When Is My MOT Due?

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An MOT is essential for vehicles over three years old to ensure they meet road safety and environmental standards.

Additionally, a current MOT certificate is required when applying for your annual car tax. If your car is due for its yearly examination, our guide and MOT checklist can assist in improving its likelihood of passing the test.

What is an MOT?

Overview of the MOT Test

The MOT test is a mandatory annual inspection required in the UK for cars, motorcycles, and light goods vehicles over three years old. The name MOT originates from the Ministry of Transport, the former government department responsible for the test. The inspection must be conducted at an authorised testing centre.

Purpose of the MOT

The primary goal of the MOT is to ensure that vehicles are roadworthy, functioning in a safe manner, and meeting the environmental standards set by law.

This includes checking vehicle components like brakes, lights, tyres, and emissions. The test is designed to identify any potential or existing issues that might compromise the safety of the vehicle or contribute to excess pollution.

Legal Implications

It is illegal to drive a vehicle on UK roads without a current MOT certificate, with two exceptions: if you are driving to a pre-booked MOT test or to a garage for necessary repairs before an MOT test.

Failing to have a valid MOT can result in a fine of up to £1,000. Moreover, driving without an MOT may also invalidate your car insurance, leading to further legal and financial repercussions in the event of an accident.

Renewal and Expiry

The MOT certificate is valid for one year, and it’s the vehicle owner’s responsibility to ensure the test is completed annually. You can renew your MOT up to a month minus a day before it expires without affecting your annual renewal date.

For example, if your MOT is due on the 15th of May, you can get a new test done on the 16th of April, and your new MOT will still be valid until the 15th of May the following year.

Consequences of Failure

If your vehicle fails the MOT test, you will receive a list of ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ faults that must be repaired.

While you can still drive your car if the previous MOT is still valid and no dangerous faults were found, it is highly recommended to have the issues fixed immediately. Driving with known faults can be unsafe and may lead to accidents or further damage to the vehicle.

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How Do I Know When My MOT is Due?

Understanding MOT Timelines

When your car reaches three years old, it becomes subject to the MOT test, a mandatory annual safety and environmental check in the UK. From this point onwards, your vehicle requires an annual retest around the same time each year.

How Do I Know When My Mot Is Due

For Second-Hand Car Owners

If you purchase a second-hand car, it’s crucial to verify that it has a valid MOT certificate and note when the next test is due. As the new owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure the car undergoes its annual MOT inspection.

Checking Your MOT Due Date

Unsure of your next MOT date? You can effortlessly find out by entering your car’s registration number on the UK government’s official website. This platform not only informs you about the MOT due date but also indicates when your vehicle tax is due for renewal.

MOT Reminders

To avoid forgetting your MOT date, you can sign up for free reminders via text or email. In Great Britain, you’ll receive a reminder one month before your car, van, or motorbike’s MOT is due.

In Northern Ireland, a letter is sent seven weeks in advance. These reminders give you ample time to prepare for the test and address any issues your vehicle might have.

Early MOT Testing

You have the option to put your vehicle through its MOT test up to a month (minus a day) before its expiry date without affecting the validity period of the new MOT.

For example, if your MOT expires on 30 April and you get the test done on 15 April, the new MOT will be valid until 30 April the following year. This flexibility allows for timely testing without the risk of shortening the validity of your MOT certificate.

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How Much Does the MOT Cost?

Maximum Charges for MOT Tests

The MOT test has set maximum fees that authorised testing centres can charge. These fees are regulated to ensure fairness and affordability. For cars, the maximum fee is £54.85, while for motorbikes, it’s set at £29.65.

Mot

Additional Charges and Costs

Although these are the maximum fees, it’s important to note that some garages might offer the test at a lower cost as part of promotions or as a part of service packages. However, be cautious of extremely low prices, as they might not include a comprehensive check.

No Pass, No Fee Offers

Some centres offer a “no pass, no fee” service. This means if your vehicle fails the MOT, you won’t be charged for the test. However, it’s essential to understand the terms of these offers, as there may be conditions attached.

