MOT History Checker

If you are unsure of the expiry date of your vehicle’s MOT, this can be found on your current MOT certificate. Alternatively you can enter your vehicle’s registration below to lookup its current MOT status.


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Getting an MOT

Getting an MOT can be confusing for a number of reasons, especially if it’s your first time. This section contains a few questions you may be wondering, alongside some answers that should help you on your way. If you’re still feeling a little lost, don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form. Once you’re ready, click here to book your MOT.

When should I get an MOT?

Any car older than three years must have an MOT test done each year to make sure it’s safe to drive. If your car is less than three years old, you don’t need an MOT until it turns three. But after that, it’s up to you to get it tested every year. This helps keep your car safe and legal to drive on the road.

How long is an MOT certificate valid?

Your MOT certificate lasts for 12 months after the expiry of your previous one, not from the day of the test. Remembering this is crucial to avoid driving with an expired MOT. You can check the expiry date on your existing MOT certificate or scrolling up to find our MOT history checker.

How long in advance can I get an MOT?

You’re allowed to get an MOT up to one month (minus a day) before its expiry and maintain the same renewal date. For instance, if your MOT expires on May 15, the earliest you can schedule the next MOT to maintain the same renewal date is April 16. However, if you get the MOT done earlier, the renewal date for the following year will shift to one year (minus a day) from the date your vehicle last passed its MOT. For example, if your MOT is due to expire on May 15, and you get it done on April 14, the new expiry date will be April 13 the following year.

To be notified by text or email one month before your vehicle’s MOT is due, you can sign up to a free service provided by GOV.UK by visiting the following link:

Can I drive without an MOT?

Driving without a valid MOT certificate is illegal and can prevent you from renewing your road tax. The penalty for lacking a valid MOT is a fine of up to £1,000. If your vehicle fails the test and is deemed ‘dangerous’, the fine could be up to £2,500, with 3 points on your license. A car is classified as dangerous if it poses an immediate safety risk or has significant emissions issues. If your vehicle fails its MOT, you can’t drive it except to a pre-booked repair and MOT appointment, provided there are no serious faults. However, you’re free to take your vehicle if your current MOT is valid and the vehicle meets the minimum standards of roadworthiness. Otherwise, repairs are necessary before driving.

What should I bring to my MOT?

The only thing you need to bring to your MOT appointment is your vehicle. Our tester will be able to search your car’s details on the DVSA database for the relevant information. Prior to your appointment, however, you can streamline the process and boost your MOT pass rate by conducting a quick inspection. For a comprehensive checklist, click here.

More information from GOV.UK can be found by clicking here.

During the MOT

Many components of your vehicles are tested during the course of an MOT inspection. This section contains information about these components and the information gathered about them during the test.
A comprehensive list from GOV.UK can be found by clicking here.

Body checks during the MOT symbolised by a car illustration

Body, Vehicle Structure & General Items

The inspection involves checking the body, vehicle structure, and components to confirm they lack excessive corrosion or damage, particularly in vulnerable areas. Additionally, they must be free of any sharp edges that could potentially cause injury.

Towbar checks during the MOT symbolised by a towbar illustration at the rear of a car


The inspection will cover towbars, ensuring they’re securely attached, in good condition, and free from any inappropriate repairs or modifications. Additionally, the MOT tester will check the proper functioning of the 13-pin electrical socket, the speedometer, and the security of the engine mountings.

Fuel system checks during the MOT symbolised by an illustration of a fuel gauge pointing to three quarters full

Fuel System

The MOT tester will inspect the fuel system to ensure there are no leaks, that the pipes and hoses are securely in good condition, and that the fuel cap securely fastens and seals.

If there is a separate key for the fuel cap, please ensure this is available at the time of your MOT test.

Exhaust emissions checks during the MOT symbolised by an illustration of a tailpipe with catalytic converter

Exhaust Emissions

The vehicle undergoes an inspection based on its age and fuel type to ensure compliance with exhaust emissions regulations.

For diesel vehicles

The MOT tester may refuse testing if they believe the smoke test could harm the engine. Inform them beforehand if you anticipate this issue. To minimize damage risk and improve the likelihood of passing, maintain your vehicle regularly, replace the camshaft drive belt as advised, attend the MOT with a warmed-up engine for reduced smoke emissions and safer testing, and avoid adjusting governor settings.

Exhaust system checks during the MOT symbolised by a car manifold illustration

Exhaust System

The inspection ensures the exhaust system is secure, complete, and doesn’t have any missing catalysts where required, aiming to verify that it meets safety and regulatory standards for emissions and noise levels.

