What is a MOT?

If you’re a car owner in the UK, then you should have at least heard of the MOT test for cars. Although you might have heard of it, are you aware of what it is all about and what your responsibilities are as a motorist?

There’s more misunderstanding about the MOT than you might thing.

MOT – What it Means

For a start, MOT stands for Ministry of Transport, after the government body which first came up with the idea of testing cars back in 1960. Interestingly, the Ministry of Transport no longer exists, but we’ve never stopped using the name in the MOT test.

The MOT is a test to make sure that your car is safe to be on the road. It’s a road worthiness test which looks at everything from brakes to windscreen wipers. It’s not about whether your car is worth what you think it’s worth, or whether it’s taxed or insured. Furthermore, it’s not just cars which need a MOT. The requirement is for any vehicle on the public roads, such as buses, lorries or taxis.

Differences to Standard MOT

In England, Wales and Scotland, any vehicle older than three years has to have a MOT. That means three years from the date of first registration, not necessarily three years from the date you bought it, even if you picked it up from new.

The rules in Northern Ireland are slightly different, and vehicles don’t need a MOT until they are four years old. There’s discussion underway about bringing the rules into Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK.

Nearly every vehicle on the UK roads will need a MOT test. There are two exceptions to this.

Firstly, any cars which are more than 30 years old don’t need a test. This rule recognizes that classic cars don’t meet many of the standards expected from modern MOT tests. If your car is older than 30, claim a historic or classic vehicles exemption.

The other exception is for vehicles which never go on the public road. So if you’re lucky enough to own an estate large enough to need a Land Rover to get around, then you don’t need to MOT it, tax it or even insure it, as long as you never drive it on the public road.

Where Does MOT Tests?

Not every garage can offer MOT tests. Tests can only be carried out at an approved MOT centre. There are just over 20,000 MOT test centers up and down the UK, and over 50,000 people working within those centers who are qualified to do the tests.

These centers range from small, “one man band” operations in a rural village through to the large chain garages such as Kwik-Fit or Halfords. There’s a complete list of current MOT centers on the government website, but unfortunately not in an easily searched format. As it’s illegal to drive without a MOT, make sure that you are aware of when yours expires, and make your booking in plenty of time.

Shift Frequency © 2019 – What is a MOT?

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