It is a legal requirement for every vehicle of more than 3 years old to have an MOT test on a yearly basis in order to gain a certificate of being safe for the road. An MOT is important to for several reasons; it ensures that the vehicle is roadworthy, it gives you a heads up regarding any problems which may rise in the future, it gives you peace of mind as a driver and it is the law to have them done.
Despite the importance of taking your car for its MOTs, life sometimes gets in the way, causing some people to forget that their MOT is even due. In these circumstances, the realisation that you may have forgotten your MOT can be a shock, causing you to feel extremely stressed. You may not even know what to do about your situation, and how to resolve it.
If this all sounds very familiar, there is no need to panic, simply read ahead to find out what you need to do next to stay legal and avoid any fines as well as acting as soon as possible.
Do I need an MOT test?
If you have not taken your vehicle for its MOT, it may be because you have only just come to the realisation that you need one. Every vehicle over 3 years old needs to go for an MOT test once a year. This will involve it being inspected before a certificate of roadworthiness is issued for the vehicle.
You need to book your car in for its MOT test every year, before the date on which it was tested the year before. For example, if your car went for its MOT test on the 15th August last year, the test will need to be completed by the 14th August to ensure the vehicle is fully covered year round. Also take into consideration that the vehicle may need repairs, which could hold you up from driving it even longer.
MOTs are not only important for legal reasons, but they are also important to insure the safety of you as the vehicle driver and other road users. The car will be checked for any potential safety hazards including brakes, emissions, tyres and many interior and exterior issues. However, the car’s MOT test only reflects a snapshot in time and is only a guarantee of a very basic level of safety. For this reason, it is highly important that you maintain your car in other ways too to ensure it is fully roadworthy, for example, taking it to be regularly serviced.
I’m not sure if I have a valid MOT for my vehicle
If you are concerned that your MOT certificate may be out of date, you may not even know if you have a valid MOT in place for your vehicle. Do not worry, you don’t have to rely on your memory; it is possible to find out whether or not you are due to take your vehicle for its next MOT.
The DVLA have an online service on which you can check if your vehicle has a valid MOT. Simply enter in the registration number, make and model of the vehicle, and you will be able to see whether the vehicle has a valid MOT certificate and, if so when it runs out. The process is easy, and should only take a few minutes.
Alternatively, if you have had the car for more than a year and have previously taken the car for its MOT, you will have been allocated with a VT20 MOT certificate of approval, on which the expiry date will be stated for your reference.
What are the consequences of forgetting your MOT?
It is highly important that you stop driving your vehicle as soon as you realise that it does not have a valid MOT. It is illegal to drive a vehicle which has an out of date MOT, so you would be at risk of serious consequences if you do continue to drive it.
It is possible that you will incur a fine up to £1000 on the spot if you are caught driving a vehicle with no valid MOT.
What’s more, not having an MOT certificate can make your insurance invalid, so if you had an accident whilst driving the vehicle without an MOT certificate, your insurance may not cover you or pay out. This could cause serious implications, particularly if your car was in need of serious repairs or was written off due to the accident, and if someone else’s car needed repairing, this would also create problems for you.
I have forgotten my MOT; what should I do?
If you have forgotten your MOT, you need to stop driving your vehicle immediately. It is illegal to carry on driving it and you may incur a fine. Before continuing to drive the vehicle, you will need to take it for its MOT test.
The only time you are legally allowed to drive your car without a valid MOT is when you are driving it to the garage. Do not be tempted to drive elsewhere in the car; even if you are just planning to go a short distance you may get caught out, and you will knowingly be acting illegally. What’s more, if you happen to get into an accident whilst driving you may not be covered by your insurance.
Once you have been allocated with a certificate of MOT stating that your car is roadworthy, you will be able to drive the car again freely, and will no longer have to worry about incurring any fines.