Additional Repairs and Costs

If your vehicle fails the MOT, there may be additional costs for repairs. The cost of repairs varies depending on the type of repair needed and the garage’s rates. Always ask for an estimate before proceeding with any repairs.

Retest Fees

After failing an MOT, if you leave your vehicle at the test centre for repair and it’s retested within 10 working days, there should be no additional charge for the retest. If you take your vehicle away and return it later for a retest, you may be charged a partial retest fee, which is usually less than the full MOT test fee.

Comparing Prices

It’s advisable to shop around and compare prices from different MOT centres. Check online reviews or ask for recommendations to find a reliable and reasonably priced service.

Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best, especially when it comes to vehicle safety.

Find a local MOT garage near you here

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What is Checked During the MOT?

Overview of MOT Inspection

The MOT test is an exhaustive inspection to ensure a vehicle’s safety and compliance with environmental standards. To pass and obtain an MOT certificate (valid for 12 months), your vehicle must meet specific criteria across various components.

Key Areas of Inspection

Body and Structure

  • Body and Structure: The vehicle’s body should be free from excessive corrosion or damage. There should be no sharp edges that could cause injury.

Fuel System

  • Fuel System: There must be no leaks in the fuel pipework or tank. The fuel cap needs to be secure and properly sealed.

Exhaust Emissions

  • Exhaust Emissions: The vehicle must comply with exhaust emission standards, which vary based on the vehicle’s fuel type and age.

Exhaust System

  • Exhaust System: The exhaust should be secure, complete, and effective at silencing. It’s also checked for serious leaks.

Seat Belts and Seats

  • Seat Belts: All seat belts (front and rear) are inspected for condition, operation, and security. All mandatory seat belts must be present.
  • Seats: Seats must be secure and able to lock in the upright position.
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Doors and Mirrors

  • Doors: All doors must close securely. Front doors should be operable from both inside and outside.
  • Mirrors: The vehicle should have the minimum required number of mirrors, in good condition and securely fixed.

Brakes, Tyres, and Lights

  • Brakes: The operation and performance of brakes are thoroughly tested.
  • Tyres: The condition, security, size, type, and tread of tyres are checked.
  • Lights: All lights are inspected for condition, operation, and security, including the aim of headlamps.

Additional Checks

  • Washers and Wipers: Checked for condition, operation, and effectiveness in providing a clear view.
  • Horn: Tested for correct operation and type.
  • Suspension and Steering: Both are examined for condition and operation.
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): Verified for vehicles first registered on or after 1 August 1980.

Regular Updates to MOT Standards

The government routinely updates the guidelines for MOT testing to ensure vehicles meet the latest safety and environmental standards. For instance, in 2021, additional guidance was introduced for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Comprehensive Information

For detailed information about the MOT, the government’s inspection manual serves as a comprehensive resource. It provides in-depth guidance on each aspect of the test and the standards vehicles must meet.

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MOT Checklist

Preparing for an MOT test a few weeks in advance can significantly increase your vehicle’s chances of passing. Here’s a detailed checklist to ensure your car is ready for its MOT:

1. Tyres

  • Pressure and Tread Depth: Ensure tyre pressures are correct and tread depth is at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters. The 20 pence check is a simple method for this.
  • Tyre Condition: Look for damage like bulges, cuts, or objects embedded in the tyres.

2. Lights

  • Functionality: Confirm that headlights, number plate lights, hazards, indicators, and brake lights work correctly.
  • Assistance: Have someone stand outside to help check the lights.

3. Windscreen and Wipers

  • Wipers: Inspect for wear and tear.
  • Windscreen: No chips or cracks, particularly in the driver’s vision area (over 10mm) or elsewhere on the windscreen (over 40mm).
  • Stickers: Remove any obstructing the driver’s view. Be aware, some stickers might be viewed as modifications impacting car insurance.

4. Screen Washers

  • Fluid Level: Ensure the screen wash container is filled.
  • Jet Function: Check that the washer jets are operational.

