December 16, 2020

What Is Checked During an MOT?

There’s not a car owner in the UK who, at some point, hasn’t dreaded gong for their MOT. Especially if you have an older vehicle, the chances of something go wrong increase with age and mileage. Some of the faults cause you to fail your MOT are minor and easily rectified, others can be more serious.

Here we look at what happens with an MOT and how to make sure you pass.

What Does the MOT Test For?

The MOT was introduced in 1960 as more cars began to hit the road and the government wanted to have a standard for safety. The purpose of this test is not to repair faults but to find out if your vehicle is roadworthy.

The MOT was upgraded in 2018 and made a bit tougher. The test looks at various things including:

  • Your seats and seatbelts are working properly.
  • Your lights all operate, including beams, stop lights, indicators and fog.
  • Your steering and suspension are fit for driving.
  • Your wipers are in good condition and the washer bottle if full.
  • Your windscreen is clear and isn’t damaged.
  • Your emergency horn works.
  • Your fuel system is operating properly.
  • Emissions are within EU standards
  • The bodywork is in suitable condition (for example, not rusting away).
  • The doors open, close and lock properly.
  • Your mirrors are clean and work.
  • Your wheels are in good condition and the tyres have deep enough tread.
  • Your brakes work.

Around 1.5 million cars fail their MOT each year and it’s usually for minor things. Defects are classed as either dangerous, major or minor. If you have a minor fault you can put this right yourself and you do not fail.

If you have a dangerous or major fault, however, you must repair this or put it right before you can take your test, pass and drive again. As long as you get your car fixed within 5 days, you can usually have the retest for free.

What Are the Most Common MOT Failures?

By far the most common reasons that cars fail their MOT are lights that are not working, issues with the suspension and brakes and tyres with not enough tread.

You can either choose to put the faults right yourself and retest for your MOT certificate or you can get your mechanic to do it for you. People often combine a service with their MOT to save time and put small issues right.

Technically, you can drive your car if you have failed your MOT and the date has not expired. If you have a dangerous or severe fault, however, if stopped you can be fined and prosecuted.

Are Classic Cars Exempt From an MOT?

One question we often get asked at White’s Bodyworks in Sussex is whether classic cars are exempt or not. The rules changed on this not so long ago. If your vehicle is over 40 years old and has not had major parts replaced such as the chassis or engine in the last 30 years, then you are exempt from the MOT.

Even if you are exempt, however, you have a legal duty of care to maintain your car and ensure you are roadworthy. If you don’t, and you are stopped by the police, you could be fined and prosecuted.

Find out more here.

How to Make Sure Your Car Passes its MOT

The first step to passing your MOT is maintaining your car properly. Carrying out regular checks of areas such as the tyres and your lights are relatively easy to do. A yearly service is also a good option as it can help identify any problems and put them right before they get worse.

Before you go for your MOT, check oil and coolant levels, make sure your windscreen wipers are in good condition and check your tyre pressure and tread as a bare minimum.

Where Can I Get My MOT in West Sussex?

There are plenty of garages around the West Sussex area and many of them provide MOT and services. At White’s Bodyworks, we have nearly a 30-year history of providing high-quality repairs, restorations, resprays and MOTs and servicing.

Our trained mechanics and our state of the art facilities, mean we can handle any make or any age of car, van or motorcycle. We realise you want to get your MOT over and done with the minimum of fuss. The good news is we can handle all possible repairs onsite. We’re also passionate about classic and older cars and have a great reputation for restoration and repairs in the local area.

If you are planning to book your car in for an MOT and service, contact our expert team today.


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