Basics of MOT Testing

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In the United Kingdom, if your car is over three years old, it must have an MOT performed on it. This is a legal requirement and driving without a valid MOT is breaking the law.

What is an MOT?

MOT comes from the Ministry of Transport, as the Ministry for Transport used to be known, and it was actually the Ministry of Transport test, but has been abbreviated over the years to just MOT. It is a check of roadworthiness of your vehicle, but not proof that your vehicle’s engine is in good working order. You could pass an MOT and suffer a breakdown immediately you leave the garage if your engine is not good.

What is Checked in an MOT?

Original MOTs looked only at the steering, brakes and lights of a vehicle, as these were features that could be lethal to the driver, but also to other road users, should they fail. Over the years, more and more has been added to the list, and an MOT now features, amongst other things:

  • Exterior checks: number plates, lights (brakes, headlights, number plate light, fog lights), and the doors and handles of the vehicle
  • Interior checks: rear view mirrors, steering, seat belts, switches, visibility through all windows, horn and speedometre
  • Under the bonnet checks: braking systems, exhaust systems, fuel system, steering components
  • Under the vehicle checks: looking to see if any parts might fall off while the car is in motion, checking mufflers and exhausts, tyres and wheels, braking systems, bearing, steering system and the general condition of the vehicle
  • Emissions checks: monitoring emissions to ensure that levels are within a permitted range
  • Brake tests: as well as checking the brakes inside the car, under the bonnet and under the car, the inspector will check that all the brake systems are connected properly and that appropriate lights activate as they should

Can MOTs be Done at Home?

As the above list tells you, unless you are a highly qualified and well-equipped mechanic you would not be able to do your MOT at home. But even if you are a mechanic, an MOT must be acquired from a registered MOT testing centre, so no, there is no case where you can do your MOT yourself at home. Our recommended garage for our London based readers is Elite Direct. All you have to do is go to their website and book MOT Test in London at a date and time of your convenience. Elite is a DVSA approved garage offering the best local prices in town.

Although you cannot perform MOT at home but you can prepare your car for its MOT, running through the checklist yourself and cleaning dirty parts, replacing broken or damaged elements and generally ensuring your car is in the best possible condition so that you sail through your test without needing to outlay a lot of time and money.