Is My Car Mot

Is My Car Mot

The MOT test is an annual requirement for most vehicles over 3 years old in Great Britain. Ensuring your car has a valid, current MOT certificate is a legal obligation of all motorists.

But it’s easy to lose track of when your MOT is due and whether it has expired. Fortunately, there are several quick and easy ways to check your car’s MOT status before driving. Read on to learn how to determine if your car has a valid MOT, when it’s due for renewal, and steps to take to stay legal on the roads.

What is the MOT Test?

The MOT (Ministry of Transport) test is an annual assessment of a vehicle’s safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions. At three years from the registration date, cars must meet MOT requirements to legally drive on public British roads.

During the MOT test at approved garages, all parts of the car from seatbelts to brake pads are inspected against regulatory standards. Any noted defects or issues must be addressed to pass the MOT and get a renewed certificate.

Cars that fail to have a valid MOT can be fined up to £1000 just for driving. That’s why it’s essential for motorists to monitor MOT due dates and check statuses regularly.

When is my Car’s MOT Due?

Your car’s first MOT is due on the third anniversary of its registration date. After that, the MOT must be renewed every 12 months to stay compliant.

For example, if your car was first registered on 1st April 2018, its first MOT would be due by 1st April 2021. Subsequent MOT tests would then be required before April 1st every following year.

Ideally, you should book an MOT several weeks in advance of the due date to avoid an expired MOT. Testing too far ahead can also risk failure as parts wear. 8-10 weeks beforehand is recommended.

When Is My Car's Mot Due?
When is my Car’s MOT Due?

Checking Your Car’s MOT Status Online

Luckily, it’s very simple to check your car’s MOT status online:

On GOV.UK – Enter your registration plate or reference number on the MOT service page. It will show if your MOT is valid, expired, or due soon.

By text – Simply text ‘MOT’ followed by your reg plate number to 72085. You’ll receive a text back stating if the MOT is valid and its expiry.

Apps – The free MOT app allows you to save vehicles for easy MOT status checks. Some insurers also show MOT info.

Through your MOT History – This shows the full record of MOT tests for a car and confirms if the newest one has expired.

These services allow all motorists to quickly and easily verify that their car’s MOT certification is valid before driving.

What to Do if Your Car’s MOT Has Expired

If your check reveals that your vehicle’s MOT has expired, you must not drive it on public roads, with the exception of directly to a pre-booked test:

  • Immediately book an MOT test appointment for as soon as possible. Most test centres can fit you in within a few days.
  • If required for safety (e.g. parked on a busy road), drive only directly to the test centre or garage for repairs.
  • Consider using a mobile MOT testing service that comes to your location if the car is unsafe to drive.
  • Have any recommended repairs completed to pass the MOT test and regain a valid certificate.
  • Inform your insurer if your car had no valid MOT when needed to drive. Some may void coverage.

Booking your next MOT in plenty of time is crucial. But if it has expired, act quickly to avoid penalties.

What To Do If Your Car's Mot Has Expired
What to Do if Your Car’s MOT Has Expired

Reminders to Renew Your Car’s MOT

To avoid forgetting MOT renewals, make use of available reminders:

  • MOT text reminder service – Text your registration to 821299 and they will text when your MOT is due.
  • MOT expiry email – Have the testing station email you a reminder when booking. Some send automated emails.
  • Renewal letter – You’ll get a renewal letter by post about a month before MOT expiry.
  • Calendar reminders – Log the due date in your calendar or phone to get notified.
  • Car apps – Many insurance or maintenance apps alert you when an MOT renewal is approaching.
  • Windscreen sticker – MOT stations provide a windscreen sticker showing the test’s expiry date.

With multiple options for reminders, there’s no excuse for an invalid MOT. Renew well ahead of expiry to stay legal.

Booking Your MOT Test

When it comes time to book an MOT, you can choose test centres like:

  • Council test centres – Lower cost option run by local authorities. Limited availability.
  • Franchised garages – National chains like KwikFit offer MOT services.
  • Independent garages – Support local mechanics, but quality varies. Check reviews.
  • Dealership – The manufacturer’s dealership can combine MOT with scheduled service.
  • Mobile testers – Travel to your location for a convenient test.

Give yourself plenty of lead time based on average test centre waiting times, especially during peak seasons. Avoid booking the test for the exact date the current MOT expires.

what to do if stopped by police for an expired MOT

  • Remain calm and cooperative
  • Confirm MOT status if you believe it is valid
  • Explain situation if there are mitigating circumstances
  • Apologize if MOT has lapsed
  • Accept penalties issued
  • Arrange recovery if car cannot be legally driven
  • Contact insurer to notify if uninsured
  • Learn from mistakes and improve reminders
  • Seek legal advice if penalties seem disproportionate

The key is to be polite, responsible and avoid arguing. There are usually consequences for driving without a valid MOT so expect sanctions. Make efforts to prevent future MOT lapses.

what to do if stopped by police for an expired MOT

consequences for driving a car in the UK with an expired MOT certificate:

  • Up to £1,000 fine – The penalty for driving a car without a valid MOT is up to £1,000. Even driving to an MOT test when already expired risks a fine.
  • 3 penalty points – Police will issue 3 penalty points added to your license if caught driving an untested vehicle. Accumulating 12+ points can result in disqualification..
  • Failed MOT retest – If stopped, you’ll have to get the car towed and repaired before taking an MOT retest. This incurs fees, hassle and delays.
  • On-the-spot fines – Police have the power to instantly fine you up to £100 for an expired MOT when pulled over.
  • Higher risk of defects – Driving without an MOT risks unsafe defects going unnoticed, endangering you and other road users.


What is an MOT test?
An MOT is an annual test of a vehicle’s safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions. Cars over 3 years old require an MOT certificate to drive legally.

When does my car need its first MOT test?
Your car needs its first MOT test by the 3rd anniversary of its registration date. It must then be tested annually.

Where can I get an MOT test done?
You can get an MOT test done at over 20,000 authorized garages, test centers and dealerships displaying an Official MOT Testing Station sign.

How much does an MOT test cost?
An MOT test fee is capped at £54.85 for cars and light vehicles. Some garages offer discounted rates. Retest fees may apply if repairs are needed.

How can I check my MOT status?
You can check if your MOT is valid by entering your registration on the GOV.UK website or texting ‘MOT’ followed by your reg to 64061.

What happens if I drive with an expired MOT?
Driving with an expired MOT can lead to fines up to £1000, invalidate insurance, earn penalty points, require retesting and repairs, and poses safety risks.

How soon before expiry should I book my MOT?
It’s recommended to book an MOT 8-10 weeks before your current certificate expires. This allows time for repairs if needed before the MOT lapses.

Do I get an MOT reminder?
You will get a renewal reminder letter by post about a month before your MOT expires. You can also sign up for free text or email reminders.


The MOT test is a legal requirement for driving in Great Britain. Failing to have a valid MOT certificate can result in fines, penalty points, or even void motor insurance. Fortunately, online tools make checking your car’s MOT status quick and easy.

Setting reminders, giving ample time for repairs, and booking tests well in advance all help ensure your car’s MOT is current. Don’t risk penalty and points – regularly check that your car’s MOT status is valid before every trip!

Related posts

Leave a Comment