5. Seats, Seatbelts, and Doors

  • Seats: Test the movement and locking mechanism.
  • Seatbelts: Check their clipping, unclipping, locking, and retraction functionality.
  • Doors: Ensure all doors, including the boot, open and close smoothly.

6. Horn

  • Testing: Give the horn a firm press to ensure it’s working.

7. Fluids

  • Levels: Verify the levels of screen wash, brake fluid, and engine oil.
  • Fuel: Ensure there’s sufficient fuel for the test.

8. Rust Inspection

  • Extent of Rust: Examine the entire vehicle, particularly the underside, for rust. Pay attention to areas near vital systems like steering or brakes. Excessive rust is a safety hazard and can cause an MOT fail.

9. Cleanliness

  • Interior and Exterior: A clean car is essential. Clutter, dirt, or obscured VIN numbers can lead to a fail.
  • Number Plates: Must be clean and visible.

10. Legal Number Plates

Regular Maintenance

This checklist is not only beneficial for MOT preparation but also serves as a regular maintenance guide.

Keeping up with these checks can help maintain your car’s safety and prevent minor issues from becoming costly repairs in the future.

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The Most Common Reasons Behind MOT Failures

Overview of MOT Failure Statistics

Recent data from a Freedom of Information request revealed that out of 18,345,342 MOT tests conducted in the UK up to the end of July, 13,150,543 vehicles passed on their first attempt, while 5,194,799 failed. This indicates an average first-time MOT pass rate of 71.7%.

The Most Common Reasons Behind Mot Failures

Top Reasons for MOT Failures

Tyres

  • Tyre-Related Failures: Tyres are the leading cause of MOT failures, affecting over five million drivers in the past five years. The MOT inspection rigorously checks the condition, security, tread depth, as well as the size and type of tyres. Failing to meet the required standards in any of these aspects can lead to a test failure.

Brakes

  • Brake Issues: Nearly 3.25 million MOT failures in the past five years were due to brake problems. Failures in this category can be attributed to poor condition, inappropriate repairs or modifications, substandard performance, or faults in the anti-lock braking system (ABS) or electronic stability control (ESC).

Suspension

  • Suspension Faults: Just over 3 million cars failed due to suspension issues. The MOT test ensures that suspension components and shock absorbers are not excessively corroded, distorted, or fractured.

Rank

Reason for Failed MOT Test

% of Drivers

# of Drivers

1

Tyres

12.2%

5,034,529

2

Brakes

7.9%

3,246,757

3

Suspension

7.4%

3,061,815

4

Car lights

6.9%

2,856,324

5

Exhaust

6.9%

2,835,775

Understanding the Inspection Criteria

Detailed Checks

  • For each of these common failure areas, the MOT involves detailed inspections. For instance, tyre inspections include a thorough examination of their overall condition, focusing on aspects like tread depth and any physical damage such as cuts or bulges.

Safety and Performance

  • The emphasis on brakes and suspension in the MOT test stems from their critical role in vehicle safety and performance. Brake inspections involve assessing the wear and tear of brake pads and discs, the functionality of the brake pedal, and the efficiency of the braking system. Similarly, suspension checks involve evaluating the structural integrity and responsiveness of the suspension components.

Preventative Measures

  • Regular maintenance and timely repairs are key to avoiding these common MOT failures. Vehicle owners are advised to conduct frequent checks on tyres, brakes, and suspension systems and address any issues promptly. This not only aids in passing the MOT but also ensures the overall safety and reliability of the vehicle.

Importance of Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Regular maintenance and awareness of these common failure points can significantly increase the chances of passing the MOT.

Vehicle owners should proactively address these areas, as this not only aids in MOT compliance but also contributes to the safety and longevity of the vehicle.

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How Much Does It Cost to Fix Common MOT Failures?

Overview of Repair Costs

Addressing issues identified during pre-MOT checks can save money by allowing you to compare prices and avoid the potentially higher costs at the MOT centre. It also reduces the likelihood of needing a retest, which incurs additional costs.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Common Mot Failures

Costs of Common MOT Failure Repairs

Tyres

  • Most Common Issue: Tyres are frequently the cause of MOT failures.
  • Cost: Replacing a set of two tyres averages around £292.27, though this can vary depending on the car’s make and model.

