MOT checks

An MOT test is an annual inspection that all vehicles in the UK must undergo to ensure that they are safe, roadworthy, and meet the minimum legal requirements to drive on UK roads.

Caura home screen showing MOT due reminder and Book MOT garage feature
Caura Book Garage screen showing option for user to choose whether they want an MOT, car service or repair

Driving without MOT

It’s illegal to drive without an MOT and if caught, you could face fines of up to £2,500 if driving a car or receive an unlimited fine if driving a van.

What is checked on an MOT for cars?

The MOT test for cars is a comprehensive inspection of the vehicle's safety and roadworthiness.

Here is a list of the components that are checked and the different faults an MOT tester could find. Remember, minor faults won’t cause an MOT failure:

Image showing all the car parts that are checked during an MOT test

  1. Bonnet: this should be able to close completely and securely
  2. Tyres and wheels: tyres need to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm and should not have any lumps or tears. All nuts should also be securely tightened
  3. Brakes: a brake efficiency test will be conducted to ensure that the brakes are in good working condition. Relevant brake warning lights must work properly too. A good indication of ineffective brakes is if your vehicle pulls to one side when you brake
  4. Horn: this should work if pressed and must be loud enough for other vehicles to hear
  5. Exhaust system: this should be free and secure from serious leaks. Your vehicle won’t fail an MOT because of exhaust system noise levels but it must have the required number of silencers for your specific car
  6. Mirrors: cracked mirrors that might obscure your view of the road will cause you to fail an MOT. All mirrors should also be in a secured position
  7. Doors: latches, hinges and catches should be in a secured, closed position and doors should be able to open from both inside and outside
  8. Exhaust emissions: ensure that your engine fuel is topped up before the test. MOT testers will also check to see that pollution produced by your vehicle’s engine remains low and within legal limits (CO limit of 0.50 gm/km)
  9. Towbar: these will be tested for secureness, condition, inappropriate repairs and that the engine mountings are secure
  10. Boot: MOT testers will check that the boot can be closed securely. Remove all clutter from the boot so the mechanic can perform the necessary checks
  11. Seats: the driver seat should be adjustable, and all seats should be securely fitted
  12. Seatbelts: all seatbelts should function correctly. Give your seatbelt a quick tug to make sure the restraint system is working correctly
  13. Body and vehicle structure: a general inspection to check that there is no corrosion or rust will be performed by the MOT tester. The body should be free of any sharp edges that might cause injury
  14. Fuel system: MOT testers will check fuel systems for any potential leak sources or signs of advanced damage or corrosion
  15. Steering and suspension: steering wheels are checked to ensure they’re in a secure condition. It is also inspected for wear or damage. Suspension parts like shock absorbers are also checked for excessive damage
  16. Wipers and washers: these must cover a wide enough area to give the driver an adequate view of the road
  17. Windscreen: there should be no damage or obstruction to a driver’s view that’s larger than 10mm. There must also be no signs of any damage larger than 40mm
  18. Electrical wiring: all electric sockets must be without damage or wear
  19. Battery: the battery must be secure with no sign of leaking fluid, and battery connectors should be right and free of leaky electrolytes
  20. Lights: all lights including front, rear, brake, fog, reflectors, and registration plate lights should be secure, clearly visible and un-faulty when any other light is switched on
  21. Registration plates: the registration plate and VIN will be checked to ensure that they are legible and match the vehicle's documents. Plates must be secure and readable from 20 meters away

What's checked on an MOT for motorcycles

Motorcycle parts that are checked during an MOT test

A motorcycle MOT has additional checks specifically for its components but follows the same test structure as an MOT for cars. Here is a list of the most important components that are checked during an MOT test for motorcycles:

