How long does an MOT take?

How long does an MOT take?

This page was last updated on 1 May 2022

How long does an MOT take In 2022?

What is an MOT test?

The MOT test is an annual test that must be passed by all vehicles over 3 years old in the UK before they can legally drive on public roads. It tests whether your vehicle meets road safety requirements. The MOT test assesses many factors which make up the legal criteria for roadworthiness.

The MOT was introduced by the Department for Transport in 1960, with the current specification of tests taking place since 1999. The MOT test covers all road vehicles that are required to be registered with the DVLA and operated on UK roads, including cars with numberplates, motorcycles, vans, trucks and buses.

Driving a vehicle with an expired MOT certificate is illegal and automatically invalidates your car insurance.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

You can listen to an audio recording of this page below.

 

How long does an MOT take?

So how long does an MOT take? Although the time taken varies (depending on the age and condition of your vehicle), MOT tests start at approximately half an hour per vehicle. The average MOT test takes around 40 minutes.

If you have a newer car, the MOT takes less time. If your car is 10 years old or less when it’s due for its MOT test, the test itself will take just 20 to 30 minutes. However, because cars that are over 10 years old can’t receive an instant pass (and need a complete test), MOT tests for these cars may come to around 45 minutes.

Don’t forget to take time off work or make other arrangements for when you are being tested, because it could take up to one hour, although some MOT tester centres also have express appointments available that are a shorter length of time.

How does the MOT test work?

To book an MOT test, you must contact an authorised MOT test centre. You can generally get your MOT booked by phone or online. An MOT test takes place every year around the anniversary of your car’s first MOT. The MOT cost will be between £30 and £60, depending on the vehicle’s tax class.

The test is conducted in an independent MOT testing station that is approved by the DVSA. The qualifications for a person who can conduct a test are regulated by the government.

During the MOT test, you must wait away from your car. There are usually designated waiting areas at MOT test centres. You are, however, permitted to get any things that help the tester check how safe your vehicle is. For example, you can provide tap water for checking brake fluid or show them where they can access the engine or wheels.

The tester will examine the condition of almost every part of your car, from elements such as its windscreen wipers and headlights to more obscure parts such as its engine’s secondary air system.

The tester will carry out various checks to assess whether your car is safe to drive on the road. This includes assessing whether it meets legal standards for exhaust emissions, roadworthiness and theft security. The tester will check that all parts of your vehicle are present and ensure they work correctly. They’ll also look at the tyres, steering systems, suspension, lights, windshield wipers, brakes and heating/cooling systems. The vehicle must pass all sections of the MOT test to obtain a certificate.

The vehicle will receive a pass or fail result. Following an MOT fail, you will be given advice on what additional work is required to make the car pass the next time.

What is checked during an MOT test?

When you take your car for an MOT test, it’ll be tested for the condition and safety of various features and equipment, such as:

  • The lights and indicators (including tell-tale panels), which must work correctly
  • Windscreen washers, wipers and windscreen – All vehicle windows must allow a clear view for drivers, without obstruction from any defects
  • Fuel systems, fuel tank, fuel pipes, exhaust system (breathing apparatus found in petrol engines) and electric power supply to components such as the battery
  • Braking system – Must operate smoothly. Brake discs/drums and pads fitted to the vehicle must not show signs of excessive wear or damage

The MOT test is an annual test that must be passed by all vehicles over 3 years old in the UK before they can legally drive on public roads.

  • The anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Brake fluid – Brake lines, hoses or pipes should not be excessively worn or leaking
  • Steering system – The steering mechanism must be secure – there should be no looseness in the steering wheel even when the suspension is fully compressed
  • The vehicle’s seats and seat belt assemblies – This includes the driver’s seatbelt and any child restraints fitted, as well as head restraints and any built-in seatbelts
  • The condition of the vehicle’s doors, windows and locks
  • Wheels, tyres and suspension – The tyres will be checked for tread depth, cuts or bulges. Wheels must be properly attached (no missing or loose parts)
  • The vehicle frame – the presence of any damage to the chassis which could affect safety; whether this has been fixed properly; if not, whether it affects the safety performance of the vehicle

What do I need for an MOT test?

You will usually have to bring the following to your appointment:

  • Proof of identity (a driver’s licence, passport or birth certificate)
  • The V5C vehicle registration document (log book), unless you’ve already sent it off for checking by post – in this case, all you’ll need is proof that the registration was requested
  • A valid tax disc showing when the vehicle last passed its MOT test
How long does an MOT take?

If you don’t have the above documentation, there is still a chance that the testing centre can access the information electronically and test your car. However, this is not always the case, so it’s better to be prepared and bring the appropriate documents.

