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An MOT or Ministry of Transport test is an annual test of vehicle safety that must legally be carried out every year on cars over three years old.
An MOT test & service includes a complete list of checks that would come as part of both a Ministry of Transport (MOT) annual test and a full service.
An MOT is a basic test of vehicle safety, whereas a car service includes a longer list of checks to make sure your car is running efficiently. You can book to have both an MOT and a full service at the same time. Doing this can help you save time and avoid forgetting to organise one or the other. A garage may do a full service before an MOT to ensure your car passes the test. Occasionally, you may get a discount for the combined booking.
There are many checks carried out during an MOT, meaning there are several ways in which a car can fail the test. Because an MOT is a test of road safety, a failure is a precautionary measure that requires you to get certain repairs or replacements before getting back on the road. Fortunately, the most likely reasons for failing an MOT are often the most straightforward issues to fix. The most common reasons for failing an MOT include:
Car lights and signalling: A blown bulb in the headlights or indicators is a crucial safety feature but is easy to fix.
Tyres: Worn tyre tread stops your car from being able to grip on wet roads. The solution will be to replace your tyres.
Brakes: Checking your brakes is crucial to make sure they are working correctly. It's also essential to keep your brake fluid topped up.
Driver's view: Clean and clear windows are an essential part of an MOT. Remove any stickers that may block your view, and make sure your windscreen is clean and your washer fluid topped up.
If your car fails its MOT, there’s often no need to worry. The garage will likely organise the repair immediately after, then pass your vehicle once it's fixed. You’ll be charged for the cost of the repair and will be able to get straight back on the road once your car’s ready.
A mobile tyre-fitting involves a mechanic coming to your home to replace and fit new tyres instead of you visiting a local garage.
Car windscreen repairs often involve a chip filling or a windscreen replacement and are relatively quick and straightforward jobs. The exact price of a windscreen repair will depend on the size of the car.
A car's suspension system is complex and made up of many different springs and shock absorbers, so it's not always obvious when there's a problem. Difficulty steering is a sign of an issue with the suspension system. The repair involves a replacement of parts.
Wear or failure of the brakes requires an urgent repair. Brake repairs are a common job and often include the replacement of parts.
A vehicle health check is a visual check of your car's components, often carried out for free by a garage in addition to another service or repair. A technician will give you an idea of the health of your car and let you know if there's any work you should consider doing.
Keeping on top of your car's health is the best way to make sure it passes its annual MOT. The regular checks you should do include:
Test your brakes. Make sure your brakes are sensitive enough that you could successfully do an emergency stop if needed. Watch out if braking pulls your car to one side.
Keep your front and back windscreen clear. Move anything that could potentially obstruct your view and make sure your screen wash is topped up so that your wipers can keep your windscreen clean. Check your rearview and wing mirrors and keep them clean as well
Check your lights. Before you drive anywhere, turn your lights on and do a 360 check of your vehicle to make sure they're all working. It's worth checking your indicators too.
Monitor your tyre tread. If you insert a 20p piece into your tyre tread, you shouldn't be able to see the outer rim of the coin. Keep an eye on the gradual wearing of your tread and replace old tyres when needed.
Because the purpose of an MOT is to check if a car is road safe, it doesn't include any checks of car efficiency or performance.
An MOT mainly looks at the functioning of your car but doesn’t include checks about the condition of components like the clutch, gearbox, and spark plugs. The engine oil and fuel filters are also not checked as part of an MOT. Getting a full service in addition to an MOT ensures your vehicle is running efficiently and helps to increase its lifespan.
Every new car must have its first MOT after three years. After that, you’re legally required to get an MOT on your vehicle every 12 months. Use our free MOT checker to see when your new car's first MOT test is due.
The average cost of an MOT is £40.01. Meanwhile, the average cost to get both an MOT and full service is £199.88. However, the total cost of your MOT will also depend on the type of vehicle you have checked. Here's the typical MOT and full service cost for a range of vehicle types.
An MOT test is a test of your vehicle's safety, which every car is legally required to have every 12 months. It ensures that your car is functioning, safe, and of course, legal to drive.
Your car needs an MOT to make sure it's safe for the roads. Passing an MOT means your vehicle meets the minimum requirements for car safety by law.
You can find out when your car is due for its next MOT using our free online MOT checker. It will tell you instantly when you need to book your next MOT.
A new car needs its first MOT after three years to make sure it's still functioning safely.
An MOT usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour. However, if your car requires repairs to pass the test, it will take longer depending on the type of repair needed.
The government offers a service that lets you check the MOT history of any car. Just enter the car registration number to see the complete history of a vehicle.
There are many reasons a car can fail an MOT. The most common reasons for MOT failure include broken lights, worn tyres, obstructed driver's view, and worn or damaged brakes.
If your car fails its MOT, you'll receive a VT30 certificate confirming the reason for failing. A garage will carry out the necessary repairs, and you'll be able to retake the MOT immediately so that your car can pass the MOT and get back on the roads.
Your car needs to get an MOT every 12 months so you can legally drive it on the roads. If your vehicle is brand new, it needs its first MOT after three years.