MOT Vehicle Checks

MOT testing centres are regulated and licensed by the Department and Transport and VOSA for the purpose, and the individual testers carrying out the inspections also have to be trained and certified. The decision to pass or fail each presented vehicle comes down to the discretion of the tester following the guidelines issued by the VOSA.

The MOT test covers the following aspects:

-Lighting and signalling equipment
-Steering (including suspension)
-Tyres and wheels
-Seat belts
-Body, structure and general items
-Exhaust, fuel and emissions
-Driver’s view of the road
The full details must by law be provided on request by all garages licensed to perform MOT tests, and are currently published in VOSA’s leaflet The MOT Test and You. An MOT pass certificate indicates that at the time of the test the vehicle met or exceeded the minimum safety standards determined by the VOSA guidelines.

An MOT test certificate confirms that at the time of test, the vehicle has met the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards. It does not mean that the vehicle is roadworthy for the life of the certificate. The test does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox. Maintenance that is necessary for the reliable and efficient operation of the vehicle but not its safety forms part of a service inspection that is recommended by manufacturers, but is not a legal requirement for operating the vehicle on the public highway.

Items such as the windscreen, wipers and exhaust systems are tested for condition and operation. Windscreen wipers will fail the test if they do not adequately clear the windscreen when used in conjunction with the washers. The exhaust system, in addition to checks on its condition and security, is tested to ascertain whether it is obviously louder than another vehicle of the same make and model with a standard exhaust system fitted. Dismantling of any part of the vehicle during the MOT test is strictly against test regulations, making the assessment of corrosion or worn components in certain areas on certain car models very difficult to determine accurately. As the MOT is only an inspection for road-worthiness at the time of test, the inspection of most accessories is not included. One exception is tow bars: their condition and their attachment to the vehicle is now included in the MOT. Lighting is not tested for a ‘daytime use only’ MOT test.

A ‘daytime use only’ MOT test is a test on a vehicle which has no front and rear position lights fitted or has had those lights removed, painted, masked or disconnected such that those lights cannot be readily unmasked or reconnected.

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