mot inspection

How To Find Out When Your MOT Is Due

20th Apr, 2018

Along with your car tax, that status of your MOT is one of the most important things to be aware of when it comes to your car. Despite that, hundreds of thousands of us get caught out every year. In fairness, it’s an easy mistake to make, but the unfortunate truth is that it can be a very, very expensive one. The good news is that as long as you’re prepared for them in good time, most of the time MOTs are rarely a cause for concern.

Some of the most common questions about MOTs include:

  1. How can I check my MOT?
  2. What is an MOT?
  3. What’s included in an MOT?
  4. How much does an MOT cost?
  5. Are MOT records kept?
  6. Are MOT certificates still given out?
  7. What happens if I’ve lost my MOT certificate?
  8. What happens if my vehicle fails its MOT?
  9. What’s an MOT advisory notice?

You’ll find the answers in detail below!

1. How Can I Check My MOT?

There’s a whole range of easy-to-access websites that feature handy tools on how to check when your car’s next MOT is due. We’ve taken the liberty of field testing a few of them for you, and three websites stand out as amongst the best:

  • The official GOV website
  • An online tool from the AA, called Automyze
  • Another useful tool on Confused.com

checking your mot

You may well even have your own favourites – like our own booking process, they’re all fairly straightforward to use. Just enter your car’s registration plate number, and you’ll be instantly redirected to a page that tells you whether or not it’s still valid, and when its next test is due. Don’t forget to make a note, so you’ll know when it’s coming up!

2. What Is An MOT And Why Is It So Important?

Basically, MOT (Ministry of Transport) inspections make sure that your car is still roadworthy and safe to drive, while also ensuring that it meets environmental standards – all according to UK law. Every car has its first MOT when it turns three years old, and after that it will need to have one done every year. Your MOT will be carried out by an official MOT test centre, and when it passes they’ll give you an official MOT certificate, which expires every twelve months.

MOTs apply to all classes of vehicle, including cars, vans and motorbikes. There are certain types of (very select) vehicles which are exempt, including:

  • Cars and motorbikes made before 1960
  • Electric goods vehicle
  • Tractors

mot test centre

Unless you’re heaving yourself into work in a tractor though, or puttering around on a vintage Vespa for your morning commute, we think it’s a pretty safe bet that an MOT applies to you. As with all legal matters, it’s serious business, too – driving without one is a criminal offence, which means you’re liable to get hit with a whopping £2,500 fine and three penalty points, with a possible driving ban thrown into the mix for good measure.

3. What’s Included In An MOT?

An MOT inspection covers the testing and standardisation of a car’s suspension, steering, tyres, brakes and windscreen. It doesn’t, however, necessarily cover the clutch, engine or gearbox, so it might well be worth getting a garage to check those over separately.

4. How Much Does An MOT Cost?

It can vary depending on the car, but in most cases you won’t be looking at more than £55. It can also depend on what sort of work needs to be done on the vehicle. You might find with some garages that they’ll make a few minor repairs as they go (like replacing a headlight bulb, for instance), saving you the time and cost of failing your MOT and having to arrange another one.

an mot inspection mechanic

5. Are MOT Failures Recorded?

Yes, although it’s nothing to worry about – failures don’t have any influence on the outcome of any future tests. As we covered above, one of the easiest ways to check a car’s exhaustive MOT history is by using the GOV.UK website. The records will be comprehensive, almost always dating all the way back to your car’s very first test, including all those it failed. Within those results, you’ll also be able to see the individual MOT test numbers, and the certificate’s expiry date.

6. Are MOT Certificates Still Given Out?

We also sometimes hear people asking “are MOT certificates still electronic?” and the answer is no, not technically. Aside from the MOT records we mentioned above, you’ll still receive a physical MOT certificate in the form of an A4-size piece of paper when your car successfully passes its inspection. The law used to say that you need to display the test certificate on your windscreen, but that’s no longer the case – if you want to, the glovebox will do just fine.

mot document in glovebox

7. What Happens If I’ve Lost My MOT Certificate?

It’s no cause for panic, as the authorities can still easily check the status of your MOT online. Having said that, it’s still a good plan to get it sorted ASAP. You can do it by contacting an MOT centre (it doesn’t have to be the same one that did your MOT), and giving them your car registration and logbook reference number. The MOT centre will then give you a replacement certificate, usually at a cost of around £10, or half the cost of your MOT – whichever one is cheaper.

8. What Happens If My Car Fails Its MOT?

It’s not good news, admittedly, but it’s not necessarily catastrophic either. First of all you’ll be issued with a VT30 certificate, which will detail the aspects that caused your car to fail. Then, it’s mostly a matter of getting those issues fixed – possibly by the test centre themselves – and then re-booking your MOT.

Beyond the cost and time involved, there aren’t any penalties for your car failing its MOT test, and you can rebook another one at your own discretion. If you leave your car at the test centre for it to be repaired, and it’s retested within 10 working days, it will qualify for only a partial retest. The good news is that there’s no fee for this!

failed mot

Don’t forget that if it fails, it’s immediately illegal to drive it on the road. Ignoring this – or even not being aware of it – means you run the risk of getting that £2500 fine we mentioned above, in addition to the penalty points. The only exception to this is if you’re taking it to get its defects fixed, or if you’re taking it to another MOT appointment.

Make sure you’re able to prove this – it can be something as simple as calling ahead to the garage, so that they can confirm your appointment. Otherwise it’s the fine – and if you’re already dealing with a failed MOT, you really don’t need the hassle!

9. What’s An MOT Advisory Notice?

At the test centre’s discretion, whether you pass or fail, you may also have advisory notes on your certificate, which will also be outlined on your car’s online MOT history. Their purposes are to:

  • Make you aware of any parts or mechanisms that are close to failing, and would cause your car to fail its MOT
  • Any unusual aspects of your car, whether structural or cosmetic, uncovered by the MOT
  • Any defects on non-testable items (such as the clutch or engine)

Don’t Forget…

If your car does fail its MOT on a technicality, it’s often worth getting it fixed up and simply retaking the test. On the other hand, if it’s nearing the end of its lifespan, or if it’s failed several MOTs, or if it’s failed in a particularly dramatic way, you might decide it’s not worth the cost or bother it would take to fix it. In those cases, that’s where we come in here at Scrap Car Network.

It’s never been easier to scrap your car – all you have to do is enter in your car reg and postcode onto the fields in our homepage, and in virtually no time at all you’ll be looking at your very own instant scrap car quote. It’s all go from there!