How Early Can You MOT a Car?

A Ministry of Transport or MOT test is an important part of every UK driver’s schedule. As a car owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your vehicle undergoes this all-important test if your car is more than three years old. 

An MOT test is an essential maintenance check that should be undertaken every year. It tests a long list of components, including your vehicle’s axles, wheels and tyres; battery, lights and electrics; bodywork; fuel systems; wipers, windscreen and mirrors; suspension; and steering. In addition to upholding a certain standard of roadworthiness, the exhaust emissions check included in the MOT test is essential for minimising our impact on the environment.

By certifying your car with an MOT test, you’ll not only be proving it has a basic level of roadworthiness, you’ll be taking the steps needed to ensure the safety of you, your passengers, pedestrians and fellow road users. With this, your MOT expiry date should be firmly in your diary, but can you complete your MOT test earlier if needs be?

Can I book an MOT early?

Yes, you can. Whatever the reason for your early test, the earliest MOT date you can schedule is up to a month (minus one day) before your original MOT expiry date.

Better yet, by opting for the earliest MOT date, your new MOT due date will be 13 months away instead of the standard 12 months to give you some extra time to play with next year.

There are many reasons why you may be considering an early MOT. You may be unable to attend on or nearer to your MOT expiry date, or perhaps you are expecting your vehicle to require additional remedial works to achieved the required pass result. If it is the latter, booking the earliest MOT date will give you extra peace of mind. 

Is this the earliest MOT date I can go for?

You can have your MOT test even earlier, but if it is more than one month before your original MOT due date, you won’t preserve your MOT date. Instead your early MOT will give you a certificate that is valid for just 12 months from this new test date.

If I take the MOT test early and it fails, can I still drive until the old MOT expires?

This is a common question amongst early testers. By law, you still have until your original MOT expiry date to get your vehicle repaired and retested if the faults identified are minor. This means you can take your vehicle away if your old MOT certificate is in date, and get it repaired and retested before your original MOT due date. 

As your car has failed its early MOT however, it is technically not roadworthy. If the faults identified on your early MOT are classed as dangerous, you could incur some very serious penalties if you’re pulled over by the police. Drivers of vehicles in dangerous condition can be fined up to £2,500, incur three penalty points, and even face a ban from driving.

Whether you opt for an early MOT or are testing closer to your MOT due date, we always advise that identified defects are fixed and your vehicle retested before driving your car once again.

How can I check my MOT due date?

If you’re unsure about your MOT expiry date, here’s how to check your car MOT date. Simply visit the government’s MOT status tool to discover your MOT due date. All you need is your vehicle’s registration number to get started. 

You can also sign up to their MOT reminder service to receive a free text message or email alert one month before your MOT due date.

My vehicle is new, when is my MOT due date?

If your vehicle is new, i.e. no more than three years old, your MOT due date will be exactly three years from its date of registration. Your test should be completed no later than this MOT expiry date. If your vehicle is imported, your registration date may be described as its date of manufacture.

Drivers who have purchased a second hand car and are unsure about the MOT expiry date of the vehicle can use the government’s MOT history portal

Here you’ll be able to find out whether the vehicle has passed or failed its MOT, the locations of previous MOT tests (undertaken in England, Scotland or Wales since 2005), the mileage recorded at each test, the faults and minor issues identified during tests, and its next MOT due date.

Ready to book your early MOT test? 

You can find out more about our MOT testing service – including our early bird MOT tests, local MOT reminder service, free MOT retests, and 0% interest free credit and payment options – here. Alternatively, please call us for last minute availability at our MOT test centre.