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It’s now easier to replace a lost MOT certificate

lost mot certificate

It’s now easier to replace a lost MOT certificate thanks to a new online service launched by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Last year, more than 636,000 duplicate MOT certificates were issued in Great Britain after vehicle owners lost or damaged the original. That’s around two percent of all MOT certificates issued in 2018.

The new service will allow vehicle owners to view and save their MOT certificate as a PDF and print it if required. The free service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

All MOT certificates issued since 20 May 2018 are available – including passes and fails – but for now, only owners of cars and motorcycles can use the lost MOT certificate service. Lorries, buses and trailers are expected to be added later this year.

How to use the lost MOT certificate service

lost mot certificate service

The new service is part of the existing MOT history service, and the option to replace a lost certificate appears alongside the test record. To view the certificate, the user simply types in the 11-digit reference number from the vehicle log book (V5C).

Simply head to the ‘replace a lost or damaged MOT certificate’ section of the government website.

Duplicate certificates will still be available from MOT centres, but owners could be charged up to £10 for the service. 

The DVSA is warning motorists not to use one of the unofficial websites that charge people for unofficial MOT certificates. These companies do not have a licence or permission from the DVSA to produce lookalike certificates.

This new service means that there’s no reason to visit a third party website, as replacement MOT certificates are available for free from the official government website.

Click here for a list of things to check before your car’s MOT test. Also, take a look at our list of cars most and least likely to pass an MOT.

MOT misery: March to see record failure numbers

MOT failures March

Analysis of 90 million previously unpublished MOT results over the last three years reveals that March could be a record month for MOT failures. Over 600,000 more vehicles are due to go for their inspections this month.

We’re well over three years into the era of PCP, as cars bought in late 2015 and early 2016 turn three years old and consequently go for their first MOT. Though you’d expect newer cars to pass without issue, silly problems could see an unnecessarily high proportion of the 600,000 vehicles failing the test.

Bulbs, brakes and tyre tread depths make up for as much as 57 percent of MOT failures – silly things that could easily be fixed.

Just on tyres, motorists are up to £30 million down as a result of seven million failures on tyres over the last three years, with 10 percent of failures blamed on tyres.

“It is crucial that motorists understand the seriousness of driving with worn brakes or tyres given the impact it has on the safety of everyone on the road,” said Mark Griffiths, safety spokesman at Continental Tyres.

“Tyres are the vital connection to the road on all four corners, and as the leading advocate of road safety we want to make people aware of how they can save time and money through quick, simple checks.”

garages post-brexit

One in three cars will fail because of problems with lights, either because they’re out or because they’re not at the correct level. Meanwhile, as many as 17 percent of failures are due to brakes. These three parts are arguably some of the most essential components when it comes to vehicle safety.

March is by far the biggest month for MOT tests, given it’s also usually one of the most popular months for buying cars. The plate change sees buyers flocking to dealers and consequently, three years late, queueing up at the MOT station. As many as 20 percent of yearly new car registrations are made in March.

The cars most and least likely to pass an MOT

MOT pass masters (and failures)

Following a raft of changes introduced in May 2018, the MOT test has never been more challenging. You can increase the chances of your car passing first time by doing some basic pre-MOT checks, but using the data from 23 million MOT tests, we can reveal the cars most and least likely to pass with flying colours.

We’ll start with the pass masters, with the results presented in reverse order.

5. Porsche Boxster – 94.4%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

The numbers have been crunched by pay-as-you-drive insurance provider By Miles, using data supplied by the Department of Transport. The Porsche Boxster is ranked fifth on the list of cars most likely to pass an MOT at the first attempt. Good news if you were looking for an excuse to buy a sports car this year.

4. Mazda MX-5 – 94.4%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

There’s further good news for sports car fans, with the Mazda ranked fourth. According to the data, the likelihood of passing decreases steadily as cars age, slumping to an average pass rate of just 58.8 percent for cars by the time they’ve reached their 17th birthday.

3. Toyota iQ – 94.5%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

This is hardly surprising, but given the fact that the DVSA says nearly 50 percent of all faults found on MOTs could be avoided by regular maintenance or by checking some basic items prior to the test, there’s no reason why an older a car should be more troublesome. The Toyota iQ is ranked third.

