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MOT Retest

MOT retests are tests for vehicles which have failed to meet specific requirements for a full MOT test in the United Kingdom.

Retests will focus solely on the areas the car failed on. Therefore they are not as extensive as the original MOT test. This means that retests are either free, or considerably cheaper, than paying for an MOT.

There are however, very strict criteria which must be met when it comes to MOT retesting. Your MOT centre will be able to give you advice on all matters concerning the MOT.


You are eligible for an MOT retest if you meet certain criteria, as defined by the government. If your vehicle fails the MOT test, you can take three courses of action to obtain a free, or reduced cost, MOT retest:

  1. Leave your vehicle at the test centre. If the repairs are made within a 10 day window, the MOT retest will be free of charge.
  2. Take your vehicle from the test centre, but return the vehicle by the end of the following working day. Vehicles must be returned to the same test centre that performed the failed MOT test to be eligible for a free retest.  Only certain failures are eligible including:
    • access panels
    • battery
    • bonnet
    • bootlid
    • brake pedal antislip
    • break glass hammer (Class 5 vehicles only)
    • doors (including hinges, catches and pillars)
    • door open warning device (Class 5 vehicles only)
    • dropsides
    • electrical wiring
    • emergency exits and signs (Class 5 vehicles only)
    • entrance door remote control (Class 5 vehicles only)
    • entrance/exit steps (Class 5 vehicles only)
    • fuel filler cap
    • headlamp cleaning or levelling devices (that doesn’t need a headlamp aim check)
    • horn
    • lamps (excluding headlamp aim)
    • loading doorCar having an MOT retest
    • main beam ‘tell-tale’
    • mirrors
    • rear reflectors
    • registration plates
    • seatbelts (but not anchorages)
    • seatbelt load limiter
    • seatbelt pre-tensioner
    • seats
    • vehicle identification number (VIN)
    • sharp edges or projections
    • stairs (Class 5 vehicles only)
    • steering wheel
    • tailboard
    • tailgate
    • trailer electrical sockets
    • towbars (excluding body around anchorage points)
    • tyre pressure monitoring system
    • windscreen and glass
    • windscreen wipers
    • windscreen washers
    • wheels and tyres (excluding motorbikes and motorbikes with sidecar)
  3. Remove your vehicle from the test centre, but return to the same test centre within 10 working days of the original failed MOT test. In this case, a partial retest fee may be charged by the test centre.


Vehicles which fail to meet one of these three criteria will have to be fully tested again, incurring the full MOT fee. All motorists should be aware of the legal obligations of vehicles that have failed an MOT. All vehicles which do not have a valid MOT test may not be used on the road.  The only exceptions being vehicles returning from, or going to, a test centre for an MOT test or retest.

MOT Retest Process

Vehicle owners should be aware that only one retest may be taken per full MOT.  This means that all repairs must be conducted before a retest is organised with the test centre.

If a vehicle fails a retest, it must undergo a full MOT test again. All fees are mandated by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency.  The DVSA oversee the cost of MOT tests and MOT retests charged by test centres in Britain.

An up to date list of the areas for which no fee is charged for conducting a retest (provided one of the above qualifying three criteria are met), is available on the Government website. It can also be provided by the MOT test centre upon asking. The items cover all aspects of the vehicle from moving parts to the registration plate.


New Vehicle Enquiry Service

The DVLA have launched a new online service for vehicle enquiries. The new service allows motorists to check their MOT expiry dates easily.

It only requires the user to supply the registration number and make of the vehicle they want to check.

This is a big improvement over the old vehicle status check which required users to find their V5 registration document. From experience we know it is all too common to misplace these documents.

The service was developed as part of the government’s ongoing GOV.UK overhaul and the site is sure to become popular with the UK’s motorists.

Commenting on the launch of the new service, the DVLA digital comms team said:

Over the past few months, a small team here at DVLA have been working on making it simpler to tax your car or declare it off the road online.

For the beta, we’ve completely rebuilt the public facing service to make the process easier. We’ve removed steps that weren’t necessary any more, made the design clearer by using the GOV.UK look and feel and followed the new Government Digital by Default Service Standard. Here’s our assessment report.

We’ve also made some significant changes behind the scenes so that we can make changes quickly in response to user feedback.

The new enquiry service is available at


MOT Changes – Feb 2014

The government has introduced changes to the MOT test as from February 2014. Diesel particulate filters (commonly fitted to newer diesel cars and lorries) are to be checked for the first time.

