The MOT scheme is present to ensure consistent standards. The scheme is monitored by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and includes:

  • supervising the 19,000 garages authorised to carry out MOTs
  • documenting all test methods and standards
  • documenting standards of facilities, equipment, repute, experience, competence, qualifications and administration of those carrying out MOT testing
  • providing training of authorised examiners (AE) & nominated testers (NT)
  • providing training in test methods and administration, to those involved in the MOT testing scheme (whose standards are agreed with the Department for Transport)
  • ensuring standards for testing and conditions of appointment for AEs and NTs are set
  • authorising MOT test stations and NTs checking testing standards are maintained
  • taking disciplinary action against AEs and NTs who fail to meet the required MOT testing standards
  • dealing with appeals and other complaints from MOT customers.

These functions are undertaken by VOSA on behalf of the Secretary of State.

When do you need to MOT your vehicle?

Every vehicle in the UK needs to be tested each year to ensure that it complies with roadworthiness standards. If you have a vehicle that is more than three years old, it will need an MOT test each year to ensure that it meets at least the minimum road safety and environmental standards.

  • the first test is required once a vehicle is three years old. (There are different rules if you use it as a taxi)
  • when your vehicle is tested, the MOT looks at some important items to see if it meets the legal requirements
  • you should be aware that the MOT certificate is not a guarantee of the general mechanical condition of a vehicle
  • if a vehicle is registered with no prior use on the road, the MOT will be required three years after the date of registration. For example, a vehicle registered "from new" on 25 April 2000 will require its MOT no later than 25 April 2003
  • if a vehicle is used prior to registration, as would be the case with an import, the MOT will be required three years from the end of the year of manufacture. For example a vehicle manufactured at any time in 2000 will require an MOT no later than 31 December 2003

There is no grace period given after these dates.

An MOT can be carried out at any time

If the vehicle is presented for test within the calendar month prior to the date that the MOT is due, the test certificate will run from the date of the test to one year after the expiry date of the current certificate for example if the current certificate was due to expire on 1 April 2003, and the vehicle was presented on or after 2 March 2003, the certificate would run from the test date until 1 April 2004.

To have this extension, the vehicle owner should present their old certificate to the test station to verify that the extra time is applicable. The tester would then write the serial number of the old certificate in the appropriate section of the new certificate.

The same rule would also apply if the vehicle was taken in within a calendar month of its first MOT. In this case, the vehicle owner would need to present their registration document and the serial number from this document will be entered in the 'last certificate serial number' box on the MOT.

If the vehicle is tested earlier than one month before it's due date, the MOT will only run for twelve months.

What does a garage look at during an MOT test?

  • Vehicle identification number a vehicle identification number must be permanently displayed and legible on a vehicle first used on or after 1 August 1980
  • Registration plate condition, security, legibility and format of letters/numbers
  • Lights condition, operation, security and correct colour. The headlamps will also be checked to see if the aim is correct
  • Steering and suspension correct condition and operation
  • Wipers and washers operate to give the driver a clear view of the road
  • Windscreen condition and drivers view of the road
  • Horn correct operation and type
  • Seatbelts all seatbelts installed are checked for type, condition, operation and security. All compulsory seatbelts must be in place
  • Seats front seats secure. Front and rear backseats can be secured in the upright position
  • Fuel system no leaks, fuel cap fastens correctly and seals securely. The fuel cap will need to be opened. Make sure the key is available
  • Exhaust emissions vehicle meets the requirement for exhaust emission. These vary on the age and fuel type of the vehicle
  • Exhaust system complete, secure, without serious leaks and silences effectively
  • Vehicle structure free from excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas. No sharp edges
  • Doors open and close. Latch securely in closed position. Front doors should open from inside and outside the vehicle. Rear doors may need to be opened to gain access to testable items
  • Mirrors presence, condition and security
  • Wheels and tyres condition, security, tyre size and type, and tread depth. Spare tyres are not tested
  • Brakes condition, operation and performance (efficiency test). Suitable vehicles will be tested on a roller brake tester. Vehicles such as those with permanent 4-wheel drive will be tested either on a suitable road using a properly calibrated and maintained decelerometer or, if one is installed at the test station, a plate brake tester

MOT Test Fees

Vehicle type Age first test certificate required(years) Fee
Motor bicycles 3 £23.80
Motor bicycles with side car 3 £30.40

Class III (up to 450kg unladen weight)

Vehicle type Age first test certificate required(years) Fee
3 wheeled vehicles 3 £30.40

Classes IV & IVa

Vehicle Type Age first test certificate required(years) Fee
Cars (up to 8 passenger seats) 3 £44.15
Motor caravans 3 £44.15
Dual purpose vehicles 3 £44.15
Public service vehicles (up to 8 seats) 3 £44.15
Ambulances & taxis 1 £44.15
Private passenger vehicles & ambulances(9-12 passenger seats) 1 £46.15
Class IVaIncludes seat belt installation check Not applicable £51.55