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DVLA GUIDE - Unofficial Guide to the DVLA™ What is an MOT?

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  • MOT Certificates
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You are in the Drivers License & ID. If you are looking for Drivers License & ID information dvlaguide.com is the right site for you. In this section you'll find out how to apply, renew and replace your drivers license, how to update any name or address changes, how to apply motorcycle license, or what medical rules apply to drivers

This site, dvlaguide.com, also covers the specifics for learners and new drivers, vehicle registration, taxing your vehicle, MOTs, how to SORN a vehicle, what forms you need and DVLA hours and locations.






The MOT scheme is there to ensure consistent standards. The scheme is monitored by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and includes:

  • supervising approximately 18,300 garages authorised to carry out MOTs
  • documenting all test methods and standards
  • documenting standards of facilities, equipment, repute, experience, competence, qualifications and administration of those carrying out MOT testing
  • providing training of authorised examiners (AE) & nominated testers (NT)
  • providing training in test methods and administration, to those involved in the MOT testing scheme (whose standards are agreed with the Department for Transport)
  • ensuring standards for testing and conditions of appointment for AEs and NTs are set
  • authorising MOT test stations and NTs
  • checking testing standards are maintained
  • taking disciplinary action against AEs and NTs who fail to meet the required MOT testing standards
  • dealing with appeals and other complaints from MOT customers.

These functions are undertaken by VOSA on behalf of the Secretary of State.

What Gets Tested During Your MOT?

For Cars:

  • Vehicle identification number - a vehicle identification number must be permanently displayed and legible on a vehicle first used on or after 1 August 1980.
  • Registration plate - condition, security, legibility and format of letters/numbers
  • Lights - condition, operation, security and correct colour. The headlamps will also be checked to see if the aim is correct
  • Steering and suspension - correct condition and operation
  • Wipers and washers - operate to give the driver a clear view of the road
  • li>Windscreen - condition and drivers view of the road
  • Horn - correct operation and type
  • Seatbelts - all seatbelts installed are checked for type, condition, operation and security. All compulsory seatbelts must be in place
  • Seats - front seats secure. Front and rear backseats can be secured in the upright position
  • Fuel system - no leaks, fuel cap fastens correctly and seals securely. The fuel cap will need to be opened. Make sure the key is available
  • Exhaust emissions - vehicle meets the requirement for exhaust emission. These vary on the age and fuel type of the vehicle
  • Exhaust system - complete, secure, without serious leaks and silences effectively
  • Vehicle structure - free from excessive corrosion or damage in specific areas. No sharp edges
  • li>Doors - open and close. Latch securely in closed position. Front doors should open from inside and outside the vehicle. Rear doors may need to be opened to gain access to testable items
  • Mirrors - presence, condition and security
  • Wheels and tyres - condition, security, tyre size and type, and tread depth. Spare tyres are not tested
  • Brakes - condition, operation and performance (efficiency test). Suitable vehicles will be tested on a roller brake tester. Vehicles such as those with permanent 4-wheel drive will be tested either on a suitable road using a properly calibrated and maintained decelerometer or, if one is installed at the test station, a plate brake tester


For Motorcycles:

  • Lights - condition, operation, security, and correct colour of headlamp(s), rear lights, indicators and reflectors. Also the headlamp(s) will be checked to see if the aim is correct
  • Steering and suspension - condition, security and operation including: forks, mountings, controls, bearings, etc
  • Horn - correct operation and the right type
  • Exhaust system - complete, secure, correct type and not too noisy
  • Side car - includes checks on: attachment, suspension, wheel bearings, wheel alignment, lights and tyres
  • Wheel alignment - correct alignment of front and rear wheels
  • Frame - free from cracks, damage, distortion or corrosion which is likely to affect steering or brakes
  • Wheels and tyres - wheel condition and security, tyre condition, size and type, and tread depth
  • Brakes - condition, operation and performance (efficiency test),and brake controls
  • General items - condition and security of final drive, footrests and seat
  • Vehicles adapted with hand controls
  • Any hand controls fitted to your vehicle will not normally be tested during a standard MOT unless they are the only means of control. You should ensure your hand controls are regularly maintained and checked by a reputable garage, the hand control manufacturer or the adaptation specialist.

Tinted Windows

Tinted windows are not included in the MOT test, but the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) have started roadside checks to make sure tinted windows follow the Road Vehicle (Construction & Use) Regulations. These specify the minimum levels of light that must pass through the windscreen and front side windows.

VOSA has produced an information leaflet on window tints which answers such questions as:

  • What is excessively tinted glass?
  • Legally where do I stand?
  • Why are tinted windows not included in the MOT test?