MOT FAQs: Everything You Need to Know Before Your MOT

An MOT test is a point-by-point assessment designed to check whether or not your car or vehicle is safe enough to drive on public roads. Every testing garage uses the same components and structural parts of your car regardless of the make and model.

We’ve put together the following list of MOT frequently asked questions to help answer any of the burning questions that you have. You can also get in touch with our expert team for more information.

Can I check if my car has failed an MOT before?

Yes – and it’s easy to do so. The DVA’s online MOT History checker tool allows you to view the details of your vehicle’s past MOT test results. You can discover whether it passed or failed, where each test took place, and which parts failed at each of the tests.

Can I drive my car after the MOT runs out?

It is illegal to drive your vehicle on public roads after the MOT has run out, and you can be prosecuted if caught. There are two exceptions to this law that will allow you to drive the vehicle:

  1. You are driving to or from somewhere to be repaired.
  2. To a pre-arranged MOT test.

Can road cameras catch you driving without an MOT test?

Yes, there are many cameras on the roads that use ANPR technology – Automatic Number Plate Recognition. As the pass and failure of MOT tests are stored in online databases, the cameras are able to automatically detect cars driving without valid MOT test certificates. They will inform the relevant police or government services who will take action.

What are the most common MOT failures?

  • Lights and signalling – blown bulbs are the single biggest cause of failures.
  • Suspension.
  • Brakes – brake pads should be replaced approximately every 50,000 miles.
  • Tyres – you can use a 20 pence piece to check for the necessary tyre tread.
  • View of the road – ensure you have no windscreen cracks or even a windscreen-mounted phone holder in place.
  • Steering – check the power steering fluid is at the minimum level.
  • Fuel and exhaust -there are fuel treatment packs that clean out a fuel system before a test. Or give the car a long pre-test run on a motorway to warm the engine.
  • Body and structure.
  • Seat belts and airbags – resolve any twisted belts prior to the test.
  • Registration plates – must be visible and legible.

Is tyre pressure checked in an MOT?

Not exactly. While the actual tyre pressure is not checked, tyre damage resulting in the releasing of pressure will result in an MOT failure.

What happens if I fail my MOT?

You will fail your MOT test if your vehicle is listed as having ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ problems in the MOT test results. As a result of that, you will not be allowed to drive the vehicle again until the problems have been fixed.

There may be a list of ‘minor’ or ‘advisory’ problems, which you will be advised to monitor and fix in the future. You can still drive with these, but it is recommended you get them sorted as soon as possible to prevent the issues from escalating.

MOT Test Station

How do I know when my next MOT is due?

The standard rules for MOT tests state that new vehicles less than 3 years old do not require an MOT test. However, any vehicle will be due for an MOT by:

  • The third anniversary of its registration, or
  • If it is over 3 years old, then the MOT is always due on the anniversary of the previous MOT test.

Can a car pass an MOT test with a warning light on?

No – the warning lights show when something needs urgent attention, and so the vehicle will fail the test as it is too dangerous to drive. For example, there could be poor battery conditions or improper engine oil levels.

What do I need to bring to my MOT?

If this is your first MOT test, then you need to bring your V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book). However, in all other circumstances, you do not need to bring any specific documentation along for the test to occur.

What do I do if I disagree with the MOT test result?

If you believe that the MOT test centre came to the wrong decision, then you are able to appeal the result. This appeal is eligible for both ways – a pass or fail. Download the DVSA’s official complaint form and submit it within 14 working days of the test.

The DVSA will then contact you within 5 days of the appeal to discuss your case.

What is the difference between an MOT and a service?

An MOT test is a point-by-point assessment of a vehicle, designed to check whether or not it is eligible to drive on public roads. The purpose of the test is to keep drivers, pedestrians and other road or pavement users safe.

In contrast, a vehicle service is designed to maintain the mechanical aspects of your vehicle to ensure it is running at its prime efficiency. Although a service is not required by law, it is highly recommended to keep your vehicle properly maintained. It will locate major and minor issues, stopping the latter before they can escalate into needing an expensive solution.


If you would like to book your car or motorcycle in for an MOT, repairs or servicing, please do not hesitate to contact us at Pantech Auto Technicians today.