An MOT is a yearly test for cars that checks if the vehicle is fit enough to be on the road. More recent checks also look at the emissions and whether all the onboard electrics are working correctly.
The MOT was first set up by the ministry of transport, hence the name MOT. It is now a requirement for all vehicles across the UK.
For cars registered in most of the UK, the first MOT takes place when a car reaches 3 years from the date of its first registration. If you are based in Northern Ireland, that is extended a further year to 4 years from the car’s first registration.
The MOT is a comprehensive inspection of the car, covering many different areas. The primary focus is to ensure the car is safe to be on the road, and also meets the most recent environmental standards. Brakes, seatbelts, windscreen wipers, exhaust emissions, suspension, lights, just some of the things tested in an MOT.
It might be worth advising any mechanic of any known visible faults, as they may be able to rectify it before the MOT itself.
There are three types of faults – minor, major and dangerous. Minor faults are issues that don’t necessarily have to be repaired straight away, but it’s recommended that they are fixed at some point. An accumulation of minor faults can lead to a fail. Major faults will result in a fail, but you are able to drive the car away to get it repaired. Dangerous faults will need to be repaired immediately.
All MOTs are conducted at authorised test centres across the country. You are unable to book a test directly with the test centre, and will have to arrange an MOT with a mechanic or garage.
The maximum cost of an MOT is set at £54.85 for cars, £29.65 for motorbikes. You should not go ahead with an MOT that costs more than this, and make sure that any servicing package details how much you are being charged for the MOT itself. Many garages will offer an MOT at a lower cost, in a bid to attract your custom.
If your car fails an MOT, you can get your car retested for free within 10 working days of the initial test. You will have to get any faults fixed before it is retested. If there are any dangerous faults, you will not be able to drive the car away, so will have to rely on it being towed by the garage.
If you drive a car without an MOT or while it has been registered as having dangerous faults, you can be fined up to £2,500. You can also get banned from driving and have three points added to your licence.
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