How to remember your MOT test
Despite the importance of your MOT test, it can be difficult to keep track of the date to ensure it is done on time. In fact, it was reported in a survey that a third of drivers have admitted to driving a car which does not have a valid MOT. Some of these drivers had even been driving their unchecked vehicles for longer than 6 months. Balancing the rest of your life alongside remembering these important dates can be too difficult to handle, but these deadlines need to be met, so it is important to make sure that you enforce a system which aids you in doing so.
The following tips may help you to remember when your MOT is due so that you never have to risk incurring penalties again:
- Set a reminder on your phone for the month before so that you have time to book it in before it runs out
- Write the date it expires in the calendar
- Make the MOT date a memorable date, for example, the first of a month
- Take your car for its MOT test at the same time as its car tax is due, or its service is due; that way you can book in for both at the same time
- Write the MOT date in your yearly calendar
- Go to the same garage each time your MOT is due and ask for reminders
The dangers of driving without an MOT
It can be easy to ignore a reminder for your car’s MOT test; kidding yourself that you won’t get caught and you can leave it for another day with no problems. Many people believe that their MOT is unimportant and therefore keep putting it off.
However, the consequences for not having a valid MOT on your vehicle are significant and what’s more, you will be putting yourself and others in danger if you fail to take your car for its test.
Your MOT test involves an inspection of the safety of your car, so without it, you will risking the car being potentially defected. For this reason, having an MOT test will give you peace of mind and you will be able to drive knowing that you will be in full safety.
Figures show that people underestimate the importance of their MOT, with 70% admitting that they left it a week before taking their car to the garage, and several admitted to leaving it up to 6 months.
Wherever your car is concerned, it is of paramount importance that you ensure it is as safe as possible; however, sometimes it can be very easy to be completely in denial about the seriousness of issues such as your MOT test.
The Department for Transport published research regarding facts and figures about MOT testing, including the following:
- Vehicle defects are a contributor to 3% of accidents in the UK
- On average, 40% of vehicles fail their MOT tests
- As vehicle ages increases, so does the likelihood of MOT test failure, rising to 60% for a vehicle which is 13 years or older
- As mileage increases, so does likelihood of MOT test failure, for example, 50% of vehicles which have driven 90,000 miles or more fail their MOT test.
- The greater the distance travelled between MOT tests, the higher the likelihood the vehicle will fail its MOT test.
MOT: the rules
When it comes to owning a vehicle, you have a lot on your plate to remember. Insurance, road tax, servicing, and all the regular checks you have to do generally as a vehicle owner such as fluid levels and tyre pressure mount up to result in a very difficult process of having a lot of information to remember. Particularly for those who are new to driving, owning a car is a major responsibility.
For some people, failing to get an MOT test is sometimes due to a genuine unawareness of the rules. Just in case you are not completely aware of the rules regarding MOT testing, the following are all relevant:
- If your MOT has expired, the only time you are legally allowed to drive your car is when you are taking it to and from the garage.
- If your MOT has run out and you are stopped by the police on the way to the MOT, you will have to prove that you have an appointment which you are on the way to.
- If your car fails its MOT, you can only drive it if the last year’s MOT is still valid for example if you took the car to its MOT test earlier in the year this year than last year.
- If your vehicle fails its MOT test, you will not be able to drive it until the necessary repairs have been made and it has been retested with a positive result.
- You can take your car for its MOT any time in the 12 month period after it has passed its previous MOT.
- If your car fails its MOT, the necessary repairs are then made and the retest is completed within a 10 working day period, the retest should be free.
- Tractors, goods vehicles which run on electricity, motorbikes made before 1960 and vehicle less than 3 years old are exempt from being MOT tested.
- If you drive your car without a valid MOT test, you could incur a fine of up to £1000.
If you have any questions regarding MOTs in Northampton, the procedure and what is entailed, or if you would like to book in for MOTs Northampton at In Town Automotive, contact us on 01604 666 700, and our professionals will be more than happy to advise you.