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Wednesday, 23 January 2013 23:39

The UK MOT Test Check List – Page 2

On this page:
Structure, BodySeatsBrakesWindscreenMirrorsSuspensionExhaust & EmissionsFuelTyres
Trikes, Quads

On previous page:

Instrument Panel • Registration plates and VIN • Tow Bar • Steering • Horn • Lights • Bonnet Catch


Do you need to ask a qualified MOT Tester for advice? Your question might already be answered on the MOT Testing Forum. If not, register and ask an expert!

If you need detailed information about the full MOT check, go to the online MOT Tester's Manual.

Updated 06/12/2013

NEW! Check the MOT Status of any vehicle here.

 (Click here for MOT Test checks list part 1)

MOT Test of Vehicle Structure, Body condition and security

Includes body and components such as spoilers, bumpers and mirror housings.

For vehicles with a separate body, the body must not be so insecure or displaced so that it might lead to loss of control of the vehicle when driven, or be a danger to other road users

There must be no dangerous sharp edges or projections caused by corrosion or damage which is dangerous to other road users including pedestrians

A vehicle can fail with respect to corrosion for:

  • Excessive corrosion in a 'prescribed area' — within 30 cms of certain safety related components, e.g. brakes, steering, suspension, seat belt mountings etc.
  • Excessive corrosion not in a 'prescribed area', but which is likely to adversely affect the vehicle's braking or steering.

Excessive corrosion' can mean a hole or a significantly weakened structure

Car battery and electrical wiring to be inspected - includes electric and hybrid vehicles.

Reason for failure:

  • insecure
  • leaking electrolyte

Reason for failure:

  • insecure or inadequately supported
  • damaged or deteriorated (so that it may cause short circuit or become detached)
  • insulation dmamaged so that wiring or connectors are exposed

See Towbar section for Trailer electrical socket inspection.

Engine mountings

An engine mounting which is missing or seriously deteriorated, resulting in excessive movement. Also includes gearbox mountings that provide essential support for the engine.

Checked for:

  • Presence
  • Security
  • Condition

Reason for failure:
Mounting which is

  • Missing
  • seriously deteriorated resulting in excessive movement

Engine Mounting bracket which is

  • Missing
  • insecure
  • fractured
  • or damaged so that it is likely to fail.

Class (v) Reasons for Rejection:

  • An entrance or exit step or its anti-slip provision is insecure or in such condition that it is likely to be a trip hazard or cause injury, or a retractable step not operating correctly
  • A stair is missing
  • A stair or its anti-slip provision is insecure, or in such a condition that it is likely to be a trip hazard or cause injury
  • A passenger entrance or exit door is in such a condition that its function is impaired, it is likely to cause injury or its remote control is inoperative
  • A passenger 'Door Open' warning device is inoperative
  • A 'Break Glass' emergency exit hammer is missing
  • An emergency exit sign is missing or illegible

MOT Test of Seats

  • The driver's and the front passenger's seats must be secure.
  • The driver's seat fore and aft adjustment mechanism must function as intended.
  • All seat backs must be securable in the upright position.

MOT Test of Seat Belts including Supplementary Restraint Systems (SRS

Seat Belts

Test Description
Most vehicles after 1965 must have seat belts. Irrespective of that requirement, all seat belts fitted to any vehicle must be inspected for:

  • Security of seat belt mountings and locking stalks
  • Security and operation of the locking/release mechanism
  • Condition of webbing
  • Retraction of the belt (it is allowed to manually feed it in)
  • A seat belt load limiter or pre-tensioner must not be missing or obviously deployed

Notes: 1. For technical reasons the inertia locking mechanism is not checked. 2. On some vehicles the belt is attached to the seat, in which case the security of the seat to the vehicle would also constitute part of the seat belt check.

Supplementary Restraint Systems

This inspection includes airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners and seat belt load limiters.

Test method:
Check for

  • Presence and condition of any SRS

Turn on ignition and check for

  • Presence and operation of Malfunction Iindicator Lamp (MIL)

Check for
Presence and condition of any seat belt load limiters or pre-tensioners fitted as original equipment.