Lights

  • Cost-Effective Repair: Car lights, the fourth most common failure reason, are relatively inexpensive to fix, costing on average £15.81 (including fitting).
  • Popularity of Issue: Despite being a cheaper repair, many vehicles fail their MOT due to light issues.

Registration Plate

  • Average Cost: Repairing or replacing registration plates averages about £26.

Brake Fluid

  • Cost: Fixing brake fluid problems is moderately priced at around £66.85.
  • Frequency of Failure: Over 2 million drivers have faced MOT failures due to brake fluid issues.

Exterior Repairs

  • Most Expensive: Exterior repairs are the costliest, averaging £429.25.
  • Least Common: Fortunately, this is a less frequent cause of MOT failures, affecting only 3.7% of drivers in the past five years.

Additional Considerations

Varying Prices

  • Prices can vary significantly based on factors like the vehicle’s model, the severity of the issue, and the garage’s rates. It’s essential to get multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting a fair price.

Importance of Regular Maintenance

  • Regular vehicle checks and maintenance can help identify and rectify these common issues before they become more serious and expensive. This proactive approach can also improve the chances of passing the MOT test on the first attempt.

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What Happens If My Car Fails Its MOT or the MOT Has Expired?

Consequences of MOT Failure

Dangerous Defects

  • Immediate Action Required: If your car fails due to a dangerous defect, it cannot be driven until the defect is repaired.
  • MOT Certificate Refusal: You will receive a ‘refusal of MOT test certificate‘, and the failure will be recorded on the MOT database.
  • Legal Penalties: Driving a car with a dangerous defect can lead to a fine of up to £2,500, accrue three penalty points on your licence, and potentially result in a driving ban.

What Happens If My Car Fails Its Mot Or The Mot Has Expired

Non-Dangerous Defects

  • Driving with Valid MOT: If your car fails the MOT but doesn’t have dangerous defects and the current MOT is still valid, you can drive it away for repairs.

Scenario of Expired MOT

Driving to MOT Appointment

  • Permissible Driving: You are allowed to drive your vehicle to a pre-arranged MOT test appointment or to a garage for repairs, even with an expired MOT.
  • Restrictions: This is the only legal circumstance where you can drive without a valid MOT.

Legal Implications

  • Illegality of Driving Otherwise: Driving without a valid MOT in any other situation is illegal and will result in the invalidation of your car insurance.
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Importance of MOT Compliance

Safety and Legal Obligations

  • Ensuring your vehicle passes the MOT and addressing any failures promptly is crucial for road safety and to fulfil legal obligations.
  • Regular vehicle checks and maintenance can help identify potential issues before they lead to an MOT failure.

Planning and Preparation

  • It’s advisable to plan your MOT test before the expiry date to avoid any legal complications associated with driving an MOT-expired vehicle.
  • Understanding the specifics of what constitutes a dangerous defect can guide decisions about driving the vehicle post-MOT failure.

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Frequently asked questions

The MOT stands for “Ministry of Transport” which was the UK Government department responsible for the country’s road network when the MOT test was first introduced in 1960.

At that time, the MOT test was only required for vehicles that were ten years old or older.

Today, the MOT test is a legal requirement for most vehicles over three years old and is designed to ensure that they meet the minimum safety and environmental standards required for driving on public roads.

To check when your MOT expires, you can enter your vehicle registration number on the DVLA website. This will provide you with the MOT expiry date for your vehicle.

To avoid missing your MOT renewal date, you can register for free email and text reminders. This service will notify you when your MOT is due for renewal, reducing the risk of missing the deadline.

It is a common misconception that there is a grace period for getting an MOT. However, there is no grace period.

It is important to ensure that your vehicle has a valid MOT before the expiry date, as driving without one can result in penalties and fines.

Driving a car without a valid MOT is illegal, and the Police can tell whether or not your vehicle has a current MOT.

