If you currently own a vehicle or are about to buy your first then you will need to know about what the MOT test. It is the standard Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) vehicle test that is used to assess the road worthiness of vehicles from small family cars to large commercial vehicles. VOSA is part of the Department for Transport and is tasked with overseeing the MOT Check.

History of MOT Check

The test was first brought into existence in 1960 under the direction of the Minister of Transport at the time Mr Ernest Marples. Originally the test was quite basic checking a few parts on the vehicle including the brakes, lights and steering check. The first test would only check cars but within two years of the first test commercial vehicles would be included in the test. In 1960 the first check would be performed after the vehicle was ten years old and then annually.

Due to the testable age for the first test the MOT check became known as the ten year test. In April 1967 the testable age for an MOT was reduced to the more familiar 3 years we have now. Throughout its existence the test has been updated to improve road safety and in 1983 the minimum age that ambulances, taxis and vehicles with more than eight passenger seats, excluding the driver’s was reduced to one year.

If your vehicle does not have a current MOT Test Certificate then you are liable to be invalidating your insurance cover, so it needs to be done. You will also need a current VT20 test certificate to renew your Tax Disk. It is illegal to drive a non-exempt vehicle without a current MOT that requires a test on public roads unless the vehicle is being driven to a booked test or to correct remedial work from a failed test.

When is the MOT Check Due

If you have just brought a new car that has just rolled off the factory floor from the dealership then you will not need to book your car in at your local garage for 3 years. For the first 3 years your car will most likely be under warranty from the Manufacturer, so any major faults should’ve covered by this legal agreement. If you plan on buying a car no older than 3 years then don’t expect to be given a MOT test certificate. It is a legal requirement for vehicles from small family cars to commercial vehicles to have this safety check performed annually once the vehicle has been registered for 3 years.

Where should an MOT Check take place

The MOT test can be performed at any of the huge number of mot test stations across the country apart from in Northern Ireland where the check must be performed at official Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) Centres, DVA being Northern Ireland equivalent of VOSA. The centres are regulated and licensed by the Department and Transport and VOSA. Technicians carrying out the inspections also have to be trained and certified by VOSA. After a vehicle passes the MOT test the owner should be issued with a Pass certificate before leaving the Test Centre.

What will be included in the MOT Check

The test will include various checks of road worthiness, to make sure that the vehicle is safe to run on UK roads. The checklist is quite thorough and will manage to discover faults within most systems in the car.

Some of the tests will include checking:

  •  Lamps, Reflectors and Electrical Equipment
  •  Body Structure and General Items
  •  Suspension, steering and brake covers
  •  Brakes
  •  Tyres
  •  Seat belts and Supplementary Restraint Systems
  •  Exhaust, fuel emissions

The VT20 MOT test certificate only confirms that at the time of test, the vehicle under inspection has met the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards. The pass certificate does not mean that the vehicle is roadworthy for the life of the certificate. Since the check does include checking major components of the vehicle including the engine, clutch or gearbox.



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