If you’re putting off your MOT because the cost isn’t looking too appealing at the moment or you can’t bare to be without your car for a day, you may want to reconsider.

Driving without an MOT can leave you with a £1,000 fine and run the risk of causing an accident, here’s why.

Rules For Driving Without An MOT

The purpose of an MOT is to check whether your car is roadworthy, safe and meets all of the legal standards. Faults picked up during an MOT fall into one of three categories which are minor, major and dangerous, these depict whether you pass or fail your testing. For more information on the difference in categories and the latest testing updates, take a look at our MOT test changes page.

Each year, hundreds of drivers are fined for driving without a valid MOT because they see it as an extra hassle, would rather put off the cost or simply forget.

If your vehicle is three years or older, you must legally book in for an annual MOT test – meaning a car purchased from brand new will not require an MOT until it reaches its third year of being on the roads. The only vehicles that are exempt from an MOT test are those that are over 40 years old.

Each MOT test certificate lasts for precisely 12 months meaning that you must, ideally, get booked in before your renewal date. If your MOT has expired, you can drive it to the testing centre to renew; however, this is the only place you can drive with an invalid MOT. If you get pulled over by the police on the way to the testing centre, as long as you can show legitimate proof that you have an appointment you are driving to, you will not be fined.

Unfortunately, while your MOT is invalid, you will no longer be covered by your insurance meaning you also run the risk of being charged with driving with no insurance. The offence of driving without insurance comes alongside an unlimited fine and up to 8 points on your licence.

MOT checklist

What Happens If You Drive Without An MOT?

The consequences of driving without an MOT varies depending on the severity of your offence.

As mentioned previously, if you only drive without an MOT to the testing centre and can prove this to the police, they cannot fine you but will probably suggest you do not risk it again.

If you are pulled over by the police and cannot produce a valid MOT certificate or proof of an appointment, they are within their right to fine you up to £1,000. In the very rare occasion, if you genuinely forgot your renewal date and are only a day or two late, you might just get lucky and given a warning.

We’ve had a few pupils, one who was taking driving lessons in Oxford and another who was learning with our driving school in Leicester, who have fallen into the trap of driving without an MOT, both for the exact same reason. They had both picked up their first car after buying it from an independent seller, not a dealership, who had failed to let them know that the car’s MOT was no longer valid – as you can tell very dodgy, cowboy salesman. The police stopped both pupils and questioned them; they explained the situation and this time, were very luckily let off with a warning and the strict instructions to go straight home and book their MOT. So for new drivers buying their first car, keep this in mind and ensure this is something you keep an eye out for!

Some drivers know that their car is becoming dangerous and is filled with safety problems, so put off an MOT test as they know it will fail and will cost a fortune to fix. If this is the case and you are caught, a vehicle deemed ‘unroadworthy’ will result in not only a £2,500 fine but also 3 points on their licence per fault. A driver in their first two years can receive up to 6 points on their licence before it is revoked. Those who have been driving over two years can receive up to 12 points. So for you new drivers, it only takes two major faults in your vehicle and an invalid MOT to lose your licence.

mechanic checking car

Who Should You Book An MOT Test With?

Your annual MOT test but be completed by a registered MOT testing centre otherwise it will not be valid. You will be able to spot a legal testing centre as they will display a blue sign which includes three white triangles.

It is up to you the testing centre you book in with. All national car dealerships such as Vauxhall and Toyota will have their own MOT and service testing centre, both often independent garages are just as good. If cost is your main contributor to the centre you opt for, it is worth shopping around for deals and contacting each centre for a quote. MOTCheck.net is a great online resource that allows you to enter your postcode and it will provide a list of your nearest test centres.

MOT test centre sign

When Should You Book Your MOT?

If you want to be super organised and make sure that you never forget your MOT, you are able to book into a testing centre and get it over and done with up to one month before the expiry date. This does not mean that your expiry date for the following year will move to a month earlier, your original date will remain the same. You have one month to get your MOT test complete, and it can be booked for any time within these weeks.

Do You Have To Bring Anything To Your MOT?

The only things you will need to bring to your MOT is your vehicle registration document (V5C) and of course, your car and its keys.

Driving Without An MOT

To conclude, driving without an MOT is illegal and it is always recommended to get it booked in as early as possible. Test centres do have busy periods, so you want to avoid running the risk of a lack of appointments when you’re available. If you have commitments on the day of your test, many test centres do allow you to drop off your vehicle the night before and then pick it up when you’re able to.

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