2. Honda Jazz – 95.3%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

If only everything in life was as reliable as a… Honda Jazz. There are many reasons why the Jazz has performed so well, not least because it’s a reliable car straight out of the box. Also, the Jazz tends to cover fewer miles between MOT tests, while owners will stick to the maintenance schedule.

1. Porsche 911 – 95.9%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

But the Jazz is beaten by the Porsche 911, with the German topping the table with an average pass rate of 95.9 percent. It’s hardly surprising because the majority of 911 owners will stay on top of maintenance schedules and rectify any issues as soon as they arise.

So, that’s the best cars sorted, what about the motors at the opposite end of the table?

5. Citroen DS3 – 81.1%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

These are the five worst offenders, presented in reverse order. There’s a huge gap between the best performers and the cars at the bottom of the table, with the Citroen DS3 recording an 81.1 percent pass rate. We doubt the rebrand to DS Automobiles will make any difference.

4. Vauxhall Corsa – 79.4%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

You could argue that the sheer number of Vauxhall Corsas is a contributing factor to its lowly ranking, but it’s worth noting that the Ford Fiesta doesn’t feature in the bottom five.

3. Peugeot 5008 – 78.8%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

Peugeot has revamped the 5008, ditching the rather frumpy MPV of old and replacing it with something far more appealing. The previous model isn’t all that good at passing MOTs.

2. Fiat Punto – 78.5%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

But the 5008 is marginally better than the Fiat Punto, with the Italian supermini just managing to avoid the bottom spot with a 78.5 percent pass rate.

1. Renault Megane – 77.5%

MOT pass masters (and failures)

Which leaves the Renault Megane to grab the wooden spoon. The French hatchback sits at the bottom with an average pass rate of 77.5 percent, nearly 20 percent lower than the Porsche 911.

Best manufacturer – Honda

MOT pass masters (and failures)

Overall, Honda sits at the top of the MOT league table, with an average first-time pass rate of 93.8 percent. This is ahead of Porsche (93.2 percent) and Subaru (92.8 percent).

Worst manufacturer – Chrysler

MOT pass masters (and failures)

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the table, we find Chrysler, with an average first-time pass rate of 80.1 percent. This is behind Chevrolet (82.2 percent) and Renault (82.5 percent).

Highest mileage – Skoda

MOT pass masters (and failures)

Finally, we take a look at the average miles between each MOT test. Skoda tops the table with 8,800 miles per annum, with a strong lease market and heavy use by taxi firms two contributing factors. Mercedes-Benz finishes just behind on 8,500 miles per annum, with Audi in third on 8,400 miles.

Lowest mileage – Porsche

MOT pass masters (and failures)

Unsurprisingly, Porsche has the lowest mileage (3,600 miles per annum), with Smart (4,800 miles) and Suzuki (5,700 miles) the next two brands.

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MOT shock stats: pass on a Sunday, fail on a Monday

MOT test station

Forget ‘race on Sunday, sell on Monday’, because when it comes to the MOT test, it’s more a case of ‘pass on Sunday, fail on Monday’.

That’s according to a report released by pay-as-you-drive insurance specialists By Miles. Using Department for Transport data, it reveals that the chances of your car passing the MOT test can be affected by the day of the week.

And, while 79 percent of cars passed when they were tested on Sunday, just 72 percent passed on a Monday. Good news for Sunday drivers.

The busiest periods for MOTs are March and September, which isn’t surprising given that these are the months when the UK registration plates change and a car will require its first MOT on or before its first birthday. December is the quietest month.

Of course, your biggest challenge might be finding an MOT test station that’s open on a Sunday. But while independent garages are likely to be closed, Halfords claims to have 90 centres open on Sundays, while Motest also offers a seven-days-a-week service.

To find an active MOT test station local to you, visit the government website.

Four out of five motorists are overpaying for servicing and MOT

MOT and servicing

According to new figures by motoring association MotorEasy, as many as 80 percent of us are potentially paying double for servicing and an MOT, simply because we’ve booked them separately.

Checks covered in a car’s scheduled service are, according to MotorEasy, 85 percent covered during an MOT test. Getting both done at once could not only save you time but take a hefty chunk out of any labour costs the work would incur.

MOTs and services don’t cross over completely, though. While a service involves a yearly swap out of oil, coolant and other items, whether they need to be changed or not, an MOT doesn’t mandate it or go into quite so much detail.

Both are still necessary – an MOT for legality and a service to keep your car running at its very best. We don’t need to tell you a fully-stamped service book will make your car easier to sell and more valuable when you come to do so.

