What happens if your car MOT is out of date?

For cars that are three years old or older, the annual MOT test is a check that they are safe to be on the road. The MOT will check a range of car parts, including the tyres, brakes, wipers and lights, and will also check that the vehicle’s emissions are within acceptable levels. The engine, gearbox and clutch are not checked as part of the MOT as they are not considered safety items.
But what happens if you forget the annual MOT? First, there’s a £1000 fine for driving your car on the road without a valid MOT. The only exception to this is if you are driving the car to an MOT test garage for a pre-booked appointment. If you don’t have a valid MOT then you are also not legally allowed to park your car on the road.
Not having a valid MOT will also invalidate your insurance, so if you have an accident you won’t be covered and costs could escalate. Now that all MOT records are computerised, police number plate recognition cameras can easily check whether your car has a current test certificate.
There’s a handy checker on the Protyre website that will tell you when your car’s test is due: you just need to enter the registration number.

What you need to do

If your MOT has expired then you need to get the car booked in for a fresh test and not drive it until the test has been completed. Remember that you are allowed to drive the car to a pre-booked test appointment. Protyre has more than 100 garages around the UK capable of doing MOT tests, so you should be able to find one that’s convenient for you.
MOTs expire at midnight on the certificate’s expiry date. However, you can have a new MOT done up to a month before your old one expires, so you can fit the test around your busy schedule. Many people choose to have the MOT at the same time as a service, which means you only need to make one visit to the garage. It also means that any problems that might lead to an MOT failure can be picked up and rectified as part of the service, saving you from a second garage visit.
Because everything is now recorded centrally, you don’t need to take any documentation with you when you take your car in for its test.

Failures and retests

If your car fails its test then you can’t continue to drive it unless there’s some unexpired time remaining on your old test certificate. Once any faults have been fixed, you can submit the car for the test again; Protyre garages offer retests for free.
Cars often fail for simple things like incorrect or damaged number plates, worn wiper blades or failed light bulbs, so it’s worth checking these things before you put the car in for its MOT, so that you can avoid unnecessary failures.