It's required by law that all vehicles over 3 years old have a valid MOT certificate. This is to ensure that vehicles are not a danger to both the owner and the general public.

What Is Tested In An MOT?

The test covers most apsects of the car's safety including brakes, lights, and general condition. Listed below are the categories that the tester will assess.

Lighting Equipment

Front & Rear Lamps
Stop Lamps
Rear Reflectors
Direction indicators & Hazard Lamps

Steering & Suspension

Steering Control
Steering Mechanism/system
Power Steering
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Transmission Shafts
Wheel Bearings
Shock Absorbers
Wheel Alignment


ABS Warning System/controls
Condition of Service Brake System
Condition of parking brake system
Service brake performance
Parking brake performance
Additional braking devices

Tyres & Wheels

Tyre size/type
Tyre load/speed rating
Tyre condition
Road wheels



Motor Bicycle Sidecar

Suspension & wheel bearings
Wheel alignment


Drivers View of the Road
Exhaust system
Exhaust emissions
General Vehicle Condition
Fuel System
Registration Plate/VIN Numbers
Speed Limiter
Driving Controls

Of course, not all of these categories apply to every car but it's a good indication of what the examiners need to check.

Tips For Passing An MOT Test

According to data from the DVSA, nearly 50% of all faults found during an MOT could have been avoided by regular maintenance.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to carry out some of your own checks in preparation for the MOT.

MOT Preparation Checklist

  1. Check all the lights on your car. Either get a friend or family member to check the lights with you, or you could use a reflection from a window or garage door. If one of your brake lights doesn't work for example, that’s a failure.
  2. Check the tyres are correctly inflated and have sufficient tread (at least 1.6mm deep).
  3. Check the windscreen wiper blades can effectively clear the windscreen and aren’t split.
  4. Check the screen wash level is between the minimum and maximum amount.
  5. Check the number plate is clearly visible and not obscured by dirt.
  6. Check the horn works.
  7. Check the seat belts are not worn or frayed

This is not an exhaustive list. A complete MOT inspection checklist can be found on the website.

It’s a good idea to do these checks yourself before the MOT because you may pay more at a garage for parts but you'll also be charged for labour.

How Much Does an MOT Cost?

There is a maximum that can be charged for an MOT, which varies depending on the type of vehicle. For a car (up to eight passengers) this is £54.85.

The actual cost of an MOT will vary between different garages, so you should shop around.

What Happens if a Car Fails an MOT?

If your car fails an MOT, you will be issued a ‘Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate’ from the test centre which details the reason(s) for not passing. Before getting your vehicle retested, you will need to resolve these issues. In many cases, the test centre will also be able to carry out the repairs.

You can still drive your vehicle away as long as it has a valid MOT certificate and meets the minimum standards of roadworthiness.