Which Elements are Tested During an MOT Test?

The annual MOT test is often a closed book to drivers – but it really does not need to be. The full checklist is easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection, being published each year on the gov.uk website with any amendments or additions clearly noted. Broadly speaking, the test can be broken down into six sections:

Interior Checks

For this part of the test, the inspector will sit in the driver’s seat and examine everything within hand’s reach and visual range. This includes making sure that all the switches, indicators and buttons work as intended, performing the actions they are meant to without sticking or any other issues. The steering wheel will be tested for excess ‘play’ and the inspector will make sure that they can see as panoramic a view as possible, through the windscreens, back and front, the side windows and the various rear-view mirrors, which should be fitted and placed at appropriate angles for good viewing. The inside of the car should be clear of clutter and reasonably clean – if the inspector feels it is too dirty, he or she is within their rights to refuse to test the car.

Exterior Checks

For this section of the test, the inspector walks around the outside of the car checking that the bumpers and number plate are fixed tightly and are unlikely to fall off while you are driving, and, in the case of the number plate, that it is easily readable and in a legally compliant font. Some vanity plates can fall afoul of this check, so do be careful, when you are spending a lot of money on your personalised number plate, to make sure that you understand which fonts are allowed. Other features the inspector will check include the tyres and wheels, the body of the car, which should be free of dents and damage, have very little to no rust, and have appropriate lights installed.

Under the Hood

Diving under the bonnet of the car, the inspector will check the radiator and screen-wash reservoir for fluids, assess what can be seen of the steering, brake and exhaust systems, and generally make sure that everything is as it should be – no unpleasant surprises or ‘bodged’ fixes permitted.

Under the Vehicle

The inspector will move your car to an inspection pit and get underneath it with a powerful torch. Here, he or she will finish examining the brakes, exhaust, steering and suspension systems, closely examine the inside of the wheels, tyres and their axles and check the general condition of the underside of the car.


The inspector will, having completed the visual inspection of the exhaust system, which includes a check on the catalytic converter or equivalent (especially looking out for non-compliant modifications or interference), attach a device to your exhaust system and let the car run for some minutes. The device measures the gases released by your exhaust system and makes sure that they are compliant with legal limits.


And finally – although this part is often completed alongside the other sections as the test proceeds – the inspector will test your brakes thoroughly. The service brakes are expected to respond to regular pressure for a normal stop, and also to sudden application for an emergency stop. Your handbrake or parking brake should be strong enough to hold the car while parked on a slope, and respond well enough to stop the vehicle in the case of an emergency.

Now you know all about the processes your car’s MOT will include, avail the best deals and book your car in today at Elite MOTs London Autocentre.

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