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A handbook for Scheme administration

Sixth Edition (revised November 2019) 

A. Introduction


A1 Purpose and Scope of the Test

A2 Test Classes

- 2.1 Exemptions

- 2.2 Dual Purpose Vehicles

- 2.3 Motor Caravans

- 2.4 Living Vans

- 2.5 Play buses

- 2.6 Ambulance

- 2.7 Tricycles

- 2.8 Quadricycles

- 2.9 Moped

A3 Who Carries Out MOT Tests?

A1 Purpose and Scope of the Test

1. The purpose of the MOT test is to ensure that cars, other light vehicles (including some light goods vehicles), private buses and motor bicycles over a prescribed age are checked at least once a year to see that they comply with roadworthiness and environmental standards – and to that end contributes to the government’s road safety strategy.

2. For every test conducted an electronic record is created. This record is checked when a vehicle is taxed. The Police and certain enforcement agencies can also access this information directly from the electronic record and may use it for on-road enforcement that a vehicle has an MOT or as part of other investigations.

3. The electronic test records are made available publicly on-line – and this can be used for a variety of road safety related purposes – such as helping motorists to make informed decisions when considering a car purchase, to help look after their vehicle and to ensure they get their vehicle tested on time. Third parties may also access these records and use it for things such as checking validity of vehicle mileages or for part of car insurance considerations. The recorded accuracy of that test result and it being matched to the correct vehicle is therefore important.

4. Paper documentation (such as the receipt style test certificate and the failure document) will be issued on completion of a test, but these should only be considered as a view of the definitive electronic record.

5. The creation of that electronic record relates only to the condition of testable items at the time of the test and should not be regarded as: • evidence of their condition at any other time; • evidence of the general mechanical condition of the vehicle; or • evidence that the vehicle fully complies with all aspects of the law on vehicle construction and use.

6. The test is a visual inspection and does not require the dismantling of parts of the vehicle although doors, boot lids and other means of access will normally need to be opened. In the case of motor bicycles, cover panels may also need to be removed or raised to examine the vehicle structure.

MOT Testing Guide: A2 Test Classes 1 2 3 4 4a, Motorcycles, 3 Wheeled Vehicles, Cars, Motor Caravans MOT Testing Guide: A2 Test Classes 5 5a 6 6a 7, Private Passenger Vehicles, Ambulances, Motor Caravans, Community Buses, PSVs MOT Testing Guide: A2 Test Classes Notes

A2.1 Exemptions

Detailed legislation on vehicles exempt from the MOT is set out in the Motor Vehicles Test Regulations 1981 regulation 6 (as amended), and in the Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 189.

Examples of vehicles exempted from MOT testing include:

• those constructed or first registered more than 40 years ago and not substantially modified

• track laying vehicles,

• vehicles constructed or adapted to form part of an articulated combination. Note: pick up vehicles with a fifth wheel should not be considered an articulated vehicle and should be tested as normal.

• works trucks,

• trailers,

• pedestrian controlled mechanically propelled vehicles

• electrically powered pedal cycles.

Legislation also exempts vehicles used in particular ways (e.g. travelling to and from test) or particular places (e.g. some islands) from the need to have a valid MOT test certificate. It should be noted that trailers constructed or adapted for the carriage of goods or burden with an unladen weight of more than 1,020 kg and vehicles forming part of an articulated combination are subject to heavy goods vehicle (HGV) plating and testing. It should also be noted that even when a vehicle is not required to have a test certificate it must still be maintained in a roadworthy condition.