Seatbelt checks during the MOT symbolised by a car seatbelt unlatching illustration


During the inspection, the vehicle’s mandatory seatbelts will be checked to ensure they are present, appropriate for the vehicle, in good condition, securely attached, and functioning properly. Additionally, the malfunction indicator lamps (MILs) or dashboard warning lights pertaining to airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, and seatbelt load limiters will be examined for any issues.

Seat checks during the MOT symbolised by a car bucket seat illustration


The inspection will verify that the driver’s seat is adjustable and that all seats are securely fitted. Additionally, it will confirm the ability to fix seat backs in the upright position, ensuring optimal safety and comfort for passengers.

Door checks during the MOT symbolised by a car door illustration


Inspectors will examine the latch to ensure it is secure when closed, check that both front doors open from both inside and outside the vehicle, confirm that rear doors can be opened from outside, and assess the condition and security of hinges and catches. This comprehensive inspection guarantees that all door components meet safety standards and operate effectively, enhancing the overall functionality and security of the vehicle.

Mirror checks during the MOT symbolised by a car's wing mirror illustration


The inspection will cover the minimum number of mirrors, evaluating their condition and security, while also assessing indirect vision devices.

Load security checks during the MOT symbolised by a car boot illustration

Load Security

The inspection will verify that the boot or tailgate can be opened and securely closed.

Brake checks during the MOT symbolised by an illustration of a car's brake disc and caliper


Inspectors will thoroughly examine the brakes to assess their condition, ensuring they haven’t undergone any inappropriate repairs or modifications. Additionally, the inspection will evaluate the brakes’ operation and performance, with no removal of wheels and trims during the efficiency test. If equipped, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) will also undergo scrutiny. Furthermore, the malfunction indicator lamps (MILs) or dashboard warning lights for ABS, ESC, electronic park brake, and brake fluid will be checked to ensure they’re functioning correctly.

Tyres and wheel checks during the MOT symbolised by a car tyre illustration

Tyres and Wheels

Inspectors will examine the condition and security of the tires, including their size, type, and tread depth. However, spare wheels and tires are excluded from inspection. Additionally, vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2012, will undergo a check to ensure the proper functioning of the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) malfunction indicator lamp (MIL).

Registration plate checks during the MOT symbolised by a car registration plate illustration featuring the characters C H 3 Q 3 R S to reflect Chequers Autos name

Registration Plates

Inspectors will assess the registration plates for condition, attachment security, color, and accurate character formation and spacing. They will ensure each item meets the required standards for functionality and compliance.

checks during the MOT symbolised by a car headlight illustration


Inspectors will examine these components for their condition and operation, including HID and LED functionality. Additionally, they will assess headlamps for cleaning, self-leveling, security, and aim. Verification of the main beam warning light functionality will also be conducted during inspection.

Bonnet checks during the MOT symbolised by a car bonnet illustration


The bonnet will undergo inspection to verify its secure closure.

Wipers and washers checks during the MOT symbolised by a car windscreen and washers squirting water illustration

Wipers and Washers

Inspectors will assess the wipers to ensure they are in proper working order, allowing the driver to maintain a clear view of the road ahead.

Windscreen checks during the MOT symbolised by a car windscreen illustration


Inspectors will assess the windscreen’s condition and its impact on the driver’s view of the road, scrutinizing it for cracks, chips, and other damage. Special attention will be given to the area covered by the driver’s side wipers.

Horn checks during the MOT symbolised by a old vehicle horn illustration


Inspectors will ensure the horn operates correctly and is compatible with for the vehicle during inspection.

Steering and suspension checks during the MOT symbolised by a car's steering wheel illustration

Steering and Suspension

Inspectors will examine the steering and suspension, assessing their condition and confirming proper functionality. They will also check the steering oil for any leaks and inspect for any inappropriate repairs or modifications, such as corrosion on power steering pipes or hoses. Additionally, inspectors will verify the proper operation of the steering lock mechanism. Furthermore, they will inspect the malfunction indicator lamps (MILs) or dashboard warning lights to ensure electronic power steering and steering lock functionality.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) checks during the MOT symbolised by a car's VIN plate illustration

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

For vehicles first used on or after 1 August 1980, inspectors will verify the presence of the Vehicle Identification Number plate (VIN). The inspection ensures that a single VIN is displayed, except for multistage build vehicles.

Electrical checks during the MOT symbolised by a car battery illustration


Inspectors will examine the visible electrical wiring and inspect the battery.

The MOT test result

Your vehicle must meet all safety standards and regulations when the above items are tested in order to pass its MOT. This section helps you know what to expect in the case of either a passed or failed MOT.

