Our MOT Guide & Checklist

All cars and vans, once they are three years old, must be presented for an annual MOT test at a VOSA approved centre.

It is illegal to drive a vehicle on the road unless it is to a pre-booked MOT test, you can still get fined if the vehicle does not meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness should you be stopped en route.

Hartley Garage is one such authorised testing station, testing cars vans and motorhomes (class 4) since the early ’70s we have recently undergone a massive refurbishment with the state of the art diagnostics testing and servicing equipment. We can be contacted of bookings or advice on 01474 706501 or you can visit our website  https://www.hartleygarage.co.uk/vehicle-mot-testing/longfield

Below you can read an excerpt of an informative article from Kevin Hughes on the RAC advice blog.


Affordable Mot service be golf Hartley

When do I need to get an MOT test?

When your car is three years old from the date of its registration it will need its first MOT test – and then it needs to be retested every year on the anniversary of its last MOT test.

Once passed, you’ll get an MOT test certificate with the date of test on it, and the date of expiry so you know when the vehicle requires a new MOT. If you choose, you can get the vehicle retested up to a month (minus a day) before it expires and keep the original renewal date.

If your car fails its MOT, then you can only take your vehicle away if your current MOT certificate is still valid and no ‘dangerous’ problems were listed in the new report from the failed MOT. Otherwise, you must get it repaired before you’re allowed to drive.

If you decide to take it to another garage to have the failed defects addressed then your car will still need to meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times or you can be fined.

How can I find out when my MOT is due?

If you’ve lost your MOT certificate you can simply use the GOV.uk tool to enter your registration number and vehicle make. This will check both your MOT status and tax status in a matter of seconds:

Is there a grace period for an MOT?

No. As soon as your MOT has expired it becomes illegal to drive your car on the road. Doing so risks prosecution. You also cannot tax a vehicle without a current MOT certificate.

Can I drive without an MOT?

No. You can’t drive a vehicle without it having a valid MOT certificate. The only exception is that you’re able to drive your vehicle to its MOT test, so long as the test has been booked.

If you own a vehicle and are not planning on driving it you must keep it off the road and will have to declare it SORN.

How can I prepare for an MOT test?

Many vehicles fail an MOT for small issues which could easily been prevented before the test. You might be surprised at what can fail an MOT – some problems are relatively minor.

It’s a good idea to prepare an MOT checklist a couple of weeks before the date of inspection to make sure your vehicle is in the best possible condition it can be, this will allow you to proactively fix the issues and avoid any inconvenient circumstances if the vehicle fails the test.

A pre-MOT checklist should include the following actions:

  • Keep your car clean, inside and out. A boot full of clutter and an excessively dirty car – especially if the number plate is no longer visible – can cause a failed MOT.
  • Check the windscreen wipers are in good condition, with no tears.
  • Check all lights are in working order. Ask a friend or family member to stand outside the car and confirm lights function properly.
  • Check tyre tread using the 20p test, and tyre pressure too
  • Top up all fluid levels – screenwash, brake fluid and oil.
  • Check that the horn works – give it a quick honk!

Complete MOT checklist

It is worth clarifying, however, if your car fails its MOT, then you cannot keep your renewal date

  • Brakes
  • Bodywork
  • Doors and openings
  • Exhaust and emissions
  • Horn
  • Lights
  • Seats and seatbelts
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Tow bar
  • Vehicle identification
  • Wheels and tyres
  • Windows and mirrors


MOTs are pretty straightforward, however, here are a few things to look out for regarding cost and where to get one.

Where should I get my MOT done?

There are the obvious places to look online and in directories, however, the best place to go is a place you trust, a reputable garage that has been recommended to you – you can find many using our RAC-approved garage network.

How much does an MOT cost?

The amount you pay for an MOT test fluctuates depending on the type of vehicle – but there is a maximum charge.

Those fees are listed in full on the GOV.UK website. In summary however, the maximum MOT fee for a car with up to eight passenger seats is £54.85. For a motorcycle it’s £29.65. Generally, the larger the vehicle the higher the maximum fee.

How long does an MOT take and what gets covered?

An MOT test doesn’t take very long. The test takes around 45 minutes to an hour, and some owners choose to wait while the vehicle is being inspected.

