How long does an MOT take


With the average time to complete an MOT, or Ministry of Transport test, being anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes, getting your MOT done is straightforward and easy to do. It is also surprisingly easy to book, with the vast majority of respondents stating that they did not experience issues or delays sorting out their MOTs.

What exactly is an MOT

For those who don’t yet know, an MOT is an annual test of vehicle safety, roadworthiness and emissions for most vehicles older than three years in the UK. Here In Northern Ireland, the equivalent requirement applies after four years. If your vehicle passes the test you’ll receive an MOT test certificate to confirm your car meets the minimum requirements by the Ministry of Transport to be on the road. Passing the MOT does not guarantee that your vehicle will remain roadworthy for the duration of the certificate.

An MOT test can be carried out at any authorised test centre, these are typically garages or local council test centres.

What does an MOT check?

An MOT check will be fairly extensive and will check things such as the following.

  • Brakes
  • Tyres
  • Lights
  • Mirrors
  • Seatbelts
  • Windscreen wipers
  • Exhaust system
  • Steering and suspension
  • Emissions

If your vehicle does not pass an MOT you can either get your car repaired up to standard at the testing centre, go to another garage or simply appeal the test if you think a mistake has been made. YOU MUST NOT drive without a valid MOT certificate. Driving without an MOT is illegal and can lead to a £1,000 fine and potentially your vehicle could be seized.

So when should you book your MOT?

Of the respondents to our survey, 86% replied that they had no issues with booking their MOT test. Only 10% experienced some issues and delays.

Did you experience any issues booking your MOT this year, such as delays? 
CNot applicable5%

86% is a high percentage given the volume of people throughout Northern Ireland needing their MOT done every year. Be sure to book before your MOT is due as it can be a fine line to walk if you are relying on there being available slots the week your MOT is due.

If yes, how long did you have to wait for an available slot?
AUnder a week27%
BOver a week19%
COver 2 weeks13%
DOver 3 weeks10%
EOver a month3%
FOver 2 months7%
GOver 3 months8%
H6 months +7%
INot applicable7%

Of those who replied no to experiencing issues booking their tests, the majority were able to a test time within a week. Only a minority had to wait for more than a month for their MOT.

Many motorists also did not have to travel beyond their nearest MOT centre

Were you able to secure a test at your nearest MOT centre? Yes / No 
CNot applicable11%


Why it’s not worth driving without a valid MOT

Even if you have been unfortunate to experience delays on your MOT test or have even failed the MOT test, it’s simply not worth driving without an MOT. Your vehicles could be seized and you could be slapped with a £1000 fine if caught. It is also in the interest of the police to be tough on those driving without MOTs, so the likelihood of receiving a warning or ‘slap on the wrist’ rather than hefty fines is small.

There are only two exceptions to the requirement to have a valid MOT certificate:

  • You are driving to or from a pre-arranged MOT test.
  • You are driving to or from a garage to have repairs carried out that are necessary to pass the MOT test.

With the lack of delays and large scale availability of tests at local garages, there really isn’t any excuse to get your MOT done. It is also quick with most MOTs taking 45 minutes to complete.

Our findings are based on a randomised survey of 1,000 respondents across the UK, which represents a margin of error of approximately 5% at a 95% confidence level.

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