MOT inspection manual: cars and passenger vehicles

6. Body, structure and attachments

Structure and attachments (including exhaust system and bumpers), and body and interior (including doors and catches, seats and floor) rules and inspection for car and passenger vehicle MOT tests.

6.1. Structure and attachments

In this section


6.1.1. General condition

This sub-section covers the condition of the general structure but does not include prescribed areas. These are checked under sections 1 (brakes), 2 (steering), 5 (axles, wheels, tyres and suspension) and 7 (other equipment).

You can find guidance on assessing corrosion in Appendix A of this manual.

Defect Category
(a) A main load-bearing structural member:

(i) fractured or deformed such that structural rigidity is significantly reduced
(ii) fractured or deformed such that steering or braking is likely to be adversely affected


Major
Dangerous
(b) Strengthening plates or fastenings:

(i) insecure
(ii) so insecure that structural rigidity is seriously reduced


Major
Dangerous
(c) Vehicle structure corroded to the extent that:

(i) the rigidity of the assembly is significantly reduced
(ii) steering or braking is likely to be adversely affected


Major
Dangerous

6.1.2. Exhaust system

You must check the exhaust system of all vehicles with an internal combustion engine, including hybrid vehicles. You need to assess the overall security of the exhaust system. One or more missing or defective exhaust mountings does not necessarily make the exhaust insecure.

For exhaust noise assessment, see Section 8.1.1.

For assessment of catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters, see Section 8.2.

Defect Category
(a) Exhaust system has a major leak or is insecure Major
(b) Exhaust fumes:

(i) entering cabin
(ii) causing a danger to health of persons on board


Major
Dangerous

6.1.3. Fuel system

You must check the fuel system on all vehicles with internal combustion engines and hydrogen fuel cells.

You might need to open the luggage compartment to carry out a full inspection of the fuel system.

If a fuel tank has a hole or the filler neck is split and fuel can leak from it, you must fail it for leaking even if the hole or split is above the fuel line.

If you cannot get access to the fuel filler cap, see item 4g in the Introduction.

To check for leaks on gas powered vehicles, use a leak detection product conforming to the standard BS EN 14291-2004. You must follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using leak detection products.

Defect Category
(a) Fuel tank, pipe or hose:

(i) insecure
(ii) insecure such that there is a risk of fire


Major
Dangerous
(b) Fuel system:

(i) leaking, or missing or ineffective filler cap
(ii) leaking excessively or a risk of fire


Major
Dangerous
(c) Fuel pipe or hose:

(i) chafing
(ii) damaged


Minor
Major
(d) Not in use  
(e) Fire risk due to fuel tank shield or exhaust shield missing where fitted as original equipment Dangerous
(f) Any part of an LPG/CNG/LNG or hydrogen system defective Dangerous

6.1.4. Bumpers

Defect Category
(a) Bumper:

(i) insecure or with damage likely to cause injury when grazed or contacted
(ii) likely to become detached


Major
Dangerous

6.1.5. Spare wheel carrier (if fitted)

This inspection is only for externally-mounted spare wheel carriers.

Defect Category
(a) A spare wheel carrier fractured or insecure Major
(b) A spare wheel:

(i) insecure in carrier
(ii) likely to become detached


Major
Dangerous

6.1.6. Coupling mechanisms and towing equipment

You must inspect all types of coupling mechanisms and towbars fitted to the rear of a vehicle, including fifth-wheel couplings.

You do not need to inspect emergency towing eyes.

You must remove tow ball covers to inspect the tow ball.

If coupling mechanisms are behind access panels in the bumper, bodywork or removable panel, you must remove them to inspect the coupling mechanism unless tools are needed to do this.

When checking coupling mechanisms, you may also need to check inside the luggage compartment and lift loose fitting mats or carpet.

You must test retractable towbars in their ‘in-use’ position. However, if you need tools to do this, you do not need to do it.

If a tow ball or pin is not fitted at the time of test - because it’s detachable, it’s been unbolted or otherwise removed - but the attachment brackets are still in place, the brackets should still be assessed unless they have been deliberately rendered unfit for further use.

