If you drive a vehicle on the road you must keep it in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards.
It isn’t the same as having your vehicle serviced and doesn’t check its general mechanical condition.
When to test
You must get an MOT test every year once your vehicle is 3 years old (1 year in some cases).
You can then renew your MOT up to a month before it expires. The earliest date you can get your vehicle tested is printed on the pass certificate.
To get your MOT you need to use an approved MOT test centre. Only centres showing the blue sign with 3 white triangles can carry out your MOT.
Approved centres must show an official ‘MOT Test: Fees and Appeals’ poster on a public notice board on their premises. This must list contact details for your loca lVOSA area office.
If your MOT has expired
If your MOT has expired you can’t drive your vehicle on the road until it’s passed the test. You could be prosecuted if caught.
The only exception is if you’ve already booked an MOT and are driving your vehicle to the test centre.
If your vehicle passes the test
If your vehicle passes the test you’ll get an MOT certificate and your test record will be entered onto the secure central MOT database.
Mileage information on the test certificate
Test certificates issued after 18 November 2012 will also show the mileage recorded at the current and previous 3 test passes to help reduce vehicle crime.
This will be shown on the certificate as the ‘odometer reading and history’.
If an earlier mileage is higher than a later one this could be due to:
- a mistake by an MOT tester
- a speedometer replacement
- ‘clocking’ or tampering with your vehicle’s mileage
If a mistake was made on an earlier mileage this can’t be changed, so check the latest mileage is correct and report any mistakes to the MOT centre within 7 days.
If your vehicle fails the test
If your vehicle fails the test you’ll get a ‘notification of failure’ from the test centre. The failure will be recorded in the secure central MOT database.
Until it passes a retest, you can only drive your vehicle:
- to a pre-arranged appointment at a garage to have the repairs done
- to a pre-arranged MOT test appointment
Your vehicle should be retested at the same test centre which did the original test.
Your vehicle may be able to have a partial retest for free or reduced fee in the following cases.
Leaving your vehicle at the test centre
If the vehicle is left at the test centre for repair and retested before the end of 10 working days following the day it originally failed, then only a partial retest is needed. There is no fee.
Bringing your vehicle back to the test centre
Before the end of the next working day
You won’t have to pay again if the vehicle is brought back to the same test centre before the end of the next working day for a partial retest on one or more of the following items only:
- brake pedal antislip
- direction indicators
- fuel filler cap
- hazard warning
- lamps (excluding headlamp aim)
- loading door
- rear reflectors
- registration plates
- seatbelts (excluding body around anchorage points)
- sharp edges or projections
- steering wheel
- towbars (excluding body around anchorage points)
- vehicle identification number (VIN)
- windscreen and glass
- windscreen wipers
- windscreen washers
- wheels and tyres (excluding motorbikes and motorbikes with sidecar)
Bringing your vehicle back within 10 working days
If the vehicle is removed from the test centre for repair and returned within 10 working days following the day it originally failed, then only a partial retest is needed. In this case a partial retest fee may be charged.