Can You Drive a Car with No MOT?

A Ministry of Transport or MOT test is essential for every UK vehicle owner. As well as being a legal requirement, undergoing an MOT test every year and maintaining a valid MOT certificate is a moral obligation, ensuring that your vehicle is suitably roadworthy and able to keep you, your passengers, pedestrians and fellow road users safe. But what if your car hasn’t got a valid MOT certificate? 

As you’ll discover from this blog post, without an MOT, you’ll be putting more than just your safety at risk.

Driving with no MOT – the facts

Driving with no MOT is illegal in most circumstances. Whilst there are a few exclusions, failing to have a valid MOT certificate will mean your vehicle hasn’t authenticated its roadworthiness, a fact that could leave you in hot water.

An MOT test is a legal requirement that any UK driver with a vehicle that’s more than three years old has to abide by. Your MOT test will provide certification that your vehicle has a basic level of roadworthiness, confirming that it is safe to be used on UK roads. 

The test itself checks a long list of components and highlights any faults or issues that need to be rectified to ensure it maintains this standard.

The exceptions to the rule

If your vehicle is under three years old, you will not have to have an MOT test until the third anniversary of its registration date or date of manufacture. Scheduling an annual car service however may provide the peace of mind you need regarding your vehicle’s roadworthiness and safety in the meantime.

Driving to an MOT test centre to attend a pre-booked appointment is permitted even if your current MOT certificate has expired. If you are driving to another test centre to get your vehicle repaired – some test centres do not provide repair services – this is also acceptable.

The penalty for no MOT

Since the changes to MOT law back in spring 2018, the rules are stricter than ever. The penalties for driving with no MOT are also much steeper. Thanks to the digitalisation of MOT failures, it’s much more difficult for UK motorists to ignore their MOT responsibilities. MOT failures are now added to a national database in real-time, with faults categorised as ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’.

Motorists found to still be driving a vehicle with major or dangerous faults may be fined, even if they opted for an early MOT and their last MOT certificate is in date.

The penalty for no MOT is a fine of up to £1,000. This is applicable if your fault(s) is classed as major or you are driving with no MOT. Motorists caught driving vehicles with dangerous faults may be liable to pay a fine of up to £2,500. You’ll also receive three points on your license. Repeat offenders, i.e. those fined for driving with no MOT twice in a three-year period, may receive a driving ban of up to six months.

Whether your vehicle has failed due to the presence of minor, major or dangerous faults, we recommend getting your vehicle repaired and retested before driving it on the road once again. 

Your car insurance when driving with no MOT

Contrary to popular belief and despite being illegal, driving with no MOT doesn’t automatically invalidate your car insurance. In fact, it all comes down to your insurance provider. 

In the majority of cases, car insurance is only valid if your vehicle is certified as roadworthy. Most insurance providers deem having a valid MOT as a condition of cover as a result. So, don’t break the law twice! Get your car MOT tested and obtain comprehensive insurance for your vehicle.

Parking a car with no MOT

It’s not just your car insurance policy that will be affected by your lack of MOT test. It is illegal to park a vehicle without an MOT on a public highway. If you do and it is reported, the vehicle can be seized and you will be fined, even if it’s taxed and insured. 

A vehicle without a valid MOT test certificate should only be parked on private land, such as on a private driveway or in a garage. Your vehicle should be declared as ‘off the road’ by obtaining a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) if you have no plans to drive your vehicle and/or get it MOT tested.

Registering your vehicle as SORN is simple and can be completed online here. You’ll also receive a refund for any full months of tax you have remaining on the vehicle. You don’t need to renew a SORN; simply tax your vehicle again to cancel your SORN, not forgetting to get it MOT tested and insured before driving it on the road.

Your SORN will be automatically cancelled if you sell, scrap or permanently export your vehicle.

Avoiding those MOT penalties

The easiest way to avoid driving with no MOT and incurring the associated penalties is to get your vehicle MOT tested on time every time!

If you’re unsure about your MOT due date, use the government’s Check MOT tool to discover the expiry of your current MOT certificate. You can also sign up for our local MOT reminder service so you never miss your vehicle’s most important dates again.

Our MOT testing service makes obtaining an MOT test as convenient as possible. In addition to offering a range of testing slots (including early bird appointments and last-minute availability), we also provide free MOT retests if recommended repairs are carried out by us following an MOT test fail.

Book your Waterlooville MOT online today or contact us for last-minute MOT availability.