There might be movement (‘play’) in some detachable tow balls between the receiver socket and the tapered swan neck fitting, with up to 3mm movement measured at the ball end.

You must reject:

  • pins, jaws or hooks that have worn by more than 25% of their original thickness
  • pin locating holes that have been worn or elongated by more than 25% of their original diameter
  • tow balls that are obviously excessively worn

Many ‘bolt-on’ type tow balls have accessory devices between the tow ball and its mounting flange. You should only reject these if their fitment is clearly likely to adversely affect the roadworthiness of the vehicle and its trailer.

Defect Category
(a) A towbar component damaged, defective or fractured Major
(b) A towbar component:

(i) excessively worn
(ii) so worn it is likely to fail


Major
Dangerous
(c) A towbar attachment:

(i) defective or insecure
(ii) likely to become detached


Major
Dangerous
(d) A towbar safety device damaged or not operating correctly Major
(e) A towbar coupling indicator not working Major
(f) Towbar:

(i) obstructing the registration plate or any lamp
(ii) obstructing the registration plate so that it is unreadable


Minor
Major
(g) Unsafe modification:

(i) to towbar secondary components
(ii) to towbar primary components


Major
Dangerous
(h) Coupling too weak Major
(i) The strength or continuity of the load bearing structure within 30cm of any towbar mounting bracket:

(i) is significantly reduced
(ii) is so weakened that the towbar is likely to become detached



Major
Dangerous

6.1.7. Transmission

You must inspect all:

  • prop shafts
  • drive shafts
  • prop shaft and drive shaft couplings and bearings
  • drive chains or belts

Class 3 vehicles do not need to be inspected for this.

Defect Category
(a) A transmission shaft:

(i) securing bolts loose or missing
(ii) likely to become detached


Major
Dangerous
(b) A transmission shaft bearing:

(i) excessively worn
(ii) likely to break up


Major
Dangerous
(c) A transmission:

(i) joint, belt or chain excessively worn
(ii) so worn it is likely to fail


Major
Dangerous
(d) A transmission shaft flexible coupling:

(i) excessively deteriorated
(ii) so deteriorated it is likely to fail


Major
Dangerous
(e) A transmission shaft bent or badly damaged Major
(f) A transmission shaft bearing housing:

(i) fractured or insecure
(ii) likely to fail


Major
Dangerous
(g) A transmission shaft constant velocity joint boot:

(i) severely deteriorated
(ii) missing, split, insecure or no longer prevents the ingress of dirt


Minor
Major

6.1.8. Engine mountings

You must inspect engine mountings for all vehicles except for Class 3 vehicles.

The inspection includes mountings bolted to the gearbox that give essential support for the engine.

Body corrosion close to an engine mounting should only be rejected if it’s so severe that it results in excessive movement.

Defect Category
(a) An engine mounting or bracket:

(i) severely damaged or deteriorated resulting in excessive movement
(ii) fractured, missing or excessively loose


Major
Dangerous

6.2. Body and interior

In this section


6.2.1. Body condition

This inspection is for all vehicles and includes:

  • all body panels
  • undertrays
  • spoilers
  • mirror housings

For inspecting bumpers, see Section 6.1.4.

A ‘body pillar’ applies only to the load carrying area of a goods vehicle.

An unsafe modification is one that is likely to cause injury.

Defect Category
(a) A body panel or body component:

(i) damaged or corroded and likely to cause injury when grazed or contacted, or insecure
(ii) likely to become detached


Major
Dangerous
(b) A body pillar:

(i) insecure
(ii) so insecure that load stability or security likely to be seriously impaired


Major
Dangerous
(c) The passenger compartment in such a condition that:

(i) it permits the entry of exhaust fumes
(ii) exhaust fumes lead to a danger to health of persons on board


Major
Dangerous
(d) Body:

(i) has an unsafe modification
(ii) modification likely to adversely affect braking or steering


Major
Dangerous
(e) A bootlid, tailgate, dropside, loading door or access panel cannot be secured in the closed position Major

6.2.2. Cab and body mounting

You only need to inspect vehicles with a separate body and/or cab. Class 3 vehicles do not need to be inspected for cabs and cab mountings.

