The new MoT test explained

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What Car? Staff
20 Aug 2012 10:17 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

New checks have been added to the MoT test, so many hard-pressed motorists could be facing bigger repair bills.

The changes were announced last year, but many have only recently been introduced.

It shouldn't cost you any more for the test itself most garages charge around 50 but the stricter test could make it a more expensive experience for many car owners.

Here, we take a closer look at the new test and explain how it will affect you.

Why do I need an MOT?
The MoT (Ministry of Transport) test for cars and other vehicles was introduced in the UK in 1960.

Fairly basic at first, it was broadened to include more tests in 1977 and again in 1996, before becoming computerised and more strictly enforced in 2005.

It is illegal to drive a vehicle that doesn't have a valid MoT test certificate and doing so will also invalidate your car insurance policy.

Legality aside, driving an un-roadworthy car is dangerous for you, your passengers and other road users.

New vehicles are exempt from requiring a MoT test certificate for the first three years, however.

How has the MOT test changed?
The MoT test has been expanded because of revised European legislation designed to reflect advances in the technology used in todays vehicles.
The additional checks introduced in March 2013 include:
•Headlamp levelling and cleaning devices when fitted for HID or LED headlamps
•Main beam 'tell-tale' warning
*Battery (including those in electric and hybrid vehicles)
•Electrical wiring and connectors
•Trailer electrical socket security and damage
•Operation of 13-pin trailer electrical sockets
•Operation of steering wheel lock (where fitted) including a malfunction warning in respect of an electronic steering lock
•Electronic power steering malfunction indicator lamp
•Electronic parking brake control and malfunction indicator lamp
•Electronic Stability Control (ESC) components, including the switch (if fitted) and malfunction warning
•Brake fluid warning lamp
•Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
•SRS components including airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, seatbelt load limiters and SRS malfunction warning lamp
•Engine mountings
•Indirect vision devices such as cameras (where they replace obligatory mirrors)

How can I improve my cars chances of passing the new test
The most common reasons failing the MoT test are issues with lighting, signalling and braking.

As illustrated above, though, there are now even more points on which your vehicle could fail its test.

Ways to reduce the chances of this happening include taking your car for regular services.

If a warning light illuminates, it also makes sense to get it checked as soon as possible.

Simple pre-test checks that you can carry out yourself include ensuring that the car's lights are all functioning, windscreen wipers are in good condition and that seatbelts including those in the back are in working order.

You should also check that tyre tread is at least 1.6mm and that all tyres are inflated to the right pressure.

This article has been researched and written by's car insurance partner, MoneySupermarket