What is an MOT Test
The Ministry Of Transport Test is basically a compulsory annual examination of all UK registered motor vehicles that are in excess of 3 years old ( 4 in Northern Ireland ). There are MOT test centres all over the UK which have been approved by the Government to carry out these tests. Once your vehicle reaches 3 years old from its’ initial registration, you must display your MOT test certificate on the windscreen of your car. The certificate lasts for one year and your car must then be re-tested annually.
The purpose of the MOT test is to confirm that your vehicle is roadworthy and safe to use on public highways. It should be noted, however, that the MOT test only guarantees this condition on the day of the examination even though it is valid for 12 months. This is something to consider when looking to purchase a second hand vehicle.
In order to maintain your vehicle’s validity the MOT test can be completed in advance of the due date by up to 30 days and if you present the previous certificate to the MOT test centre the new document will be issued from the original date.
What to do if you lose your MOT Test Certificate?
These days it is far simpler than in the past to track down your cars’ MOT due date and get a duplicate copy. The only circumstances in which you are likely to need a replacement copy is if you have been summonsed to produce it by the police. As many people nowadays purchase their tax discs online, at which point you need to show evidence of a current MOT test certificate, there is a computerised record of the certificate being current and this can be checked online by the police instead of the necessity to physically produce it.
Checking the due date of your MOT Test
There is an MOT computerised website which you can refer to, to check the renewal date of your certificate. You just need your V5C registration document handy. Go to MOT Test Status to find out your current status.
Replacing Your MOT Test Certificate
For a fee of around £10 you can get a replacement MOT test certificate by taking your vehicle logbook to any government approved MOT test centre and they will be able to issue you with a replacement.
MOT Test Re-Examination
In certain circumstances you can get a free MOT test re-examination if your car has failed its’ MOT test. As long as the vehicle is returned to the MOT test centre within 24 hours you will be re-tested free of charge if your car failed the MOT test for any of the following reasons:
• Body condition (where examining the body is for the purpose of deciding if there are any sharp edges which may cause injury.
• Boot lid
• Brake pedal anti-slip devices
• Direction indicators/ hazard warning
• Drop sides
• Fuel filler cap
• Loading door
• Rear reflectors
• Registration plates
• Seat belts (but not anchorages)
• Steering wheel
• V. I. N.
• Windscreen wipers/ washers
• Wheels and tyres (class 3, 4 and 5 only)
MOT Test Reminder
Some 25% of vehicles do not have their MOT test certificates renewed at the due time each year, and 8% are over a month late. You can now be fined up to £1000 for not renewing your MOT test certificate on time, and as the system is fully computerised, it is easy for the police to make a quick check from their patrol car to see whether your car is legal or not. You have been warned!
Allow us to assist you with our MOT test reminder service:
We will contact you one month before your MOT test is due in order to give your car a pre-MOT test inspection which will identify any obvious faults that need attention and arrange to have them fixed. We will then send you a reminder one week before the MOT test is due. We will also let you know which is the most convenient MOT test centre for you. By leaving us your personal details we would like to confirm that these will not be shared with any third party. See our Privacy Statement for further details.
MOT Test Fees
The following fees are current as of 23rd April 2012 and is the maximum a centre is permitted to charge:
Motor bicycles: £29.65
Motor bicycles with side car: £37.80
3 wheeled vehicles: £37.80
Cars (up to 8 passenger seats): £54.85
Motor caravans: £54.85
Dual purpose vehicles: £54.85
Public service vehicles (up to 8 seats): £54.85
Private passenger vehicles & ambulances (9-12 passenger seats): £57.30
Class 4a (Includes seat belt installation check): £64.00
Items that are checked during your examination
The following is a list of all the items that will be checked during your MOT test examination, so ensure that these are all tested in a pre-MOT test check.