An MOT only tests fundamental aspects of the car that determine whether it’s safe to use on the road. Not necessarily to an end of aiding the car’s reliability. 

MOT and servicing

It sounds like an all-around good idea to book both together, then.

“We’re seeing the rise of the ‘Do It For Me’ generation,” said MotorEasy founder, Duncan McClure Fisher.

“Time-poor consumers want to minimise the amount of time they spend at dealers and garages, without paying over the odds for it. One way to do this is to book your service and MOT together, as the garage will conduct all of the checks required to pass an MOT during the service. Not only will drivers be spared an extra visit to the garage, but they can also save money.”

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MOT failures

Failed MOTs are costing UK motorists £325 on average

Drivers in the UK pay an average of £272 in corrective measures after a failed MOT on their car, as well as the £54 cost of the MOT itself.

MOT test

10 things to check before your car’s MOT test

MOT test

Following a raft of changes introduced in May 2018, the MOT test has never been more challenging. Under strict new rules, faults are graded depending on how dangerous they are, and greater emphasis has been placed on diesel car emissions.

It’s as a result of this that MOT emissions test failures have nearly doubled, with almost 745,000 cars failing on emissions, compared to 350,000 in the same period in 2017. Diesel cars have seen the biggest percentage increase here.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), nearly 50 per cent of all faults found on MOTs could be avoided by carrying out regular maintenance or by checking some basic items before the test.

Further MOT analysis reveals that around 40 per cent of cars fail their MOT at the first attempt, costing motorists time and money. We can’t guarantee that these simple steps will result in a pass, but they should minimise the chances of a failed MOT.

Lights

This one is blindingly obvious, but so many motorists forget to check the lights before the MOT test. Indeed, a surprising 30 per cent of faults found during the MOT test relate to lighting and signalling.

Make sure you check all of the lights – headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators – and be sure to include the brake lights in your inspection. Either ask a friend to press the brake pedal, or reverse up to a reflective surface. Make sure the high-level brake light is functioning correctly.

Number plate

Number plates (also known as licence plates) must show the car’s registration number correctly. You could be fined up to £1,000 and your car will fail its MOT if you drive with incorrectly spaced letters or numbers.

The number plates will also be inspected for condition, secure attachment and colour. Give yourself plenty of time to order a new set of plates – you can only order from a registered number plate supplier. You will need to prove your identity and show that you’re entitled to the registration number.

Wheels and tyres

Pre-MOT checks

Firstly, check that the wheels and tyres are undamaged – you can do this yourself or at a local tyre fitter. The minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, and anything less than this will be marked as a ‘fail’.

However, we’d recommend changing the tyres when the tread reaches 3mm. While spare wheels and tyres are not inspected, it’s worth noting that cars first used on or after 1 January 2012 will be checked to make sure the tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is working.

Note: 10 per cent of all MOT faults are related to tyres.

Seats and seatbelts

Check that the driver’s seat can be adjusted and that all seats are securely fitted. It’s essential that the seatbacks can be fixed in the upright position.

While you’re there, check the entire length of the seatbelt for damage and pull on them sharply to ensure that they react appropriately.

Windscreen

Take a look at the windscreen to ensure that there are no cracks or damage to the glass. Any damage larger than 40mm will result in a ‘fail’, as will any chips or damage wider than 10mm in the area swept by the wipers.

Wipers

Checking a windscreen wiper blade

On the subject of wipers, make sure they are able to clear the windscreen of rain. If it’s not raining, use a watering can or a hose. The wiper blades should be free of damage or tears – it’s likely to be cheaper to buy a set of new blades in advance rather than relying on a distress purchase at the MOT test centre.

Note: 8.5 per cent of all MOT faults are related to ‘Driver’s view of the road’. So, if you have stickers, toys or air-fresheners obstructing your view, remove them before the test.

Fluids

Your car could fail its MOT for having no screenwash, so make sure the washer bottle is topped up in advance. You’ll also be turned away from the MOT test centre if the vehicle has insufficient engine oil or fuel. The MOT tester will also check the power steering oil.

Horn

Again, it’s a simple one to check, but when was the last time you used your horn? Make sure it works and is the suitable horn for the vehicle.

