Once your vehicle has reached three years of age, you will need to get a Ministry of Transport (MOT) test certificate and renew it every year. The MOT test checks that your vehicle is roadworthy and meets the relevant environmental standards. Being caught driving without a valid MOT can result in you being fined up to £1,000, which is something that all sensible motorists are keen to avoid. Getting your annual MOT sorted can feel like a bit of a chore, so you’ll be pleased to know we’ve made it a bit easier for you. The AutoMend network has access to over 9,000 car and van garages with locations across the length and breadth of the UK. This means that there will always be someone nearby who is qualified to carry out your MOT test and issue you with a certificate. We will help you to find your nearest DVSA approved MOT test centre, and you can book a convenient appointment for the test, it’s as simple as that.
For most cars and vans, you will need an MOT test to be completed by the third anniversary of the date the vehicle was initially registered. You will then need to get the vehicle retested each year no later than the anniversary of the first test date (which will be printed on the certificate).
Some vehicles actually require an MOT certificate after only 1 year. There are several categories of these, which mainly include vehicles that carry paying passengers such as taxis, minibuses, and ambulances.
There are several categories of vehicles that do not need to go through the MOT test at all. These include tractors, electric-powered goods vehicles, and classic or historic vehicles that were initially registered over 40 years ago. If your vehicle falls into the exempt category, it’s important to remember that it still needs to be roadworthy before you drive it on the public roads.
You can get an MOT test done before the old certificate expires. However, if you want to maintain the same renewal date, you can only get the test done one month (less one day) before the expiry date. As an example, if your initial test date was June 11th, the next year’s MOT cannot be completed before May 12th. If you choose to get your MOT done earlier than this date, this will re-set the date for next year.
To make it easy to remember when your MOT is due, there is a handy free MOT reminder service available at https://www.gov.uk/mot-reminder. Sign up for this service, and you will get an email or a text message one month before your MOT due date.
If you’ve allowed your MOT to expire, you mustn’t drive your vehicle on public roads. If you are caught driving without an MOT, you can be prosecuted unless you are taking it for repair after failing an MOT, or you’re on your way to attend a pre-booked MOT test.
If your car passes the MOT, the result will be registered on a central database, and you will be handed a printed MOT certificate. Among other information, the certificate will show the test date and the vehicle’s mileage (the odometer reading) from the latest test and the three previous tests. It’s a good idea to check that the mileage on the certificate is correct, as mistakes can happen. If you spot a mistake within 28 days of your test, the test centre can give you a revised certificate after checking the mileage. If you leave it longer than 28 days, you will have to provide proof of mileage to the DVSA (the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency), for them to issue a new certificate. This is a longer and more complicated process, so it’s worthwhile checking your mileage as soon as you get the certificate.
Keep your MOT certificate in a safe place as it is an important document. If you lose, damage or deface the certificate, you will need to apply for a new one by post from the DVSA at Jupiter Road, Helleson, Norwich NR6 6SS.
If your vehicle fails the MOT test, the test centre will issue a Test Failure Notice, and the fail result will be recorded on the MOT database. The failure notice will include details of the reason(s) for failure, along with any advisory comments. It will also state whether the vehicle can be driven before any of the defects are corrected.
The defects identified during the test are divided into categories. Major or dangerous defects result in a test fail, and dangerous defects must be corrected before the vehicle is driven again. Minor defects do not cause a test fail and are listed on the notice under ‘repair as soon as possible’.
If you fail the test but your current MOT certificate has not yet expired, provided no dangerous faults were found, you can drive your vehicle away. Note that your vehicle must still be roadworthy. If dangerous faults were found, you will need to get repairs done before driving. If you continue to drive a vehicle with an MOT failure for a dangerous defect, you risk a driving ban, 3 penalty points and a £2,500 fine, so it’s not worth the risk.
You may decide to leave your car with the garage that did the test and ask them to repair the defects. If your test was done by an AutoMend network member, this is always a good idea because you can trust them to carry out the necessary repair work quickly, professionally and at a reasonable cost. Once the work has been done, the garage can do a partial retest within 10 days of the original test. In this case, the partial retest will not incur a fee, although you will need to pay for the repairs of course.
If you decide to take your car away and get it repaired elsewhere, you can only drive it if the old MOT is still valid, the car meets roadworthiness criteria, and it does not have dangerous defects. Return the car to the same test centre the next working day, and under certain circumstances you won’t be charged a fee for a partial retest.
Our network has access to more than 9,000 MOT stations, all of whom hold industry approvals. They are all certified MOT test centres and are proud to display the MOT testing symbol of a blue sign with its 3 white triangles on their premises. Simply input your post code and choose your location, and by return we will show you the MOT service centre nearest to you, along with their contact details. Call up one or more of the garages, and you can make an appointment for your MOT test at the time and location that suits you best. If you are unlucky enough to fail the test, your car will be in good hands to get the faults put right quickly.
Sign up for the MOT reminder service on the government website so you never forget your MOT date. This will give you one month’s notice of the due date, which is plenty of time to organise an appointment with one of our garages. We are happy to take some of the hassle out of keeping your vehicle street legal.
There is further information on MOT testing available on the government website https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot.