Getting an MOT

Published by Carl Wilson on

When to get an MOT

The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards.

You must get an MOT for your vehicle by either:

  • the third anniversary of its registration
  • the anniversary of its last MOT, if it’s over 3 years old

Some vehicles need to be tested at one year old – check the MOT fees table to see which.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to MOTs

There are some changes to MOT tests because of coronavirus (COVID-19). How this affects you depends on when your MOT is due to expire.

30 March 2020 to 31 July 2020

Your MOT will be automatically extended for 6 months because of coronavirus.


Your vehicle’s MOT was due to expire on 31 July 2020.

This will automatically be extended to 31 January 2021. You will need to get your MOT by this date.

Your MOT will renew on the extension date if your vehicle passes its MOT first time. If it fails, your MOT will renew on the date it passes after that.

Find out:

Before 30 March 2020 or after 31 July 2020

You must book an MOT as usual.

You must use an approved MOT test centre to get your MOT.

Only centres showing the blue sign with 3 white triangles can carry out your MOT.

How you can book

Contact an MOT centre to book an MOT.

There are maximum fees that the MOT centre can charge.

There’s a different process to book an MOT in Northern Ireland.

When you must not take your vehicle for its MOT

You must not take your vehicle for its MOT if:

You must stay at home (self-isolate) if any of these situations apply.

If you’re shielding

You must not take your vehicle for its MOT if you’re shielding because you’re clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.

This applies even if you have not received your shielding letter yet.

Check the guidance about shielding in EnglandScotland and Wales.

Some MOT centres will collect your vehicle, carry out an MOT, and return it if you’re being shielded. Contact your local MOT centres to find out if they offer this service.

Earliest date you can get an MOT

An MOT lasts for a year. The date it runs out is printed on your current MOT pass certificate.

You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.

You can get an MOT up to a month (minus a day) before it runs out and keep the same renewal date.


If your MOT runs out on 15 May, the earliest you can get an MOT to keep the same renewal date for next year is 16 April.

You can get an MOT earlier, but the renewal date for the following year will change to one year (minus a day) from the date the vehicle last passed its MOT.


Your MOT is due to run out on 15 May, so the earliest you can get it done is 16 April. However, you take your vehicle for its MOT on 14 April and it passes. This means that the MOT expiry date changes to 13 April the following year.

If the MOT has run out

  1. If your tax is due to run out, register your vehicle as ‘off the road’ – you cannot renew your vehicle tax if your MOT has expired.
  2. Book an MOT test.
  3. Tax your vehicle once it has passed its MOT.

You cannot drive or park your vehicle on the road if the MOT has run out. You can be prosecuted if caught.

The only exceptions are to drive it:

  • to or from somewhere to be repaired
  • to a pre-arranged MOT test

There are different rules and processes in Northern Ireland for MOTs for vehicles registered in Northern Ireland.

MOT test result

Your vehicle can either pass or fail the MOT.

Passing the MOT

If your vehicle passes the MOT:

  • you’ll get an MOT certificate from the test centre
  • it will be recorded in the MOT database

You might also get a list of ‘minor’ or ‘advisory’ problems to monitor or fix in the future.

Failing the MOT

Your vehicle will fail if the test result lists ‘dangerous’ or ‘major’ problems with your vehicle. You might not be allowed to drive until you fix the problems.

You might also get a list of ‘minor’ or ‘advisory’ problems to monitor or fix in the future.

If your vehicle fails the MOT:

You can appeal the result if you think it’s wrong.

Driving a vehicle that’s failed

You can take your vehicle away if:

  • your current MOT certificate is still valid
  • no ‘dangerous’ problems were listed in the MOT

Otherwise, you’ll need to get it repaired before you can drive.

If you can take your vehicle away, it must still meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times.

You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle that has failed its MOT because of a ‘dangerous’ problem.

Retest after a repair

In some cases your vehicle can have a partial retest for free or a reduced MOT fee.

Leaving your vehicle for repair

You only need a partial retest if you leave the vehicle at the test centre for repair and it’s retested within 10 working days. There’s no fee for this.

Taking your vehicle away for repairs

You can take your vehicle away if your MOT certificate is still valid.

