What is a MOT Test and Why Are They Needed?

Cars became commonplace on Britain’s roads at the beginning of the 20th century. Back in those days, they weren’t subjected to any regular tests or checks. You could drive around in a car that was falling to bits, and no-one would tell you off!

But in 2014, things are different. Cars get scrutinised by the authorities, and if your car is not roadworthy, you could risk having it seized and crushed! Every year, millions of Brits have to submit their cars for an annual MOT test.

What is a MOT test?

The MOT test ensures that your car is fit to drive on Britain’s public roads. Motorists pay up to £54.85 each year and have to wait for the news of their car’s MOT test. If your car fails an MOT test, you have to get any problems fixed before it can pass.

If a car is three years old or older, you have to submit it  for an annual MOT test. There is no way of getting around that, other than not driving your car on public roads!

Most people get their cars tested at the same time as a service. Although it is not compulsory, it can be quicker to fix any problems that might cause the car to fail its MOT test.

In a nutshell, the MOT test is a way of checking that your car is roadworthy, conforms to EU emissions laws, and is safe to drive. According to the Department for Transport, there were more than 35 million cars taxed and used on Britain’s roads in 2013.

With such a high amount of cars, it is important that they are all roadworthy.

What does a MOT test entail?

The main areas that get covered in a MOT test are as follows:

  • Lights and indicators, dashboard warning lights;
  • Steering and suspension components;
  • Brake discs, pads, drums, shoes, handbrakes and related components;
  • Wheels and tyres;
  • Seat belts, airbags and other safety systems;
  • Bodywork and chassis;
  • Exhaust and fuel systems;
  • Visibility of the road from the driver’s seat.

What happens if my car fails its MOT?

The good news is that you can have any faults rectified and then submit your car for a partial re-test.

You have ten days to put things right. Otherwise, it will need a full test again.

When did MOT tests become compulsory?

The MOT test was first introduced back in 1960 by the Ministry of Transport (hence the name “MOT”).

In case you were wondering, the Ministry of Transport no longer exists. That is because it became part of the Department for Transport.

When the MOT test first came out, it only covered brakes, lights and steering checks. These days, the MOT test is quite comprehensive.

If you buy a brand new car, it doesn’t need to have an MOT test until it is three years old. The exception is if you intend on using it as a taxi, in which case it needs to be submitted for a MOT test after the first year.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to post up a comment below!