MOT Background

The MOT TEST is a legal requirement for cars, commercial vehicles and motorbikes that are over three years old.

You must either have the test done on the registration’s third anniversary or on the anniversary of its last MOT, if the vehicle is over three years old.

The test is to check that your vehicle is road worthy and that the exhaust emissions coming from it are within current limits.

The test got its name from an old government department, the Ministry of Transport,  though it now comes under the Department for Transport the name has stayed the same.

You will no doubt have seen the logo for approved test stations, even if you didn’t realise it was related to MOT’s.  There are over 20,000 garages approved to carry out the tests and they employ something like 53,000 testers.

MOT’s were first used in 1960 and were quite basic when compared to those carried out today. It wasn’t needed on a vehicle until it was 10 years old, covering steering, lights and braking systems.

Perhaps not surprisingly it was found that the amount of vehicles failing was very high so at the end of 1961 the age limit was brought down to 7 years.

It wasn’t until 1967 that the 3 year age limit was introduced as we know it today. Some vehicles actually need to be tested every year, such as ambulances and those that carry more than 8 passengers.

Since it was first introduced the test has become more detailed to cover more aspects of your vehicle.

Tyres, seat belts, wipers and the condition of the bodywork are all now included to make sure you are driving something fit for our roads.

You can have an MOT test anytime you want, though it’s worth bearing in mind that if it’s done more than a month from the previous test, the 12 months starts from the new date.