What is an MOT Test?

MOT Logo

What is an MOT Test?

The MOT test is short for The Ministry of Transport test. The MOT test is annual test of vehicle’s safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions. This test is applicable to most vehicles over three years old in the GB mainland and over four years in Northern Ireland, if the vehicles are used on public roads. 

When originally instituted in 1960 by the then Ministry of Transport, the test applied to vehicles over ten years old. As of April 1967, it applies to most road vehicles over three years old, including motorcycles. Ambulances, taxis, and passenger vehicles with nine or more seats need testing after one year, while some “limited use” and agricultural vehicles are exempt from test altogether.

The list of items tested has been continually expanded over the years. Recently a sophisticated exhaust gases emissions test has been introduced for vehicles with internal combustion engines — the required standard varies depending on the age and type of the engine. Some motorcycles and older vehicles are only required to pass a visual emission check.

The MOT test certificates are currently issued in Great Britain under the auspices of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), an agency within the Department for Transport. Certificates in Northern Ireland are issued by the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

Many local car repair garages throughout Great Britain are authorised to perform testing and to issue certificates. In Northern Ireland tests are performed exclusively at the DVA’s own test centres

The Northern Ireland DVA centre issues MOT Renewal Reminders which has become vital to many large firms with numerous vehicles. Unlike their counterparts in GB Mainland VOSA do not issue reminders.

The DVA MOT certificate also looks different from VOSA Certificate. See below the difference. It is also law in Northern Ireland to display the MOT disc along with the Road Tax Disc.





Another difference between VOSA and the DVA is the cost of fees. The Northern DVA is slightly cheaper than the GB mainland counterpart VOSA.


Class Vehicle Type VOSA Cost (06/04/2010 onwards) DVA cost
I Solo Motorcycles 29.65 22
II Motorcycle Combinations 37.8 22
III Three wheeled vehicles 37.8 22
IV Cars & light vans 54.85 30.5
IV Private Passenger Vehicles & Ambulances (9-12 Passenger Seats) 57.3 41.5
IVa Includes seat belt installation check 64 41.5
V Non-PSV minibuses and buses (13-16 passenger seats) 59.55 5.5
V Non-PSV minibuses and buses (17 or more passenger seats) 80.65 65
Va Non-PSV minibuses and buses with additional seat belts (13-16 passenger seats) 80.5 65
Va Non-PSV minibuses and buses with additional seat belts (17 or more passenger seats) 124.5 81
VII Light goods vehicles 58.6 30.5
n/a Partial retest fee Half test fee 19.5
n/a Maximum fee for duplicate test certificate 10 10

Can you think of any other differences?

This post has been viewed: 5761 times