You should assess for corrosion within 30cm of the mountings of the body or cab and its chassis.

Cab/body mountings are not prescribed areas and you should only reject the body or cab if its overall security is significantly reduced.

Defect Category
(a) A body or cab:

(i) insecure
(ii) insecure to the extent that stability is seriously impaired


Major
Dangerous
(b) A body or cab obviously not squarely located on chassis Major
(c) Body or cab mounting:

(i) fixings missing or insecure such that overall security is significantly reduced
(ii) fixings missing or insecure such that stability is seriously impaired


Major
Dangerous
(d) Body, cab or chassis:

(i) excessively corroded at mounting points
(ii) corroded at mounting points to the extent that overall security or stability is seriously impaired


Major
Dangerous

6.2.3. Doors and door catches

A lack of door handles due to the original design or a specialist modification is not a defect as long as the door can be latched securely in the closed position.

Driver and passenger doors must open from the outside using the relevant control.

Driver and front passenger doors must also open from the inside using the relevant control.

Load space doors must be able to be secured in the closed position.

You should only reject door hinges, catches and pillars for deterioration if it causes the doors not to work as intended.

Defect Category
(a) A door will not open using the relevant control or close properly Major
(b) A door likely to open inadvertently or not remain closed:

(i) in the case of a sliding door
(ii) in the case of a turning door


Major
Dangerous
(c) A door hinge, catch or pillar:

(i) excessively deteriorated
(ii) missing or insecure


Minor
Major

6.2.4. Floor

You must inspect the floor in the driver, passenger and goods carrying compartments.

Areas of floor within a ‘prescribed area’ are covered in sections 1 (brakes), 2 (steering), 5 (axles, wheels, tyres and suspension) and 7 (other equipment).

Defect Category
(a) A floor:

(i) excessively deteriorated or insecure
(ii) so deteriorated or insecure it is likely to cause loss of control of the vehicle, injury, load insecurity or instability


Major
Dangerous

6.2.5. Driver’s seat

You do not need to check that the driver’s seat can be secured in all possible positions. For electrically adjusted seats, you do not need to check that any ‘memory position’ function is working.

Defect Category
(a) A driver’s seat:

(i) with a defective structure
(ii) insecure


Major
Dangerous
(b) A driver’s seat:

(i) fore and aft adjustment mechanism not working as intended
(ii) seat moving inadvertently or backrest cannot be retained in the upright position


Major
Dangerous

6.2.6. Passenger seats

You should lift folded seats to inspect seat belts unless this requires the use of tools or specialist equipment. If you cannot lift seats because there are heavy or fragile items on the seat, you can refuse to test the vehicle. For details, see item 4d in the Introduction.

You should only consider a passenger seat structure defective if it’s likely to cause injury.

Defect Category
(a) A passenger seat:

(i) with a defective structure or the backrest cannot be retained in the upright position
(ii) insecure


Major
Dangerous

6.2.7. Driving controls

You should inspect Class 5 vehicles for driving controls not covered in other sections of the manual, such as:

  • clutch
  • accelerator
  • gear selector
  • engine stop
Defect Category
(a) A driving control necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle:

(i) not functioning correctly
(ii) not working or functioning such that safe operation of the vehicle is affected


Major
Dangerous

6.2.8. Cab steps (if fitted)

You must only inspect steps that aid entry into the driver’s and/or the front passenger compartment.

Defect Category
(a) A cab step or step ring:

(i) insecure
(ii) so insecure that it is likely to cause injury


Minor
Major
(b) A cab step or step ring in such a condition that it is likely to cause injury Major

6.2.9. Not in use

6.2.10. Not in use

6.2.11. Not in use

6.2.12. Handgrips and footrests

You must only inspect tricycles and quadricycles fitted with handgrips and/or footrests for the driver/passenger(s). You must reject these if they’re missing or insecure and it’s clear that they’re required for the vehicle to be safely operated.

Defect Category
(a) A handgrip or footrest missing or insecure Major