The MOT Process Explained
If your vehicle is 3-years old or more, you (i.e. the vehicle owner) are required by law to have an annual safety check completed on your vehicle, known as the MOT Test. The purpose of the MOT test is to ensure your vehicle meets the minimum safety level required by law. If it does, your vehicle will be issued with an MOT Certificate. Without an MOT certificate you will be unable to drive legally on the roads and could also invalidate your car insurance policy if involved in an accident.
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Originally called the Ministry of Transportation test, an MOT is a thorough annual examination of a vehicle that is three years old or more. The MOT tests not only the safety of your vehicle, but also the level of emissions in the exhaust. The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is responsible for ‘licensing’ both the MOT test station and the MOT tester, where Just MOT is fully licensed and VOSA approved. MOT Nominated Testers are accredited by VOSA to assess your vehicle against a specific safety criteria and to pass it as acceptable and safe, or not. The assessment is based on the condition of the vehicle on the day. The Nominated Tester will list separately and inform you of any ‘advisory’ items that have passed the test but will require attention in the future. An individual part of the vehicle may be considered to be beyond its serviceable life when measured against specifications, but still capable of passing the MOT test by a Nominated Tester. Just MOT will always give you the expert and impartial advice needed to help make a decision towards any additional or recommended work.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is examined every 12 months and is issued with an MOT certificate. It is a legal requirement in the UK to have an MOT certificate issued to your car, as without one you will be unable to renew your road tax and your car is unlikely to be insured as a consequence. Recent computerisation of the MOT testing system by VOSA means that the Police can now use mobile camera units to check if your vehicle has a valid and current MOT or not. The penalty for not having an up to date MOT certificate could be a fine, but in worse case scenarios (i.e. no road fund licence and/or insurance as well), your car is at risk of being seized and ultimately destroyed. If the vehicle is involved in an accident you will be asked to produce your MOT certificate, where failure to do so may incur charges from the Police. An insurance claim could also be affected by the absence of your MOT certificate, especially in the case of injury.
Assuming your car is over 3-years old, the annual renewal date is the natural point to get your vehicle MOT test completed. However, if you ever suspect that there is a problem with your car, you should always seek expert advice at the earliest opportunity. You can book an MOT up to 28 days in advance of its due date. Once you use Just MOT for your MOT, we will record you annual renewal date and send you an annual reminder.
If the vehicle fails its MOT, it’s not the end of the world!! It simply means that your vehicle does not meet legal requirements and must be repaired to comply with MOT test standards. Just MOT will always give you the expert and impartial advice needed to help make a decision towards any necessary or recommended additional work.
Under the VOSA requirements an MOT test will check the following components are in satisfactory working order an MOT certificate is issued.
Vehicle Identification Number: The MOT test checks that the Vehicle Identification Number (commonly referred to as the VIN) is legibly displayed on your vehicle.
Registration Plate: The MOT tester will check the condition, security, legibility and format of letters/numbers on your vehicle registration plate.
Lights: The MOT test checks the condition, operation, security and colour of your vehicles lights, as well as ensures that the headlamp aim is correct.
Steering & Suspension: The MOT tester will check the steering and suspension components for correct condition, as well as ensure that the full steering and suspension operation is correct.
Wipers & Washer Bottle: The MOT test will check your vehicles wipers and washers, ensuring that they operate properly to give the driver clear visibility of the road.
Windscreen: The MOT test will check the condition of the windscreen condition and driver’s view of the road, ensuring that no chips or cracks affect the driver’s line of sight.
Horn: The MOT test will cover the horn’s operation for effectiveness and correct type.
Seatbelts: All seatbelts, including those in the rear of the vehicle, are checked for type, condition, correct operation and security. The MOT test will also check to ensure that all compulsory seatbelts are in place.
Seats: Your vehicle’s front seats are checked for security during the MOT test.
Fuel System: The MOT test checks the fuel system for leaks and that the fuel cap fastens/seals securely.
Emissions: The MOT test covers your exhaust emissions, ensuring that the vehicle is within the specified guidelines. The MOT test will also check that the exhaust is complete, secure, without serious leaks and silences effectively.
Bodywork: Vehicle structure and body shell are checked during the MOT test for excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas (NB: any sharp edge can result in a MOT failure).
Doors: The MOT tester will check that the doors open and close correctly and that the latch is secure in a closed position (NB: front doors should open from both the inside & outside of the vehicle, and rear doors may need to be opened to gain access to testable items like rear seatbelts).
Mirrors: The mirrors on your vehicle are checked during the MOT test for condition and security.
Wheels & Tyres: The nominated MOT tester will check the vehicle’s wheels and tyres for a number of key points, including the condition, security, tyre size, tyre type and remaining available tread depth.
Brakes: The MOT tests the efficiency of the vehicle’s braking performance, condition and operation.
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