Reasons for failure:

  • airbag missing or defective
  • SRS Malfunction Indicator Lamp:
  • Inoperative
  • Indicating malfunction

MOT Test of Brakes

Brake efficiency and balace is usually checked on a roller brake tester. In certain cases where a roller brake tester may not be used (for example on certain 4-wheel drive vehicles) it may be necessary to check brake efficiency and balance on a road test, with a portable decelerometer.

Inside the car

  • Electronic parking Brake (EPB) warning device must not be indicating a malfunction
  • Electronic stability control (ESC) component must not be obviously missing, damaged or inappropriately repaired or modified
  • ESC wiring must not be excessively damaged
  • ESC warning lamp must be present, working and not indicating a fault
  • ESC Swithch must not be insecure or faulty
  • A brake slack adjuster must not be defective or incorrectly installed
  • A brake fluid warning lamp must not be inoperative or illuminated
  • Class (v): Electronic braking system (EBS) warning device must not be inoperative or indicating a fault

Anti-lock braking system (if fitted) warning lamp is checked for:

  • Function
  • Sequence of operation


  • Sufficient reserve travel on the footbrake
  • Pedal rubber not worn to excess
  • Correct operation of the servo assistance system
  • ABS and ESC components and associated wiring/switch checked for presence and condition

Parking brake
This could be hand, foot or electronically operated. Checked for reserve travel so that it doesn't reach the stops on application. The mountings will be checked for security and/or corrosion.

The brake lever or control will be a fail if:

  • missing
  • insecure
  • defective or located so that it cannot be satisfactorily operated
  • any inappropriate repair or modification

During a decelerometer test, if vehicle deviates from a straight line when parking brake applied then this becomes a fail.

Anti-Lock Braking (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Systems

The inspection applies to all systems, original equipment or 'aftermarket'. Will be checked for being fitted (if originally specified), illuminating, not indicating fault, ABS to follow correct sequence.
If ABS or ESC system has been intentionally rendered inoperative the whole system, with the exception of sensor rings or other components which form part of another component.

Reasons for rejection:

  • component missing, damaged, inappropriately repaired or modified
  • wiring excessively damaged

Warning Lamp

  • Missing
  • Does not illuminate
  • Indicates a fault
  • (For ABS) does not follow the correct sequence


  • Component missing or excessively damaged
  • Wiring excessively damaged
  • Inappropriately repaired or modified
  • Switch faulty or insecure

Under bonnet checks
Master cylinder and servo unit are checked for leaks with the engine on and the brakes applied
Servo unit will be checked to ensure it is operating correctly
Visible metal or flexible brake pipes will be checked for corrosion, condition, fouling or leaks

Under vehicle checks

Flexible brake pipes and any other metal brake pipes visible beneath the car are checked
Discs and drums (external only) checked for condition and contamination
Brake back plates and caliper securing devices are checked for condition and security
Condition of the brake pads will be checked if visible
The assistant operates the handbrake and the condition of the linkages and/or cables is checked.
On some vehicles there will be a brake compensating valve beneath the car which will need to be inspected for fluid leaks

All components checked for security, condition and operation.

Reason for failure:

  • Component inappropriately repaired or modified
  • Insecurely mounted
  • Excessively weakened
  • Damaged
  • Retaining or locking device insecure
  • Cable, rod or clevis joint insecure
  • A load sensing valve seized, inoperative, function impaired or incorrectly adjusted
  • Air brake actuator dust cover missing or not preventing ingress of dirt etc.

Brake performance check
The performance of the front and rear brakes and handbrake are checked for efficiency and balance using specialised equipment.

MOT Test of Windscreen


Changes to how vehicle windscreens are to be checked for the MOT

When an MOT Tester checks a vehicle’s windscreen for the MOT he or she will look at two different ‘zones’ of the screen. The most important zone is the one immediately in front of the driver, which is swept by the wiper blade – it is called ‘Zone A’ in MOT parlance.

For many years, any defect which fell outside a circle just 10mm in diameter would be an MOT fail if it was anywhere within Zone A. Recently the DVSA, who monitor and control MOT Testing have changed how such failures are assessed.