Warning lights

If your car’s dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree you could be in for a rough ride at the MOT testing station. A failed main beam warning light will result in a fail, as will the ABS light, engine warning light, brake fluid light and airbag warning light. Get all dashboard lights checked out in advance.

Suspension and brakes

Pressing the brake pedal

One in 10 of all MOT fails are related to brake issues, and you can minimise the risk by testing the brakes every day. If you hear any strange noises or the car pulls to one side, consult a garage.

Similarly, the MOT tester will check the suspension, so press down on each front wing to check for worn shock absorbers. If the car ‘bounces’ up and down rather than returning to the correct position, they may be worn. Also, listen out for knocking noises.

These simple checks should only take a few minutes, but it’ll be more hassle arranging for any repair work to be carried out or booking a re-test. For a full list of the car parts checked during the MOT test, visit the government website.

Remember, an MOT test isn’t the same as having your car serviced and doesn’t provide an accurate description of the vehicle’s general mechanical condition. Regular service and maintenance will almost certainly improve your chances of an MOT pass and fewer advisories.

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Can you drive your car after an MOT fail if the old test hasn't expired?

Can you drive your car after an MOT fail if the old test hasn’t expired?

Can you drive your car after an MOT fail if the old test hasn't expired?

The government has updated its guidelines warning motorists that they face prosecution if they drive their car following an MOT failure – even if its previous test hasn’t expired.

Some drivers put their car in for an MOT early to find out if any faults need repairing, mistakenly thinking they can use the vehicle until the old test runs out.

A lot of speculation exists around the topic online, with a number of sites claiming that drivers are within their rights to continue using a car with an in-date MOT certificate, even a tester has since deemed it unroadworthy.

But now the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has updated its guidelines, saying: “You must not drive the vehicle on the road if it fails the test, even if the MOT hasn’t run out.”

It adds that the only exceptions are to drive to have the defects fixed, or to a pre-booked MOT appointment.

If you’re caught driving a car in a dangerous condition, you could face a fine of up to £2,500, a driving ban and three penalty points.

Update: February 2016

Since running this story, the DVSA has updated its website again – to say the complete opposite of what it originally said.

It now states: “You can take your vehicle away if your MOT certificate is still valid.”

Beware, though – if you do drive your car away it is technically unroadworthy. If you were to be caught driving a dangerous vehicle, you could be prosecuted – and you definitely can’t plead ignorance if you have an MoT fail sheet informing you of this.

Update: September 2018

The situation as it stands is as follows: an MOT fail before the previous MOT certificate elapses does not necessarily mean you can’t drive it away, unless there is a “dangerous” problem listed on the certificate and the minimum standards of roadworthiness aren’t met.

A Pistonheads forum user queried whether an MOT tester had a right to detain their car, even if it failed on a non-dangerous fault. The answer? In no circumstances, or with the car in any condition, can a tester keep the car if you don’t want them to.

Speaking with an operative at the DVSA, we were told that “no MOT station can impound a car, even if they find a dangerous defect. You are within rights to get the car towed elsewhere for work”.

However they went on to stress “it’s a grey area regarding dangerous and non-dangerous defects. Ultimately if you drive the car away and something happens, you’re still liable”.

From the DVSA site: “You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle that has failed its MOT because of a ‘dangerous’ problem”.

The conclusion?

You can drive your car away from a failed MOT, if the previous certificate is still valid and if the car did not fail with a “dangerous” fault.

The usual rules still apply, though. Get it fixed and get it tested and passed in time.

MOT test centre

Opinion: the call to abolish the MOT test is nonsense

MOT test centre

The MOT test is outdated and should be abolished, according to a white paper written by the Adam Smith Institute, a free market and neoliberalist think-tank.

“Only two percent of all accidents in 2016 involved any form of mechanical failure,” the report states. “Cars are becoming smarter and safer, and accidents are directly declining as a result,” it continues.

It points to evidence in the United States as justification for its call for the MOT test be abolished or “at least be overhauled substantially”, referencing New Jersey, where the inspection programme ended in 2010.

Figures suggest that the repeal of the inspection programme resulted in a reduction in the number of accidents due to care failure, the study suggests.