The vehicles will be inspected to confirm the presence of a DPF. If no DPF is found but the vehicle did have one fitted when first manufactured this will result in an automatic MOT failure.

The filters work by trapping harmful emissions from diesel exhausts and have been in use for more than 20 years. They are commonly used by manufacturers to meet European standards and help improve air quality.

It is known that some firms will offer to remove the filters, claiming it will improve fuel economy. This is however illegal and it is an offence to drive a vehicle that has been modified in this way.

Commenting on the MOT changes, Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said:

I am very concerned that vehicles are being modified in a way that is clearly detrimental to people’s health and undoes the hard work car manufacturers have taken to improve emissions standards. It has become apparent the government had to intervene to clarify the position on particulate filter removal given the unacceptable negative impact on air quality.

This change to the MOT tests makes it clear – if you have this filter removed from your car it will fail the test.



What does MOT stand for?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport. “MOT test”, or “MOT”, refers to the testing done by Department for Transport-approved garages to determine whether vehicles are roadworthy. The department mandates periodic testing for vehicles driven on public roads. Those whose vehicles are due for testing might wonder what does MOT stand for. Although the Department of Transport assumed MOT testing after the Ministry of Transport was eliminated, the phrase “MOT test” survived the government reorganization. Hopefully this short explanation answers the question “What does MOT stand for?”.

Which vehicles need an MOT?

Private vehicles that are three or more years old cannot be driven on public roads in the United Kingdom unless they have been issued a VT20 or VT32 safety certificate by an approved garage. However, such a vehicle can be driven to an MOT testing centre for a scheduled test. There is a charge for the test, and the amount depends on the classification of the vehicle.

When was the MOT introduced?

When the MOT test was introduced in the 1960s, only the brakes, lights and steering were subject to evaluation. The test now covers the car’s body, including the doors; the tyres and wheels are also tested, as is the windscreen. The seats and seat belts, mirrors and horn are checked, along with the wipers. Vehicle suspension is also tested for safety. The testers also examine the fuel and exhaust systems, and they check to see that vehicle emissions meet department standards. Registration plates and the vehicle identification number are checked. The electrical system, including the battery and all visible wiring are tested for safety.

Who can perform MOT tests?

Only Department for Transport-approved garages can perform MOT tests, and only an approved garage can issue a safety certificate. When testing was originally mandated in the 1960s, it was performed annually on vehicles that had been on the road for ten years. Currently, annual testing begins on private vehicles once they are three years old. Annual tests are required for commercial vehicles, ambulances and taxis after the first year of operation. Safety certificates are valid for one year, and subsequent tests can be done no more than one month before the existing certificate expires. The earliest date for retesting appears on the safety certificate.

What happens if the vehicle passes or fails?

Vehicles that pass the test are issued the MOT certificate. The test center will issue a notification of failure to a driver whose vehicle has failed the MOT. Upon receiving a notification of failure, the vehicle can only be driven to a garage where an appointment has been booked for the specified repairs. Retesting should be done at the same testing centre that issued the notification of failure.

What does MOT stand for - VT20 Certificate

Drivers can appeal an MOT failure to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) after discussing their concerns with a representative of the garage that issued the notification of failure. DVSA usually retests vehicles free of charge for drivers who feel their cars were incorrectly passed.

The DVSA enters test results into a database, and the results are available online to those with the vehicle identification number and MOT test number. The owner usually makes that information available when selling the automobile. Results include all of a vehicle’s MOT test results, and the mileage recorded upon each test.

How many MOT stations are there?

There are over 19000 Department for Transport-approved garages eligible to perform MOT tests, and they can be identified by sign or logo showing three blue triangles.  You can also use our MOT station finder to locate your closest test centre.

The testing is done in specified bays. Those performing the testing have completed a training course with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Technicians use equipment that meets DVSA standards. DVSA periodically inspects approved garages.

Changes to MOT testing

On March 20, 2013, changes to MOT testing took effect.  This increased the number of items being checked during a test.

New items being tested include:

  • Power steering malfunction light
  • Brake fluid warning lights lit or broken
  • Engine mountings
  • Speedometer


Did this article answer your question: “What does MOT stand for?”

We hope so as we aim to provide you with useful content. If you have any suggestions for topics you’d like to see added to this page, please let us know.