  1. Lights and Electricals: the MOT tester will check all the lights on the motorcycle, including the headlights, brake lights, indicators, and number plate lights. They will also check the wiring and battery
  2. Steering and Suspension: the steering and suspension system will be checked to ensure that they are in good condition and not worn out
  3. Brakes: the brakes will be checked to ensure that they are working effectively and that the brake pads and discs are not worn out
  4. Tyres and Wheels: the MOT tester will check the condition of the tyres, including the tread depth, and make sure they are inflated to the correct pressure
  5. Frame and Bodywork: the frame and bodywork will be inspected for any damage, rust, or corrosion
  6. Exhaust Emissions: the MOT tester will check the exhaust emissions to ensure that they are within the legal limits
  7. Drive Chain and Sprockets: the drive chain and sprockets will be checked to ensure that they are in good condition and not worn out
  8. Fuel System: the fuel system will be checked for any leaks or damage
  9. Registration Plate and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): the registration plate and VIN will be checked to ensure that they are legible and match the vehicle's documents
  10. Seats: a rider seat must be present and attached properly. Any other seats will need to be attached securely too
  11. Sidecars: if sidecars are fitted, they need to be attached securely and in the correct alignment. Suspension, wheel bearings and tyres will be assessed too
  12. Horn: the horn must be fitted correctly and be suitable for the vehicle
  13. Throttle: this will be checked to make sure it works properly
  14. Clutch lever: a motorcycle’s clutch lever shouldn’t be bent, damaged or shortened
  15. Footrests: footrests should be present on all motorcycles and be fitted securely
MOT failure

What counts as a fail on MOT?

If the car passes the MOT test, an MOT pass certificate will be issued that will be valid for 12 months. If the car fails the MOT test, a list of repairs will be provided before it can be retested.

There are three different types of MOT faults:

  • Minor faults: these will be listed as ‘advisories’ on your MOT certificate. Although minor faults alone can’t cause you to fail an MOT, repairs should be made as soon as possible to avoid future problems
  • Major faults: these will cause you to fail an MOT however, you will be able to drive your vehicle to a garage for repairs
  • Dangerous faults: these will cause an MOT failure and you will not be able to drive your car at all until the necessary repairs have been done

During an MOT, be wary of garages adding unnecessary advisories that could be easily fixed by yourself. Don't be afraid to question any advisories that you don't agree with and only authorise work that you genuinely believe needs doing.

Most common MOT fail reasons

The 11 most common reasons you can fail an MOT are:

  1. Defective headlights, reflectors, or electrical equipment
  2. Unstable suspension
  3. Defective brakes
  4. Inadequate tyre depth
  5. Cracked windscreen and windscreen wipers that obstruct the view of the road
  6. Loose body and structure
  7. Noisy exhaust system
  8. Insufficient steering fluid
  9. Defective seatbelts and airbags
  10. Damaged registration plate
  11. Ineffective indicator lights

If the tester identifies any dangerous or major faults while testing the different components during the MOT test, it will result in an MOT failure and repairs will need to be done before the vehicle can be driven.

Read more about what can cause an MOT failure here

Book an MOT from 6000+ vetted garages

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Top of Book Garage screen where you can enter you postcode and book an MOT garage near you
MOT pre-checks

9 MOT pre-checks

Failing an MOT test can be a costly and time-consuming experience.

Book an MOT, servicing or repair in Caura

Here are nine pre-checks you can do to minimise the risk of an MOT fail:

  1. Lights and Electricals: check all the lights on your vehicle, including the headlights, brake lights, indicators, and number plate lights. Replace any bulbs that are not working, and make sure that the wiring is not damaged
  2. Tyres and Wheels: check the condition of your tyres, including the tread depth, and ensure that they are inflated to the correct pressure. Make sure that the wheels are not damaged or buckled
  3. Brakes: test your brakes to ensure that they are working effectively and that the brake pads/discs are not worn out. If you hear any unusual noises or the brakes feel spongy, get them checked by a professional mechanic
  4. Suspension and Steering: check to ensure that they are in good condition and not worn out
  5. Windscreen and Wipers: check for any damage or cracks, and replace them if necessary. Make sure that the wipers are working correctly and are not damaged
  6. Fluids: check the oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant levels. Top up any low fluids
  7. Exhaust: look for any leaks or damage and replace any damaged or rusted sections
  8. Bodywork: look for any damage, rust, or corrosion and repair any damage before taking the vehicle for an MOT test
  9. Registration Plate and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): ensure that the registration plate and VIN are legible and match the vehicle's documents

View a complete MOT checklist and work through these pre-checks before your MOT test

Remember, these pre-checks are not a substitute for a professional MOT test. Therefore, it is still crucial to have your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic

Book an MOT test near you here


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Find answers to common questions here. If you can't find what you're looking for then email us on and we'll get back to you.

My account
Do I have to sign up to access Caura?

Yes. To enjoy the benefits of Caura, like timely reminders for tax and insurance, and ultrafast city charge and toll payments, you’ll need to create an account. This is so we can let you know about important expiry dates and booking details.

