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May 28

What does an MOT check?

Posted by:AutoMoney

MOT Check

Booking a car in for its yearly MOT can seem like a tiresome task, but it is a legal requirement and is designed to ensure that your car passes current vehicle safety regulations as well as flagging minor issues.

Cars that are under three years old do not need an MOT, but as soon as the car is three years old, it will require one. Failing to have a valid MOT certificate could also invalidate your car insurance policy as well as your car tax. An MOT is a pretty big deal!

But what does an MOT actually check?

The following is not meant to be a fully exhaustive checklist, but it will give you a good idea of the main things that will be checked during the MOT. If in doubt you should always seek professional advice.

Body and structure:

The MOT tester will check that the body and the vehicle’s overall general structure is safe and sound, that there are no sharp edges that could cause personal injury as well as no evidence of excessive corrosion.

Fuel system:

The fuel system will be checked to ensure that there are no leaks within the tank as well as checking the fuel cap and seal, ensuring they work as they should. 

Exhaust emissions:

Dependant on the age of the vehicle as well as the fuel type, the emissions will be checked against the current guidelines to ensure that the vehicle meets the requirements needed to pass.

Exhaust system:

Checks to ensure that the exhaust is secure to the base of the vehicle will be carried out as well as checks for leakage and if it silences effectively. 
Seat belts:

All seat belts are checked for condition, operation and security.


All seats are checked to ensure they are safe and secure.


All doors are checked to ensure that they latch correctly in the closed position and that front doors can be opened from both inside and outside of the car.


Mirrors, internal and external, are checked for wear and tear as well as the security of these on the vehicle itself.

Load security:

The test makes sure that the boot can be closed securely and that the latch is in working order.


Brakes will be tested for their condition and operation as well as their performance during an MOT test.


Excluding the spare tyre, the tyres on the vehicle are checked for the condition, size, security and tread depth.

Number plates:

Both front and rear plates are checked for their security and condition as well as the actual plate itself; whether the characters have the correct spacing and whether the plates fit the standard recommendations.


All lights are checked for condition and operation as well as security – this includes brake lights and indicators. Headlights are checked for their aim.


The safety catch is tested to ensure it is safely held in place.

Washer and wipers:

The operation of the washer as well as the car windscreen wipers is checked to ensure the driver can see, front and back.


The condition of the windscreen is checked to ensure it is safe.


The horn is checked to ensure that it operates correctly and also suits the standard recommendations.

Suspension and steering:

The suspension and the steering of the vehicle are tested to ensure that they both operate as they should as well as being of a suitable type.

VIN (Vehicle Identification Number):

Found on all vehicles issued after the 1st August 1980 – the VIN number needs to be displayed on the car and all major parts, and only one number should be found, unless the vehicle in questions is a multistage build model. 

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