How long does an MOT take header image

How long does an MOT take?

Last updated January 27, 2023

An MOT typically lasts between 45 minutes and 1 hour, depending on the size and type of vehicle. Therefore, an MOT should not cause too much disruption to your schedule. However, this timeframe could be extended if any extra work is required for your vehicle.

In this guide, we will cover the checks included in a MOT test, the circumstances in which an MOT may take up to a full day – and the process you should follow if you fail an MOT test. We’ll also highlight the tools available to help you remember to book your next MOT test – and check your vehicle’s current MOT status.

Value your car in under 30 seconds

What does an MOT test entail?

An MOT test consists of numerous checks, including the vehicle’s lights and signalling devices, brakes, tyres - and the exhaust system. During the test, mechanics will also check for any fluid leaks or visible corrosion.

If your vehicle fails to meet the MOT criteria, any ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ issues highlighted must be rectified before an MOT certificate can be issued.

Would you like to ensure your vehicle is up to scratch ahead of your upcoming MOT test? Check your vehicle against our comprehensive MOT checklist.

Can an MOT take all day?

This depends on the condition of your vehicle prior to the test. The average MOT test typically lasts around 45 minutes, but that time can vary depending on several key factors. These include:

  • Your vehicle type.
  • The complexity of your vehicle’s repair work (if any).
  • The workload of the garage on that day.

Generally, the more work your vehicle requires, the longer the process will take. When a combination of the factors highlighted above apply, in some cases, an MOT can take all day.

Older vehicles tend to require more care and attention during their tests and therefore, may take longer to process than modern vehicles that have few issues, if any at all.

It's important to note that most MOT tests will not take all day. However, this is always a possibility - particularly if you have recently experienced issues with your vehicle.

What if I fail my MOT test?

Failing your MOT is a worry for any driver, but the reality isn't as bad as you may think. The MOT test is designed to make sure all cars are safe and roadworthy, so it's important that everyone takes the test seriously.

If you do fail your MOT test, there are several steps you need to take to get back on the road. Any ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ defects highlighted during the test will need to be rectified by a mechanic at an approved garage.

You'll also need to arrange a date for an MOT re-test once these repairs have been completed. Make sure you retain any paperwork relating to the parts fitted, as this may be useful to prospective buyers when the time comes to sell your car.

If it transpires that the repairs highlighted would be too expensive, you can always sell your MOT failed car. Many car-buying services (including webuyanycar) will purchase cars without an up-to-date MOT certificate.

Please note: a car that has failed its MOT cannot be driven, so you will need to arrange for it to be secured onto a trailer to be transported to the new owner.

Do you have to sit and wait for an MOT?

You do not necessarily have to sit and wait for your MOT to be completed. If you wish, you can go about your day as usual - and return to collect your vehicle once the test is complete.

Of course, sitting and waiting for an MOT is the perfect solution if you don't want to leave your vehicle at the test centre all day (or make a repeat journey to collect it).

However, most MOT test centres recommend customers go about their day as usual until they are advised that their MOT has been completed. When you (hopefully) receive notification from the garage that your car has passed its MOT, you can come back to the test centre to collect it.

How long until I need to get another MOT?

MOT certification lasts for one year after the date printed on the ‘pass’ certificate. Therefore, if your vehicle has just passed its MOT, it won’t need to be tested again for another 12 months.

You can renew your vehicle's MOT up to one month before this date.

Can I set a reminder for my next MOT?

Yes, the website provides a helpful MOT reminder tool that allows you to register and receive a reminder notification ahead of your next MOT test.

When signing up, you’ll need to provide your vehicle’s registration and your mobile number (or email address). You’ll receive a reminder one month before your MOT test is due by text or email, depending on which option you have selected.

How do I check when my MOT is due?

You can quickly and easily check how much time is left on your current MOT with our free MOT check tool. Simply enter your registration number – and our tool will provide you with information on when your MOT expires, along with details of all your previous MOT tests – and their outcomes.