If your vehicle is 3 years or older you are required by law to have an annual safety check, commonly known as MOT. The purpose of the MOT is to ensure the vehicle meets the minimum safety level required by law.
During the MOT the tester will conduct an inspection and a comprehensive series of checks around the vehicle, including the interior, exterior, under the bonnet and under the vehicle.
If the vehicle passes all MOT checks, a VT20 MOT certificate is issued. However, if the vehicle fails its MOT checks, a VT30 document is issued. Items that aren’t quite a failure, but will require future attention are listed as ‘advisory’ items.
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From 1 January 2012, the Department for Transport added several new mandatory test items to the annual MOT to comply with a revised European testing directive. Here is some useful information from the AA website: And some exsisting rules too:
Electronic parking brake
Electronic parking brake controls are now included and must be present and not inappropriately repaired or modified. The car will fail if an Electronic Parking Brake warning lamp is illuminated to indicate a malfunction.
Electronic Stability Control
Checks of antilock brakes will be extended to include Electronic Stability Control if fitted.
The MOT test will include checks for the correct function of the following, where fitted;
- Headlight main beam warning light
- Electronic power steering warning light
- Brake fluid level warning light
- Seat belt pre-tensioner warning light
- Electronic parking brake
- Electronic stability control warning lights
Steering & suspension
The new test includes a check on the presence and correct function of the steering lock where fitted as standard. Power steering fluid level must be above the minimum level indicated on the reservoir. Any powersteering fluid leak is now a failure. Also any ball joint dust covers whith splits in them, bad enough to allow the ingress of dirt will also fail. Any movement in a suspension bush or ball joint deemed to be excessive will fail, if severe will be dangerous to drive
Products on the lens or light source that obviously reduce the light's intensity or change its colour will become a reason for failure – applies to front/rear position lamps, registration plate lamps, stop lamps, rear fog and direction indicators.Front fog lights are not a testable item and you only require the offside rear fog to be working to pass.
Electrical wiring and battery
An insecure battery will be a reason for failure as will a battery that is leaking electrolyte. Visible wiring that is insecure, inadequately supported or likely to cause a short will also result in a failure.
Trailer/caravan electrical socket
There will be a basic security/damage check of 7-pin sockets. 13-pin sockets will be subject to a full electrical connectivity check and incorrectly connected or inoperative circuits will result in failure.
Tyre pressure monitoring systems fitted to vehicles first registered after 1 January 2012 must be working correctly and not indicating a malfunction. The legal limit for a tyre is 1.6mm of tread over 70% of the width of the tyre. other reasons for failure are cuts through to cords, bulges in the side wall of the tyres. These are caused by the side casing of the tyre splitting, normally a pot hole, speed bump or kurb. The tyres have to be the same size on each axle, i.e. the front have to be the same and the rear have to be the same. A tempory use space saver seen in alolt of new cars, fitted to the vehicle is also a failure. As it is designed for tempory use only. The spare tyre when in the boot is not testable. A tyre obviously below designed pressure will be an issue.
The vehicle will fail the test if any airbag fitted as original equipment is obviously missing or defective. A seatbelt pre-tensioner fitted as original equipment but missing or that has obviously deployed will be a reason for failure.
The car will fail if a speedometer is not fitted, is incomplete, inoperative, has a dial glass broken/missing or cannot be illuminated.
It must be possible to secure the driver's seat fore and aft adjustment mechanism in two or three different positions. On electric seats the motors must move the seat fore and aft. The seat belts have to be in good working order, release under pressure from its buckle, and not be cut or chaffed.
A rear door that cannot be opened from the outside using the relevant control is a new reason for failure. Doors must be easy to open and close – hinges, catches and pillars will be inspected.
Inappropriate repair or modification to the towbar assembly will be a reason for failure if judged likely to affect the roadworthiness of the vehicle/trailer. Any excessive corrosion to the chassi within 30cm of the towbar is also now a failure
A catalytic convertor fitted as original equipment but missing will be a reason for failure. If the vehicle has a exhaust leak or the exhaust is deemed to be insecure, this will fail. It also has to pass its emissions test which looks at the health of both the engine and exhaust parts.
Damaged or chafed fuel pipes will result in failure. Any fuel leak will be a filure. Insecure pipes will also be a failure
The brakes are obviously a very important part of the vehicle, And so the mot test has a number of checks for the brakes. Firstly the brake servo is tested,(this is a vacume booster to help you compress the brake) then the performance of the brakes in the rolling road. Here we look for a judder from the brake system and overall performance. if one brake works better or faster than its equivelant on the other side, this will fail. Visually the brake lines are checked for kinks, leaks and corrosion. The brake discs and pads are check for wear and discs condition. The legal limit for a brake pad is 1.5mm, any lower and this will also fail. Handbrake cables are tested for function and also fraying. If the abs light is illuminated on the dash board for longer than designed, showing a fault in the system, this will also fail.
A battery is now testable, It has to be secure and the wires in good shape, and not be leaking electrolyte.
Windscreen and drivers view of the road
Here on an mot, we are looking at the condition and function of your wiper blades and windscreen washers. Making sure the washers cover most of the screen sufficiently with fluid. The wipers have to clear the screen effectivly. Splits of wiper blades now doesn fail however they have to be secure on there wiper arms. The screen has to be in good condition. Some chips and craks will fail the mot, directly in front of the driver the damage can be no bigger than 10mm, on the other side it can be upto 40 mm before iit will fail.