Does My Vehicle Need an MOT Yet?


At the end of 2012, there were over 34 million cars licenced for use on the roads of Great Britain. Owning a car comes with a lot of responsibility, such as tax and insurance. Of course, many say it’s not the initial cost that cripples you, it’s the upkeep.

Keeping a car roadworthy means that you’ll come across the following three letters. If you’re a new driver, these letters may not mean anything to you yet, but rest assured, they will.

The Ministry of Transport test (MOT Test) is a requirement to determine the roadworthiness of a vehicle. First introduced in 1960, it was originally just a basic “test your brakes and lights” check. Not the most thorough of tests granted, but it paved the way towards a more comprehensive check that can save the lives of many motorists each year. Below is a list of vehicle types and required first MOT tests periods.

Class Vehicle Type Age First Test Required (Years)
1 Motorcycles (up to 200cc) 3
2 Motorcycles (over 200cc) 3
1 & 2 Motorcycles with side car (any engine size) 3
3 Three-wheeled vehicles 3
4 Cars & Light vans 3
4 Ambulances and Taxis 1
4 Private passanger vehicles & Ambulances (9-12 passanger seats) 1
4a Includes seat belt installation check N/A
5 Private passenger vehicles & Ambulances (13-16 passenger seats) 1
5 Private passenger vehicles & Ambulances (More than 16 passenger seats) 1
5a Includes seat belt installation check (13-16 passenger seats) N/A
5a Includes seat belt installation check (More than 16 passenger seats) N/A
7 Goods vehicles (over 3,000kg up to 3,500kg DGW) 3

As you can see, it’s a legal requirement for most vehicles that are aged three years and over. The MOT test is an annual one that today checks a wide variety of issues that may affect vehicles, including:

MOT Checks

  1. Exhaust emissions
  2. Wipes/washers
  3. Brakes
  4. Windscreen
  5. Tyres

There is a more extensive list, which can be found here. However, this gives you an indication as to what an MOT test will look out for. If your vehicle fails any one of the minimum requirements for these issues, then you’ll be taking the bus to work until you’ve got them fixed.

Wear and Tear

Every vehicle that is used on a regular basis will eventually degrade unless properly maintained. You might find that keeping a simple regular check on the workings of your vehicle will save you a lot of money down the line, especially when it comes to passing an MOT test.

The good news is that if you buy a vehicle brand new, it’s not something you have to worry about for the next three years. However, for example, if you buy a used car, it’s highly recommended to check the MOT history. To make it a little easier, you can quickly check the MOT history of a vehicle against what is recorded online by going here.

Few people are exempt from the MOT test. Unless, you plan on getting a new car every three years, you will have to face the music and get your vehicle checked out. Did you know…

  • It applies to any highway or road (defined as such in the Road Traffic Act of 1988)
  • In Northern Ireland, new cars do not require an MOT test until four years have elapsed
  • If you live on listed small islands within the UK, and do not use your car to travel to “a road in any part of Great Britain”, an MOT test is not required.

If you have any questions about vehicle safety and how to ensure you are taking the right precautions, Warrantywise is always glad to help. Call us on 01254 355100 or email