When to get an MOT

The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards.

You must get an MOT for your vehicle by either:

  • the third anniversary of its registration
  • the anniversary of its last MOT, if it’s over 3 years old

Some vehicles need to be tested at one year old - check the MOT fees table to see which.

Find out how to check your MOT expiry date.

There are different rules and processes in Northern Ireland for MOTs for vehicles registered in Northern Ireland.

If you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

You need to get an MOT for your vehicle as usual.

If you’re in England or Wales, you should not take your vehicle to an MOT centre in person.

If you’re in Scotland, you must not take your vehicle to an MOT centre in person.

Find out about:

If you cannot take your vehicle in person

Some MOT centres will collect your vehicle for the MOT and then return it. Contact an MOT centre to see if this service is available.

You can also get someone else to take your vehicle into a test centre if you insure them on your vehicle.

If you cannot get your vehicle collected or taken in for you, you must wait until you’re no longer self-isolating to take it into a test centre.

If the MOT has run out

  1. If your tax is due to run out, register your vehicle as ‘off the road’ - you cannot renew your vehicle tax if your MOT has expired.

  2. Book an MOT test.

  3. Tax your vehicle once it has passed its MOT.

You cannot drive or park your vehicle on the road if the MOT has run out. You can be prosecuted if caught.

The only exceptions are to drive it:

  • to or from somewhere to be repaired
  • to a pre-arranged MOT test

Earliest date you can get an MOT

An MOT lasts for a year. The date it runs out is printed on your current MOT pass certificate.

You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.

You can get an MOT up to a month (minus a day) before it runs out and keep the same renewal date.


If your MOT runs out on 15 May, the earliest you can get an MOT to keep the same renewal date for next year is 16 April.

You can get an MOT earlier, but the renewal date for the following year will change to one year (minus a day) from the date the vehicle last passed its MOT.


Your MOT is due to run out on 15 May, so the earliest you can get it done is 16 April. However, you take your vehicle for its MOT on 14 April and it passes. This means that the MOT expiry date changes to 13 April the following year.