Any vehicle that is 3 years and above must go in for a mandatory MOT check, which is done annually. The 3-year limit is based upon the date of the vehicle registration and not on when it was purchased. However, citizens in Northern Ireland get an extra year i.e., 4 years to get an MOT check. Any vintage vehicle that is more than 40 years need not undergo an MOT unless a major alteration is done on the vehicle. Checking the MOT due date is easy and convenient at the DVLA website.
Getting an MOT test
At present, there are approximately 21 k MOT centres all over the UK. However, not all garages have approval so check the DVLA site. Always book your MOT well before the due date with both national chains and independent garages conducting MOTs.
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Duration of an MOT test
Most MOT tests take around 60 minutes and vehicle owners can wait at the garage if they like and pick up their vehicle once the test is completed. Once the vehicle clears the MOT, it only remains to make the payment and collect the certificate and car from the garage. In case the vehicle does not clear the MOT, the owner will get a call from the garage and be informed about what needs to be done for the vehicle to clear the examination.
Not clearing the MOT
If the vehicle clears the MOT, that is fine as all that is needed is to get the certificate and the vehicle is good to use for the next 12 months. However, if the vehicle has not cleared its MOT test for any of two reasons and there is work to be done by the same garage, the retest will be free. In the retest, only those areas where the car has not cleared will be retested. If the owner intends to get the repairs carried out at another garage, it will need to be completed in 10 days with the retest done at the original garage the first test was carried out. In that case, it will not be free but more economical than getting a brand-new MOT.
Major faults: While the car may still be ok to drive, incurring a major fault means the vehicle has not cleared its MOT. In this case, either the repairs can be carried out at the garage where the MOT was done or it can be taken to another garage for the work to be carried out. Some of the examples of major faults include defective brake lights, malfunctioning catalytic converter or a very loud exhaust etc.
Dangerous Faults: During the MOT test if a dangerous fault has been detected, the vehicle owner cannot drive the car from the garage where the test was done as it is deemed to be unfit on the roads. It will either need to be towed to another garage for repairs to be carried out or the owner will need to get it repaired at the MOT garage itself. Some examples of dangerous faults include leakage of hydraulic fluid, missing wheel nuts and non-functioning brake lights etc.