How long does an MOT take? Pass or fail, here’s what you need to know
If your vehicle is three years old or more, it’s going to need an annual Ministry of Transport (MOT) test to make sure it’s still fit for the road. But how long does an MOT take? Don’t worry, in most cases you’ll be on your way before you know it. Let’s learn more.
How long does a MOT normally take?
An MOT usually takes 45-60 minutes. Depending on where you get your car checked, you might be able to wait on site while it happens. Some garages provide viewing areas to let you see the MOT taking place, others simply take your phone number and call you when they’re done.
If your car passes its MOT, that’s it. You’re back on the road in about an hour or less. You’ll be given an MOT certificate and the test gets recorded on the database. Done.
You might be notified of some minor or ‘advisory’ issues that may have been spotted during the test. These aren’t serious enough to cause a fail, but you should get them sorted out as soon as you can.
If, on the other hand, your vehicle fails its MOT, there are a few possible outcomes.
Will my MOT take longer if I fail?
If the engineer performing your MOT spots major or dangerous problems with your vehicle, it will fail. You might have the option of getting those faults fixed on the spot, which will take as long as it takes; more complex problems will take longer to fix.
If you don’t want to wait, you’re allowed to drive your vehicle away as long as its MOT didn’t list any dangerous faults and you’re still covered by your old MOT certificate.
If dangerous faults were spotted or your old MOT certificate has expired, you won’t be allowed to drive the vehicle away. It’s stuck there until it’s roadworthy again.
The GOV.UK site has more details of what happens if your vehicle fails its MOT.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the UK Government extended MOT expiry dates by six months on certificates due to expire 30 March 2020 or afterwards.
How long does an MOT and a service take?
An MOT and a vehicle service are two different things. If you get a service along with your MOT it will take the standard 45-60 minutes for the MOT, plus however long the service takes. The more in-depth your service, the longer that will be.
Services can range from a simple interim servicing every six months to a major service every three years. Plan ahead and check the total amount of time you’ll need to put aside.
UK law requires you to get an MOT every year on vehicles which are three years old or more. Services aren’t a legal requirement, but they are heavily suggested as a good idea. Your vehicle’s manufacturer will include details of when you should get your specific model serviced.
What happens during an MOT? Here’s what’s involved
An MOT doesn’t examine your gearbox, engine, or clutch, but it does involve detailed visual checks on your vehicle’s:
• Body and overall condition
• Fuel system
• Exhaust system and emissions
• Seats and seatbelts
• Doors and mirrors
• Tyres and wheels
• Licence plates
• Lights and electrics
• Windscreen, wipers, and washers
• Vehicle identification number (VIN)
• Load security
How to prepare your car for an MOT
Your car’s age and mileage are the major factors dictating its chances of passing an MOT, but well-maintained vehicles are always going to perform well.
Before the day of your test, do some simple checks of your own to make sure your motor is fighting fit:
• Be sure your windscreen wipers work and have enough washer fluid
• Take a look over your windscreen for any chips which might grow over time
• Test your lights, indicators, and anything else that has a bulb
• Look at your tyres, be sure they’re properly inflated with at least 1.6mm of tread
What MOT class do I need?
Most people need a Class 4 MOT check. The type of vehicle you drive decides what class of MOT check you need; Class 4 is the biggest class containing the most common vehicles. But if you drive something different, like a motorbike, commercial vehicle, or minibus, you’ll need another class.
Here’s how it breaks down:
• Class 1 covers motorcycles with engines up to 200cc, with sidecars or without
• Class 2 is for motorcycles with engines over 200cc, again with or without sidecars
• Class 3 deals with three-wheeled vehicles with an unladen weight of up to 450kg
• Class 4 MOTs cover a bunch of different vehicle types:
• Three-wheeled vehicles with an unladen weight of over 450kg
• Motor caravans
• Cars with up to eight passenger seats
• Quads with an unladen weight of up to 400kg and a net power of up to 15kb
•Private hire and public service vehicles with up to eight passenger seats
• Private passenger vehicles with 9-12 seats
• Ambulances and taxis
• Goods vehicles with up to 3,000kg design gross weight
• Class 4a is specifically for Class 4 vehicles with 9-12 passenger seats needing a seatbelt installation check
• Class 5 refers to play buses and private passenger vehicles and ambulances with 13 or more passenger sears
• Class 5a is for Class 5 vehicles which need a seatbelt installation check
• Class 7 concerns goods vehicles with 3,000-3,500kg design gross weight
…Wait, what happened to the Class 6 MOT?
Well spotted! There is no Class 6 MOT in the UK. We skip straight from Class 5a to Class 7. You can find more details about MOT classes from the Lookers Ford Commercial website. For example, the cost of your MOT will be different even for two different vehicles within the same class. Alternativley you can read more on MOT classes on the GOV.UK website.
Find a Lookers MOT test centre near you
Lookers will have you back on the road as soon as humanly possible. Our friendly MOT experts have carried out thousands of successful checks on vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Ready to get started?
Find your nearest MOT centre and book a test.