If repairs are required following the test the process will take longer. During the test, the following areas are inspected:

  • Electrical equipment – including headlights, brake lights, indicators and fog lights.
  • Steering – including the strength and condition of the steering wheel.
  • Tyres – including tread depth and condition of the tyres.
  • Suspension – including shock absorbers and any corrosion and wear.
  • Brakes – including overall condition of pedals and brake efficiency.
  • Seat belts and seats
  • Exhaust and emissions – including checking for any leaks in the exhaust and fuel system
  • Mirrors, wipers and windscreen – including any damage to the windscreen and condition of the wiper blades
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VPN) – ensuring the vehicle displays its VPN is important

Who doesn’t need an MOT?

Vehicles registered before 1960 are exempt from needing an MOT.

However, this is changing from 20th May 2018, meaning cars that are 40 years old or more will be exempt, unless the vehicle has had substantial changes. Also large goods vehicles and commercial buses will not be included in this exemption.

vehicle MOT inspection Longfield kent

If you fail your MOT

The initial fail rate for Cars, vans and passenger vehicles with up to 12 seats in 2015-2016 was 36.80%, so there’s a fair chance you will find yourself in a situation where your car fails its MOT. Read on for all the information you need should you end up in this situation.

Why do most vehicles fail their MOT?

The three most common reasons for MOT failures are faults with lights, suspension and brakes. Below is a list of the categories used on many checks and the associated percentage of failures attributed to them.

The information is based on cars and light vans (up to 3,000kg) 2013-2014.

Reason for MOT Failure Percentage
Lights & Signals 29.5%
Suspension 18.7%
Brakes 17.4%
Tyres 9.9%
Driver’s View 8.7%
Fuel 5.9%
Steering 3.6%
Seatbelts 2.9%
Body 1.9%
Reg & VIN 0.9%
Wheels 0.4

What if your car fails its MOT?

If your car or vehicle is judged to have failed its MOT, you will be given what is called a ‘refusal’ of an MOT certificate. This is referred to as a VT30 form. It will state the reasons for the MOT failure.

Can you drive with a failed MOT?

Technically yes – but only if your existing MOT certificate is still in date and valid. This situation can only occur if you’ve had the car tested in the month leading up to the expiry date.

However, you will still need to get the faults corrected by the MOT’s date of expiry or you won’t get a new MOT certificate. If the car is not considered roadworthy and you are driving it, you could be stopped and prosecuted.

Driving a car that has failed its MOT is never recommended.

etting repairs after a failed MOT

If your car fails its MOT, the garage or test centre will inform you of any repairs needed.

You then have a range of options according to the MOT failure rules.

You can leave the vehicle with the garage and ask them to carry out the repairs. Depending on the number of faults and severity of the issues, the car may be repaired and then re-tested later in the same day. The vehicle can have a partial retest, covering the faults that have been rectified.

The repairs may be more serious and take longer – but if they’re carried out within ten days of the original test, a partial MOT retest is still fine.

You can take the vehicle away for repairs elsewhere and bring it back to the original garage or test centre for a partial retest. This retest is free for a range of items, including wheels, tyres, wipers, mirrors and doors.

If the vehicle is retested ten days after the original test, you’ll be charged the full fee. You will also be charged the full fee if the partial retest fails – once further repairs are carried out.

You could also get an MOT retest at a different garage but you are likely to have to pay for that second test in full as they will be testing it for the first time.

Visit the RAC blog to read the full article and https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/car-maintenance/everything-you-need-to-know-about-mots/

Over the years the MOT test has seen many changes and it is often very misunderstood by motorists,  with many believing it is a detailed inspection as a service. This is incorrect whilst a number of service issues are looked at in an MOT it is only minimum standards and theoretically, you could leave an MOT with a pass certificate go on a long trip and have illegal tyres on your return. If you would like to speak to Hartley Garage about our servicing packages then call 01474 706501 or visit https://www.hartleygarage.co.uk/vehicle-servicing/

We pride ourselves on giving unbiased advice on all aspects of vehicle maintenance, servicing & repairs

Our MOT Guide & Checklist Read more on: Hartley Garage Service Blog


Hartley Garage Car Servicing

Are you looking to get a car serviced in Hartley?

At Hartley Garage we have access to most car service schedules allowing us to advise you as to which is the correct service for your make, model, mileage and year.

Visit us to check more of our services. https://goo.gl/posts/FPtNS.

Mot test package Nissan note Longfield