Five most frequently asked questions about MOTs answered

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Every year, motorists must set up an MOT with their local garage to ensure their car is safe to be on the roads, if the vehicle is over three years old. This is a legal requirement, and failure to have a valid MOT could lead to drivers being fined up to £2,500, as well as receiving a driving ban and three penalty points.

According to experts from Goodbye Car, there are some key questions Britons continue to ask when MOT season rolls around.

When is my MOT due?

Every vehicle that is over three years old must have a current MOT test certificate. This must be renewed annually.

Mark Royal, operations manager at Goodbye Car, said: “To find out if the MOT is due on your car, you can use the MOT Status Checker where you can enter your vehicle’s registration plate number.

“If your car is new, you’ll need to get an MOT test done before the third anniversary of its registration.”

How much will an MOT cost?

The cost of an MOT depends on the test centre drivers are visiting and the type of vehicle they have.

Some test centres might offer deals, so it can be helpful to shop around.

Mr Royal said: “The cost of your MOT will depend on the test centre you’ve chosen and the type of car or motorcycle that you have.

“There are maximum fees that MOT test stations can charge, which are £54.85 for a car and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle.

“The price can rise to a maximum of £124.50 if you have a Class Five vehicle with more than 16 passenger seats.”

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How do I book an MOT?

Before booking, drivers should make sure they are choosing an approved MOT test centre.

Mr Royal said: “Only centres that show the blue sign with three white triangles are able to carry out an MOT.”

There are over 600 approached centres in the UK. These can be booked online or over the phone.

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What parts of my car are checked during an MOT?

The MOT follows a standard list of tests of the vehicle’s exterior and interior.

According to Mr Royal, some of the main areas assessed are:

  • The car’s bodywork
  • Doors
  • Lights
  • The registration plate
  • Towbar
  • Tyres
  • Windsreen and wipers
  • Wing mirror
  • Horn
  • Seats
  • Seatbelts and airbags
  • The bonnet
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • The wiring and battery

Why did I fail my MOT?

According to, an MOT failure happens usually if the test result lists “dangerous” or “major” problems with a vehicle.

The Government advice adds: “You might not be allowed to drive until you fix the problems.”

According to Mr Royal, two common components that can lead to a failed MOT are a broken airbag light or engine management light.

These are two frequently searched for failures, according to GoodbyeCar’s research.

Mr Royal said: “The airbags will be checked during the MOT test, and if the airbag warning light is on then it is considered a major reason for the testers to fail your MOT, as it is a direct threat to your safety. The problem will need to be repaired before your vehicle can pass.

“The engine management light being on after the engine has been started is also a reason to fail your MOT, as it is now considered to be a major fault. The issue will need to be investigated and repaired before the MOT can be passed.”

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