- 1 What is an MOT Test?
- 2 Which vehicles require an MOT test?
- 3 How can you check your MOT renewal date online?
- 4 What other information connected with an MOT can you find out online?
- 5 What happens if you don’t renew your MOT?
- 6 Who can carry out an MOT?
- 7 Which car parts are checked in an MOT?
- 8 What happens after your MOT test?
- 9 If you have had a successful MOT, do you still need to maintain your car?
- 10 Are there ways to bend rules over the timing of getting an MOT?
It is important to know a lot of things either when buying or owning a motor vehicle. One of the most significant is that the car is fit to be driven on the road. In the United Kingdom, the key measure of whether a car is fit to be driven is the MOT test.
Whether you own a car or are looking to purchase one, we can tell you everything you need to know about the MOT test.
We can also help you check when your next MOT test is due.
What is an MOT Test?
The MOT test is an annual inspection to make sure your car meets both environmental and road safety standards. It is a check of different parts of your car. MOT tests are needed to make sure that vehicles are safe to be driven, and do not injure you or other people.
It has the name ‘MOT’ because that stands for Ministry of Transport. This was the government department which introduced the test back in 1960. Since then, most cars on the UK’s roads need an MOT test every year.
Which vehicles require an MOT test?
In England, Scotland and Wales, you must get an MOT for your vehicle on the third anniversary of its initial registration. After that, you need to get an MOT test EVERY YEAR on the anniversary of the last MOT.
You can MOT your car up to one month before the due date without affecting the annual renewal date of your MOT.
In Northern Ireland, most vehicles do not need to be tested until they are four years old.
Cars over forty years old are classed as ‘vintage cars’ and do not need an MOT unless they have undergone major alterations. Also, MOT tests are not needed for tractors, and electric goods vehicles registered before 1 March 2015.
How can you check your MOT renewal date online?
A 2021 survey showed as many as 9 million drivers – 28% of the UK total number of drivers – didn’t know when their next MOT date was. There’s no real excuse for not knowing.
Your existing MOT certificate will have a date on it. You will need to renew your MOT no more than one year after that date. The date is usually printed in the format DD/MM/YY.
If you can’t find your MOT certificate, then you can use our online checker to work out when your MOT is due.
All you need to do is enter your vehicle licence plate below. The results will then show you whether your vehicle has passed or failed, the mileage recorded when it was tested, and when the next MOT is due.
By knowing the date and planning your MOT in advance, you can make sure you get good deals from garages. You can also book in with your top-choice garage rather than having to find an alternative at the last minute.
What other information connected with an MOT can you find out online?
If you got your previous MOT test in England, Scotland or Wales, our MOT checker will also show you the history of your car since 2005. Using the 11-digit number from the vehicle’s log book (V5C), you can access this information quite easily. We can tell you which parts failed at each test and if any parts had minor problems.
If you got your test in Northern Ireland, you can only get results for tests done since 2017.
What happens if you don’t renew your MOT?
Under the law, you MUST have an MOT certificate if your vehicle is eligible. If you drive a vehicle without an MOT you could end up in court and get fined up to £1000. If your car is classified as ‘dangerous’, the fine can go up to £2500 and you could also get 3 points on your driving licence.
In addition, because your car insurance is linked to the road safety of a vehicle, it will no longer be valid once your MOT has expired. This means you could be charged with driving without valid insurance as well as driving without an MOT. Driving without insurance can also result in a fine.
Who can carry out an MOT?
You book an MOT directly with a qualified MOT test centre. Testing normally takes about an hour.
You must always use an approved MOT test centre to get an MOT from a qualified mechanic. Under the law only qualified MOT testing centres can carry out an MOT. These will have a blue sign with three white triangles on it.
Lots of garages do MOT tests, including small independents and large chains. Most MOT testers are garages doing other repair work too. They can always get busy so it’s always worth booking your MOT a few days before it is needed.
There will be a charge from garages for carrying out your MOT and – if repair work is required – that will be added to your bill.
When deciding which test centre to use, always look first at test centres which are conveniently located for you. You can also compare both price and appointment availability.
The government sets maximum charges for UK MOT checks. The top charge is currently £54.85 for a car and £29.65 for a motorbike. Garages can charge less than this though, and some do that to encourage people to use them for testing.
Which car parts are checked in an MOT?
MOT tests check a wide range of car parts, including the braking and fuel system as well as the seatbelts, wipers, mirrors, and lights. All these need to be in order, or you can fail your MOT.
An important part of the test is the exhaust system. If the tester believes that your emissions are too high, your vehicle will fail its MOT.
Emissions are not checked on two- and three-wheeled vehicles, vehicles with a two-stroke engine, hybrid vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and electric vehicles
Parts of the car which are NOT checked include the engine, gearbox and clutch.
What happens after your MOT test?
This depends on whether your car has passed or failed its MOT. If you have passed, you will get the MOT certificate and can drive the vehicle for another year.
Sometimes even if you have passed you will be told of very minor problems which you should get fixed when you can.
If you have failed the MOT test, it will always be for specific reasons and these will be explained to you. If you have failed the test then there are a series of options:
- You agree with the garage that did the testing they can make the necessary repairs. They will do so and then will retest the vehicle ONLY for the reasons it failed the test in the first place. If all is now good, an MOT certificate will be issued. You will NOT be charged for the retest.
- If you require minor repairs to your car you do have the option of taking it to another garage. If you decide NOT to get the garage to make the repairs, but instead take it elsewhere, then you can legally bring it back to the same test centre within 10 days for a retest. It won’t be free, but it will usually be cheaper than having a completely new MOT done.
- If there is a major fault with your vehicle, depending on the nature of the problem you may still be able to drive it elsewhere for repair. Most people choose to use the garage where they have tested it,
- In extreme circumstances, it may be classified as too dangerous to be driven. This means it cannot be driven away. You either need to arrange its repair at the garage which tested it or move it elsewhere on a tow truck.
If you have had a successful MOT, do you still need to maintain your car?
Passing an MOT pass doesn’t mean that your vehicle will be safe to drive for the life of the test certificate. Regular maintenance is still important, and you should always ensure any problems or defects that emerge are fixed.
Are there ways to bend rules over the timing of getting an MOT?
Your MOT test certificate is only valid for 365 days. Your MOT is valid until 23:59 on the day it is due to expire. As soon as midnight comes, an MOT will not be valid. It is illegal to drive a car on a public road after an MOT has expired. There is absolutely no legal grace period.
The ONLY time you can drive without an MOT is when you taking a car to be repaired or to an MOT test you have booked. In both circumstances, you will need proof you have booked your vehicle in for testing or repair.