An MOT is a yearly test of your car safety, roadworthiness aspects and exhaust emissions for vehicles over three years old.
Any individual can run an MOT test center, although to be authorised by DVSA both the indivudal tester and the premises need to meet minimum criteria set out on the Government's website.
History of MOT's
The MOT test was first introduced in 1960 under the direction of the Minister of Transport. The test was originally a basic test including brakes, lights and steering check which was to be carried out after the vehicle was ten years old and every year thereafter. This became known as the "ten year test", or alternatively the "Ministry of Transport Test". The high failure rate resulted in the age that vehicles became due for testing was reduced to seven years on 31 December 1961. In 1962, the first commercial vehicle exam was created and a valid certificate was required in order to receive a tax disc, and in April 1967 the testable age for an MOT was reduced to three years. On 1 January 1983 the testable age for ambulances, taxis and vehicles with more than eight passenger seats, excluding the driver's, was reduced to one year.
The list of items tested has been continually expanded over the years, including
1968 – a tyre check.
1977 – checks of windscreen wipers and washers, direction indicators, brakelights, horns, exhaust system and condition of the body structure and chassis.
1991 – checks of the emissions test for petrol engine vehicles, together with checks on the anti-lock braking system, rear wheel bearings, rear wheel steering (where appropriate) and rear seat belts.
1992 – a stricter tyre tread depth requirement for most vehicles.
1994 – a check of emissions for diesel engine vehicles.
2005 – introduction of a computerised administration system for issuing non-secure test certificates. Also rolled out in 2005 was the creation of the 'Automated Test Bay' this differs from traditional testing by adding additional equipment to the bay to negate the use of an assistant during the test.
2012 – checks of secondary restraint systems, battery and wiring, ESC, speedometers and steering locks.