If you have a car that is more than three years old in the UK, then you need to prove that it is roadworthy. The government insists that it meets specific environmental standards and road safety minimums, and regulators have set up testing stations around the country to perform these inspections. If you are affected, you'll want to ensure that you get your MOT check on time and that all the data is accurate. You may also be interested to know that the DVSA takes this very seriously and is introducing several critical improvements to the system. What is involved?
MOT Test Process
When you book an MOT test, technicians will take your vehicle into the testing centre and will use a variety of equipment to check everything over. You may be able to watch the mechanic in action from a separate viewing area, and you may be intrigued to see some of the new testing systems in operation.
MOT Testing Service
The government maintains a centralised MOT "testing service" centre to gather information about every eligible vehicle in the country. Until recently, the inspector would need to record the relevant information on-site and would then need to enter the data into a separate terminal.
However, the DVSA now requires much of this information to be sent automatically through connected equipment. This upgrade will help to reduce errors, speed up the testing process and, sometimes, eliminate fraud. Crucially, you can be more confident in the quality of the information, when you check your MOT status.
Brake roller testers were some of the first items of equipment to be connected to the DVSA centre. These machines measure the amount of braking force that a vehicle can produce using an automated weighing system.
The tester will place the vehicle onto a pair of rollers that will mimic the average road surface. Once they have spooled up to the correct speed, the operator will apply the brakes within the cabin, and a transducer will measure the force. Now, this information will be automatically sent to the remote centre, together with a pass or fail result.
The system will now fully connect emissions testing equipment as well. This gear will test exhaust gas emissions and diesel smoke where applicable. These levels are heavily regulated, and this can be a primary source of failure during a car's MOT check today.
Once the technician has accelerated the engine up to the required speed, the equipment will take a reading and may send it via Bluetooth connectivity to the server. Excess diesel smoke density or the presence of controlled gases beyond stated limits may trigger a failure.
Incorrectly configured headlights can be a significant source of accidents, but testing stations may sometimes miss some issues. Now, however, all of the information will be automatically registered so that there is less possibility of oversight.
Testers will check for horizontal cut off to make sure that the headlight aims appropriately and so that it cannot dazzle oncoming motorists. Technicians may also now use a wireless, connected decelerometer. This equipment can record the braking efficiency of the handbrake and foot brake as it measures relevant forces during the test.
Testing centres must now ensure that they have connected test lanes and other equipment locally that will allow inspectors to perform each test while automatically gathering the information. Once the test is complete and verified, the local machine will send the data directly to the DVSA using an approved interface.
In the past, an individual inspector may have had to interpret data and may, therefore, have faced a certain amount of ambiguity. Some of the information may have been borderline in relation to the test standard, but now, the equipment will assess the data at face value with less chance of error.
Any new MOT station must introduce connected equipment testing as they set up shop. When an established location needs to change old equipment, they must also upgrade to the latest connected gear. Ultimately, the DVSA will make this type of equipment compulsory across the board, as they strive to make the service more efficient.
Still, inspectors also need to carry out several other tests and will have to record any results manually.
For example, they will need to look underneath the car to determine the condition of the body, and see if the shock absorbers and suspension gear are in good condition. They will check the gearbox, engine and transmission mounts and look at the steering system, to ensure that everything is safely connected.
Inside the car, inspectors will look at seat mountings and safety belt operation. They will look at the steering wheel and column to ensure that a driver can maintain control of the vehicle. They will also check all the warning lights on the dashboard.
MOT Check Retest
Although it is rare, do not be surprised if a manager insists on a recheck at the end of a test. This move is part of a quality control system that has also been introduced by the DVSA. If selected, your vehicle will have to go through the entire process again, and a different examiner may perform the work.
Pass or Fail
Once they have completed the test (and recheck if applicable), they'll tell you if your vehicle has passed or not. If it has, you will get an MOT certificate, and if the inspector has uncovered any minor defects that do not have a significant effect on emissions or safety, these may be listed.
On the other hand, if your vehicle does not come through the MOT check with flying colours, you will get a separate sheet. This paper will detail all of the faults, and you will need to fix these before a retest. If the inspector considers some of these faults to be "dangerous," you may not be able to drive the vehicle until you take action.
How Do You Check Your MOT Status?
If you're not sure whether you have to schedule an MOT check or not, you can use the government website to find out. Enter the registration number here, and you'll see the tax and MOT status right away. You can also check the MOT history.
The MOT check helps to keep Britain's roads safe. The government aims to make the test as comprehensive and as accurate as possible through the use of connected technology.