Tuesday 12 March 2019

MOT matters - all you need to know about MOT testing

* Collaborative post

If you are a car owner and driver chances are the words ‘MOT test’ fill you with dread. Will the car pass first time? Or will it fail and need repairs and a re-test? Will you be faced with hefty bill to get your car in a roadworthy condition to pass?

Learner drivers who are new to the world of driving must discover the importance of ensuring the vehicle they drive has a valid MOT especially when they own their own car.

As MOT testing is a big part of being a responsible driver and car owner here we take a look at the ins and outs of the MOT test.


What is an MOT test?
A MOT test checks that the vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards.

Who needs to get an MOT?
By law cars over three years old must pass a yearly MOT test to show that they are roadworthy. New cars have to have their first MOT test on the third anniversary of their registration.

Some vehicles are exempt from the MOT test for example classic cars that were built or first registered more than 40 years ago.

When can you get an MOT test?
MOT certificates last for a year and the date it expires is printed on the MOT pass certificate.

To preserve the anniversary of the expiry date you can get a MOT up to a month (minus a day) before it runs out. The earliest date you can get a MOT and keep the same renewal date is printed on the MOT certificate. If you have your test carried out a month before the expiry date your MOT is effectively valid for 13 months.

Car owners can get a new MOT earlier at anytime but the renewal date will change and be one year (minus a day) from the new date that the vehicle passed its MOT.

Where can you get an MOT test?
You can only get a valid MOT test at an approved MOT test centre. Approved centres show the blue sign with 3 white triangles.

How much does the MOT test cost?
There is a maximum amount MOT test centres can charge for an MOT. Currently the maximum cost for a car is £54.85

Many test centres offer MOT tests for less than this maximum fee with many offering discounts and offers which can help you save money.

The MOT fee does not include any costs to repair the vehicle so that it passes the MOT.

If you have a retest after repair in some cases the vehicle can have a partial retest for free or a reduced MOT fee. This depends on the garage, what repairs had to be done, how quickly the retest was done and whether the car was taken away for repairs.

What is checked on an MOT test?
An MOT involves vast checks on a car including brakes, fuel system, seatbelts, windscreen wipes, lights, tyres, exhaust system and much more. In May 2018 the MOT system changed and new items for testing were added such as brake fluid contamination and headlight washers.

The MOT test does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch and gearbox. Passing an MOT test does not mean the car’s mechanical aspects are in perfect working order. The test does not guarantee your car will remain roadworthy for the next 12 months as such responsible car owners should ensure their car is well maintained and regularly serviced.

What pre-MOT checks can you do?
As a responsible car owner there are a number of checks you can do before your MOT test to help reduce the risk of a fail. Check your lights including headlights, indicators and brake lights, if not working replace yourself or get your garage to do so before the MOT. Ensuring number plate is clean, secure and legible is also important.

Wheels and tyres should be checked for damage and that tyres meet the minimum legal tyre tread depth. The windscreen should be free from damage such as crack or chips and have no stickers or other obstructions to the driver’s view. Windscreen wipers should be fit for purpose, wipe the screen clean and be free from damage. Ensure your fuel tank is not  on empty as the garage will need to run the car to test emission levels.

MOT test result
The vehicle will either pass or fail the MOT test. In May 2018 the MOT system was overhauled and defects are categorised different as either dangerous, major or minor. Advisories can also be given.

MOT pass
If the vehicle passes the MOT an MOT certificate is provided and the pass is recorded in the  MOT database. Minor and/or advisory issues can be listed on an MOT pass which will need monitoring or fixing.

MOT fail
The vehicle will fail the MOT test if dangerous or major problems are found. Minor and/or advisory problems can also be listed if found.When a fail is issued a refusal of an MOT test certificate is given and the fail will be recorded on the MOT database.

You might not be allowed to drive the vehicle until the problems are fixed. You can take the vehicle away if the current MOT certificate is still valid and no dangerous problems were found and listed on the MOT fail.

Legal matters
If a vehicle’s MOT has expired you cannot drive it on the road and could be prosecuted if caught. Drivers can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT. The only exceptions to driving a car with an expired MOT is if you are driving it somewhere to be repaired or to a pre-booked MOT test.

To avoid legal ramifications of an MOT running out sign up to get free MOT reminders. Making sure to get your MOT in Northampton in order to avoid legal constraints. Avail yours from Calmac Tyres. A top tip is not to leave your MOT to the last minute, it is advisable to book your MOT test before it is due (make use of the fact you can do it a month before expiry date) so if it fails you have time to get the necessary repairs done and get it retested for a MOT pass.

Also you can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle that has failed its MOT because of a ‘dangerous’ problem.

A valid MOT certificate is also need to tax a vehicle. Driving a vehicle with no MOT will also invalidate its insurance.

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