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Driving Without An MOT, What Are The Risks

Driving without an MOT is an easy mistake that many motorists make. But intentional or not, driving without an MOT is illegal, and could land motorists a hefty fine, penalty points or even a driving ban!

Tens of thousands of motorists are caught each year by the police for driving without a valid MOT.

Driving without an MOT is an easy mistake that many motorists make. But intentional or not, driving without an MOT is illegal, and could land motorists a hefty fine, penalty points or even a driving ban!

blue mot testing sign on grass by road with silver car driving past

What is an MOT?

The MOT is an annual inspection that checks whether your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards. MOT testing is a legal requirement for most vehicles over three years old and involves over twenty different checks on your vehicle. Some of the parts checked in the MOT include the brakes, lights, fuel systems, mirrors, tyres, and wheels.

Not all vehicles require an MOT. Most vehicles that are under three years old do not need an MOT. Historic or classic vehicles that were built or first registered more than forty years ago may also be exempt.

The MOT test must be carried out by an authorised testing centre. Some MOT centres may collect your vehicle and return it once the MOT is complete.

Penalty for no MOT

You could be fined up to £1,000 for driving without a valid MOT. However, if you drive a vehicle that has failed an MOT with dangerous problems, you could end up with a fine of up to £2,500, a driving ban and penalty points on your licence.

When can you drive without MOT?

If your MOT has expired, you cannot drive your vehicle on public roads. The only exceptions are if you have a pre-booked MOT test or are taking your vehicle to a garage for repairs that were discovered on a previous test.

Do you get 14 days grace for an MOT?

A common misconception amongst many motorists is that there is a 14-day grace period after their MOT expires. This is not the case, and you could be prosecuted if you drive without a valid MOT certificate.

Can you drive your vehicle away if it fails its MOT?

If your vehicle fails its MOT with dangerous problems you won’t be able to drive it away from the test centre until the faults have been repaired.

However, if your vehicle fails its MOT with no dangerous problems listed, providing the current MOT certificate is still valid, you can drive the vehicle away.

Is my car insurance valid without an MOT?

Driving your vehicle after your MOT has expired is illegal. It will likely invalidate the motor insurance policy too, as the vehicle may be deemed unroadworthy without a valid MOT certificate. This means you will not be covered if you make a claim.

How much does an MOT cost?

The cost for an MOT is set by the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVSA) and depends on the type of vehicle. The maximum fee for a car is £54.85 and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle.

If the vehicle fails the MOT test and is left at the testing centre for repairs, there is no fee if the vehicle is retested within ten working days.

How to avoid missing an MOT test?

If you’re not sure when your MOT is due, you can check the MOT status of your vehicle through the Government’s MOT Checker by entering your vehicle’s registration number. You can also sign up for free MOT reminders by text or email.

Alternatively, you could consider setting up reminders on your phone or mark the renewal date on your calendar.

What is the earliest date you can book an MOT?

You can book an MOT test at any time. However, if you book an MOT up to one month (minus a day) before the current MOT certificate expires you will keep the same renewal date for the following year.

For example, if your MOT runs out on 14th June, the earliest you can get an MOT is 15th May, but you will keep the same renewal date of 14th June for the following year.

If the MOT takes place more than a month before its expiry date, your renewal date will change to one year (minus a day) from the date the vehicle passes it MOT.

Can the police tell if your MOT has expired?

Once the MOT test has taken place, the MOT centre will record the vehicle’s MOT test results to the DVSA’s database. This information can be accessed by anyone that has the vehicle’s registration number.  

The police can also use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to scan vehicle registrations and check them against information stored in databases. The technology can help the police seize vehicles with no insurance or a valid MOT.

Can I report someone for driving without an MOT?

You can anonymously report someone for driving without a valid MOT by contacting the police.

You will need the vehicle’s number plate, make, and model, colour, and location. The police will investigate the report, and the driver may receive a fine.

Final thoughts

The MOT is an annual test to ensure your vehicle is safe and roadworthy. Many motorists tend to put off getting their MOT renewed but driving without a valid MOT is illegal and can have high consequences.

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