• Registration plates
• Vehicle Identification Number
• Bonnet Catch
• Vehicle structure
• Seat belts
• Exhaust system
• Fuel system
• Tyres and wheels
Car Repairs Belfast Guide to Passing the MOT Test
The following is a list of basic checks to be done before presenting your car at the MOT test centre. Although completing this list is not a guarantee of success at the MOT test centre, it will help to avoid making the costly mistake of neglecting the basics.
1. Tyres – Your tyres will be checked to ensure they are inflated to the correct pressure. They will also be checked to confirm they have the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6 mm covering three quarters of the width of the tyre. Make sure there are no cuts or bulges on any of the tyres.
2. Lights – All these lights will be inspected to make sure they are operating correctly:
Front lights; headlights and sidelights
Registration plate illuminator
Your bulbs should all be inspected to make sure there are no loose connections. To check this, tap lightly on the casing to make sure the light does not flicker. Close attention should be paid to the registration plate illuminator as this is something ou would tend to overlook.
3. Hazard Warning Lights – One of the most important lights concerning your safety, you should check that the lights are flashing when the hazard warning switch is in operation. These lights should flash when the cars’ ignition is switched both on and off.
4. Horn – Make sure the horn works when pressed. Two tone air horns are legal contrary to some suggestions as long as both tones sound at the same time.
5. Registration Plate – Your car will be failed if the registration plate has any cracks in it, is not secured to the car properly or if the number is not visible. Registration plates should not be designed in a way that does not meet the Government’s guidelines on size and shape of letters and numbers.
6. Vehicle Identification Number – The V.I.N. is a number that is generally displayed on the driver’s side of the car at the bottom of the windscreen. Make sure this can be seen clearly.
7. Seat belts – Check that all the seat belts are operating correctly and are not damaged.
8. Seats – All seats should be presented in the upright position. They should all be secure and not loose in any way.
9. Mirrors – Mirrors are a legal requirement and should be functioning and not cracked.
10. Wipers and Washers – Your wipers should not be worn. It is advisable to replace old wipers prior to the MOT test. Another basic mistake that is sometimes made is going to the MOT test with your washer bottle empty. Ensure this is full of water.
11. Windscreen – Make sure there are no cracks or chips in your windscreen. Your car will fail if there are any chips in the drivers’ view of more than 10 mm.
12. Petrol Cap – Temporary fuel caps are no longer permitted in an MOT test. The caps should be lockable and the seal should not be worn.
MOT Test Failure Question
A question which has often sparked controversy in the past is:
“If my vehicle fails its’ MOT test, will the current MOT test certificate still be valid until its expiry date?”
Research on the internet has not provided any sort of relevant answer, so having contacted the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency ( VOSA ) the response was as follows:
“An MOT test certificate is valid until its expiry date. However, if your vehicle has a new MOT test prior to this date and fails, and you do not put right the reasons for failure, you would be driving a vehicle which is considered unroadworthy and that in itself is an offence.”
If your car were to fail its’ MOT test due to having a tyre with not enough tread, you would be considered to be driving an unroadworthy car until that tyre is replaced and would be subject to a fine and points on your license despite having a certificate which states your car is valid. Food for thought!!
This is a very good reason to book your MOT test early and give yourself plenty of time to book a retest if needed.
Registration Number Plates
The MOT test has been extended to include new checks to confirm that plates conform to the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001.
These checks will take into account the following points:
• The letters and numbers are of a satisfactory appearance
• The letter font conforms to regulations
• The letters and numbers are the right size as well as the size of the margin
• The plates are fitted vertically
• The non-reflective border conforms to the permissions
• Finally the plates should not include any unacceptable symbols, such as football team logos
Also for any vehicles which were registered on or after 1 September 2001 (eg; 51 plates and later ) the following checks will be carried out in addition to these previous ones:
• It displays the British Standard number currently ‘BSAU 145d’ on the plate
• It also shows the name and postcode of the supplier of the plate
• It does not display a honeycomb effect background.
Car Repairs Belfast hope that these MOT test tips prove useful to you.