Can I change the email address I use for Caura?

You can’t currently change your email address on Caura (but we are working on it). As a workaround, you can log out of your current account and sign up with a new email address. We won’t be able to transfer the history over.

What happens if I forget my account credentials?

Easily done. Just tap ‘Forgot Password’ on the Log In screen - we’ll send you a password reset link via your registered email address. If you used your Google or Apple profile details (instead of an email address) to create your account, you’ll need to continue to use this sign-in method.

My account has been suspended, why?

Your account may be suspended as a precaution if we see evidence of fraud or a violation of our terms of service. Please email or send us a message in-app, and we can investigate this with you.

How do I delete my account?

Please email or send us a message in-app, and we can take care of that for you. Please feel free to let us know why you want to leave, as we’re always working to improve Caura for drivers like you.

Managing vehicles
How do I add or remove vehicles from my account?

To add a vehicle, simply swipe to the left on your current vehicle or tap the ‘+’ icon on the Home screen. To remove a vehicle, tap and hold on the vehicle image.

My vehicle cannot be found when I add my number plate, why not? 

All vehicles registered with the DVLA should show on Caura. Please make sure you are entering a valid number plate recognised by the DVLA. If the problem persists please email 

Why can’t I see my updated vehicle details (e.g. tax, MOT) on Caura?

If you have made the update on Caura (e.g. paid for tax on Caura), it should update automatically within a few days. If it doesn't, you can pull down the image of your vehicle from the Home screen, which will refresh the app.

Notifications & reminders
Do I need to enable notifications? 

Caura notifications help keep you updated on any upcoming renewal or expiry dates for your vehicle, as well as important transaction details. If you’re an AutoPay user, you’ll need to have them on so we can contact you in case of failed payment or changes to your AutoPay status.

I turned off notifications, how do I re-enable them?

If you turned off push notifications, you can enable again by going to Settings on your device and scrolling down to Apps and selecting Caura. From there, simply switch on ‘Allow Notifications’ from within the Permissions section. 

Does Caura tell me whether I’ve driven into a charging zone (e.g. ULEZ)? 

Only Caura AutoPay users will receive notifications confirming they have entered a charging zone, and this currently only applies to London Congestion, ULEZ & LEZ charges. When you drive into these London charging zones, TfL automatically recognises your vehicle and up to 5 days later they notify us of your journey. We’ll then let you know and automatically take payment from your card. 

What expiry reminders can Caura provide for my vehicle? 

Caura helps keep you updated on upcoming renewal or expiry dates for you vehicle, including tax, MOT and insurance. You’ll need to manually add your insurance renewal date into the app, MOT and tax reminders will be generated automatically.

Managing payment methods
How do I add or remove a payment method?

You can add, remove and set your default payment method via the Payment Methods screen, accessed via the Account tab. To remove a payment method, swipe it to the left. To set a payment method as the default option, swipe it to the right.  

What if I need to change my AutoPay payment method?

Go to your AutoPay account in-app (by going to the City Charges screen). From your AutoPay account, tap the current payment method selected. You can then choose to change your payment method tied to your AutoPay, either select an existing payment method or add a new card to Caura. 

What is an MOT test and why is it important?

The MOT test is a yearly inspection of vehicle safety to make sure it is safe to drive on public roads, and meets government set environmental standards.

If your vehicle doesn't have a valid MOT, you won't be able to renew your road tax and it will also invalidate your insurance

What does MOT stand for?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport - the department originally responsible for ensuring vehicle roadworthiness. The test is now operated by the Department of Transport, who are responsible for the development and regulation of transport policy in the UK, and ensuring the safety and security of the UK’s transport networks

What is VOSA?

VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) was an executive agency that was responsible for enforcing the regulation of vehicles and operators. It merged with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) in 2014 to form the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

How long does an MOT take?

The test takes around 30 minutes for vehicles between 3 to 5 years old, and around 45 minutes for vehicles older than 5 years

Which vehicles are MOT exempt?

Most vehicles less than three years old don’t need an MOT. You also don’t need an MOT if you’re driving a historic vehicle that was registered more than 40 years ago. You can find a list of MOT exempt vehicles here. Remember – if you think your vehicle is MOT exempt, you will need to apply for exemption via the government website

Can I book my MOT via Caura?

