The government is cracking down on fraudulent garages that carry out illegal MOTs – these culprits are not just committing fraud, they are endangering the public by putting unsafe vehicles back on the roads.
Total counts of MOT Fraud reached 1,324 last year, 2021-2022; 710 of those were the most serious cases relating to dishonesty and negligence, a 102% increase from those found in 2017-2018.* Vehicles need an MOT after they turn three years old, and then every year after that, failure to obtain a valid MOT certificate is illegal on UK roads, with motorists facing fines of up to £1,000.
The MOT test ensures the vehicle is up to environmental and road safety standards – with 60,000 privately employed MOT testers carrying out tests in around 23,000 testing stations in Great Britain annually.* According to data compiled by Quotezone.co.uk, garages that say they provide MOT prep and testing seem to have dropped from over a third, 36%, in 2019 to just 12% this year – despite a recent rise in demand for these services post-COVID.
The government has been investigating all reports of MOT fraud with site visits, vehicle inspections and even covert surveillance – with the worst cases ending up in court. Some garages have been caught simply handing out MOT certificates without even conducting a test or seeing the vehicle itself.**
Safety must always be the number one priority, and motorists themselves have a duty to ensure their cars, vans, and motorbikes are safe to operate. 1 in 10 vehicles fail their MOT the first time, so they must be well looked after, and MOTs are booked in a timely fashion, to avoid delays and additional driving while they wait to be tested.
Testament to the success of the test, regulated by the DVSA, is how few mechanical issues lead to road accidents; only 2% of road incidents are due to mechanical failings.*
Motor trade insurance specialist at Quotezone.co.uk, Lee Evans, said: “This is an incredibly dangerous form of fraud; allowing customers to believe their vehicles are safe and roadworthy no doubt increases their chances of an incident on the road.
“Thankfully, it’s just a small portion of rogue garages and mechanics that are taking advantage, but it’s important all drivers double check their chosen garage is legitimate by searching reviews and selecting from approved lists of quality garages. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, compare prices for parts and labour online and ask for a quote before any work commences that includes parts, labour and VAT.
“It’s also crucial to note a legal MOT is required by most car insurance providers; if an incident occurs and the vehicle is found to not have a valid MOT in place, it could render the insurance invalid and the driver unprotected. You can check the MOT status of the vehicle here on Gov.uk.
Quotezone.co.uk has provided pre-MOT checks to prepare the vehicle and help keep it roadworthy:
It is important to check for any cuts or wear. It is also good to check if the tyre pressures are appropriate for the load and condition of the tyres. The minimum and legal limit for tread depth of the tyres is 1.6mm – drivers can insert a 20p into the tread to double check, the tyre thickness should be more than the first line on the coin.
You need to make sure your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights and brake lights all work. Having any of these not working or in a temperamental condition could put you, passengers and other motorists at risk.
The braking system needs to be in good working order. If the car pulls to one side when applying the brakes then this indicates an issue. Look at the handbrake too and ensure it works well, especially on an incline. If you have alloy wheels, it could be possible to do a visual inspection of the brakes without actually removing the wheel.
Check fluid levels:
Be sure to top up break fluid, engine oil and screen wash, checking them on a regular basis and immediately refilling when warning lights show.
All mirrors must be secure and free of cracks. If they need replacing you can normally find ones for your car model online, but stay clear of self-adhesive types as these are not durable.
Check windscreen and wipers:
Ensure there is no damage to your windscreen. A chip or crack that exceeds 40mm will actually result in a failed MOT test. On top of the windscreen, the wipers and washers should be functional to ensure good visibility at all times.
This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.