MOTs Witney Oxfordshire

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) have merged to form the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

What is an MOT?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport test.  You must keep any vehicles driven on the road in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards. It isn’t the same as having your vehicle serviced and will not check its general mechanical condition.  For this you need to frequently have full or interim services.

When should I MOT my vehicle?

Once your vehicle is 3 years old you must get an MOT test every year (in some cases you must MOT when your vehicle is 1 year old; please check the MOT fees table to see when your vehicle needs to be tested).

You can then renew your MOT up to a month before it expires.

The earliest date you can get your vehicle tested is printed on the MOT pass certificate.

MOT Expiry

It is illegal in the UK to drive your vehicle on the road if the MOT has expired. You could be prosecuted if you get caught.

The only exception is if you have already booked an MOT and you are driving your vehicle to the test centre.

The MOT Checklist

This is a guide only.  For the full list visit the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency website.

Vehicle identification number

A vehicle identification number must be permanently displayed and legible on a vehicle first used on or after 1 August 1980. For example pictures see the standard checks section in the Used Car Expert Buyer’s Guides.

Registration plate

The registration plate will be checked for condition, security, legibility, spacing and format of letters/numbers.


All lights (including the covers/lenses and bulbs) will be checked for condition (no cracks), operation, security and correct colour. This should include number plate lamps, fog lamps and reverse lights. The headlamps will also be checked to see if the aim is correct. Modern cars can have orange indicator bulbs rather than orange glass and over time they fade. If they start to show white they will fail even though they might still flash.

Steering and suspension

The steering and suspension will be checked for ‘correct condition and operation.’ This should include checking that the steering wheel is not damaged, is securely attached to the steering shaft and that there is no free play. The steering rack or steering box and its mounting’s, the steering joints and any other swivel joints which form part of the vehicles’ steering system and can be readily inspected, will be checked for security, play and condition. The steering column bearings should be checked for wear, the steering shaft should be checked for excessive ‘end float’ and all flexible couplings, universal joints, retaining devices and clamping bolts should be checked. Whilst the vehicle stands on swivel plates the wheels are turned from lock to lock and checked to ensure that the wheels and tyres do not foul either the structure of the vehicle or any brake pipes or hoses. With the wheels jacked-up off the ground the wheel bearings are checked.

Wipers and washers

The wipers and washers should operate to give the driver a clear view of the road (front and rear as relevant). Windscreen chips and scratches are acceptable if less that 10mm in the drivers line of vision and less than 40mm in the rest of the swept area.


Horns are checked for correct operation and type.


The front seats must be secure. The front and rear backseats must be able to be secured in the upright position.


All compulsory seatbelts must be in place. Most vehicles after 1965 must have seat belts. All seatbelts installed are checked for type, condition (not frayed or torn), operation (the locking/release mechanism must work when the car brakes suddenly and the belt must retract when in the upright position) and security of seat belt mountings and locking stalks.

Fuel system

The must be no leaks, the fuel cap must fasten correctly and seal securely. The fuel cap will need to be opened. Make sure the key is available.

Exhaust emissions

The vehicle must meet the requirement for exhaust emissions. These vary on the age and fuel type of the vehicle and are computer tested. A good recommendation is to use a fuel system cleaner prior to taking the car for the MOT this will help reduce the CO2 emissions as well as cleaning out the fuel system and reducing smoke. If the emissions are high then often a CO2 (lambda) sensor or catalytic converter that is at fault. Excessive smoking (checked visually) or noise are also reasons for failure. The exhaust system will fail the MOT if any mounting or part of the system is missing or excessively deteriorated.

Vehicle structure

The structure must be free from excessive corrosion, sharp edges or damage in specific areas. These areas are within 30cm of safety related components such as brakes, steering, suspension and seat belt mountings. Excessive corrosion not in these areas, but which is likely to adversely affect the vehicle’s braking or steering may also result in a fail.


All doors must be able to open, close and 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 will be checked for presence, condition and security. Replacement stick on glass is available for most vehicles meaning you don’t have to change the complete assembly.)

Wheels and tyres

Wheels and tyres are checked for condition, security, tyre size and type, and tread depth. Spare tyres are not tested. The legal minimum tread depth for cars and vans up to 3500kgs gross vehicle weight and/or 8 seated passenger vehicles including driver is: A minimum of 1.6mm in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width, throughout the whole of the circumference. For tyre pressures check your handbook or the side of the tyre.


Brakes will be tested for condition, operation and performance (efficiency test). Anti-lock braking system warning lamp is checked for function and sequence of operation. The footbrake must have sufficient reserve travel and pedal rubber. It must correctly operate the servo assistance system.Parking brake (foot or hand operated) will be checked for reserve travel so that it doesn’t reach the stops on application. The mountings will be checked for security and corrosion. 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. Under the bonnet, the master cylinder and servo unit are checked for leaks with the engine on and the brakes applied. 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 will be checked for corrosion. Brake discs, pads and drums (external only) are checked for condition, wear and contamination. Brake back plates and caliper securing devices are checked for condition and security.

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