MOT inspection manual: cars and passenger vehicles

7. Other equipment

Seat belts and restraint systems, airbags, anti-theft devices, horn, speedometer, speed limiter and electronic stability control (ESC) rules and inspection for car and passenger vehicle MOT tests.

7.1. Seat belts and supplementary restraint systems (SRS)

In this section


7.1.1. Seat belt security

You must inspect:

  • all seat belts fitted
  • child seats and restraints that are permanently attached to the vehicle using Isofix mountings or nuts and bolts
  • anchorages for the securing of disabled persons belts or wheelchairs

A seat belt anchorage ‘prescribed area’ includes the seat mounting points where a seat belt is attached to a seat frame.

For assessing corrosion and using the corrosion assessment tool, see Appendix A.

You do not need to inspect:

  • a belt fitted with no corresponding seat
  • a buckle or stalk with no corresponding belt
Defect Category
(a) The strength or continuity of the load bearing structure within 30cm of any seat belt anchorage (a ’prescribed area’):

(i) is significantly reduced or inadequately repaired
(ii) anchorage likely to become detached in the event of a collision



Major
Dangerous
(b) Seat belt anchorage loose Major

7.1.2. Seat belt fitment and condition

You must check any visible parts of:

  • all seat belts fitted
  • all child seat restraints fitted

You do not need to inspect:

  • a belt fitted with no corresponding seat
  • a buckle or stalk with no corresponding belt

You should lift folded seats to inspect seat belts. However, you do not have to do this if you’d need tools to do it. 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 do not need to inspect buckles or stalks with no corresponding belt.

To check the belt buckle:

  1. Fasten the belt locking mechanism.

  2. Try to pull the locked sections apart.

  3. Press the release mechanism while pulling on the belt.

  4. Make sure the mechanism releases when required.

For retracting seat belts, check that excess webbing is wound into the retracting unit with the mechanism fastened and the seat unoccupied. Check this with the seat base set in its rearmost position.

Some types of retracting belt might need manual help before they retract. If a temporary device is fitted to prevent retraction, you can remove it.

A seat belt installation check might be required on vehicles fitted with more than 8 passenger seats first used before 1 October 2001. If you’re not sure, see Section 10 of this inspection manual.

Fitment

Seat belts are not needed for:

  • seats that are only used when the vehicle is stationary, such as a sofa in the living area of a motor caravan
  • side facing seats
  • occasional seats that fold down when not in use

For further information see the tables in Appendix C to determine which seats need a seat belt.

Defect Category
(a) A statutory seat belt missing Major
(b) A seat belt:

(i) or flexible stalk damaged
(ii) webbing or flexible stalk significantly stretched or weakened


Major
Dangerous
(c) Seat belt not functioning as intended or of an incorrect type Major
(d) Seat belt buckle missing, damaged or not functioning as intended Major
(e) Seat belt retractor not functioning as intended Major

7.1.3. Seat belt load limiters

You must check all seat belt load limiters fitted as original equipment other than on Class 3 vehicles.

Load limiters are designed to minimise seat belt inflicted injury in violent collisions. The simplest type of load limiter is a fold sewn into the belt webbing, which pulls apart when a high amount of force is applied to the belt.

Mechanical load limiters commonly use a torsion bar in the retractor mechanism. These cannot usually be easily inspected.

Defect Category
(a) A seat belt load limiter fitted as original equipment obviously missing or a folded webbing type load limiter deployed Major

7.1.4. Seat belt pre-tensioners

You must check all seat belt pre-tensioners fitted as original equipment other than on Class 3 vehicles.

Seat belt pre-tensioners activate in certain violent collisions to tighten the seat belt just before the full force of impact. Once activated, a warning device might display.

Defect Category
(a) A seat belt pre-tensioner fitted as original equipment obviously missing or deployed Major

7.1.5. Airbags

This inspection is for all airbags fitted as original equipment other than on Class 3 vehicles.

A passenger airbag that is switched off is not a defect.

Defect Category
(a) An airbag fitted as original equipment obviously missing Major
(b) Not in use  
(c) An airbag obviously inoperative Major

7.1.6. Supplementary restraint system (SRS)

Defect Category
(a) An SRS malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) indicates a system malfunction Major

7.2. Not in use

7.3. Anti-theft device

You only need to inspect the anti-theft device on M1 vehicles first used on or after 1 September 2001 with a steering lock as an anti-theft device fitted as original equipment.

It’s acceptable for a steering lock to be missing or not working as long as the vehicle has an engine immobiliser, or a permanently installed immobilisation device which acts on either the steering, brakes or the transmission.

Some electronic steering locks, generally on vehicles with keyless ignition systems, will only activate when the driver’s door is opened or closed.

If it’s not practical to check if a steering lock is working, you should give the benefit of the doubt.

Defect Category
(a) Steering lock missing or not functioning Minor
(b) Steering lock inadvertently engaging Dangerous

7.4. Not in use

7.5. Not in use

7.6. Not in use

7.7. Audible warning (horn)

An audible warning must be loud enough to be heard by other road users.

