What do they check on an MOT?


Why should you get an MOT?

If you own a car, it’s important to keep it in good condition. With the MOT, it is a test your car is checked for any defects that could potentially cause an accident. This includes checking the lights, brakes and steering of the car as well as other parts that can develop faults over time.

Everyone with a vehicle older than 3 years is legally required to take their vehicle for an MOT test once every 12 months. You can check for the MOT status of your vehicle on the government website. All you’ll have to do is type out the vehicles registration number (number plate) before receiving the MOT status information.

The other factors to getting an MOT include:

  • Without a current MOT certificate, it is illegal to drive
  • Without a valid MOT certificate, you can not renew your road tax
  • Mobile cameras and police can remotely check to see if your vehicle has an MOT in date. If can be fined up to £2500 and receive 3 penalty points on your license if you are caught without a valid MOT certificate.

If you are unsure about what goes on during the MOT, this handy checklist will help you prepare for your next test.


What Do They Check?

The MOT checks that the car is safe to be on the road. It will check your vehicles vital areas such as the exhaust, brakes and tyres but they will also check:


  • Check the general condition of the vehicle such as checking if it’s free from damage and corrosion with no dangerous exterior parts sticking out.
  • The mechanic will check your car to make sure all of its required mirrors are in place, and that they are not cracked or damaged. They must provide a clear view of the road.
  • Your boot must close securely and without any faults
  • Your bonnet must close securely and without any faults
  • When you register your car, you’re expected to comply with the registration plate requirements and have your license plate checked for correct spelling, spacing, characters and condition. Your vehicle will be checked to make sure it meets all safety standards and that the registration plate is clearly visible from a distance of 20 meters.


  • All seatbelts need to be checked for their security, type and condition
  • The front and back of the seats need to be secured in an upright position.
  • You should ensure that your car door securely closes. You should ensure that your car’s front doors can be opened easily from the inside and outside of the vehicle and that your rear doors open easily from the outside.


  • The car will be checked over thoroughly. This includes looking for any visible wiring and any obvious problems with the electrics. Also, a test of all the electrical systems will be done. This will include checking the parking brake, the stability control, mirrors, ensuring the headlamps are level and clean, the tyre pressure monitoring system and the steering lock, and checking if the car has any other electrical faults.
  • MOT now checks all dashboard warning lights such as the headlight main beam, airbag, electric steering lock,  seat belt pre-tensioner, EPS, tyre pressure system and brake fluid level
  • A speedometer must be present, clearly visible and damage-free.


  • The horn will be checked to see if it works properly and efficiently.
  • The engine mountings of the vehicle should be checked to see if in good condition.
  • The brakes will be examined to see whether they perform correctly and efficiently.
  • SRS components (seatbelts, airbags, warning lights, load limiters and pre-tensioners) need to work efficiently and correctly.
  • Your tyres will be checked to make sure they’re in good condition, their size is correct and their tread depth is legal (must not be below 1.6mm). It will also be checked for any bulges, tears, cuts or other damage.
  • If your car was manufactured after 1980, you will need to have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) available. The mechanic will check to make sure there is a vehicle identification number present, and that it is visible and legible either on the body/chassis or the VIN plate.
  • The suspension and steering will be checked to see whether it operates efficiently. If you have a locking device on your steering wheel, they will check to see it only engages when the car is stationary and the engine isn’t running.

Fuel & Exhausts

  • There must be no leaks in the full system and the cap must close tightly.
  • Vehicles are inspected for carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions that pass the legislation emission standards based on their age and fuel type. They are also checked for excessive blue or black smoke from the exhaust.
  • Your car’s exhaust system should be safe and effective. It should not leak, and you should silence it properly.

Lights & Visibility

  • All the lights on your car will be checked. The check will include the main beam warning light, the side beams and the headlamp aim.
  • The mechanic will inspect your windshield wipers and washing fluids. He’ll make sure both are working and ready to perform their job properly.
  • The windscreen must give a clear view of the road ahead. It should not have any chips or cracks larger than 10mm. And it should not obstruct the driver’s vision anywhere larger than 40mm anywhere else within the field of view.

How do I get a copy of my MOT certificate?

A new-style MOT certificate number is issued to your vehicle when it passes its MOT test. The certificate is printed on an A4 piece of paper which should be kept in a safe location.

What does an MOT test not cover?

 The engine condition, gearbox and clutch are not covered by an MOT as they are not viewed as a safety risk, as well as spare tyres, which are not checked in the inspection of the tyres.

The vehicle will be given back to the owner if it passes its MOT test. If it fails the test after the car is checked out by the MOT technicians, they issue will you with a VT30 certificate stating what parts are causing the MOT failure.