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  • What Is an MOT and How To Check When Your MOT is Due

What Is an MOT and How To Check When Your MOT is Due

  • Published: 28 March 2024

Part of being a responsible car owner, as well as one that stays on the right side of the law, is keeping your vehicle in a fit state to be out and about on Britain’s roads, both from a safety perspective, and from an environmental one. To do this, you must take your car for an MOT test, maintaining a valid MOT certificate from year to year. 

In this article we’ll explain what an MOT is, why your vehicle needs it, how to check when it’s due, and what happens if you fail to get it done. 

What is an MOT? 

An MOT test is an annual inspection stipulated by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency), required to make sure that your vehicle meets the minimum road safety standards for the benefit of you and those around you, as well as the minimum acceptable environmental standards. It’s a legal mandatory requirement for most vehicle owners, and should be conducted by an MOT-certified technician on a yearly basis. 

At an MOT appointment, the technician will systematically check components of your vehicle that may cause a risk to you or those around you as you drive due to degradation over time. This includes the tyres, braking systems, seatbelts, fuel systems, mirrors and more.

MOTs are not a comprehensive health check of the vehicle - they simply exist to ensure it’s meeting the minimum safety requirements. Therefore, you shouldn’t wait until your MOT test if you think there’s something wrong with your vehicle, as it may be something that endangers you or others. 

What vehicles need an MOT?

If your vehicle is three or more years old, you’ll be required to have it MOT tested. The only vehicles that remain exempt from MOTs are goods vehicles powered by electricity and registered before 1 March 2015, tractors, and some historic vehicles (generally classed a ‘classics’). 

How can you check when your car needs its MOT?

Checking when the MOT is due for your vehicle has been made easy thanks to the UK Government’s online MOT status checker, which will tell you when your MOT is due, as well as the tax status of your vehicle too. All you need to do is input your vehicle’s registration details and confirm that it’s the vehicle that this recalls in the system. 

Where should you get an MOT done? 

You should always make an appointment with a reputable VOSA MOT test centre, who will be able to carry out your MOT and issue a valid MOT certificate electronically against your vehicle. Many centres will offer a while-you-wait service, as MOTs take just over an hour,  or alternative transport arrangements such as a courtesy car to enable you to carry on with your day. 

Here in East Anglia, we handle the MOTs for customers in our Cambridge, Boston, Haverhill, Huntingdon, Thetford, Ely, Duxford, Bury St Edmunds, Spalding, Ipswich, and King’s Lynn branches.

What happens if you fail to MOT your vehicle?

For starters, failing to obtain an MOT certificate means that you’re driving illegally, and your car could be dangerous and unsafe. You could also be invalidating your insurance, and, as a valid MOT certificate is required to tax your car, driving your car untaxed also; this is a criminal offence.

Driving your car without an MOT can risk the lives of yourself, your passengers and others on the road, so expect the punishment to be harsh if caught; you could be fined up to £1,000!

What gets checked on an MOT? 

MOT tests cover the following: 

  • Lights and electrical equipment - including bulbs, rear reflectors, the horn, the battery, electrical wiring, and any towbars.
  • Brakes - including all brake pedals, levers and components.
  • Steering and suspension - including shock absorbers
  • Tyres and wheels - including minimum legal tread depth, and for bulges and damage.
  • Seat belts 
  • Exhaust and emissions - including the carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon output.
  • Driver’s view of the road - including obstructions hanging from the rear-view mirror, and chips and cracks in the windscreen.
  • Body and miscellaneous - including sharp edges, your registration plate, and the speedometer

Should a service be done at the same time as an MOT?

A service can be, but doesn’t have to be, carried out at the same time as your MOT - it does make it more convenient to get it all done in one go, though! Services are also not a legal obligation, but they should still be done annually if you want your car to continue getting you from A to B reliably, and efficiently. 

Why is it important to still have a service done on your vehicle? 

Your car’s service is part of its recommended annual maintenance schedule, and in many cases, should be upkept to validate any warranty, for one thing. It also does the vital job of helping you avoid safety risks that come with a poorly maintained car, as well as protecting the vehicle’s resale value, and making inconvenient breakdowns far less likely. 

Choose EMG for your MOTs in East Anglia 

With MOT test centres all around East Anglia at our reputable branches, EMG provides a go-to maintenance service for vehicles of all makes and models in the area. Our experienced staff work with approved parts, maintaining your vehicle to a high standard, and ensuring that it’s safe and legal to hit the road in. What’s more, we make your MOT appointment as convenient as we can, with comfortable waiting areas, and alternative transport arrangements should you require them. 

Find out more about MOT and servicing at EMG, and get in touch today.