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MOT Check

Looking for information on the MOT check?

Mechanic running a diagnostic check on a car

Find out what an MOT is, how much it should cost and where you can take your vehicle to get an MOT test with our comprehensive MOT guide.

What is an MOT check?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport test. It is a legal requirement that almost every vehicle on the road must be certified as roadworthy through the taking of an MOT Test. Every 12 months, the condition of the vehicle is checked in the interests of road safety and environmental impact. This test is known as the ‘MOT’.

When does a car need an MOT check?

Rules vary for taxis or vehicles with more than eight passenger seats, but for a standard car the first test is required once a car is three years old. If the car is three years old or more, drivers need to renew the MOT before it expires. The earliest date the certificate can be renewed is one month before it expires. Classic cars and motorcycles made before 1960 are exempt from the MOT Test. If your vehicle is exempt from MOT, a V112 Declaration of Exemption must be completed.
The test will look at a number of items on your car to see whether they meet the key legal minimum requirements at the time of the test. It is important to remember that your car should be roadworthy at all times, not just brought up to the minimum standard in time for the MOT.

Choosing an MOT test centre

There are approximately 21,000 test centres in the UK that can carry out an MOT check. To get a valid MOT certificate you must have your vehicle checked at an approved centre. You can recognise an approved centre by looking out for the blue sign with 3 white triangles, which you can see above. If further confirmation is needed, all approved test centres must also show an official ‘MOT Test: Fees and Appeals’ poster on a public notice board on their premises. This poster should list the contact details for your local DVSA area office.

How long does an MOT check take?

The average MOT test should last approximately 45 minutes. While the test is taking place you should be able to remain at the garage, if you wish to do so you’ll be able to oversee the range of checks being carried out by the technician. 

It is important for motorists to know that the MOT certificate is not a guarantee of the general mechanical condition of a vehicle.

If you need to book your car in for an MOT the RAC Approved Garage Network offers over 700 garages based across the UK. All of our Approved Garages work towards the same customer code so you can be sure of the best customer service. Search online to find your nearest RAC Approved Garage.