1. The MOT test

You must keep any vehicles driven on the road in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards.

It isn’t the same as having your vehicle serviced and doesn’t check its general mechanical condition.

The leaflets ‘Your car and the MOT’ and ‘Your motorbike and the MOT’ include a list of the parts of your vehicle that will be tested.

When to test

You must get an MOT test for your car by either:

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

The MOT text reminder service finished in August 2014. You’ll be sent one more reminder if you registered in the last 12 months.

In some cases, you’ll need to get a test when it’s one year old - check the MOT fees table to see if this applies to your vehicle.

You’ll then need to renew your MOT before it expires. The earliest date you can renew is one month before it expires - this date is printed on the pass certificate.

You must use an approved MOT test centre to get your MOT. Only centres showing the blue sign with 3 white triangles can carry out your MOT.

Approved centres must show an official ‘MOT Test: Fees and Appeals’ poster on a public notice board on their premises. This must list contact details for your local DVSA area office.

If your MOT has expired

You can’t drive your vehicle on the road if the MOT’s expired. You could be prosecuted if caught.

The only exception is if you’ve already booked an MOT and are driving your vehicle to the test centre.

Detailed information

Read the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA’s) MOT inspection manuals and guides for a detailed breakdown of what’s covered in an MOT test.