If your Vehicle passes its MOT

If your vehicle passes, your result will be recorded in the MOT database. You can use our MOT history checker to view the result online. Chequers Autos will also hand you a printed copy of your MOT test certificate. The certificate will also include a list of ‘minor’ or ‘advisory’ problems to monitor or fix in the future.

If your Vehicle fails its MOT

Your results

Your vehicle will fail if the test result lists ‘dangerous’ or ‘major’ problems with your vehicle. Your result will also be recorded in the MOT database.

Your certificate

If your vehicle fails its MOT, in place of a certificate, you will be handed a VT30 ‘Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate’, outlining the reasons your vehicle has failed its MOT

What to do in the event of a failed MOT

If your vehicle fails its MOT test, there’s no need to panic.

First, review the VT30 document provided to understand the specific issues identified.

Next, discuss the results with a qualified mechanic to gain insights into the required repairs and associated costs.

Once repairs are completed, you should return to Chequers Autos Ltd, where we will be happy to conduct a free retest, provided the vehicle is returned to us within 10 working days

Prioritise addressing the identified faults promptly to ensure your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards, thereby helping to ensure a successful retest.

Repairs and Retests

If your vehicle is left with us for repair, and it is retested within 10 working days, there is no fee for your retest.

Please note that Chequers Autos Ltd may be unable to carry out some types of repair work required if your vehicle fails its MOT.

Taking your vehicle for repairs

If you have a valid MOT that has not expired at the time of your test failure, you can still legally drive the car away. While the car can be driven, it is best to address repairs as soon as possible, as some repairs can take some time, leaving you a limited window to claim your free retest.

If you do not have a valid MOT at the time of your test failure, your car may only be driven to have the failed defects fixed and to a pre-booked appointment for an MOT test.

Whether you have a valid MOT or not, your vehicle should always meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness, or you can be fined.

More information from GOV.UK can be found by clicking here.

Pre-MOT Checklist

Thoroughly prepare your vehicle for the MOT test by addressing potential issues using our checklist several weeks before your appointment, improving your chances of passing.

Our comprehensive checklist covers key areas commonly leading to MOT failures, enabling you to rectify flaws and ensure your vehicle is well-prepared for the test.


Prior to your MOT, ensure your braking system is in optimal condition. Look out for signs such as the car pulling to one side when braking, which may indicate underlying issues. Conduct a visual inspection of brake components, which is easier if you have alloy wheels, checking for excessive wear or damage. Test your handbrake’s strength, especially on inclines, to ensure it securely holds your vehicle.


Listen for excessive noise or rattling while your vehicle runs, as this could signal exhaust issues, potentially leading to MOT failure. Additionally, check for smoke emissions from the exhaust; while some smoke at startup is normal for diesel engines, excessive smoke may indicate a problem.

Fuel & Engine Oil

Ensure your car has sufficient fuel and oil for emission tests. Check oil levels by first ensuring the car is parked on level ground, then with the engine switched off, removing the dipstick, wiping it, then reinserting it to ensure the level falls between the minimum and maximum marks.

Interior Checks

Ensure your seatbelts lock when pulled sharply, and that the driver’s seat is able to adjust forwards and backwards, with the back of the seat capable of being firmly positioned upright. Also, confirm that both front doors can be opened from the inside. Check dashboard warning lights illuminate upon starting your car and go off before driving, ensuring to address any persistently lit indicators before your test. Additionally, please make certain your car’s interior is clean, tidy and not overloaded for a smoother inspection process.


Ensure all lights, including headlights, sidelights, indicators, brake lights, and number plate lights, are functional. Enlist help to inspect brake lights or use reflections against a wall. Check for secure light mounting to avoid potential MOT failure.


Ensure your mirrors are intact, secure, and crack-free, as cracked or smashed mirrors can lead to MOT failure. Replace any damaged mirrors before your test; online options are available, but opt for sturdy replacements to avoid issues.


Tyre problems are a leading cause of MOT failures, so thorough checks are essential. Ensure your tyres are properly inflated and have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.  Use the 20p test to gauge tread depth and watch for any unusual wear indicating potential issues. More information on how to check your tyre tread can be found on page 3 of Highways England’s Vehicle Safety Checks 2017

Windscreen & Wipers

Ensure your windscreen is free from chips or cracks larger than 40mm, especially on the driver’s side, where the limit is 10mm within the wiper area. Additionally, check your wipers and washers to ensure they provide a clear view of the road ahead; replace any damaged or deteriorated wipers and unblock any blocked washer feeds before your MOT.

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