HiQ’s MOT FAQs
The MOT test tends to throw up a lot of questions for drivers. We wanted to bring some clarity on some of the most commonly asked ‘MOT’ questions that drivers ask. So if you want to know more about MOTs, just scroll down to take a look at our FAQs.
Questions and answers.
Yes, you can. Simply use the DVSA’s MOT History checker to view details on your vehicle’s past MOT test results.
There you can find out:
- Whether it passed or failed the MOT
- Where each test was carried out
- Which parts failed at each test, and whether any parts had minor problems you need to be aware of
It’s actually really simple. Go to the DVSA’s MOT status checker, tap in your vehicle’s reg, confirm the make and colour and it’ll show you if your MOT is still valid and its expiry date. In fact, on the same page, it also shows the date your vehicle tax expires.
It’s illegal to drive your vehicle on the road after the MOT has run out. What’s more, you can be prosecuted if you’re caught.
The only two exceptions the law will allow are when you drive the vehicle:
- To or from somewhere to be repaired
- To a pre-arranged MOT test
DVLA won’t automatically notify you – but here at HiQ we do offer a free reminder service. It’s simple to sign up for and it can remind you annually your when your MOT is due.
To help give you a clearer idea of why most vehicles fail their MOTs, here’s the top ten list most common failures:
- Incorrect headlamp aim
- Poor brake performance
- Broken registration plate lamps
- Sidelights not working
- Insufficient tyre tread depth
- Worn windscreen wipers
- Faulty brake lights
- Broken suspension coil springs
- Headlight(s) not working
- Lack of washer fluid
Find out more about MOT failures here.
MOT costs are regulated and there’s a maximum amount that MOT test stations can charge.
The actual amount varies depending on the vehicle type - but for a car it costs a maximum of £54.85 and for a standard motorcycle it’s £29.65. Also, the MOT fee is VAT free.
For a full breakdown of maximum costs, visit the GOV UK website
Ready to book an MOT? Click here for HiQ MOT booking information.
If your vehicle has been listed as having ‘dangerous’ or ‘major’ problems in your MOT test results, it will have failed its MOT. And as a result of that, you might not be allowed to drive the vehicle again until you fix the problems.
Along with a test failure, you might also get a list of ‘minor’ or ‘advisory’ problems, which you’re advised to monitor or fix in the future.
When your vehicle fails the MOT, you’ll be given the ‘refusal of an MOT test certificate’ (paper copy) from the test centre – and this will be recorded on the MOT database.
At HiQ we’d advise anyone with an approaching MOT to make themselves more aware of their vehicle and give it a good look over. That way, you can often identify and get help for any problems before it in goes in for the test.
Top 10 tips for passing the MOT test:
- Take your car to a reputable garage
All of our MOT test centres are DVSA approved. Plus, we won't carry out any unnecessary work... ever.
- Plan properly
Don't forget to bring your logbook (VSC) if it's your car's first ever MOT, or if it's the first MOT since a change of registration. For all other MOTs, you don't need to take your logbook.
- Check your lights
This is one of the easiest check, so don't foget! Turn on all of your lights and ask a friend to walk around to make sure they're all working. Need a replacement bulb? Visit your local HiQ centre.
- Examine your tyres
A car's min. legal tread depth is 1.6mm, but we'll always advise you to change at 3mm. It's easy to check tread depth with a 20p coin - just slot a coin into the grooves of the central 3/4 of each tyre. If you can't see the coin's outer band, your tyre are good to go.
- Top up the screen wash, inspect your windscreen and wipers
If you don't have screen wash, water is fine! Take care to inspect your windscreen for cracks (10mm damage in the driver's area or 40mm in the rest of the windscreen could result in a fail!). Also, make sure your wipers are clean effectively. If they have any tears or holes, you'll need to replace them.
- Check your brakes
Spongy pedal, squeaking, scraping, pulling? There could be a problem. Get in touch to find out what it could be.
- Clean your registration plate
Got a dirty reg plate? It could result in a failed MOT. A quick once over with a damp cloth will make sure your plates are clean, clear and legal.
- Check your exhaust and emissions
If your exhaust is noisy, it might be cracked or rusty. Blue or black smoke from diesel engines is also bad news., If in doubt, get it checked before it's tested.
- Test the steering
If you're hearing unusual knocking sounds or your car is pulling to one side, you might have a worn steering column. That means it's time to bring it in!
- Inspect the bodywork
A bit of rust might not seem like a big deal, but it could turn nasty and affect structural points - that means it might be an MOT fail.
When your vehicle passes its MOT you’ll get a new MOT certificate from the test centre. Plus the test result will be recorded on the national MOT database.
Along with an MOT pass and the ability to drive away, you might also be given a list of ‘minor’ or ‘advisory’ problems to monitor or fix in the future. Our advice on that is to get those ‘advisory’ problems sorted as soon as you can, before they become more serious, more dangerous or more costly.
The average MOT test takes between 45 - 60 minutes. So it’s best to allow 1 hour just to make sure your vehicle is ready to collect. If essential repairs are required along the way, we’ll get in touch and you might have to allow a little more time than that, but rest assured we’d complete it as swiftly as possible.
At HiQ, we’ve got comfortable seating, tea and coffee facilities to make your wait easier. And at most centres there’s free Wi-Fi too.
