MOT Checks - everything you need to know and more

By Jen Hyslop

The MOT test was first brought into Britain in 1960 by the Minister of Transport Ernest Marples. At first, the test was for vehicles 10 years or older to be completed every year thereafter. Due to the high failure rate, it was decided the test should be more frequent.

Does my car need an MOT?

In present times the legal requirement for a new vehicle is that it needs an MOT test once it has turned 3 years old and then annually. All MOT test centres send results to a central database so you can check if your car needs an MOT and when it’s due on the Government website.

How long does an MOT take?

An MOT usually takes 45 minutes up to 1 hour.

Why do vehicles need an MOT?

Vehicles need a valid MOT to make sure they comply with roadworthiness standards; this should be renewed annually. It’s illegal to drive a vehicle without an MOT unless driving the vehicle to a test centre for a pre-booked appointment.

What is checked on an MOT Test?

An MOT involves checking different parts of the vehicle.

Such as:

Horn – The horn should be loud enough for other road users and release a continuous sound.
Battery – The battery should not show any signs of leaking electrolytes and should also be secure.
Lights – All lights should be in good working order and not obscured. The headlights will be checked to ensure they won’t dazzle other drivers. As well as headlights front and rear, fog, indicators and registration plate lights are also checked.
Steering – Secure and operate correctly. If the vehicle has power steering, it must have a minimum level of power steering fluid.
Brakes – A brake performance test will be carried out to check brake efficiency and the pedals, brakes and levers should be in good condition. The rubbers on the pedals should also be intact.
Seatbelts – Check that all seat belts are secure and functioning and all belts exist.
Windscreen – No chips or cracks that could affect visibility.
Windscreen wipers and washer bottle – Wipers should operate correctly and the washer bottle should be usable.
Exhaust and emissions – No leaks in the exhaust system, the emissions should be within guidelines and the exhaust noise isn’t too loud.
Tyres – Tyres are the only part of the car that has contact with the road, tyre tread depth should not be lower than 1.6mm this would result in an MOT fail and also illegal. Worn or under-inflated tyres will also result in failure.

Drivers are at risk of a £2500 fine and three penalty points per worn tyre. If the vehicle is found to have all four tyres below the legal tread depth, this could result in a £10,000 fine and you could potentially lose your driving licence.

MOT Myths

“My vehicle will pass an MOT without water in the washer bottle” – Not true, the vehicle must have washer fluid and be usable. It will result in a failure if the washer bottle is empty.

“Windscreen stickers could result in an MOT fail” – As small as this may sound, it is actually true. Stickers, fluffy dice, air fresheners, and anything that obscures the driver's view will result in failure.

“Vehicle could pass an MOT with a missing registration plate” – Not true, the vehicle must have both registration plates fitted and the numbers and letters clearly visible.

“Windscreen wipers being damaged would result in a fail” – This is true, wipers should operate correctly and be free from damage. The vehicle will fail if wipers are unable to clear the windscreen of dirt.

What happens after the test?

After the test you’ll get a list of everything the technician has tested along with the result while should either be:

  • Pass
  • Pass with advisories
  • Fail with major or dangerous faults

What about if my car fails its MOT?

At Pye if your vehicle fails or if the technician sees repairs are needed in the near future, they will present you with the options and prices upfront – you will never get a bill that you weren’t expecting.

Can my vehicle be driven after failing?

If your vehicle does fail its MOT, as long as there are no serious problems with the vehicle and the current MOT certificate is still valid, you may be able to drive it. Any repairs should be fixed before the current MOT runs out. Driving an unroadworthy vehicle can face fines up to £1000.

What happens when the vehicle passes?

When you pick the vehicle up, you will be handed an MOT and emissions certificate.

Pye Motors can MOT all types of vehicles across our dealerships
We are DVSA approved and can MOT any vehicle from cars to commercials and up to HGVs. When you have the work done with us, we’ll make sure the work is completed to high standards by our trained technicians.

If you have a busy schedule, we can even arrange for the vehicle to be picked up and dropped back off to you whether that be from your home or your place of work at a time that suits you.

Class 5 MOTs

A class 5 MOT is for private passenger vehicles and ambulances with 13 to 16 passenger seats. This test is required annually after 1 year. A class 5 MOT will cost £59.55.

Class 7 MOTs

A class 7 MOT is required annually after 3 years, this is for light goods vehicles weighing between 3 and 3.5 tonnes. We have extra-large MOT bays at our Morecambe and Kendal branches; these allow us to test vehicles from motorhomes to horse boxes. A class 7 MOT will cost £58.60.


These should be carried out 12 months after the vehicle was first registered with the DVLA. Our specialist commercial workshop at our Morecambe branch has the facilities to accommodate heavy goods vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes pre-MOT.

How much is an MOT?

A standard car MOT costs £54.85. You can book an MOT and service together to save two trips to the garage, if booked together the MOT will cost £50.00.

If you would like more information or aren’t sure which MOT you require – please feel free to contact the Pye service team who will be happy to discuss.