Van maintenance - MOTs Van maintenance - MOTs

Van Maintenance

Being a van owner and driver comes with legal responsibilities. Read our overview of what’s involved in a MOT, including vehicle maintenance tips.

The MOT – an overview

Once your van is three years old, by law your vehicle needs to have a Ministry of Transport test, which most people abbreviate to an MOT test or simply an MOT. The test ensures that your vehicle meets the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards. An MOT is crucial for your van to be roadworthy. Without it, you can’t get a tax disc and without a tax disc or an MOT certificate your insurance may not be valid.

The MOT only confirms that at the time of the test your vehicle (without it being dismantled) did or did not meet the minimum road safety and environmental standards.

Even if your vehicle passes the MOT, you might be surprised to discover the following:

  • Your van is not necessarily roadworthy for the entire duration of the MOT certificate.
  • The mechanical condition of your van is not guaranteed by having an MOT certificate.
  • The engine, clutch and gearbox are not tested during the MOT.

These are important things to bear in mind for the reasons highlighted below.

Breakdown cover

Many of the items checked during the MOT can and should be checked regularly by you throughout the year. This will not only ensure that you’re up to date with your van maintenance, it will help your vehicle remain roadworthy.

Regular maintenance checks also mean that you’re less likely to break down. This doesn’t dismiss the importance of having van breakdown cover, but it will give you peace of mind if you don’t spot something on one of your visual checks.

Van maintenance and your insurance

The condition of your van can also become an important factor in case you have an accident which is your fault. Your insurer may factor in your vehicle’s roadworthiness at the time of the accident when processing your claim.

Where can you get a Van MOT?

Your van can be tested at a vehicle testing station, indicated by the three interconnected blue triangles logo. To find a testing station, check online or look in a business listings directory such as Yellow Pages.

How much does a van MOT cost?

The government sets maximum limits on the cost of all MOT’s according to the vehicle’s class. Most vans will fall into either class 4 or class 7. The maximum charge for the van MOT for these vans is £54.85 and £58.60 respectively.

Gross design weight (GDW) determines the van’s MOT class to a large extent although there are other considerations. For example, the cost of a Ford Transit’s MOT for a model of between 3,000kg and 3,500kg DGW will be capped at £58.60. While an MOT for the same model with a lower DGW will be limited to £54.85.

Garages can and often do charge less than the maximum set out by the government.

What’s involved in the MOT?

Your van will be tested in a specific MOT bay. The maximum fee to be paid should be displayed on a poster inside the testing station.

The following items are tested during the MOT:

  • Body structure
  • Bonnet
  • Brakes
  • Doors
  • Fuel system
  • Exhaust emissions and system
  • Horn
  • Lights
  • Load security
  • Mirrors
  • Registration plates
  • Seatbelts and seats
  • Steering and suspension
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Wipers, washers, windscreen

Again, this doesn’t mean it’s not important to carry out regular checks yourself. It can minimise the chances of breaking down and mean you’re less likely to be the cause of accident due to your van not being roadworthy.

Your van’s MOT results

All test results are included in a central secure database. This database is now the only record which proves your van has a valid MOT. Your certificate is only regarded as a receipt.

Pass - if your van passes its MOT, you will receive an MOT certificate.

Fail - if your van fails its MOT, you will receive a notification of failure.

Advisory notices

You may also receive an advisory notice letting you know about advised repairs. These notices highlight maintenance concerns that are not yet enough of an issue to cause your van to fail the MOT.

Disagreeing with MOT results

If you disagree with the test results, discuss this with the testing station before repairs are carried out.

It’s possible to appeal against a failed test result within 14 working days. You’ll need to submit Form VT17 declaring your full test fee. This can be accessed from the testing station, online or by calling VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Service Agency). Your vehicle will then be re-tested within five days. If your appeal is successful then you’ll receive a full or partial refund of the test fee.

Validity of MOT certificate

MOT certificates are valid for one year. You can, renew your MOT up to one month before it’s due without it affecting the annual expiry date.

Consequences of failing to have an MOT certificate

If your van is of testable age and you don’t have a valid MOT test certificate, then you’re breaking the law. As of October 2016, you could receive a fixed penalty notice from the police, currently at £60 or a court fine of up to a maximum of £1,000.

If you do not have a valid MOT certificate, you’ll be unable to tax your van. This may mean that your van insurance may also be invalidated.

Although ensuring your van has a valid MOT certificate is a legal requirement. It’s also makes good practical sense to keep your vehicle in good condition. For further information about MOT’s, visit: the VOSA website or Directgov.

Van Insurance

Last Updated: 22 Mar 2021