The average MOT test doesn’t take very long, with most done in 45 minutes to an hour, which means many drivers will simply wait whilst the test is carried out. However, if your vehicle needs repairs, the length of time can be considerably longer.
25th February 2022
Vasstech’s MOT testing guide
With all vehicles over the age of three years required to undergo an MOT test every year to ensure their roadworthiness, our guide to MOT services and testing contains everything you’d need to know for when it’s time to book your vehicle in for an MOT.
Across our five branches, we’ve run countless MOT’s on vehicles of all makes and models. Our experienced mechanics can provide a stress-free process as our expert’s service your car.
We compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we get to provide you with a handy guide to MOT testing.
How often do you need to book an MOT test?
As mentioned, once a car reaches three years old, it requires an MOT once a year. When your MOT is passed, you’ll receive an MOT test certificate which, among other things, will feature the date of your last test and the expiry date. If you wish, your vehicle can be MOT tested up to a month before it expires and keep the original year anniversary.
If your car fails its MOT, you can only drive away in your vehicle if your current MOT certificate is valid and no “dangerous” problems were listed in your most recent review. Otherwise, your problems will have to be repaired first.
How long does an MOT test take?
What is tested in an MOT?
As you probably already know, certain components in your vehicle are more important than others. An MOT is designed to test all of the integral parts of your car. As the test is legally required for you to be on the road, the test is standardised so that every MOT will check the same select components. However, it’s worth noting that your MOT won’t check the condition of your engine, clutch, and gearbox unless specified as part of the service.
The components checked in an MOT include:
- Body/vehicle structure/general items
- Fuel system
- Exhaust emissions
- Exhaust system
- Load security
- Tyres & Wheels
- Registration plates
- Wipers & washers
- Steering and suspension
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Electronics & electrical components
As you can see, an MOT test is comprehensive, but almost half of all faults found during an MOT can be avoided through simple and regular maintenance. If you’re unsure how to perform maintenance, booking your car for maintenance checks throughout the year can be highly beneficial to stay on top of minor car issues.
Some minor checks you can carry out yourself can include:
- Clean your car if it’s particularly dirty. While having a clean car is generally a good thing, if your vehicle is excessively dirty and filled with rubbish and clutter, it could lead to a mechanic refusing to carry out an MOT.
- Similarly, your number plates need to be readable to pass an MOT, so give them a quick wipe before your test.
- Check your windscreen wipers are functioning as they should be and that the rubber is in good condition.
- Ensure the lights on your vehicle are working; if necessary, ask someone to confirm they light up as they should.
- Check your tyre treads using the 20p method along with your tyre pressure.
- Make sure your car’s fluids are fully topped up, including screenwash, brake fluid and oil.
- Check your car’s horn works.
- All mirrors should be intact and fastened to the vehicle securely (so that they can be used properly).
- The VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, in your car’s V5C logbook should match the number marked on your vehicle’s bodywork.
How much does an MOT test cost?
The price of your MOT is entirely dependent on the type of vehicle being tested, but there is a maximum charge. The fees are listed here on the GOV.UK website.
For the vast majority of cars, the maximum cost you can expect to pay will be £54.85. Generally speaking, the bigger the vehicle, the higher the maximum price of an MOT test.
What's the difference between an MOT and a service?
While an MOT is legally required every year after the first three years in a car’s life, a service isn’t required at all by law. However, most professionals will recommend your vehicle undergoes a service regularly to maintain the roadworthiness and efficiency of your car.
Compared to an MOT, a service will tend to include a lengthier, more in-depth assessment of your vehicle’s mechanics as set out by your car’s manufacturer.
Can you drive a car without an MOT to a garage?
Under certain circumstances, it’s legal to drive without an MOT to an MOT testing centre, providing you have proof of your appointment should you be stopped by the police. Otherwise, if you don’t have proof, you could find yourself facing a £1000 fine.
Similarly, if your vehicle is shown to be in a state of disrepair that makes it dangerous to other drivers, you could face a £2500 fine for car owners and an unlimited fine for van owners.