Car Maintenance

The MOT Test Explained in 5 Simple Steps

The MOT test is one of the most important services your car can experience to remain legal on the road, and that’s why having the MOT explained before you go through it yourself is so important. Whether you’re a first-time driver unsure of what to do, or you’ve always wondered what happens behind the curtain, we have you covered. Check your mot history here.

What does MOT mean? What does it do?

 MOT stands for the Ministry of Transport, the government department that introduced the test in 1960 as a means of testing vehicle safety, exhaust emissions, and roadworthiness.

The Ministry of Transport was a government department between 1919 and 1970, after which it became the Department of the Environment, and finally the Department for Transport of today. The department controls the English transport network, including road, rail, aviation and maritime, and associated areas like transport emissions, the future of transport, and security and civil matters relating to transport. How much mot cost.

The MOT test itself is issued by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and nationally undertaken across a network of 23,500 MOT test stations, by nearly 66,000 MOT testers. How to check car’s or van’s mot status.

What does MOT exempt mean?

If a vehicle is MOT exempt, it does not need to get an MOT. This status covers a number of types of vehicles such as:

  • Cars that were first registered less than three years ago
  • Check Mot history
  • Classic cars that are over 40 years old and have not had any substantial changes made to them (to the chassis, engine, axles, or running gear, for example) in the past 30 years
  • Electrically powered goods vehicles registered before March 1st, 2015
  • Tractors

If you think your vehicle might be exempt from its MOT, you can fill in an MOT exemption form (V112) so you can properly tax it or register it as tax exempt.

What is MOT test number?

If you are asked for your MOT test number, you will find recent certificate and find the 12-digit serial number printed on it – this is the MOT test number.

As a driver, typically, you will only need your test number if you are applying for a replacement, in-date MOT test certificate from the government. However, you can also do this with the vehicle’s registration number, make, and the 11-digit reference number in the vehicle’s V5C logbook.

Understanding what your MOT means in practice is a good drivers practice and your legal liability. MOT is legal requirement, but it doesn’t guarantee your car will remain in good condition in duration to next mot.

1. Drop your car with your mechanic

The first part of the process is that you drop off your car with your mechanic, or whichever service will be carrying out the MOT. Your car will then be taken to the test centre, wherever it may be, and you can either wait for the vehicle there or come back for it later on.

2. Test

Once as the centre, the tests begin. This tests for all aspects of safety such as seatbelts, glass condition, windscreen wipers, brake efficiency, lights, and dozens of other things too (but not things like the condition of your engine etc. Just essential road safety). This all takes around an hour to complete from the start of the test but could be delayed for numerous reasons.

3. Repairs

After the test has been carried out, you may have to wait for any required repairs to take place. You cannot legally drive away from a failed MOT unless your previous MOT has not yet expired. If it has, you have to have the work done first. You may also have some advisories on your MOT too, which are things that are likely to cause issues soon after.  Most expensive car repairs.

4. Collection

Finally, at this point, you return for your vehicle from wherever you dropped it off, ready to go. You must pay the standard fee of just under £55 for the MOT, and for any services required on the vehicle such as repairs and replacements too. Your car’s new MOT should be valid from this point and be registered with the DVLA.

5. Reminders

Lastly, all that’s left to do is remember when the next one is. It is illegal to drive in the UK without a valid MOT. You need one annually and should set yourself a reminder however necessary to ensure that you have it done promptly. You can check online whenever needed to see when this is, as well as use third-party tools like apps or calendars if need be. It’s your responsibility to have this done, and yours alone.


MOT’s are essential to driving legally in the UK, but in reality, they’re fairly easy to manage. It all comes down to what needs to happen on the day, but as long as you look after the vehicle, or do your homework before you buy one, there’s no real need to worry down the line. Remember too that history from previous MOTs is available online too, helping you see what problems are common with the vehicle, what it’s advisories were, and how it may have been treated in the past. The last thing you need is to buy something unreliable, and this is the minimum background work you should be doing aside from exploring pre purchase vehicle inspection services like ours, where we do all of this for you!