If your MOT has run out you can take your vehicle to:

  • have the failed defects fixed
  • a pre-arranged MOT test appointment

In both cases, your vehicle still needs to meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times or you can be fined.

Taking it back for a retest the next working day

You will not have to pay again if you take it back to the same test centre before the end of the next working day for a partial retest on one or more of these items:

  • access panels
  • battery
  • bonnet
  • bootlid
  • brake pedal antislip
  • break glass hammer (class 5 vehicles only)
  • doors (including hinges, catches and pillars)
  • door open warning device (class 5 vehicles only)
  • dropsides
  • electrical wiring
  • emergency exits and signs (class 5 vehicles only)
  • entrance door remote control (class 5 vehicles only)
  • entrance/exit steps (class 5 vehicles only)
  • fuel filler cap
  • headlamp cleaning or levelling devices (that does not need a headlamp aim check)
  • horn
  • lamps (excluding headlamp aim)
  • loading door
  • main beam ‘tell-tale’
  • mirrors
  • rear reflectors
  • registration plates
  • seatbelts (but not anchorages), seatbelt load limiter and seatbelt pre-tensioner
  • seats
  • sharp edges or projections
  • stairs (class 5 vehicles only)
  • steering wheel
  • tailboard
  • tailgate
  • trailer electrical sockets
  • towbars (excluding body around anchorage points)
  • tyre pressure monitoring system
  • vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • windscreen glass, wipers and washers
  • wheels and tyres (excluding motorcycles and motorcycles with sidecar)

Taking it back for a retest within 10 working days

You’ll only need a partial retest if you take the vehicle from the test centre for repairs and take it back within 10 working days. You can be charged a partial retest fee for this.

In all other cases, you’ll need to get a full retest and pay the full MOT test fee again.

Vehicles that do not need an MOT

You do not need to get an MOT for a vehicle until it reaches the age shown in the MOT fees table.

Exempt vehicles

Other vehicles that do not need an MOT include:

A list of exempt types of vehicles is on the MOT exemption form (V112). You need to fill in the form if your vehicle is listed so that you can either tax it or apply for tax exemption.

Lorries, buses and trailers

You must get an annual test for lorries, buses and trailers instead of an MOT. It’s sometimes called the ‘annual vehicle test’.

Fix mistakes on your MOT certificate

You can get information corrected on your MOT certificate (such as the mileage or vehicle details) if it’s wrong.

Get the wrong mileage corrected

The way you get the mileage corrected depends on when your MOT was.

Your MOT was less than 28 days ago

Ask the MOT centre to check the mileage. They’ll give you a replacement certificate if the mileage is wrong.

Your MOT was more than 28 days ago

Report the mistake to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to get it corrected.

You also need to email proof of the mileage, such as a scan or photo of:

  • an invoice for the MOT
  • an emissions printout
  • a service receipt
  • a vehicle job card from the MOT centre

They need to show what the mileage should be, and show the same date as the MOT test.

If your scan or photo includes personal information, for example your payment details, you should blank it out or remove it.

If you do not send the right evidence, DVSA will not fix the mistakes.

DVSA MOT certificate replacements
[email protected]

Once DVSA has updated the mileage, you can check your vehicle’s MOT history and download or print a corrected MOT certificate.

Get vehicle details or the MOT centre corrected

Contact DVSA if your MOT certificate has the wrong:

  • vehicle make or model
  • vehicle colour
  • country where the vehicle was registered
  • MOT test centre

DVSA MOT certificate replacements
[email protected]

Add or remove test records

If there’s an MOT test missing from your vehicle’s MOT history, or a test that does not belong there, email or call DVSA to have it corrected.

You’ll need to give your:

  • name
  • telephone number
  • vehicle number plate
  • vehicle make and model
  • date of the MOT
  • MOT test number (if you know it)
  • MOT test centre name and address

DVSA customer service centre
[email protected]
Telephone: 0300 123 9000
Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

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Categories: Articles

Carl Wilson

You won't believe it, I'm native Scotsman. Enthusiast. Car lovers. Almost finished rebuilding my Reliant Saber 🔥


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