If your vehicle is 3 years or older you are required by law to have an annual safety check, the ministry of transport test, commonly known as the MOT Test. The purpose of the MOT test is to ensure the vehicle meets the minimum safety level required by law.
During the MOT test the nominated tester, a person authorised by the government body called DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) will conduct an inspection and a comprehensive series of checks around the vehicle, including the interior, exterior, under the bonnet and under the vehicle.
The result of each check is recorded - if the vehicle passes a VT20 'pass' certificate is issued. If the vehicle fails to meet the required standard a VT30 'failure' document is issued. Items that are not quite a failure, but worthy of a mention to you so you can keep an eye on them are drawn to your attention as 'advisory' items (on a VT32 document).
It is your responsibility to ensure your vehicle is examined every 12 months. Without a current MOT certificate, you will be unable to drive your vehicle lawfully or renew your road fund license. Computerisation of the MoT testing system by DVSA means police and mobile camera units can now check remotely to see if your vehicle has a current MOT.