For vehicles first used on or after 1 August 1973, the sound emitted must be continuous or uniform. It cannot be harsh or grating.

The following cannot be used as an audible warning:

  • gongs
  • bells
  • sirens
  • anything that has more than one tone

However, on vehicles first used before 1906 the audible warning can be a gong, bell or siren.

Defect Category
(a) Audible warning:

(i) not working properly
(ii) inoperative


Minor
Major
(b) Audible warning control insecure Minor
(c) Audible warning not in accordance with requirements Major

7.8. Speedometer

You must check the speedometer of vehicles first used on or after 1 October 1937 with a maximum speed above 25mph. You do not need to check Class 3 vehicles.

If a road test is needed, for example to carry out a decelerometer test, you must check whilst driving that the speedometer is working.

If a road test is not necessary, you should only reject a speedometer if it’s clearly not working.

Speedometers do not need to be lit on:

  • vehicles with no front or rear position lamps
  • vehicles that have front or rear positions lamps that are permanently disconnected, painted over or masked

You can accept a tachograph as an alternative to a speedometer if it satisfies the requirements of this inspection.

Defect Category
(a) Speedometer not fitted where one is required Major
(b) Speedometer:

(i) operation impaired
(ii) not working


Minor
Major
(c) Speedometer:

(i) not sufficiently illuminated
(ii) not illuminated


Minor
Major

7.9. Not in use

7.10. Speed limiter (if required)

You only need to check:

  • vehicles that must have a speed limiter fitted
  • areas of the vehicle that are visible without dismantling

Vehicles that must have a speed limiter are:

  • M2 and M3 vehicles with a maximum speed more than 100km/h (62.14mph) if a speed limiter was not fitted, with a DGW not exceeding 7,500kg and first used on or after 1 January 2005
  • M2 and M3 vehicles with a maximum speed more than 100km/h (62.14mph) if a speed limiter was not fitted, with a DGW more than 7,500kg and first used on or after 1 January 1988
  • vehicles with more than 16 passenger seats with a maximum speed more than 112.65km/h (70mph) if a speed limiter was not fitted, with a DGW more than 7,500kg and first used between 1 April 1974 and 31 December 1987

Vehicles with a DGW not exceeding 7,500kg with Euro III or later engines and first used between 1 October 2001 and 31 December 2004 are required to have a speed limiter. If you know that the vehicle has a speed limiter fitted, then it must meet the requirements of this inspection.

If a vehicle has been modified, such as by changing the rear axle ratio so that it will no longer be able to go faster than 100km/h, the vehicle must have a signed declaration showing the details of the modification. It should not be possible for the driver to switch off the speed limiter while driving. However, speed limiters wired through ignition switches are acceptable.

Tamperproof devices might be for example mechanical and electrical connections that can be only used with special tools, normally only available from vehicle or component manufacturers for disconnection or adjustment purposes. These are acceptable instead of other types of tamperproof devices such as seals, lock nuts, pins, wires, plastic inserts, sealing compound or sealing paint on mechanical and electrical connections.

Modern tamperproof devices are electronic and cannot be checked.

You should get the vehicle’s DGW from the manufacturer’s plate.

For vehicles first used before 1 April 1982 not fitted with a manufacturer’s plate, you should instead calculate the laden weight by following these steps:

  1. Multiply the maximum number of passengers and crew, excluding the driver, by 63.5kg.

  2. Add the kerb or unladen weight displayed on the side of the vehicle.

A speed limiter plate must be securely fixed somewhere easy to see in the driver’s compartment. If the plate is fixed to the driver’s compartment window it’s acceptable for the details to face inwards or outwards. Outward facing plates must be able to be read by a person of average height.

The plate must be clearly and permanently marked with the speed at which the speed limiter has been set. The speed can be shown in mph or km/h.

The character and composition of the plate and size of lettering are not important provided the details are legible.

Defect Category
(a) Speed limiter not fitted in accordance with the requirements Major
(b) Speed limiter obviously not operational Major
(c) Speed limiter with an incorrect set speed Major
(d) Speed limiter tamperproof device missing or defective Major
(e) Speed limiter plate missing or illegible Major

7.11. Not in use

7.12. Electronic stability control (ESC)

You must check all vehicles fitted with electronic stability control other than Class 3 vehicles.

Electronic stability control is also referred to as ESC, ESP, VDC, and DSC, among many other names. Some systems may be able to be switched off by a switch, whilst others might only be able to be switched off using an electronic menu system.

The dashboard warning lamp for these systems might take various forms and you should only fail a vehicle if you’re certain that the warning lamp is indicating an ESC malfunction. You might need to check the owner’s handbook.

Defect Category
(a) Wheel speed sensors missing or damaged Major
(b) ESC wiring damaged Major
(c) Other ESC component missing or damaged Major
(d) ESC switch damaged or not functioning correctly Major
(e) ESC MIL indicates a system malfunction Major