What's checked during an MOT?

Checks to expect from the MOT test

The MOT test confirms that your vehicle meets the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards required by law.

If your vehicle’s more than 3 years old (and not a taxi) you’ll have to get it tested every year. Vans and motorbikes over 40 years old don't need an MOT test as long as they haven’t been substantially changed in the previous 30 years.

Need a hassle-free MOT? Book with Smart Care and we'll take care of it.

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What checks are included in an MOT?

The MOT test takes about an hour to complete and it involves checking different parts of your car, such as:

  • Axles, wheels, tyres and suspension.
  • Battery, lights and electrical wiring.
  • Body, structure and attachments (including exhaust system, seats and doors).
  • Brakes.
  • Exhaust emissions.
  • Fuel system.
  • Horn.
  • Number plates.
  • Seatbelts.
  • Speedometer.
  • Steering.
  • Visibility (wipers, windscreen, mirrors).

In 2018, a lot of extra checks were added to the test including:

  • Brake fluid contamination.
  • Brake pad warning lights.
  • Daytime running lights.
  • Evidence that a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) has been tampered with.
  • Fluid leaks other than coolant and Adblue.
  • Reversing lamps. 

Your engine, clutch and gearbox won't be tested. You can find full details of the MOT test on the GOV.UK website.

How can I get my car ready for its MOT?

Watch our video and find out what checks you should do ahead of your MOT to give your vehicle the best chance of passing.

You can also read our pre-MOT checklist.

Why use AA Smart Care for your car’s MOT?

If your car fails its MOT and you’d like us to make the necessary repairs, we’ll carry out your retest for free. When you book through Smart Care you also get:

  • Free vehicle collection and return.
  • AA approved garages.
  • Quick and easy online booking and payment.
  • 12-month guarantee on all parts and labour.
  • Fair, transparent pricing.

Need an MOT test? We have next-day availability for servicing and MOTs in some locations.

AA approved MOTs, services and repairs at a local garage near you

Book with Smart Care and get a 12-month guarantee on all parts and labour, fixed pricing with no hidden extras and free vehicle collection and return (subject to availability).

What documents do I need for an MOT?
It's a good idea to take along your current MOT certificate and your V5C Vehicle Registration Document, but your garage should be able to access all the documents they need online.
What happens after the MOT test?

Your vehicle will either pass or fail its MOT.

If your car has passed, the test centre will give you an MOT certificate and your result will be recorded in the MOT database. If any ‘minor’ or ‘advisory’ problems were identified, the test centre should give you a list of these so you can keep an eye on them or choose to repair them. 

What happens if my car fails its MOT?

The test centre will give you a “Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate” and your result will be recorded in the MOT database. You’ll need to have the issues listed on the certificate repaired before your car can be retested or driven.

If you feel it’s unfair that your car has failed its MOT, you can appeal the decision

Where can I book an MOT test?
You can book an MOT using AA Smart Care, quickly and easily online. Get peace of mind with AA approved garages and a 12-month guarantee on all parts and labour. In some cases, we can even collect and drop off your vehicle for you. 

Alternatively, you can book and MOT at any registered MOT test centre.