MOT test preparation tips

To prepare for an MOT test,  check that the current certificates for your car are in order. You can do this by printing out a free V5C application checker from the DVLA website and checking whether it has been submitted for MOT testing. If not, you can print out another to send off for its MOT certificate to be sent during the 28 days before your test.

When you take your vehicle in for an MOT, it must have an empty boot, unless there are any spare tyres fitted at the back of the vehicle.

Every MOT test centre has its own minimum standards, so it’s best to be aware of the requirements before your appointment. Some test centres will also have certain conditions for vehicles that can enter their premises, such as having electric windows and central locking systems.

Also, don’t forget to check for any defects before you take your car in – not only will it help it pass its MOT test, but it could also save you money on repairs! For instance, if one or both of your headlights is faulty, then they’ll fail the MOT test and you’ll need to replace them.

You should, of course, make sure that you have enough fuel in your tank as filling stations close to test centres can get very busy on MOT testing days.

If you need any fixes done to your car before the day of your test, don’t leave it until the last moment – plan ahead in case the work required takes longer than expected.

After the MOT test, what happens?

You’ll be given the test results on the same day – this will either be a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ certificate.

In most cases, if your vehicle passes the MOT test, you’ll be issued a new MOT certificate. The MOT typically lasts for one year until it expires.

If your vehicle fails its MOT test, you may need to make repairs before taking it back to the place that did the test. You are usually required to do this within a certain number of days after receiving your ‘fail’ certificate, and the retest will be free of charge. If you take it back at a later date, you will have to pay for the MOT test again.

What happens if your car fails its MOT

If your car fails its MOT test, you’ll be issued with a ‘fail’ certificate which you must display in a visible place in your car.

If the existing MOT certificate has not yet expired and there are only minor issues with the vehicle, you may still drive the car and take it for repairs before a retest.

If ‘dangerous’ faults are identified, or if the existing certificate has expired, the vehicle must not be driven until it has been repaired and receives a new MOT. However, if the date that your vehicle fails its MOT is the same as the expiry date on the old MOT certificate, you are often allowed to drive the vehicle in order to take it to a garage for servicing on that same day.

If you think you shouldn’t have to pay for the repairs, you can complain in writing within 21 days of receiving your ‘fail’ certificate. If your car was rejected because of damage that wasn’t your fault, then you should be able to get this money back.

Common reasons cars fail the MOT test

Some common reasons for failing an MOT are: having tyres with age-related damage such as cuts, bulges and cracks; headlights that are missing or damaged; locks not working correctly; or a faulty exhaust system.

Cars often fail their MOTs because of poor maintenance. Car servicing should be carried out at a local garage regularly. Most garages offer a full service that examines all areas of your vehicle. You will save money if you carry out simple maintenance tasks yourself, such as checking the pressure in the tyres, checking oil levels, replacing worn wiper blades and topping up washers.

In some cases, cars fail their MOTs because of damage to certain parts of the car – this is why it’s important that you check for any defects before an MOT test. For instance, if your vehicle’s bodywork has suffered damage then it can fail the MOT test.

If you need to replace any of your car’s parts, be sure to only use new, genuine manufacturer parts. Using aftermarket parts will not improve the safety or performance of your vehicle and may actually fail it during an MOT test.

MOT retests

There’s usually no reason why you can’t take your car away after a failed MOT test, make the necessary repairs and have it re-tested. This depends on the current certificate from the previous MOT having not yet expired. You will often be asked to retake the test within 10 working days of failing, which normally won’t cost you any additional money.

However, you will have to pay for the MOT test again in the case that you fail the MOT because an essential repair wasn’t carried out in time, or if too much time has passed before you take your vehicle for a retest.

Some testing locations also offer repair services so that driving your car to local garages in between testing and retesting won’t be necessary.

Article author

James Lloyd

I am the primary writer and author for Help and Advice, having originally helped start the site because I recognised that there was a need for easy to read, free and comprehensive information on the web. I have been able to use my background in finance to produce a number of articles for the site, as well as develop the financial fitness assessment tool. This is a tool that provides you with practical advice on improving your personal financial health.

Outside of work I am a keen rugby player and used to play up to a semi-professional level before the years of injury finally took their toll.  Now you are more likely to see me in the clubhouse enjoying the game.

Email – james@helpandadvice.co.uk

Linked in – Connect with me 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an MOT test?

The MOT test is an annual test that must be passed by all vehicles over 3 years old in the UK before they can legally drive on public roads.

How does the MOT test work?

To book an MOT test, you must contact an authorised MOT test centre. You can generally get your MOT booked by phone or online.

What is checked during an MOT test?

When you take your car for an MOT test, it’ll be tested for the condition and safety of various features and equipment.

What happens if your car fails its MOT

If your car fails its MOT test, you’ll be issued with a ‘fail’ certificate which you must display in a visible place in your car.

Share this page

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on linkedin