Now the Tester only has to check the windscreen which shows the ‘view of the road’. This means that now, If the defect has behind it, for example, in the Tester’s view, just part of the bonnet, or the ‘parked’ wiper blades, or only ‘the sky’, then it is no longer a failure. A failure will only arise if the defect has behind it the ‘view of the road’. The Tester’s height, or the height of the seat setting is not to be taken into account by the Tester.

The same applies for the rest of the windscreen where the defect is a failure if it cannot be enclosed by a wider circle of 40mm – and the same criteria of obscuring the ‘view of the road’ also now applies.

Includes all items affecting the driver's view of the road: the condition of the windscreen, the wipers and washers. Satnavs in the windscreen, furry dice, air fresheners or trinkets hanging from the mirror are not allowed.

Chips or cracks in the windscreen directly in front of the driver, in the area swept by the wiper blades, are acceptable if they are less than 10mm in diameter. In the rest of the swept area, up to 40mm diameter damage is acceptable.

Change in policy (Oct 2011) " is permissible to have a defect larger than 10mm in the swept area of zone A, as long as it is not in the 'drivers view of the road'. Should now be "Pass and advise".

Official stickers (any used in connection with road enforcement, security or crime prevention matters) that are not readily removable are only a reason for rejection if they restrict the driver's view.

CLASS (v): window, screen or partition must not be missing


Above: MOT Windscreen Test - areas where damage is allowed

Washers and wipers

  • Operation
  • Extent of area swept by the wipers
  • Condition of the wiper blades

Reasons for Rejection

Wipers and Washers

a. A wiper or washer control missing or inaccessible to the driver
b. a wiper does not continue to operate automatically when switched on
c. a wiper installed for the use of the driver does not operate over an area of the windscreen large enough to give the driver an adequate view of the road (through the windscreen) to the left and right sides of the vehicle, as well as to the front.

A wiper blade insecure, missing, or in such a condition that it does not clear the windscreen effectively to give the driver an adequate view of the road (through the windscreen) to the left and right sides of the vehicle, as well as to the front.

The windscreen washers do not provide enough liquid to clear the windscreen in conjunction with the wiper(s).

MOT Test of Mirrors

Applies to obligatory mirrors and "Indirect vision devices" such as cameras – and in this case the method of inspection and reason for failure will apply to both the camera and the screen. Not all mirrors or cameras etc. on all vehicles are subject to Test, depending on the age of the vehicle.

Those mirrors which must be checked must be

  • Secure
  • Visible from the driver's seat
  • Not distorted or damaged so as to seriously impair the driver's view to the rear
Obligatory Mirror / Device Fitment Requirements
Vehicle TypeDate of First UseRequirements
Passenger vehicles with less than 8 passenger seatsFirst used before 1 August 1978At least one mirror/device in any of the above positions.
Any passenger vehicle(excluding buses and minibuses)First used on or after 1 August 1978Two mirrors/devices, one of which must be in position  ‘a’.
Passenger vehicles with 8 or morepassenger seats (excluding buses and minibuses)

Any age

Goods vehicles
Buses and minibusesFirst used before 1 August 1983An exterior mirror/device fitted on both the offside and the nearside (‘a’ and ‘b’).
First used on or after 1 August 1983

Obligatory mirror options are:

a. an exterior mirror fitted to the offside (right-hand side when seated in the driver's seat), or
b. an exterior mirror fitted to the nearside (left hand side when seated in the driver's seat), or
c. an interior mirror.
All goods vehicles must have two mirrors, one of which must be option 'a'.
Passenger vehicles with no more than 7 passenger seats first used before 1 August 1978 must have any one of the above options.

Reasons For Rejection
An obligatory mirror:
a. is missing or insecure
b. is so damaged or deteriorated that the view to the rear is seriously impaired
c. does not provide a view to the rear of the vehicle
d. is not clearly visible from the driver's seat, or incapable of being adjusted to be clearly visible from the driver's seat.

Additional mirrors
Any mirrors additional to the obligatory mirrors are not subject to this inspection.

