What's an MOT?

The MOT test explained

The MOT test is an annual inspection that makes sure your vehicle meets environmental and road safety standards. The first test is on the third anniversery of its registration.

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What does MOT stand for?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport. This was the government department responsible for checking vehicle roadworthiness when the test was introduced in 1960.

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What checks are included in an MOT?

The MOT test checks a range of car parts, from the braking and fuel system to the seatbelts, wipers, mirrors, lights and the exhaust.

It doesn't look at the condition of the engine, gearbox or clutch.

The exhaust emissions are also tested on most vehicles – if the emissions are too high, your vehicle will fail its MOT.

The following vehicles are exempt from official emissions testing:

  • Two- and three-wheeled vehicles
  • Vehicles with a two-stroke engine
  • Hybrid vehicles
  • Quadricycles
  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
  • Electric vehicles

An MOT pass doesn't mean that your vehicle will be safe to drive for the life of the test certificate, and regular maintenance is still vital.

Read the full list of what is checked during an MOT.

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Are any vehicles exempt from the MOT test?

Cars, vans and motorcycles over 40 years old don't need an MOT test, as long as they've not been substantially changed in the last 30 years.

However, you must still keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition for the safety of other drivers and yourself.

Tractors, and electric goods vehicles registered before 1 March 2015, are also exempt from the MOT test.

You can declare your vehicle meets the exemption criteria when you apply for vehicle tax.

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MOT test from AA Smart Care

Our video shows what happens during an MOT and why getting one is so important.

When you book an MOT you get:

  • Testing at AA approved garages.
  • Quick and easy online booking and payment.
  • Repair parts and labour are guaranteed for 1 year or up to 12,000 miles.
  • Fair, transparent pricing.

And if you book a service with an MOT, you can get free vehicle collection and return, subject to availability.

If your car does fail its MOT and you'd like us to make the necessary repairs, we can carry out your retest for free.

Author: The AA

Book your MOT test at an AA approved local garage

Free collection and return when you book a service with an MOT, subject to availability. Repair parts and labour are guaranteed for 1 year or up to 12,000 miles.