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MOTs Explained

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From August 1st2020, MOT testing will once again be mandatory. If your vehicle’s MOT expiry date is on after 30 March 2020 but before 1 August 2020, your MOT will automatically be given a 6-month MOT extension.

So, with everyone in the need of an MOT near me service soon, we thought we would reacquaint you with the ins and outs of this necessary yearly check of your vehicle.

When Does a Car Need an MOT?

  • A car first needs to undergo an MOT when it reaches the third anniversary of when it was registered and every 12 months after that.
  • Driving a car without a valid MOT could mean a driving ban, a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points on your licence.
  • Even if you are driving to a garage to get your car repaired, you can still be fined if the police consider it dangerous.

What An MOT Tests

An MOT will test any features that make the car:

  • safe to drive,
  • safe for other road users
  • safe for the environment

This means lights, brakes, steering, tyres, seatbelts, body structure, exhaust emissions and even the driver’s view of the road.

An MOT does NOT cover the engine, clutch or gearbox.

How Long Does an MOT Take?

An average MOT test normally takes about 60 minutes, but there are a couple of reasons why that may be extended:

  • If your vehicle fails the test and repairs need to be made.

A test centre is not allowed to let you drive away a car that has failed an MOT. The problems must be fixed before you leave the MOT centre unless your existing MOT certificate is still valid, or you’re taking the car to have the faults fixed.

  • Even if there aren’t any repairs, this does not mean your vehicle will only have to be at the garage for sixty minutes.

Test centres can require you to drop your vehicle off first thing in the morning and collect it when ready. This means you should be prepared to be without your vehicle for the day. IT Garage Services do have a free car collection and delivery service to make this element a little more convenient for you.

Booking an MOT Test Service

Book in advance

  • Book your MOT two to four weeks in advance.

If you book last minute, you might be left with an inconvenient time. You can book an MOT test date up to a month before your current MOT expires, so there’s plenty of time to get your timing right.

Book early in the day

  • Book an early morning slot

Garages run late, and a 45-minute slot can often mean a 90-minute wait. For maximum convenience, request collection and delivery from home or work.

Book repairs in advance

  • Let the garage know of any known faults

If you know what will need to be repaired, ask if the garage can get hold of the part before dropping off your car, which will prevent you from having to wait for it to be delivered.

Where To Book an MOT

You have several options when it comes to booking an MOT test. These include:

  • Main dealer/franchised: These are associated with a car manufacturer and if you have complicated repairs or problems, they’re the best place to go. You might also get a courtesy car. Labour rates and manufacturer-based services are often the most expensive, but your repair bill won’t always be the biggest.
  • Fast fit: Branded chains have a reputation for being the best choice for quick repairs like exhausts or batteries. Most can also service and repair your car. They usually work out cheaper than a main dealer when it comes to repair work, but still on the more expensive side.
  • Independent: Some independent garages like IT Garage specialise in particular car brands, but even if they don’t, they usually offer the lowest labour rates. However, while some are brilliant, some are not very good at all, so be sure to check in your car only with MOT specialists. Obviously, we recommend using our services for your MOT Inverness, because we can give you a specialised MOT service locally.     

Preparing Your Car for an MOT Test

Taking the time to get your car ready for its MOT test can save you money in the long run. If you want to give your car the best chance of passing the MOT test, follow our pre-MOT instructions.

Service history

  • Check your paperwork (invoices, your diary, dealer stamps in the service book in your car)

When was your car last serviced? When did your car last visit a garage for an inspection or repair?

Engine management lights

  • Do all your car’s engine management lights come on when you start the engine, then go out after a few seconds?

Glass, mirrors and lights

Check for damage and malfunctions on:

  • hazard lights
  • fog lights
  • headlights
  • windscreen
  • rear-view mirrors

Tyres

  • Ensure that all tyres are free from any bulges, lumps or tears, and sit neatly on the wheel rim.
  • All four wheels are the same size (a ‘space-saving’ spare wheel is a failure). Each tyre should be the same size, type of structure and aspect ratio, as the tyre on the opposite side of the car (left to right).
  • Each tyre should have its size marked on the side wall.

Drivability and other checks

  • Is there any smoke at any time? Are there any strange smells from the engine, exhaust or around the wheels, especially when hot? Start your car and go for a drive with the radio off.
  • Are there are any loud roars or growling noises from the car when you start the engine, or at any time?
  • Are there any droning noises when cornering, or any loud clunking noises when braking or going over bumps?
  • Have you noticed the car is using more oil or fuel (petrol or diesel) than it used to?
  • When waiting at a junction or traffic lights, do the car’s revs seem unusually high?

When braking, (especially from high speed):

  • Does the car start to move from one side of the road to another?
  • Can you feel any judder in the pedal, steering wheel or car?
  • Can you hear any noise (especially a metallic noise)?
  • Does the pedal feel spongy, or travel more than it used to?

Are there any other faults you are already aware of on your car, or is there anything wrong with how the car drives, looks or sounds?

What the Results Mean

Once the test is completed, you will receive either a Pass or Fail certificate. Just over 60% of vehicles pass annually. When this happens, the driver is issued with a VT20 MOT certificate. In the event of a Fail, the driver receives a VT30 certificate.

Defects found are given one of three categories: Dangerous, Major and Minor. You’ll have to act on the results where necessary to avoid driving illegally driving a car with a major defect. To do so is a criminal offence and can result in fines, a driving ban, and three penalty points.

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MOT service
Car care
Gavin Johnston

MOTs Explained

From August 1st2020, MOT testing will once again be mandatory. If your vehicle’s MOT expiry date is on after 30 March 2020 but before 1

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