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How to

MOT Your Vehicle

MOT is an abbreviation of Ministry of Transport and the MOT test is a compulsory examination of any motor vehicle over three years old. The test is designed to help combat the use of non-road legal vehicles on our roads and also to test the CO2 emissions from the vehicle (hence the impact on the environment).

When Should I MOT my Vehicle?

If you purchase a used vehicle (over 3 years old) – it may or may not - already have a certain time to run on its MOT. Be very cautious about buying a vehicle with an expired MOT. It is illegal to drive any vehicle without a valid MOT certificate and doing so could cost you a fine of up to £1000 and up to 3 penalty points on your driving licence.

An MOT certificate lasts for twelve months and can be renewed any time within the last month of the twelve-month period. If your car is more than 3 years old you will need a valid MOT certificate in order to tax your vehicle.

The DVLA will not notify you when your MOT is due for renewal, so it's important to keep a note of the renewal date and allow some time for repairs if your vehicle fails the test. If you buy a car less than 3 years old - note the date and year of manufacture so you know when its first MOT is due.

Where do I MOT my Vehicle?

There are around 23,000 registered MOT test centres in the UK. Check for the blue logo (3 triangles) to determine whether a garage is registered to carry out the test. All centres are overseen by the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA). 

The VOSA operates a computerised system where details of all MOT certificates issued are sent from the test centre to their central computer. This system was introduced to reduce the number of fraudulent MOT certificates in circulation.

You can now check online to find out when your MOT expires and to discover the MOT history of any vehicle you may be considering purchasing.

What Will an MOT Find?

If there are structural, electrical or mechanical failings with your vehicle then these will show up during the MOT.

The MOT will cover such areas of your vehicle as:

  • Lights (including indicators, headlights, brake lights)
  • Seatbelts
  • Areas of rust (structural integrity)
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Gears
  • Emissions

What Happens if Your Car Fails its MOT?

If your vehicle fails its MOT test then you can have it re-tested after the work has been carried out to rectify the problems. You can have the garage that tested your car carry out the work for you, or you can take it to any garage of your choice. The work must be carried within 14 days or you will have to pay for a re-test.

The only occasion on which you can drive a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate is when you are taking the vehicle to and from the test centre.

If this is the case you should double-check with your insurance company to find out if your insurance covers you for these journeys.

MOT Certificates

You will be issued an MOT certificate when the vehicle passes the test. This certificate is valid for one year from the day of the vehicle’s passing the test and you should keep it in a safe place. If you lose the certificate you can obtain a duplicate from the testing centre where the car was originally tested but this will carry a nominal fee.


Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2016.