually named after a defunct government department named the ‘Ministry of Transport’, which was renamed to the Department for Transport in 2002.

When was the MOT test introduced?

The MOT test was first introduced in 1960 by Ernest Marples under the Ministry of Transport and was mandatory for any car over ten years old. The test was only carried out on the brakes, lights, and steering and was carried out every 12 months after that.

The first commercial vehicle exam was introduced in 1962, each passing vehicle was issued with a certificate. This certificate was required to tax the vehicle. More items have been added to the test over the years as cars have evolved.

New MOT test changes

The MOT test changed on 20 May 2018, with new defect types, stricter rules for diesel car emissions, and some vehicles over 40 years old becoming exempt. There are 5 main changes that came into force that you can read more about by visiting our blog about MOT Test Changes in 2018

What is checked on an MOT?

Everything you need to know about Car MOT

Nearly every aspect of your vehicle is checked under the MOT test. Make sure you are not caught out by not having any liquid for your windscreen washers.

  • Bodywork – the structure of the vehicle and body is checked for any corrosion or damage. There shouldn’t be any sharp edges, as this could be a danger to other road users, if there are your vehicle could result in failing its MOT
  • Brakes - Usually tested on a roller brake tester to check the vehicles braking performance. Check that the footbrake and handbrake function properly
  • Doors – All doors must open and close correctly and ensure the latch is secure when the doors are closed. The front doors should be able to be opened from both the inside and outside of the car.
  • Emissions – Your vehicle must meet the legal requirements for emissions to ensure it passes its MOT. If your vehicle is a diesel and has a diesel particulate filter (DPF) that has been tampered with your MOT will fail
  • Fuel System – All visible parts such as the fuel cap, hoses and pipes need to be secure and free from leaks
  • Horn – The test covers the suitability of the horn as well as its operation and effectiveness
  • Lights – Every light (including headlamps, registration plate bulbs, reversing lights, indicators and parking lights) are checked to make sure they are fully functional, in good condition and securely fitted
  • Mirrors - Checked for condition and if they are securely fitted, they should be positioned to be clearly visible from the driver’s seat
  • Registration Plate – The condition, fitting, legibility and format and spacing of the letters are all checked. All letters and numbers should easily be read from 20 metres away
  • Seatbelts – Every seatbelt is checked for the condition they are in as well as correct operation and that they click into place securely
  • Seats –Check to see that the front seats are secured and do not move, when they are not supposed to
  • Steering and Suspension – The steering and suspension is checked to make sure it is in good condition
  • Wheels and Tyres – Checked for a number of potential issues, such as condition, fitting, size, and tread depth
  • Windscreen – This area is checked for any chips or cracks. The maximum amount of damage allowed is 10mm in the driver's line of vision or 40mm in any other area swept by the windscreen wipers
  • Wipers and Washer Bottle – The tester will check the effectiveness of the wipers and washers to make sure they function correctly and allow the driver to see the road clearly. Wipers that smear could potentially be worn out, so replace them before the MOT test
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) – The VIN needs to be present and legible on the vehicle. The location of the VIN differs depending on the manufacturer
  • Under the bonnet – Open the bonnet and make sure the engine oil and brake fluid are topped up. The test checks for any potential leaks as this can be an environmental risk

When Does a New Car Have its First MOT?

After purchasing a brand new car, you won’t need to take a MOT test for the first 3 years. After that period you will need to take the MOT test every 12 months.

There is an online MOT checker available that provides a lot of information about the MOT history of any vehicle, but more importantly when your next MOT test is due. You can check when your MOT is due by visiting the GOV Website

Common MOT Faults and how to avoid them

According to gov.uk 3 main faults can be avoided by performing a few simple tasks.

  1. Lightbulbs – 30% of all failures are due to lighting. It isn’t expensive to replace a light bulb and can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run
  2. Tyre condition and pressure – 10% of all faults are related to tyre issues. Before you take your car to be tested you can check the tyre pressure to make sure they are correctly inflated
  3. Mirrors, wipers, and washers – 8.5% of faults are due to the driver’s vision being obscured when using their mirrors. This can be avoided by making sure the mirrors are fully functional and can be adjusted when required

Warrantywise offer MOT Failure as part of your Car Warranty, which is designed to provide the repair cost of included parts which have failed the DVSA annual MOT test, together with the cost of any re-test free.

For more information on a Used Car Warranty contact us today.

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