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MOT Results Explained: Pass or Fail

MOT results can be confusing, we know. We’ve been doing MOTs for over 30 years here.

Barry originally filmed the video for our service advisors to ensure we knew how best to advise you but we realised, that this could be helpful for you too.

Watch the video below to discover the different MOT results you can expect, or scroll down to read the transcript below.

MOT Passes and Fails Transcript

An MOT test should be as easy as a pass or fail, but it’s not. Let’s find out why.

MOT Clean Pass

So we’ve had our MOT and we’ve got a pass. We’ve got a clean pass where nothing has been flagged. The car’s gone straight through the MOT. That’s lovely and easy. All we’re doing is booking the customer for a reminder for next year.

MOT Pass with Defects

But then we’ve got a pass with defects. So that means that the tester has found some minor defects or has given some advisories.

A minor defect might be something like a broken rear number plate light showing white to the rear, something like that. An advisory might be a tyre worn close to the legal limit.

It’s important to remember now that these minor defects and advisories are seen by the police car. When it’s following you, the police car can read the number plate of the customer’s car and it will flag up these minor defects. If we imagine it’s eight months down the road and that tyre hasn’t been changed, the police officer could pull ’em over. They go straight to the tyre and go, oh look, that tyre’s bald, and I’m gonna give you three points and a hundred pound fine for the privilege of that.

What is checked on an MOT test CCM Blog
See everything that is checked on your MOT test here

MOT Fail

So let’s then look at the fail.

So the fail gets much more interesting. The MOT’s been done and it’s failed. Now we’ve got two types.

MOT Fail When The MOT Has Expired

Let’s talk about first where the old MOT had already expired. So that means it’s come in, it doesn’t have an MOT, it’s failed and it’s failed on major defects. Okay? So if it’s failed on a major defect, it could still be driven back home or to a different place of repair or left with us for repair. If it’s got dangerous defects, it shouldn’t be driven on the public highway at all. That should be left for repair, but we cannot stop the customer from taking it away if they want to.

MOT Fail When The MOT Has Not Expired

Then we’ve got another scenario where the customers come in for an MOT, it’s failed, but they still have a valid MOT. So they might still have three weeks or a month left on their old MOT certificate. That means that they can continue to drive that vehicle around so long as it’s only got major or minor defects. If it’s got a dangerous defect, they shouldn’t continue to drive it.


So that’s the landscape of what we have to think about with an MOT and really at every stage other than our clean pass where we’re just doing a reminder, we’ve got some interaction with the customer, and especially when they get down to these dangerous defects.

I hope that that unravels it a little bit. If it doesn’t, I’ve got it all in writing somewhere to make it even more complex. See you then. Bye!

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