Everything you need to know about your MOT

three cars in a repair workshop. left one is lifted in air only partly in the picture, middle is a midnight blue jeep with a door open, right is a red saloon-type car with the bonnet popped also partly out of frame.

It’s important to get an MOT before your current one runs out to stay on top of your vehicle’s health. But, what is it? And what happens if you don’t get one?

We’ve put all things MOT in one place to help answer your questions.

What is an MOT?

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport test. It’s an annual (for most vehicles) test to check if a vehicle has a basic level of roadworthiness.

It looks at key areas of your vehicle like brakes, lights, and your windscreen wipers. All the things that make sure you can see, stop, and stay safe.

They also check your emissions to make sure the vehicle is meeting the right standards.

It’s important to get an MOT to keep you and other road users safe. You can see exactly what’s tested here.

Can I drive without one?

It’s illegal to drive without a valid MOT. If you drive or park on the road without one, you can be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000.

So, if your test date is coming up, we highly recommend booking one in.

When should I do my MOT?

Well, it depends.

For a brand new, recently registered vehicle, you’ve got plenty of time. You’ll need to get your first MOT by the third anniversary of its registration.

Otherwise, it’s every year after a vehicle’s first test. It’s a bit like your vehicle’s birthday party. But it gets a health check-up instead of cake.

In some cases, new vehicles can’t wait for three years and need an annual MOT straight away. You can look at when you need to get an MOT here.

How much does it cost?

Unless you’re driving a vehicle that can hold over nine passengers, your maximum cost will be £54.85. But you can check out the full list of maximum MOT fees here.

Remember, garages can’t charge you more than what’s on that list. The only time you’ll have an extra cost is if something needs fixing.

Do I need a new MOT to tax my vehicle?

It’ll need to be valid.

It doesn’t have to be within a month of taxing your vehicle. If it’s valid, it’s fine.

Without a valid MOT you won’t be able to tax your vehicle, which could lead to further fines. You can see everything you need to know about taxing your vehicle in our latest blog.

How do I prepare my vehicle for an MOT?

You don’t need to do anything before your test. The point of the test is to keep you safe, so don’t try to hide any problems.

Just make sure you book it in with a garage and turn up.

How do I book the test?

Call or drop into a garage and book one in. They’ll likely need a few details about the vehicle, so make sure you have registration, tax, and current MOT info to hand.

Looking for a trusted local garage? You can use the Who Can Fix My Car service to find somewhere to book your MOT.

What to do if my vehicle fails the test?

If a vehicle fails its MOT, there’s usually something dangerously wrong with it. Most drivers can’t drive the vehicle away until the fault is fixed.

Not only is it not safe to drive a vehicle that’s failed its test, you can also be fined up to £2,500, get a driving ban, and receive three penalty points. So, just don’t do it.

Once you’ve got the issue fixed, you can retest. The post-repair MOT will likely cost less, as many garages will only test what had previously failed.

Hopefully that’s everything you need to know. But, if you’re looking for all the details about MOTs, check the gov.uk website.

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