An MOT (Ministry of Transport) test is a thorough examination of a vehicle which ensures that all functioning parts meet the minimum standards set out by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).
Whilst this might seem straightforward, there is often still confusion around driving without an MOT and the penalties that come with this.
So, we caught up with our qualified mechanics who answered your most-asked questions to set the record straight and keep you safe within the law when you’re on the roads.
How often you need an MOT depends on how old your car, van or motorbike is. Vehicles that are more than three years old are required to book an MOT test once a year. A trained technician will carry out the test to ensure that your vehicle is safe, roadworthy and meets the government standard for exhaust emissions in the UK.
No. If your vehicle does not have a valid MOT certificate then it cannot be driven on public roads.
If you no longer wish to drive your car, then you must officially register it as SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notification) to the DVLA, meaning that it cannot be driven on the road and is therefore exempt from vehicle tax.
Yes. It is against the law to drive without an MOT in the UK. It is a serious offence that carries strict penalties.
The fine for driving without an MOT is up to £1,000. But, if you are driving a vehicle that is deemed to be ‘dangerous’ by an MOT test, you can not only be fined up to £2,500, but can also be banned from driving and receive three penalty points. So, it’s a serious offence.
No. Once your MOT has expired it is against the law to drive your vehicle on the roads and if caught, you could be prosecuted.
The only exception was during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the Department for Transport issued a six-month extension on all MOTs due between March 30th 2020 and July 31st 2020 - but this has now finished.
The only time when it is legal to drive without an MOT certificate is if you are on your way to a garage for a repair or to have your MOT test done.
However, you must have a pre-booked appointment. Bear in mind that if you get stopped en route, the police may ask to see proof of your appointment - so make sure you have some.
Whilst there are no regulations on how far you can drive for an MOT test without a valid MOT, we recommend choosing somewhere close by and avoiding doing any other jobs on the way, as this could mean you are at risk of a penalty.
The best thing to do is to renew your vehicle's MOT up to one month before your current certificate expires and book an appointment well in advance.
In the UK, it is against the law to drive your vehicle on the roads without road tax. The only times this does not apply are if you are driving to a pre-booked MOT test, or if you are exempt from paying vehicle tax (e.g. some disabled drivers or electric cars).
The only exception for driving on the roads without a valid MOT is that you are on your way to a pre-booked MOT test or car repair appointment. Unknowingly or accidentally driving without an MOT is still an offence that will result in harsh penalties if you are caught.
Without a valid MOT for your vehicle, you are not legally allowed to drive on the roads and both your car tax and insurance will be void.
No. Having a valid MOT certificate is a key requirement for taxing your vehicle. Without it, you cannot renew your annual road tax, however you can insure your vehicle without one.
We recommend making a note of your MOT renewal date on a calendar or phone. If you can, add an alert in advance to give yourself plenty of time to book an appointment at a garage. If you don’t know when your renewal date is, you can check online at GOV.UK.
The Department for Transport also offers a great free service whereby you receive a reminder via text message or email a month before your MOT is due for renewal. Simply sign up using the vehicle’s number plate and a mobile phone number or email address.
We hope that this Q&A has helped to clear up some of the grey areas surrounding driving without MOTs. If you are unsure about whether your MOT is valid, the best thing to do is to double-check before using your vehicle to avoid any nasty penalties and stay safe on the roads.
If you need to book an MOT test or car service, you can find your nearest Eurorepar centre here. Also, take a look at our essential pre-MOT checks guide to give your vehicle the best chance of passing its test with flying colours.