Why Do I Need an MOT and What’s Involved?

In order to drive a car on public roads in the United Kingdom, your vehicle must have car tax, insurance and a valid MOT. The requirement of having a valid tax disc and insurance certificate before taking a vehicle on a public road makes sense; the tax disc represents the funds we pay towards maintaining the UK road system, and insurance protects us, and other drivers, in the event of an accident. For those of us with comprehensive insurance, it also protects us against theft, fire and large bills if we are involved in an accident that is our fault. But what about the MOT? Why do we actually need one, and what does it involve?

What is an MOT?

The Ministry of Transportation test, or MOT, is an annual inspection of any vehicle that is more than 3 years old. It is designed to test both the safety of your vehicle and the emission levels from your exhaust system.The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is responsible for the regulation and licensing of the MOT test centre and the MOT tester.

As part of the MOT test, under VOSA regulations, your approved MOT test technician will check the following components of your vehicle to ensure they meet the safety guidelines, prior to issuing your MOT certificate:

Registration plate

Your vehicle’s registration plate will be checked to ensure it is in a good condition and is secure, legible and the letter format meets legal requirements.


The MOT test will check the condition, colour, security and operation of your vehicle’s lights. The aim of your headlights will also be checked.

Steering and suspension

The steering and suspension of your vehicle will be checked to ensure correct operation and condition.

Wipers and washer bottle

During the MOT test your vehicle’s wipers and washers will be checked for correct operation to ensure they provide the driver with a clear view of the road.


The windscreen of the vehicle will be checked to ensure the driver’s view of the road is free from cracks and chips which may affect visibility.


The horn will be checked to ensure correct operation and that the type is correct.


All seatbelts, including those in the rear of the vehicle, will be checked for type, condition, correct operation, security and that all compulsory seatbelts are in place.


The front seats of the vehicle are checked for security.

Fuel system

The fuel system will be checked and inspected for leaks and that the fuel cap seals securely.


The MOT test inspects your vehicle to ensure that your exhaust emissions are within the specified guidelines and that the exhaust is complete, secure, without serious leaks and silences effectively.


The structure of your vehicle and body shell are inspected during the MOT for excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas of the vehicle. Any sharp edges can result in an MOT failure.


As part of the MOT test your doors will be checked to ensure that they open and close correctly and that the latch is secure in the closed position. Front doors should open from both the inside and outside of the vehicle. Rear doors may need to be opened to gain access to certain items such as rear seatbelts.


Your mirrors are checked for condition and security.

Wheels and tyres

Your wheels and tyres will be checked for condition, tyre size, tread depth and security.


The MOT inspection will test your vehicle’s brake performance, condition and operation. Most vehicles are tested on a rolling road brake tester.

In addition to checking the above points, the MOT is also designed to check the vehicle identification number. The MOT tester will check that the VIN plate is visible, legally displayed and has not been tampered with. This aims to reduce the risk of fraudulent VIN plates being used on stolen cars during the process of changing a car’s identity.

The use of the MOT testing process within the UK is one of safety, designed to identify cars that are not suitable for use on public roads as they present a threat to safety, either to other road users, pedestrians or the environment. Driving your car without one is against the law – don’t put others at risk and get caught out, know your MOT renewal date and remember you can apply for a new MOT certificate up to four weeks before your current one expires!

Want more information on the legal stuff? Information about your vehicle’s MOT and the inspection criteria can be found at the following website:


About the Author

FastFit Station has branches across Milton Keynes and is open seven days a week. We have a wide ranges of Tyres & Exhausts Milton Keynes MOTs.

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