MoT Tests: The facts

31 January 2007

  • We get the facts from an MoT tester
  • Are MoT price hikes justified?
  • Tester reveals how to save money on MoT


The cost of an MoT has just gone up to £50.35; isn't that a bit expensive?
DR: Not when you consider what you are getting for your money. A nominated tester has knowledge and experience of how the law requires your car to operate and will carry out a thorough examination. If you consider what a solicitor or doctor earns, it is very reasonable.

What do you think about Government plans to require motorists to have an MoT test once every two years, rather than yearly?
DR: Anything that reduces road safety should be opposed. Currently around 40% of cars fail their MoT. If they were tested every two years instead of annually, the number of dangerous cars on the roads would increase.

What's the biggest cause of MoT failures?
DR: It's usually the basic items such as tyres and lamps, which owners should have checked and replaced themselves before submitting a car for an MoT.

What's the worst vehicle you've had brought in for testing?
DR: To get a larger engine to fit under the bonnet of a Ford Fiesta, the owner had removed some important structural bodywork. However, this didn't count as an official 'reason for rejection', so we would have had to pass the car if we had tested it. The simplest thing was to refuse to carry out the test, which testers are entitled to do if they are not happy with the vehicle or its condition.

Can I rely on an MoT to check if my car is mechanically sound?
DR: Not at all. The MoT checks only the basic points of vehicle safety. It is designed so that items are passed as long as there is roughly 5% of service life left. Engines and gearboxes are not part of the test, because these are not safety-related items.

Does that mean that used car buyers can't rely on an MoT certificate to prove a car is roadworthy?
DR: No, they can't. I have seen one motor trader submit a variety of cars for their MoT, all wearing the same set of tyres. Each car passed – because they're treated separately, although we knew the dealer's customers would be buying second-hand cars with potentially dodgy tyres. That's why it is so important that basic safety checks advised in every manufacturer handbook should be carried out on a weekly basis.

Top tip?
DR: Save time and money by checking simple things like lights and tyres before having an MoT.

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