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Important MOT Checks

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Our guide to the important checks involved in an MOT.

It can be nerve racking putting your beloved car through its yearly MOT test, but an MOT ensures that your car is in good shape, safe to drive on the roads and it makes sure that the vehicle meets environmental standards.

On a new registered car you legally have to get an MOT on its third year anniversary or if the car is over 3 years old it has to take the test on the anniversary of its previous MOT. If you fail to book an appointment, you could end up paying a £1000 fine for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT and up to £2500 if the car is deemed unsafe to drive. An approved MOT test centre will have a professional mechanic who will inspect all the important parts of your vehicle excluding the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox.

The cost of the test can vary among different cars and MOT centres, however the maximum limit they could charge is £55 for a car and £30 for a standard motorcycle. The cost is worth it, as the test could save you money in the long term and prevent something severe happening in the future.
The following checks will be carried out during the MOT test:

Exhaust and Emissions

When the emissions are being tested, there usually will be two tests; the first being a simple visual test to see if any black smoke is emitted from the tailpipe and the second one will analyse the concentration of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) in the exhaust gasses. The exhaust itself needs to be secure to the car and will be checked for any corrosion and should be silent when the car is at standstill.


All mirrors need to be secure to the car to pass the test and cannot have any cracks in the reflective glass – this can really hinder your view dramatically.

Steering and Suspension

The condition of the suspension can greatly affect the handling of the car and is therefore checked with the steering wheel. The wheels must be able to turn to their full and lock with the power steering test.


The mechanic will take a look at the brake discs to see if there is any damage or inappropriate repairs. To test the performance and efficiency of the brakes the car is put on a roller brake tester. Lights on the dashboard to indicate brake fluid levels and ABS/ESC issues will also be checked.


The exterior shell of the car will be checked for excessive corrosion and any defects or sharp edges that could cause injury.


Obviously you wouldn’t want any fuel leaking anywhere therefore the condition of the pipes and hoses are checked as well as the seal on the fuel cap.


Treat your tyres well and you won’t fail the test! The condition and security of a tyre are extremely important, as they help towards preventing punctures and possible blow-outs. The tread depth will be inspected and it has to be above the minimum legal requirement of 1.6mm.

Lights and Horn

To test the lights, the mechanic will look at their condition and operations such as; high intensity discharge (HID) and light emitting diode (LED). The horn must work, and it needs to be a suitable sound level for the vehicle.

Windscreen and Wipers

An inspection on the windscreen will check for any chips and cracks in the glass. The wipers need to operate and clear the driver’s view.

We hope our MOT advice helps! If you need to book your car in for an MOT, you can do so at Richard Hardie. To make it simple, you can book your test by filling in our online booking form here.

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