A2.2 Dual purpose vehicles

1. A ‘Dual purpose vehicle' is one that;

is constructed or adapted for the carriage of both passengers and goods or burden of any description; and

has an unladen weight (ULW) not exceeding 2,040 kg; and

which either:

a. is so constructed or adapted so that the driving power of the engine, is, or by the use of the appropriate controls can be, transmitted to all the wheels of the vehicle; or

b. satisfies the following conditions as to construction:

(i) is permanently fitted with a rigid roof, with or without a sliding panel;

(ii) the area to the rear of the driver's seat must:

• be permanently fitted with at least one row of transverse seats (fixed or folding) for two or more passengers, and those seats must be properly sprung or cushioned and provided with upholstered backrests, attached either to the seats or to a side or the floor of the vehicle; and

• be lit on each side and at the rear by a window or windows of glass or other transparent material having an aggregate area of not less than 1,850 cm2 on each side and not less than 770 cm2 at the rear;

(iii) the distance between the rearmost part of the steering wheel and the backrests of the row of transverse seats satisfying the requirements specified in the first paragraph of item (b) (ii) (or, if there is more than one such row of seats, the distance between the rearmost part of the steering wheel and the backrests of the rearmost such row) must, when the seats are ready for use, be not less than one third of the distance between the rearmost part of the steering wheel and the rearmost part of the floor of the vehicle.

A2.3 Motor Caravans

A ‘motor caravan' is "a motor vehicle (not being a living van) which is constructed or adapted for the carriage of passengers and their effects and which contains, as permanently installed equipment, the facilities which are reasonably necessary for enabling the vehicle to provide mobile living accommodation for its users". Motor caravans are not classed as goods vehicles for MOT test purposes and are therefore in class 4 or 5 depending on their seating capacity but regardless of their size or weight.

A2.4 Living Vans

A `living van' is "a vehicle, whether mechanically propelled or not, which is used for living accommodation by one or more persons and which is also used for the carriage of goods or burden which are not needed by such one or more persons for the purpose of their residence in the vehicle". Living vans are classed as goods vehicles and, depending on their weight, are therefore in either class 4 or 7 within the MOT Service or are subject to HGV plating and testing.

A2.5 Play buses

A ‘play bus’ is a motor vehicle which was originally constructed to carry more than 12 passengers but which has been adapted primarily for the carriage of playthings for children.

A2.6 Ambulance

An ‘ambulance’ is a motor vehicle which is specially designed and constructed (and not merely adapted) for carrying, as equipment permanently fixed to the vehicle, equipment used for medical, dental, or other health purposes and is used primarily for the carriage of persons suffering from illness, injury or disability

A2.7 Tricycles

A ‘motor tricycle’ is a three wheeled vehicle with wheels symmetrically arranged, a maximum speed over 45 km/h, or engine size over 50 cc.

Note: If the motor tricycle has an unladen weight not more than 450 kg it is a class 3 test if the unladen weight is more than 450 kg it is a class 4 test.

A2.8 Quadricycles

A ‘light quadricycle’ is a four wheeled vehicle with a maximum unladen weight of 350 kg, max speed of 45 km/h and not over 50 cc for a petrol engine or 4 kW for any other engine or electric motor.

A ‘quadricycle’ is a four wheeled vehicle with a maximum unladen weight of 400 kg (550 kg for a goods vehicle) with a max net power of 15 kW.

A2.9 Moped

A ‘moped’ is a vehicle with maximum speed of 45 km/h, not over 50 cc for a petrol engine or 4 kW for any other engine or electric motor.

A3 Who Carries Out MOT Tests?

1. The testing of vehicles is conducted principally at commercial garages (Authorised Examiners) and by some local authorities (Designated Councils). These are authorised, or designated as appropriate, by DVSA, and known as Vehicle Testing Stations (VTSs).

2. VTSs and their staff are subject to inspections by DVSA to ensure that testing is properly carried out. Test equipment used must be approved by DVSA.

3. MOT tests are carried out by Testers who are specifically trained and approved. They record test results on the MOT database and sign official test documents.

4. VTSs may only test those classes and types of vehicle that they are authorised to test and which are of a size and weight that can be accommodated on the authorised test equipment.

5. DVSA staff may also carry out tests (See Section F)