Driving without an MOT – what’s the risk?

By Julia Freeman

An MOT, or Ministry of Transport test, is an annual test of vehicle safety that checks the roadworthiness of a vehicle, as well as the exhaust emissions mandatory for the UK. It’s the law for every car over three years old to have a valid MOT certificate in order for it to be used on the road.


As it is a legal requirement to have an MOT for your car, you can expect there to be a few maintenance issues if your car fails to pass its test. If you ignore its renewal completely and continue to use the car, it can cause a lot of more serious problems for you.

So, what are the risks if you drive your car without an MOT? Read our list below to understand why it’s essential that your MOT is up to date and valid.

Health and Safety

The main reason why an MOT test is needed is the legal requirement for health and safety. It is imperative that your car is safe to be on the road, ensuring your safety and the safety of other road users. Your car may fail its MOT due to a safety issue, such as that the brake pads need replacing. If you continue to drive it without fixing the issue, you are at greater risk of causing or being involved in a road accident. Failing to ensure that your car is safe to drive is risking your life and the lives of other road users.

Penalties, points and fines

Failure to obtain a valid MOT certificate could result in you having to pay a fine or penalty. You could be fined up to £1,000 for driving without a valid MOT certificate. What’s more, if you continue to drive your car after an MOT test has considered it “dangerous”, the fine can increase to £2,500, and you can be banned from driving and issued with three penalty points on your licence. How would the authorities know that you didn’t have a valid MOT? Police systems in their cars and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras can identify those cars on the road without a valid MOT certificate.

Further damage

During an MOT test, your car is examined for any damage to the engine, the exhaust system and specific areas of the bodywork. If there are any signs of damage, it could cause your car to fail the MOT test. However, if you continue to drive your car without a valid certificate and do not get the damage fixed, this could cause further mechanical or safety issues. With more damage, come higher maintenance costs and a greater risk to your safety and the safety of other road users.

A missing MOT certificate invalidates car insurance

As with a lot of related statutory requirements, if you don’t have a valid MOT test certificate, your car insurance will become invalid. Your insurance company will only insure your car against damage and theft, if they can be certain that your car is in a roadworthy condition to begin with. Hence, the proof of a valid MOT test certificate. For the sake of around £40, the typical cost of an MOT test, it’s certainly worth ensuring that your car insurance is also valid, and guaranteeing you aren’t wasting money on pointless insurance premiums.

How can I check if I need an MOT?

It’s really easy to find out if your car needs an MOT certificate and the date required. All you need to do is visit https://www.check-mot.service.gov.uk and input your car registration number plate. The system will show if your current MOT certificate is valid or has expired and provide an MOT history, stating whether the car has failed or passed its MOT in the past.

It also provides you with the date when you will need to get a new MOT test done. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during lockdown one, motorists were automatically given an extra six months to arrange an MOT. If you visit the website to check, you may find you have a little more time to arrange this.

Call the experts

In our experience, if you need to arrange an MOT for your car, you are going to need a trusted team to ensure your vehicle is safe to use. As well as MOT tests, our tyre professionals can advise on well-known tyre brands, such as Pirelli and Falken. The staff here at Protyre are always ready to help. Book your MOT online now or contact the experts at Protyre for further advice.

Book Your MOT Now

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Brand Marketing for Micheldever Group and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to deliver their automotive needs.
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