• Everything You Need to Know About MOT Tests

Everything You Need to Know About MOT Tests

What is an MOT? What makes them fail? Why are they important? Wilsons Epsom answers all these questions and more!

If you’re a seasoned motorist, you’ll be more than used to booking your vehicle in for its annual MOT test by now. But if you’re a new driver, you may need to get up to speed, which is why we are here to help!  

In this dedicated blog, we’ll explain everything you need to know about MOT tests, so you won’t be left wondering what to do when your car is due for a check-up. Read on to find out more… 

What is an MOT?

The letters MOT stands for Ministry of Transport, who are the Government department responsible for creating the original vehicle test as we know it today. An MOT test checks the safety of a vehicle - including its road worthiness and exhaust emissions - whilst ensuring certain parts meet the legal requirements. Every vehicle over three-years-old in the UK is required by law to undergo an annual MOT test.  

What does an MOT check for?

An MOT test checks for many parts of a car, including:

  • Overall body and structure
  • Towbars (if relevant)
  • Fuel system
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Exhaust system
  • Seatbelts
  • Seats
  • Doors
  • Mirrors
  • Load security
  • Brakes
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Registration plates
  • Lights
  • Bonnet
  • Wipers and washers
  • Windscreen
  • Horn
  • Steering and suspension
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Electrical components

To give you a visual understanding of what is included in an MOT test, we’ve shared the image below, courtesy of www.gov.uk where you can find out more about the specifics of each part tested.

It is worth noting that an MOT test does not check for everything to do with your vehicle. There are specific components that won’t be checked for damage or wear and tear - such as the engine, clutch, or gearbox; an MOT does not replace the need for your car’s service, so it’s vital you still book your vehicle in for an annual service to check its overall mechanical condition. 

An MOT report provided by your MOT test centre will explain everything your vehicle is tested for, how it was checked, and the reasons why your vehicle may have failed its MOT. Assuming your vehicle passes its MOT, you will be issued with a certificate to show it is roadworthy.   

What makes an MOT fail? 

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), around 1.5 million vehicles a year in the UK fail their MOT. Whilst the number of vehicle failures seem fairly astonishing, an MOT fail can be the result of the most simplest of faults. It may be that a bulb isn’t working, your tyre treads are worn, or your windscreen wash is empty - you’d be surprised at what can fail an MOT, so we’ve listed some of the most common reasons, below:

  • Faulty or broken lights
  • Car suspension issues
  • Worn brake discs and pads
  • Damaged or worn tyres

Many of the issues that fail an MOT can be easily avoided by regularly checking your vehicle and ensuring it is serviced.  

How much is an MOT?

The price of an MOT depends on the type of vehicle that is being tested. Currently, the UK Government states that the maximum fee an MOT test centre can charge for a car is £54.85. Here at Wilsons Epsom, our MOT prices start from as little as £40. Visit the MOT Guide on our website to find out more. 

How long does an MOT take?

An MOT test takes anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour, depending on the MOT centre you are using. During this time, the tester will either be able to pass or fail your vehicle in which case you can either drive it home or arrange to have the failed parts fixed. 


What do you need for an MOT test?

There are a few items you may need to take with you before attending an MOT test. If you’ve booked your vehicle in for its first-ever MOT, then you’ll need to take your vehicle log book (known as a V5C) with you. If your car has already had one or more MOTs, then it’s usually handy to have your current MOT certificate with you. Some MOT test centres may also require you to show your driving licence, proof of address and service history too. 

Can you drive without an MOT?

If your car is over three-years-old and does not have a valid MOT, then it is illegal to drive the vehicle. Despite assumptions by many motorists, if your car fails its MOT, there is no grace period where you can drive your car whilst you wait for it to be fixed. Instead, you are required to have your car fixed immediately if you are planning on driving it again. 

You are unable to renew your road tax without a valid MOT, so there really is no escaping it and you are at risk of receiving a large fine if you drive with an expired MOT. 

Are MOT tests changing?

In April 2022, the UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps announced that annual MOT tests may be extended to every two years in a bid to tackle the cost of living crisis. This potential change to MOTs has come under huge scrutiny by the automotive industry, which worry drivers will be putting themselves at huge risk under new laws. 

Although no official decision has been made just yet, we’ll be keeping a close eye on any updates and changes to MOT laws in the UK. 

Book your MOT at Wilsons Epsom  

Your vehicle is in safe hands at Wilsons Epsom thanks to our state-of-the-art manufacturer approved MOT and service centres. Run by a team of highly trained technicians, we only ever work with genuine replacement parts and the latest diagnostic equipment.  

Our MOT prices start from just £40 and you can book a 45-minute while-you-wait appointment, or choose to leave your vehicle with us for the day and we’ll call you when it’s ready to collect. 

You can book your Wilsons Epsom MOT online or over the phone - our service centre is open Monday to Saturday for your convenience.  

Transport For London

Cars need to meet minimum emission standards when travelling in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) or the daily charge must be paid.

Minimum emission standards

Petrol: Euro 4
Diesel: Euro 6

The ULEZ will be enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. However:

Information from Transport For London

Check this car on the TFL website before purchasing: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle/

All our vehicles are subject to an Admin Fee. Our Admin Fee covers any additional administration needed during your transaction, including a thorough provenance check (HPI Check). The admin fee also includes the cost to fully valet, register and, if necessary, MOT your vehicle (if less than 6 months left of current MOT).

Our administration fee is a variable fee which covers the additional administration needed when transacting with different categories of customers as specified. Retail Customers £199.00 - (Private buyers - NOT an owner, partner or director of a new/used vehicle sales company). Retail Customers using a finance broker outside our official panel of lenders paying funds direct to Wilsons Epsom - £399.00. All fees are inclusive of VAT.