History of the MOT test


The MOT is the test, controlled by DVSA (the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) applied to vehicles over three years old (or one year in the case of HGV) to ensure they are roadworthy enough to get a ‘ticket’ for another year.

In 1960, under the direction of Ernest Marples, the then Ministry of Transport decided that all vehicles, over ten years old, should have their essential operating items, brakes, steering, lights, checked for their condition annually. This ‘test’ became known as the ‘Ten year test’ or the ‘Ministry of Transport Test’ which became shortened to the ever so familiar and scary MOT.

By April of 1967 the age of first test was reduced to three years, as it remains today.

Over they years the MOT test has developed and evolved to the comprehensive test that is performed on millions of vehicles annually to this day. Tests performed at over 19,000 testing ‘stations’ by some 50,000 qualified testers. It has been adapted over the years and even altered due to complaints of damage (do you remember when the tested would jab away at a rust patch on the chassis with a screwdriver? Now replaced with the equivalent of a toffee hammer and a light tap!).

Today it incorporates emissions testing which the failure of, can sometimes signify the final days of an older, less valuable vehicle, though never a Land Rover of course, they can always be fixed!

Britain, being a member of the European Union now comply with EU directives on vehicle testing that all member states must follow. Whilst the EU set a minimum standard for the test, member states can impose more stringent testing where they feel it appropriate. The EU for example, dictate that testing should be bi-annual where as the UK have them annually.


Nowadays the whole MOT system is computer based and as soon as your vehicle passes or fails, it is logged with VOSA, rather than the old system where paper copies were used and garages had to keep copies for a number of years. This is how, along with insurance details on a database, you can now easily tax your vehicle online with only minimal details and no need to ‘present’ all your documents, thought this is still a requirement if taxing in person. This computerised system is also available to the police and VOSA and when they do roadside checks they scan your numberplate and then check the system for insurance, MOT and tax details.


Whilst I’m sure we’re all aware of the pass or fail of an MOT, there is also what VOSA refer to as the ‘D-box’. This is where if a tester designates that one or more of the vehicle faults renders it dangerous to drive the note of this designation is written. Over 2,000 vehicles a DAY are designated by MOT testers around the UK as being ‘dangerous to drive’.

Don’t forget either, driving to or from a pre-booked MOT appointment is the only time you’re allowed on the public highway without road tax. Though obviously you still need valid insurance.

Don’t ignore braking issues!

Recently a commercial customer brought in a Sprinter that his guys had mentioned had braking issues on. When we stripped the brakes down, we were frankly shocked at our findings. Not only had the pads worn through to the metal but the discs had cracked from the excess wear. The problems also caused the calipers to fail as they had been too far extended and too hot in the use of the vehicle.

This turned out to be an expensive repair requiring new discs, pads, calipers and backing plates. Most of this could have been avoided by replacing the pads when they were worn.  We always recommend regular servicing as we will always check your brake conditions.

Please take note. When driving, if you notice any deterioration in the braking ability of your vehicle, have the brakes looked at at the first opportunity. It could save a life.

Winter is coming


Winter is drawing in and now is a time you need your vehicle to be in peak condition.

Everything from the cooling system to the brakes need to be performing at optimum levels through the winter to ensure your car is not only reliable but safe as well.

To book in for a winter check and service just call us on 01205 350001 or use the form here.