What is an MOT?

An MOT (Ministry of Transport) test is a mandatory assessment for any vehicles registered and located in the UK. You have a legal obligation to ensure you get an MOT test for your vehicle every year. 

An MOT is very important as it determines the road worthiness of all vehicles on UK roads, it is also used to assess the environmental impact of your vehicle and ensure it falls below the regulations for the UK. 

An MOT test will typically assess the condition of your brakes, lights, exhaust, tyres and more. If you pass you will receive a new MOT certificate giving your car another year on the road. This helps maintain safer roads and reduces harmful emissions.

What should I do if my car failed its MOT?

It can be incredibly frustrating to fail an MOT but the process of rectifying the situation is not too difficult, however the cost unfortunately can sometimes be expensive depending on the faults detected. Leave at least a couple of weeks before your MOT expires to get your assessment done. That way in the event of a failure you can still drive your car until the certificate expires. But you will need to book your car into a garage for any necessary repairs. 

MOT retest

If your car has failed its MOT you can get your it retested at the same garage for free if you get the repairs carried out within 10 days. If you wait any longer you will need to pay for the test again. If you choose to take the retest at another MOT center then you will have to pay again, however in some cases the garages carrying out the repairs will offer to do the test free of charge along with the repairs. 

Can you drive without an MOT?

When your car has failed its MOT test but the current certificate is still valid AND it did not receive any dangerous defects you may continue to drive it until your current MOT certificate expires. However it is important that you get any defects listed repaired at the earliest opportunity. Please also note, that if a Police Officer stops you during this time and determines that your vehicle is not roadworthy, you may still receive a fine and points. 

For more details check our page about driving without an MOT.

When is it legal to drive without an mot certificate?

When major defects are detected and your MOT certificate has expired, you can only drive your car to and from the garage for repairs or the MOT test center for a reevaluation. Best practice is to carry proof that you are going to a garage if you are making these journeys to avoid a fine or penalty. 

If dangerous defects are found on your vehicle, you must not drive your car in any circumstances. Therefore it will be necessary to organize transportation for your vehicle to get to a garage if the MOT test center is not capable of carrying out the repairs. Any dangerous defects means that the car should not be driven until the repairs have been carried out. 

MOT defect categories

The DVSA changed how the MOT defect categories works back in 2018

Dangerous – This indicates that the vehicle is dangerous to take on the road and should not be driven under any circumstances. Defects that would fall under this category would be for something like a loose brake disk or a tyre that has been too worn down. 

Major – This will also cause you to fail the MOT assessment, however the difference is that your car will not lose its “roadworthy” status until the current certificate expires. Once the certificate has expired however you can only drive the car to the garage for a reassessment or repairs. Defects such as  an exhaust system with a substantial fluid leak or worn suspension mounts. 

Minor – These defects are not so serious and will not cause you to fail your MOT. But best practice would be to get them repaired anyway. Maintaining your car will save you from having an unexpected nasty surprise further down the road (pun absolutely intended). 

Is there a expired MOT grace period?

This is a common myth, there is no grace period for a failed/expired MOT. The expiration date on your certificate is the date your MOT expires; a grace period for MOT does not exist.

Can you appeal a failed MOT test?

Yes you can appeal a failed MOT if you believe the assessment results were incorrect. You have 14 days to do so. However it is always best to discuss the results with the garage before going down this path. 

The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) will respond to your appeal within 5 working days.  

You can appeal your MOT on the DVSA website

You can also do this if you have received a pass when you believe your vehicle is not roadworthy. 

If you believe that you have received a non-genuine MOT certificate you can check the status using the MOT history checker

Find out more about MOT’s

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