What is an MOT test?

An MOT test is a compulsory annual mechanical safety and emissions test, required for all vehicles over 3 years old in the UK.

Failing an MOT can be costly, depending on which garage you decide to take your car to and which faults need repairing. There are over 22,700 garages around the UK authorised to undertake MOTs and they should display the three blue triangles logo to identify themselves to motorists.

Needless to say, MOTs are a much more pleasant experience when your car passes with flying colours, so it’s a good idea to give your vehicle a once-over before the professional inspection, that way you might be able to fix some of the faults prior to the test.

When do I need an MOT?

You need to get an MOT for your vehicle before the third anniversary of its registration, or if your car is over 3 years old, before the anniversary of its last MOT.

What will my car be tested on?

If you are a new driver car insurance policyholder, you might be unaware of what parts of your car are checked during an MOT.

Your car has to go through many tests once you drop it off at your chosen MOT centre. The areas which will be looked at, to see if they meet legal requirements, include but are not limited to:

  • Your car’s bodywork – checking for any corrosion, damage, areas which could cause injury, inappropriate modifications etc.
  • The vehicle’s fuel system – making sure there are no leaks, that the pipes and fuel cap are in a good condition. The cap will need to be opened, so you must provide the key.
  • Exhaust system and emissions – seeing if the car meets emission requirements, that the exhaust system is secure, complete and there are no leaks.
  • Seats and seat belts – checking the driver’s seat can be adjusted, that seat belts are operational and in a good condition.
  • Front and rear doors – paying attention to how well the hinges work and whether the doors can be opened from inside and outside (rear doors must at least open from the outside).
  • Tyres and road wheels - checks will be carried out for cuts above 25mm, tears, lumps, bulges, exposure of the tyre cord and tread separation, as well as ensuring that car tires meet the UK minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Make sure to keep an eye on your treads, as 10% of all MOT faults are tyre related!
  • Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment - front, rear, brake, fog, indicator and registration plate lights and rear reflectors must all be correctly positioned and secure, in good working condition and not be obscured in any way. Pairs of lights must be uniform in nature, emitting light of the same size, shape and colour. In order to increase your odds of passing your MOT the first time around, have a friend walk around your car while you test the lights from the driver's seat.
  • Wipers and washers - making sure wipers and washers clear a wide enough area to give the driver an adequate view may sound like a simple check, but 6.6% of MOT fails are due to issues related to windscreen wipers and washers. This can be quick and inexpensive to remedy before going for an MOT.

If you’d like to read the complete MOT checklist just visit the Directgov’s website.

How will I know when I need to book an MOT test?

You have to remember to book an MOT test yourself. You won’t get a reminder sent to you – so make a note on your calendar!

How long will you have to wait around at home or at the test centre?

The test itself should take around 45 minutes – enough time for a cup of tea or coffee and a flick through a magazine.

New driver car insurance

MOTs aren’t the only thing your car needs to keep it happy and road-legal – it also needs some new driver car insurance to keep it covered.

Whether you’re a young driver (17-25) or have waited a while to purchase your first car, you could find that the quotes you receive are more expensive than you’d expected. However, insurethebox are here to help!

We use telematics technology to treat you as an individual so when you come to renew, we will take into account how safely you’ve driven when we calculate your price, so you could get a discount if you’ve driven safely. Safe driving can also help you earn Bonus Miles during the policy year.