By law you are required to have an MOT test If your vehicle is over 3 years old. It could be referred to as an annual safety check.
The word MOT is short for the 'ministry of transport test'. The general purpose of an MoT test is to ensure the vehicle meets the minimum required safety level by law.
It is the vehicles owners responsibility to ensure their vehicles are examined every year. Without a current MoT certificate, your insurance will become invalid and you will be unable to drive your vehicle lawfully or renew your road tax disc.
MoT's are now computerised and monitored by VOSA which means police patrols and mobile camera units can now check remotely to see if your vehicle has a valid MoT certificate.
MoT tests are carried out by nominated testers, who have been given authorisation by the government body called VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency). These technicians will carry out an inspection or your vehicle and will carry out a series of checks inside and outside of the vehicle. Once finished, the result of each check is recorded on their MoT checksheet. Hopefully if your vehicle passes the MoT, a VT20 pass certificate is issued. In the unfortunate case of your vehicle failing test, due to not meeting the required standard, you will be issued with a VT30 failure certificate. Items that are not quite a failure, but worthy of a mention to you so you can keep an eye on them are drawn to your attention as advisory items.
There are penalty's for not having a valid in date MoT certificate. You may be issued with just a fine, however if your vehicle is involved in an accident, then this will invalidate your insurane cover and any subsequent claims for your car or injury are likely to become void.