MOT Test of Suspension

Under bonnet checks

  • Upper suspension joints
  • Any other suspension components which can be inspected from beneath the bonnet

Under vehicle checks

Applies to the front and rear suspension

  • >No split pins or nuts missing, no components broken or excessively damaged
  • Road springs are checked for condition
  • >All suspension joints are checked for condition
  • Ball joint dust covers checked for not allowing ingress of dirt etc
  • Shock absorbers must not leak and must be secure (the vehicle will be 'bounced' by the Tester* to check that they damp the springs adequately).
  • Inappropriate repair or modification of suspension components
  • >Any drive shaft (except the prop shaft) support bearing excessively worn or coupling gaiter missing or no longer preventing ingress of dirt etc.

The suspension is checked for wear by the assistant applying loads in various ways with the wheels jacked up whilst the Tester observes the result from beneath the vehicle. This may include the use of approved wheel play detectors in some Test Stations.

* This item will be removed from the MOT Test subject to the required legislation being passed.

Note: There are numerous different suspension systems, and the specific nature of any examination will depend to a large extent on the design of the suspension system.

MOT Test of Exhaust and Emissions


  • Part of the system missing or excessively deteriorated
    (from February 2014 a missing diesel particulate filter, if originally fitted, will be a Reason for Rejection)
  • >A catalytic converter is missing where one was fitted as standard (on vehicles subject to a full cat test only)
  • Mounting is missing or damaged so that the exhaust system is insecure
  • There is a major leak
  • >The system emits appreciably more noise than a similar vehicle fitted with a standard system in good condition.
  • >Class (v): Exhaust tailpipe positioned so that fumes are likely to enter the driver or passenger area.


These are checked using specialised equipment, the details of the check depending on the year that the vehicle was first used on the road. Excessive smoking (checked visually) is a reason for failure.

Diesel smoke emissions are checked by using a smoke meter.

>MOT Test of Fuel System

">Any fuel leak will result in a fail. Checked under the bonnet and throughout the run of the fuel line from the fuel tank to the engine.

  • Fuel filler cap must fasten securely
  • The seal in the cap must not be torn, deteriorated or missing (includes self-sealing flaps)
  • No other defect which could cause fuel to leak out
  • >The fuel tank must be securely mounted
  • A fuel pipe or hose must not be excessively chafed or damaged

MOT Test of Tyres


  • A tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) warning lamp must be operative and not indicating a fault in the system

(On vehicles first used on or after 1st January 2012).

Tyre condition
The reason for failure with respect to tyre wear is:
"The grooves of the tread pattern are not at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band comprising: the central three-quarters of the breadth of tread around the entire outer circumference of the tyre".

Tyres must be correctly matched with regard to:

  • Type
  • Size
  • Structure
  • Fitted in accordance with tyre sidewall markings – eg direction of rotation or ‘outside’ in case of asymmetric tyres.

NB. type or structure but not both.

  • >Tyres on the same axle must be of the same structure and size.

>Also examined:

  • >General condition of tyre
  • ">Condition of valve

Tyres fail if they have serious cuts, bulges or other damage.
The wear on the tyre is checked with a tyre tread depth gauge to ensure compliance.
The tyres are examined to ensure that there is no fouling with any part of the vehicle, unless part of the steering mechanism design.

1. Although under-inflation is not in itself a reason for failure (on vehicles on which the TPMS test is applicable, if a fault is indicated by the TPMS then that will be a fail), a brake test may be inadvisable because of possible damage, and it may affect headlamp alignment. The condition of the spare tyre is not part of the MOT.
2. From 2012, Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) will form part of the MOT Test. Vehicles on which TPMS was originally fitted will have to have it fully operable. When this test is implemented one faulty sensor will result in a fail.

Wheel condition

  • Damage
  • >Distortion
  • Cracks
  • >Distorted bead rim
  • Securely attached to the vehicle
  • No wheel nuts or studs missing

An externally fitted spare wheel or spare wheel carrier must not be so insecure that it is likely to fall off.

">MOT Test of Tricycle and Quadricycle

  • Handlebars or fork yokes must not be excessively deformed or inappropriately reapaired or modified
  • A service brake control must not be missing, or its mounting retaining or locking device missing or insecure




Last modified on Thursday, 04 June 2015 12:22
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If you need more detailed information about the UK MOT Test, such as the method of inspection and reasons for failure, click on the relevant links below.

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UK Motorcycle Inspection Manual

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UK Car and Light Commercial Vehicle Inspection Manual

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