The Drivers of Safety: The Outdated Practice of MOT Testing, includes the following key quotes and statements:

  • Over the years, reforms have added burdens to drivers
  • The United Kingdom places an overly burdensome weight on its drivers to care for their vehicles
  • Most garages rake in handsome sums not only administering the MOT, but also performing the (typically small) repairs
  • The actual inspection price varies by garage, with lower MOT prices usually signalling higher markups on the replacement parts a driver may need to whip their vehicle into shape
  • [The MOT] represents a significant amount of wasted time and money performing tests and unnecessary repairs, none of which makes roadways safer
  • [The MOT] may lead drivers to engage in neglectful or reckless behaviours, as they know that their cars will be forced into better shape come the end of the year

Resources should be ploughed into driver education, says the report’s author Alex Hoagland, citing the fact that 65 percent of accidents are due to driver-specific behaviours, such as speed, drink-driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

“Increased focus on distracted and unsafe driving practices will surely be more effective at reducing fatalities than any vehicular inspection,” the report concludes.

AA president Edmund King is unimpressed, labelling the report as “rubbish” when tweeting a link to the story on the Daily Mail website.

Opinion: why the Adam Smith Institute report is wrong

Abolishing the MOT test would be madness. While it’s true that the test is a merely a measure of a car’s roadworthiness on the day of the inspection – a bulb could blow or a driver could take a chunk out of a tyre on the journey home – it focuses the mind of the motorist.

Labelling the MOT an “overly burdensome weight” on drivers is complete nonsense. In an age when cars can all but drive themselves, and motorists feel cocooned in their Euro NCAP-tested bubbles, it’s as critical as it has ever been to make people aware that driving comes with a responsibility to care for a car and other road users.

The report mentions the 20,000 approved test centres and the £250 million annual revenue for local garages. So what? We should be supporting the independent garages, not labelling them as crooks by referencing “higher markups” and “handsome sums”.

Yes, there are a few – how can I put this? – less scrupulous garages, but the government should do more to clamp down on these operations. It’s not the job of a think-tank to tarnish all the local garages with the same brush. These businesses provide jobs, deliver independent advice and offer cheaper maintenance for cash-strapped motorists.

Sure, throw money behind improving driver education, but that should extend to encouraging greater care of the nation’s cars, not removing the annual safety net. We’ve all seen cars with bald tyres, blown headlight bulbs and more exhaust smoke than a vaper outside a Wetherspoons.

MOT-reminder

Perhaps acknowledging that abolishing the MOT might be a step too far – at least in the short term – the report calls for a separate test for carbon emissions and increasing the testable age of new vehicles from three to five years.

Again, that’s bunkum. Why split the test when it works OK as one? And as for increasing the testable age of new vehicles – yeah, because tyres, wipers and headlights will almost certainly last that long, won’t they?

If, as the report suggests, garages are profiting from the MOT test, why not adopt the French method by having independent inspection centres, where repairs cannot be carried out? The potential for roguish acts is all but eradicated.

Many drivers think about the roadworthiness and safety of their vehicle just once a year, when the MOT is about to expire, treating the car like an extension of their living room for the other 364 days of the year. Abolish the MOT, and we’ll lose the annual safety check and potentially many local garages.

Sorry, but I’m with the AA on this one. The MOT test must stay.

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rabbit

MOT garage discovers live rabbit in bumper

rabbit
We all love a juicy mechanic’s horror story. Liquids of questionable colour, consistency and smell billowing out of coolant bottles like lava from a caldera, wheel hubs wobbling free of the several linkages and mountings designed to keep it true. Cringe-worthy stuff you just can’t not watch.

Well, we’re here to bring a somewhat fluffier and cuddlier spin on the traditional garage nightmare. That spin (or hop?) comes in the form of a little rabbit discovered holed up in the snout of a Vauxhall Corsa by mechanic Dave Gordon and his dog Cooper. The car had been delivered to the Aberdeenshire-based Newburgh Motors for an MOT.

Gordon reckons the rabbit had travelled around 10 miles wedged where it was, but suggests it emerged unscathed. In fact, it’s possible their new-found friend is to become a part of the family if an owner doesn’t come to claim it – a microchip or collar wasn’t uncovered after a trip to the vets.

He reckons he’s unsure where it’s from, and whether it’s wild or domesticated, but the fact it doesn’t mind a fuss from humans suggests it has a home somewhere. Cooper the dog is allegedly nonplussed by the new guest in the Gordon residence.

Its free ride shouldn’t harm or help the Corsa’s chances during the MOT. We just can’t help but think a more appropriate car for a little rabbit to catch a ride with would be a US-spec re-badged MK5 Golf…

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