The MOT test looks at a number of key vehicle components:
- Tyres, wheels & TPMS
- Registration plate
- Lights: front, rear, indicators
- Body/vehicle structure and general items
- Wipers and washers
- Steering and suspension
- Electrical wiring and battery
- Seatbelt system
- Boot and tailgate
- Fuel system
- Exhaust system
- Exhaust emissions
Depending on the condition of those components, could add up to a fail or a pass. However, the test does not cover the overall condition of the engine, the clutch or the gearbox.
Everything that gets tested by HiQ during an MOT is in line with the DVSA’s MOT inspection manual, which explains in more detail:
- Every item that is tested
- How the MOT Tester will check each component
- Example reasons why components can be failed
Learn more about what's checked here.
Our HiQ Centres have MOT testing facilities that carry out Class 4 and Class 7 vehicle MOTs and some of our centres conduct Class 1, 2 and 5. If you don’t know which class your vehicle belongs to (for MOT purposes) don’t worry – we’ve listed the various classes below. Also, we’ve included a list of the various DVSA fees that the MOT test centres can charge. You can also find out how much an MOT should cost here.
|Class||Vehicle Type||Age First MOT needed (years)||Maximum fee|
|4||3-wheeled vehicles (over 450kg unladen weight)||3||£54.85|
|4||Cars (up to 8 passenger seats)||3||£54.85|
|4||Quads (max unladen weight 400kg for goods vehicles 550kg and max net power of 15kw)||3||£54.85|
|4||Dual purpose vehicles||3||£54.85|
|4||Private hire and public service vehicles (up to 8 seats)||3||£54.85|
|4||Ambulance and taxis||1||£54.85|
|4||Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (9-12 passenger seats)||1||£57.30|
|4||Goods vehicles (up to 3,000kg design gross weight)||3||£54.85|
|4a||Class 4 Vehicles (9-12 passenger seats) with a seat belt installation check||n/a||£64|
|7||Goods vehicles (over 3,000kg up to 3,500kg design gross weight)||3||£58.60|
Generally speaking, new vehicles under 3 years old don’t require an MOT based on the assumption that being so new, they’re in pretty good condition. However, any vehicle will be due for an MOT by either:
- The third anniversary of its registration
- If it’s over 3 years old, then the MOT is always due on the anniversary of its last MOT.
You’ll find some specific vehicles need to be tested at one year old. So check the MOT fees table found here to see which vehicles this applies to.
If your car is ready for an MOT, we also offer a free HiQ MOT reminder service, that reminds you annually when your MOT is due.
There are some vehicles that do not need an MOT and they include:
- Goods vehicles powered by electricity that are registered before 1 March 2015
- Some historic or ‘classic’ vehicles
A full list of exempt vehicles types can be found here.
It’s also good to note that lorries, buses and trailers require an annual test instead of an MOT, which is sometimes called the ‘annual vehicle test’.
An MOT lasts for a year, and must be carried out prior to the renewal date.
You don’t have to pay again if you take it back to the same test centre before the end of the next working day for a partial retest on one or more of these items. Should you leave the vehicle at the test centre for repair and it’s retested within 10 working days, then you’ll need a partial retest – and there’s no fee for this.
However, if you take the vehicle away from the test centre for repairs and take it back within 10 working days for a partial retest – then you can be charged a partial retest fee for this.
If this were your vehicle’s first MOT, then you’d need to bring along your V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book) – as you would if your vehicle had a change of registration plate since its last MOT.
But the good news is that for all other circumstances, you don’t need to bring any other documentation along.
If you think your MOT test centre came to the wrong decision, then you can appeal. What’s more, you can appeal either way, fail or pass. For example, if your vehicle failed when you think it should have passed or if it passed when you think it should have failed, then you can appeal against either decision.
Just download the DVSA’s official complaint form. Fill it in and send it back to the DVSA within 14 working days of the test.
What happens next?
The DVSA will contact you within 5 days to discuss your appeal. If they decide to recheck your vehicle, you’ll be required to arrange a date and pay the full test fee again. Following that, the DVSA will send you an inspection report listing any defects on your vehicle
Remember – you should not have any repairs made until the appeal process is complete and resolved.
If your MOT has expired, you cannot drive your vehicle on the road. You can be prosecuted if you’re caught – and chances are you will be. Police vehicles are now equipped with the latest auto number plate recognition systems – and your MOT details are on the national database - so don’t be tempted to drive illegally.
There are only two situations where you’re allowed to drive a car that’s got an expired MOT and that’s when you drive it:
- To or from somewhere to be repaired
- To a pre-arranged MOT test at an official MOT test centre
Remember, it’s really not worth the risk - you can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.
What’s an MOT?
Your vehicle’s MOT test is a point-by-point assessment, designed to check whether or not your car is roadworthy enough to be allowed on public roads. All MOT testing garages test the same components and structural parts of your car, regardless of the make and model.
The MOT test exists to keep drivers, pedestrians and any other road or pavement users safe.
What’s a service?
In contrast to an MOT, a car service is primarily designed to maintain the mechanical aspects of your vehicle and get it running at its best. A service is not compulsory by law, but we would recommend regular services to keep your car in tip-top condition and to help maintain its value. It’s also good idea to keep up a full service history - because it does improve your chances of selling your car in the future.
Losing stuff happens – so if you lose or damage your MOT certificate, don’t worry, you can soon get a replacement from any MOT certificate.
You can get a replacement MOT certificate online if you’ve lost or damaged the original. This service is free.
- the vehicle registration (number plate)
- the 11-digit number from the vehicle log book (V5C)