Yes. All vehicles including motorcycles can book an MOT via Caura. We also offer Class 7 MOTs – an MOT test specifically for commercial vehicles. Simply download the app if you don’t have it already, enter your vehicle registration number and tap on ‘Book Garage’ to book

How to book MOT tests near me?

You can book an MOT with local, trusted mechanics in Caura. Simply enter your reg plate and postcode in-app to book a garage near you

How can I check my vehicle’s MOT due date?

Check your MOT due date in Caura by entering your vehicle registration number. If your MOT is due in 30 days or less, you’ll see a reminder on the home screen. Then, simply press ‘Book Garage’ to find and book with a garage near you

Can I book an MOT for tomorrow?

Yes, depending on the garage’s availability. Simply select all your available dates in Caura and we’ll let you know if the earliest slots you can book

Can I drive without MOT?

No, driving without an MOT is illegal. If caught, you could be fined up to £2,500 if you’re driving a car or get handed an unlimited fine if you’re driving a van

How can I check a vehicle’s MOT history?

Your vehicle’s MOT history can be found in your vehicle logbook. If you don’t have access to this, you can check your MOT history via the government website. Very soon, you’ll also be able to see your MOT history in the Caura app so keep your eyes peeled

How early can I book my MOT?

You can book an MOT two months before its expiry date. However, the earliest date for your test can only be up to a month before its expiry date. For example, if your MOT runs out on 23rd May 2023, you can book an MOT from the 24th of March, however your earliest test date you can book will be the 24th of April

Remember, if you book an MOT a month in advance, you will keep the same renewal date. Don’t wait till the last minute, book as soon as possible

Where can I book an MOT test?

Easiest way to book an MOT is in the Caura app. All you need to do is enter your vehicle registration number into the app and book with a local mechanic Remember, if you book an MOT a month in advance, you will keep the same renewal date. Don’t wait till the last minute, book as soon as possible at vetted garages near you

Do you do Class 7 MOTs?

Yes, we offer MOTs for all vehicles including Class 7 vehicles (commercial vehicles), cars and motorcycles

What’s the difference between car service and MOT?

An MOT is just an inspection of your vehicle whereas a car service could also include repairs and maintenance work to get your car into the best possible shape.

You can book a car service in the Caura app

If my car fails its MOT test, how much will the MOT retest be?

If you leave your car at the same garage and repairs are done within 10 working days, the garage should conduct a free partial retest. You may also get a free partial retest if you take your car to a different garage for repairs and bring it back the next working day.

If you take your car away for repairs and bring it back within 10 working days, the garage can choose to charge you a small MOT fee for the retest.

For any MOT retests done at a different garage or after 10 working days from the original test date, you will need to book a complete MOT again and pay the full fee. Find out more about MOT retests here

What documents do I need for MOT?

You don’t need to take any documents to your MOT test. Garages will be able to access all the information they need via the DVLA

What happens after the MOT test?

If you’ve passed your MOT, you can continue to drive the vehicle as normal

If you’ve failed your MOT, the tester will list all the faults found with the vehicle on the MOT certificate. You will need to get all faults repaired and pass an MOT retest before you can continue driving your vehicle

Can you tax a car without MOT?

No. You will need to have a valid MOT before taxing your vehicle

If your car tax has expired and you haven’t booked an MOT yet, remember to keep it off public roads and in a private garage to avoid a hefty £1,000 fine

Once you’ve booked your MOT, you can also renew your car tax in the Caura app in less than 20 seconds – all you need is your V11 or V5C details

Renew your car tax in Caura today

How long is an MOT certificate valid for?

Your MOT certificate will be valid for a year from the date your vehicle passed the MOT test. Find out more about your MOT certificate here

My MOT certificate has expired, will this invalidate my insurance?

Yes. If having a valid MOT is part of your policy (which is usually the case), then your insurance will be invalidated, and you won’t be able to make a claim

What’s not checked during an MOT?

The condition of the engine, clutch and gearbox is not checked during an MOT

Is there an MOT grace period?

No. As soon as your MOT has expired, it becomes illegal to drive your car on the road. The only exception is if you’re driving your vehicle to the MOT test, so long as the test has been booked and you can show proof of appointment

What is the penalty for driving without an MOT?

The fine for driving without an MOT is £1,000. However, you can be fined up to £2,500 for cars or be given an unlimited fine for vans if you’re caught driving without an MOT and the vehicle is deemed as dangerous

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