Over 11,000 automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are present throughout the UK, which check over 50 million records each day.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (Anpr) Cameras

These cameras, in addition to police officers on the road, can automatically detect whether or not a car has a valid MOT.

Driving without a valid MOT certificate can result in significant penalties. While a police caution is one possible outcome, in some cases, it can lead to fines of up to £2,500.

Additionally, fines may include points on your driving licence, and in more severe cases, driving disqualification may be imposed.

Yes, you can use a fast and free UK government tool to check a car’s MOT history online.

To do so, you’ll need:

  • The vehicle’s number plate registration number
  • The 11-digit code found in your V5C vehicle logbook

11-Digit Code Found In Your V5C Vehicle Logbook

This tool allows you to view a car’s entire MOT history, providing important information about previous tests, including any failures or advisories.

No, It is not legal to park a vehicle on the public highway without a valid MOT.

Doing so can result in fines and even vehicle seizure, as vehicles without a current MOT are not permitted to be driven or parked on public roads.

No, driving a car without a valid MOT certificate invalidates your car insurance.

This means that if you drive without a current MOT, you are also driving without insurance. It is important to ensure that your vehicle has a valid MOT and insurance before driving on public roads.

Yes, If you are taking your car to a pre-booked MOT test, you are permitted to drive your vehicle on a public road without having it taxed.

However, it is important to note that you must have pre-booked the MOT test and be driving directly to the test location, without making any unnecessary stops along the way.

If your car’s MOT has expired, you are only permitted to drive it if you have a pre-booked MOT appointment, and you are driving directly to the testing centre.

If you are stopped by law enforcement officials, you must be able to provide proof of your appointment.

It is important to note that driving without a valid MOT can result in penalties, fines, and points on your driving licence, so it is essential to ensure that you have a valid MOT before driving on public roads.

Driving a vehicle without a valid MOT is generally not permitted, with two exceptions. You may legally drive your vehicle without an MOT if you are driving it to or from a garage for repairs, or if you are taking it to an authorised testing station or garage for a pre-arranged MOT test.

It is important to note that driving without a valid MOT can result in penalties and fines, so it is best to ensure that your vehicle has a current MOT before driving it on public roads.

However, if you need to transport a vehicle without a valid MOT, you can do so by using a trailer or hiring a professional car transporter to move the vehicle for you.

If you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have a valid MOT, you may be responsible for paying for any damage to your car, as well as any damage to other vehicles involved.

Additionally, if you are pulled over or involved in an accident, the Police may charge the driver without a valid MOT for driving without insurance and with an expired MOT, which can result in significant penalties, fines, and points on their driving licence.

It is important to ensure that your own vehicle has a valid MOT and insurance before driving on public roads to protect yourself in the event of an accident.

No, it is not legal to buy a car without a valid MOT and drive it home.

A vehicle without a valid MOT can only be driven to a testing station for its MOT appointment and back again without a valid certificate.

If you purchase a vehicle without a valid MOT, it may be considered unroadworthy and could potentially be dangerous to drive.

It is always best to ensure that any vehicle you purchase has a valid MOT certificate before driving it on public roads.

An MOT test typically lasts between 45 to 60 minutes. However, if your vehicle requires repairs to meet the necessary standards, this duration can extend.

Many test centres request that you leave your car with them at the beginning of the day and will contact you once it is ready for collection.

It’s important to note that the test centre is not permitted to carry out any repairs without your explicit consent. After any required repairs are made, they may conduct a second test to ensure your vehicle now passes.

Yes, the MOT test is different for motorbikes and vans. While both require a valid MOT certificate from the age of three years, the test for each involves specific checks.

These are designed to ensure they are safe for road use and meet the required environmental standards.

Yes, if your car fails its MOT and you believe the result is incorrect, you have the right to appeal with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Initially, it’s advisable to discuss the matter with the test centre to see if the issue can be amicably resolved. If you’re still convinced the decision was unjust, you should complete the DVSA’s complaint form and submit it within 14 days following the test.

The DVSA will then get in touch with you to address your concerns. Remember, it’s crucial not to undertake any repairs on the vehicle until you receive a response from the DVSA.

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