The MOT test (Motor Ordinance Test) is an annual test of vehicle safety, road safety parts and exhaust emissions essential for most vehicles over three years old used, it does not apply only to highways but takes account of other places accessible for public use, which are not highways. MOT test was made a part in the Road Traffic Act, 1988.

How is a Motor Ordinance Test (MOT) Done?

MOT testing centres are controlled and approved by the Department and Transport and DVSA for the purpose, and the individual testers carrying out the inspections also have to be skilled and specialized. The decision to pass or fail each presented vehicle comes down to the decision of the tester ensuing the guidelines allotted by the DVSA.

The MOT test covers the following aspects:

  • Lighting and signalling equipment
  • Steering (including suspension)
  • Brakes
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Seat belts
  • Body, structure and general items. Includes body and components such as spoilers, bumpers and mirror housings.
  • Exhaust, fuel and emissions (Unless Electric)
  • Driver’s view of the road

An MOT pass certificate shows that at the time of the test the vehicle met or surpassed the minimum safety standards regulated by the DVSA rules.

An MOT test certificate approves that at the time of test, the vehicle has met the minimum satisfactory environmental and road safety principles. It does not mean that the vehicle is roadworthy for the life of the certificate. The test does not include the state of the engine (other than the emissions), clutch or gearbox. Maintenance that is necessary for the consistent and effective operation of the vehicle but not its safety forms part of a service review that is suggested by manufacturers, but is not a legal condition for functioning of the vehicle on the public highway.

Things such as the windscreen, wipers and exhaust systems are verified for condition and operation. Windscreen wipers will flop the test if they do not sufficiently clear the windscreen when used in combination with the washers. The exhaust system, in addition to checks on its condition and security, is tested to make certain whether it is clearly louder than another vehicle of the same make and model with a regular exhaust system fitted.

Disassembling of any part of the vehicle during the MOT test is strictly in contradiction of test regulations, making the assessment of corrosion or worn components in certain areas on certain car models very tough to determine precisely. As the MOT is only a review for road-worthiness at the time of test, the inspection of most accessories is not included. One exclusion is tow bars: their condition and their attachment to the vehicle is now included in the MOT.


The Ministry of Transport test or MOT test is compulsory once every year when your car reaches 3 years of age from the date it was recorded new. Cars under 3 years of age do not need an MOT test. Separate rules apply if the vehicle is being used as a taxi.

An MOT checks your vehicle for any defects that may reduce it to not roadworthy and that it does not surpass CO2 emissions for environmental reasons. An MOT generally doesn’t verify engine components.

MOT in different countries:-

Rules for MOT in UK

  • Carrier can only sign contracts with actual Beneficiary Cargo Owners (BCO) and MoT certified NVOCC.
  • All Service contracts/rates should be filed with the SSE former to their use by CMA CGM customers.
  • All Contract price/rates will only be lawful after 24 hours of filing with the SSE.

Rules for MOT in China

  • A business engagement with CMA CGM is probable only when you are registered with the MoT with your name listed in the MoT certified NVOCC list on MoT official website.
  • A contract can only be used by the contractual customer and its associates “who are a part of the contract”.
  • Only contractual customer name or that of its associated entities for a service contract can appear on B/L.

Other general rules incorporated in the Road Traffic Act, 1988

The actual title for the pass certificate is VT20, and failure is the VT30, with any advisories being the VT32. The “MOT” Test will offer an emissions report if valid.

It is illegal to drive a non-exempt vehicle that needs a test on public roads lacking of a current MOT, other than when driving to or from a booked MOT Test or to have corrective work done to spot-on failures in a previous test. Ownership of an up-to-date VT20 test certificate is a pre-requisite for attainment of Vehicle excise duty, and advertisements for used cars often say how many months are left to run on the existing MOT. A vehicle could undergo major harm after an MOT has been carried out, but the certificate would still be legal, and obtaining a new one is not compulsory by. However, driving a vehicle which is in a dangerous state on a public road is always illegal, regardless of its test position.

Failed in MOT

In the occasion of a failed MOT, the test centre will issue you with a VT30 ‘Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate’. This will have your car’s specifics on it, as well as the MOT test number and the explanations why it didn’t get authorized. Be sure to keep hold of it, as you’ll need to present it in the occasion of a retest or an plea.

Appealing a failed MOT

If you feel that your car has unlawfully failed its MOT and you want to plea the decision, be sure to discuss the details with the testing centre first, to simplify any miscommunication.

However, if you still feel that the decision was mistaken, there are steps you can take. In the meantime, don’t take any repairs or modifications on the car, as this can become a root cause for the appeal process to be invalid.

  • Obtain a complaint form: Fill out the ‘Complain about an MOT’ form and direct it to the DVSA within 14 working days of the actual test date.
  • An alternate appointment to retest your car will be decided within five days. While you’ll be required to pay the full MOT fee again, you’ll be supplied a full or partial refund if your appeal is up-and-coming.

My car failed its MOT, can I still drive it?

It’s illegal to drive with an invalid MOT certificate. If your car has failed and the date on your certificate has passed, you can only drive your car to be mended or to a pre-arranged MOT appointment, and only if it is totally roadworthy at all times. Driving in a car that has a failed MOT is never suggested, and doing so might mean you are not covered by your insurance worker.

It’s estimated that nearly half of MOT failures can be evaded by doing simple, regular maintenance.

Taking an MOT retest

You’ll need to address the issues listed on the certificate and have repairs before having your car retested. Subject to the reasons for the failure, there are a few different MOT retest choices, some of which can save you from giving any extra testing fees. Keep the following points in mind.

  • Leave it to be fixed: If the test centre you’ve used also does maintenances, you can hire them to repair the issues that instigated the failure. If repairs are carried out within 10 working days, they can do a partial retest, where they will only test the subjects recorded on the VT30 certificate.
  • Bring it back within one working day: You’re allowed to take the car away for repairs and bring it back to the actual testing centre for a free partial retest.
  • Bring it back within 10 working days: If you choose to have your car mended elsewhere, you can take it back to the original testing centre for a partial retest inside 10 days of the initial test. You will be charged a partial retest fee, which is usually half of the actual testing cost.
  • After 10 working days: If you bring your car back after 10 working days, you will be charged for a full MOT.


Visit Homepage for latest updates and Technical articles: Automotive Electronics

Visit our forum to discuss or doubts: Forum Automotive Electronics




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.