MOT Questions and Answers – 1

MOT Testing Questions and Answers

If the Car Owner’s Guide to the MOT or the questions and answers on these pages don’t cover your problem, try posing your question on the MOT Forum.

Below is a selection of Frequently Asked Questions, more will be added from time to time.

Please note that regulations may change from time to time, and the general advice given here may have been superseded. Whilst we make every attempt to ensure that information provided is correct, for a definitive answer, visitors should refer to the current MOT Tester’s Manual.

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I was asked to pay up front for my M.O.T. is this compulsory or legal. Brian

The answer is ‘yes’, it is perfectly legitimate for an MOT Testing Station to ask for payment ‘up-front’ before you have your vehicle Tested. One reason for this is that there are a number of circumstances in which a Testing Station is perfectly entitled to either refuse to continue to Test a car once the process has been commenced – and of course this could be near the end of the process. Then if the motorist refuses to pay as a result, then the Testing Station is out of pocket if the bulk of the Test has been completed.

In practice, of course such a situation is normally within the commercial discretion of the Testing Station to take a sympathetic view and not charge if hardly any time has been spent on the vehicle examination. I am sure that in most such circumstances difficulties between customers and the Testing Stations do not arise.

Nevertheless that is how the regulations are framed to protect the interests of the Testing Station, and the reason for this aspect of the MOT regulations.

Finally, some reasons to refuse to Test a vehicle, just to give you some examples include: The vehicle is too dirty to properly inspect it, the person presenting it for Test cannot provide the necessary evidence of its age which would be needed for the Tester to carry out certain aspects of the examination in a certain way (emissions testing for example), or if it is a light commercial vehicle, it is carrying a load which is either unsafe or prevents a proper examination being carried out. On the other hand the Tester may get part way through the Test and find, for example, that there is a petrol leak which is self evidently very dangerous, or perhaps there is a brake fluid leak which means the brakes cannot be properly examined… the list of such circumstances is quite long. MOTT.


Please can you advise, is there a new regulation that only MOT failure repairs can be carried out by the testing garage, and that you are no longer able to carry out the repairs yourself.

There is no regulation preventing you from carrying out your own MOT repairs (see Prepare your car for the MOT). You must remember, however that for some MOT failure items, without the appropriate equipment to check that the repair is successful you may find the item will fail again. This is especially appropriate regarding brakes and headlamp alignment. – MOTT.


I just took my mum’s car for MOT and it failed. I was told that this new computerised system does not allow a free re-test within two weeks – like you used to be able to get. Can you tell me if this is correct please?

There was never an official free MOT re-Test. This was a commercial decision by individual MOT garages. The situation has not changed but after the Government have computerised the MOT the Test now takes longer so garages cannot afford to offer free re-Tests to the same extent as they used to. – MOTT.


I own a Honda CRX Civic Del Sol 1992 K reg and I am having a stainless steel exhaust built and fitted. The fitter has said to me because the car is a 1992 model and the law that governs the catalytic converters for the MOT came into effect in 1993, the car does not fall into this law, and I could remove the cat and it would still pass the MOT. Is he correct or will it fail the emissions Test. Thanks, Ben.

Your fitter is not quite correct. The MOT regulations say nothing about a vehicle having a catalytic converter. They merely set emission levels which have to be achieved if the vehicle is first used after a specific year. Certainly some cars with every efficient engines could achieve the required emission levels without a catalytic converter. However in your case, if your vehicle’s year is before the break year, then should the cat be removed, in all probabilty it should not affect the MOT. – MOTT


I was wondering whether you could help with the following, or put me in touch with someone who can give advice? Some Land Rover Defender drivers remove or disconnect their rear anti-roll bars to help improve rear wheel articulation (indeed, a lot of Defenders don’t have them fitted). But we’ve heard from a reader that the MOT rules are due to change and this would result in a failure. Is this correct? John Pearson, Editor-in-Chief, Land Rover Owner International magazine.

Removing an anti-roll bar which was originally fitted to the vehicle is now a reason for rejection (ie a failure) in the MOT (at 19/10/10) – MOTT.


Could you please tell me if your wipers do not return all the way down can this be a failure on an MOT Test. The wipers clear the windows correctly but they do not come to rest at the bottom of the windscreen.

They also failed it because the intermittent wipe did not work. Can they do that? Mr C W Orton

The easy bit first. The intermittent wipe has nothing to do with the MOT and should not result in a failure. Provided the wipers clear the screen whilst operating they will not fail. The fact that they do not come to rest in the correct place doesn’t matter with respect to the Test of the wiper operation – BUT – If the wipers obstruct the windscreen when at rest, then that could be a failure on the basis that the driver’s view of the road will be obstructed if the place they come to rest does indeed obstruct the driver’s view. – MOTT


I am restoring an 1967 VW Camper and need to know if there are any regulations preventing me using lap belts in the cab. Can you help? Kind regards, Christian.

If your vehicle was first used before 1st April 1967, then there is no need for any seat belts. If used after that date during 1967, then you can have a belt which restrains the upper part of the body (but need not include a lap belt) for each of the driver’s and “Specified front passenger’s seat”. So a lap belt alone is not allowed if your vehicle was first used on or after 1st April 1967. – MOTT

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