23 May 2024

Driving without an MOT – everything you need to know

person driving VW car with a valid MOT

If you own a car, you’ve certainly heard the term MOT before. It is a legal requirement for cars over three years old and driving without one could lead to serious consequences. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about driving without an MOT and what happens if you don’t have one. 

What does MOT stand for?

MOT stands for the Ministry of Transport test and was first introduced by the government department in 1960. It is a test that ensures a vehicle is roadworthy and safe to drive. To drive legally on the road, a vehicle needs to pass its MOT at an authorised test centre. 

How do you know when your MOT is due?

You can check the status of your MOT by using the UK Government’s website. Simply enter your registration number to check if your current MOT is valid and find out when the certificate expires. 

You can book your MOT one month before your current certificate expires. Nowadays, all you need to do is bring your car to the test centre and the records will be updated online. 

How long can you drive without an MOT?

Many people think there is a 14 day grace period with expired MOT certificates, but this is not true. It is illegal to drive without an MOT, unless you are driving it to a local MOT test centre for a pre-booked appointment. When driving, it’s also important to have proof of the appointment in case you are stopped by police.  

If your car is more than 40 years old or was first registered over 40 years ago, you also don’t need a valid MOT. 

Can you drive home if an MOT fails?

If your car fails its MOT with dangerous faults and it has passed the date on the certificate, you cannot legally drive it anywhere. Failing an MOT means your car is not safe to drive on the road, so you can’t drive it home. You also can’t park your car on a public road if the MOT isn’t valid. It can be parked on a private property, e.g. in a garage or on a driveway.

What are the consequences of being caught driving without an MOT?

According to GOV.UK, you could be fined up to £1,000 if you get caught driving a vehicle without a valid MOT. If you are driving with a failed MOT, you could be fined up to £2,500, get 3 points on your licence or even be banned from driving as you are knowingly driving a dangerous vehicle. 

Do ANPR cameras check your MOT?

Yes, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras can check if your MOT is valid. There are a number of ANPR cameras up and down the country, on the road, in police cars and in car parks. They take a snapshot of your registration plate which can then be cross-referenced with the national database to find out information about your vehicle. They can quickly see if your car has a valid MOT certificate. If you don’t, you could be pulled over or visited by the police.

Is car insurance still valid without an MOT?

It depends on the insurance company, but in most cases you need a valid MOT certificate for the insurance to be valid. This means that if you were involved in an accident, your car insurer is not liable to pay out on your insurance if you don’t have a valid MOT. You would have to pay for any repairs to your car and anyone else involved. 

You could also be charged by the police for driving without valid insurance or an MOT. 

Where can I book an MOT?

To avoid any fines, it’s best to book your MOT before it expires. At Bromley Car Repairs, we have many years of experience carrying out MOT inspections and will make sure your car is safe to drive. Get your MOT booked in with us today by using our handy online booking form or give us a call on 020 8466 7849.

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