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MOT Test Rules and Regulation

This section covers the process of getting an MOT test certificate for a vehicle, how it works, and the fees. Check MOT rules on exemptions, a retest, and how to appeal if a car fails MOT testing.

Driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate can result in a fine of £1,000 in the United Kingdom.

MOT Test Check: It stands for ‘Ministry of Transport’ vehicle test. This guide will help you determine when to get an MOT certificate.

There are several purposes of getting annual MOT tests. The main reason is to check all vehicles meet environmental and road safety standards.

Even so, there are some differences that apply to the date when you need to get an MOT. It will be either:

  • On the third anniversary of vehicle registration from new.
  • On the anniversary of the vehicle’s last MOT for a used vehicle more than three (3) years old.

Some vehicles need MOT testing once they get to one year old. The MOT fees table shows which vehicles need to get tested 12 months after registration. But, you can register to get a free MOT reminder one month before the MOT is due.

Earliest Date to get MOT

Once a vehicle passes an MOT it stays valid for one full year (12 months from the testing date). The current test pass certificate will show the date when it runs out and becomes invalid.

In fact, you can MOT a vehicle up to one (1) month (minus one day) before it is due to run out. Doing so will not affect the existing renewal date.

In some cases, the MOT rules and regulations allow you to get a vehicle tested even earlier. But, it will affect the renewal date for the following year.

An Example:

A car MOT runs out on the 25th if June. Thus, the earliest you can get an MOT, and keep the same renewal date for following year, would be the 26th of May.

Driving when MOT has Run Out

UK driving rules and regulations do not allow you to use a vehicle on a public road or highway without a valid MOT. Doing so can result in a prosecution. But, an MOT exemption may apply:

  • To drive a vehicle to get a pre-arranged MOT test.
  • To drive the vehicle to (or back from) a place to get it repaired.

Note: You must get an annual vehicle test for lorries, buses, and trailers instead. MOT rules and regulation, and the processes for retest, differ for vehicles registered in Northern Ireland.

Vehicle Emissions Testing

You will not get a test certificate for your vehicle if the exhaust emissions are above certain limits (e.g. they are too high). Besides MOTs, vehicle emissions testing can also take place as part of authorised roadside checks.

MOT Emission Test

The majority of vehicles have exhaust emissions tested with a meter as part of the testing process. But, testers use a sight test on petrol vehicles used before August 1975 and on diesels used before January 1980.

Failing the vehicle emissions test means it will also fail the MOT. Thus, you would need to get the problem fixed before booking a retest.

Some vehicles DO NOT need an emissions test, such as:

  • Electric vehicles
  • Hybrid vehicles
  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
  • Quadricycles
  • Vehicles with 2-stroke engines
  • Vehicles with fewer than four (4) wheels

Roadside Checks

You will receive a prohibition notice (and given 10 days to fix the cause) if your vehicle fails a roadside check. The authorities may issue a prosecution if you fail to fix it within the ten (10) day period.

The prohibition notice would come into immediate effect, and you would not be able use the vehicle, if (either):

  • It is in serious breach of the legal emission limits.
  • It has other defects that make it dangerous.

Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA)

Some borough councils are designated as ‘Air Quality Management Areas’. It means they can carry out checks (test vehicles for emissions at the roadside) and issue fixed penalties to the drivers of vehicles that fail.

MOT Rules UK: A to Z Guide

Annual Vehicle Test

DVSA staff conduct the testing for a lorry, bus, or trailer. They use the ‘annual vehicle test‘ for lorries, buses, and trailers instead of a standard MOT check.

Check MOT Expiry Date

You can check MOT history of a vehicle online and the date it got tested. The data also shows the mileage (odometer reading) and the test pass expiry date.

Note: You can also enter details to find out the current MOT status of a vehicle (e.g. when it runs out).

MOT Exemption Law

Tractors, cars, motorcycles built before the 31st of December 1977, and electric goods vehicles first registered before the 1st of march 2015 are exempt from MOT.

Note: Check the ‘Declaration of exemption from MOT (V112)‘ for a full list of exempt vehicles. You can also use form V112 as evidence of an a test for taxing purposes.

MOT Reminder Service

You can sign up to get an annual MOT reminder by a text message or by an email. The free service informs you one month before your car MOT is due.

Note: You must use an approved MOT test centre. Contact one that shows the blue sign with 3 white triangles. All MOT centres have maximum fees that they can charge for vehicle testing.

MOT Retest after Repair

Several key issues determine MOT retest procedures and fees after a repair. Check out when a vehicle can have a free partial retest or get a reduced fee.

MOT Test Fees

As a rule, it takes less than an hour to conduct the Ministry of Transport test. So, how does the MOT test work, what parts do they check, and what are the MOT test fees?

MOT Test Results

Following an inspection the MOT test result confirms whether the vehicle passed or failed. The testing station will give you a list of things to fix if it fails.

Replace a Lost Certificate Online

You can get a replacement MOT certificate online if it is lost or damaged or you can replace the original in person at an MOT centre.

Report a Vehicle with No MOT

Only the police can take action against a vehicle that does not have an MOT (on a road). Telephone the police non-emergency number to report a car, a van, a motorcycle, or any other vehicle with no MOT.

Reporting a Fraudulent MOT

The information in this help guide explains how to report an MOT tester or testing centre for fraudulent activities and what happens afterwards.

Test Result Appeals

There are several different ways of dealing with MOT problems or making a test result appeal. Find out how to make MOT test result appeals or take action yourself.

MOT Regulations for Vehicle Testing in United Kingdom