5 things you didn’t know about the MOT test

The MOT test has been a part of UK driver lives for decades now and even with the advent of self-driving cars, it’s probably going to be a part of our lives for decades still to come, at least. But while we all know it’s a test that our cars need to pass every year to ensure they are still roadworthy, what else do we really know about the MOT (Ministry of Transport) test?

Here, we’ll be diving into a few interesting facts about the origins of the test, why it’s still relevant today and why you really should book your MOT as soon as possible.

  • The MOT test was introduced in the UK in 1960.
  • At first, only cars that were ten years or older needed to be tested but this was soon changed to seven years and finally, three in 1967, when it became obvious it was necessary.
  • Tyres were not actually counted as part of the test until 1977.
  • In a typical year, around 29 million MOT tests are carried out.
  • There were around five million fewer MOT tests carried out last year during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
  • The average pass rate for the MOT test is around 62%.
  • The most common causes for failure in an MOT test are lighting and signalling. Mercifully, these are some of the least expensive faults to fix.
  • Suspension and brakes are the next most common faults and these are significantly more expensive to fix.
  • Tractors are one of the few vehicles that don’t have to pass an MOT test to be proven roadworthy.
  • Nationally speaking, MOT centres are quite lenient, passing more vehicles that should technically fail than vice versa.
  • Some vehicles need to be tested a year after first being registered. This includes ambulances, taxis and vehicles with more than 16 seats.
  • Approved MOT test centres are marked by a blue sign with three white triangles. Many garages are MOT registered by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
  • If your vehicle fails its MOT then it will be illegal to use that vehicle on public roads until the requisite work has been carried out.
  • You can appeal against an MOT fail but while the appeals process is ongoing you still cannot legally drive on public roads.
  • To increase your chances of passing your MOT, take some time in the weeks before your test to address faults with your vehicle that you can rectify yourself.
  • If you’re unaware of when your next MOT test is due, simply access the government database of vehicles online and input your vehicle’s registration number.
  • Vehicles that were built over 40 years ago don’t need to take an annual test. However, owners are still under a legal obligation to ensure they remain roadworthy.

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