All road vehicles within the UK must be officially declared ‘road safe’ to be legally driven. To make certain a vehicle is road safe for the driver, passengers, and others on the road, a MOT check must be performed regularly. This test can be performed at a vehicle testing centre or garage. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about MOT checks, including how often they must performed, how much they cost, and what is checked.


When is Your Vehicle’s MOT Check Due?

To find out when your MOT check is due, you can use the DVLA’s online MOT lookup service. The DVLA is responsible for maintaining all legal registrations and documents on vehicles using UK roads.  If you have purchased a new vehicle, you must have a MOT check performed by the third anniversary of the last MOT check.


How to Obtain a Car’s MOT History

If you are planning to buy a new car or have recently purchased one, either from a private party or through a dealer, you will want to look at the car’s past MOT checks. (This is also a good idea if you are uncertain whether a MOT certificate you have received is legitimate or not.) You can use the DVLA’s online MOT history checker to obtain this information. To get started, you will need the car’s make and number plate registration. The DVLA has results from 2005 onwards for England, Scotland, and Wales. Unfortunately, information is not available for Northern Ireland. Also consider DVLA vehicle history check services that are open resource. This service is not comprehensive but you can confirm vehicle details, check mot history and road tax status. Also use askMID for car insurance to ensure the car is held legally. 


Who Oversees and Enforces MOT Checks?

MOT checks are required by law and are overseen by the DVLA in Swansea. MOT checks are performed by chain and independent facilities throughout the country.


What is Checked When a MOT is Performed?

When you take your car for a MOT check at a testing centre, you can expect the following to be checked.

  • Vehicle registration and ID, including plates
  • Body work and shell
  • Brake system
  • Condition and aim of lights
  • Condition of door and all seatbelts
  • Condition and security of mirrors
  • Front seating
  • Fuel system and cap
  • Horn functionality
  • Quality of suspension
  • Steering
  • Washer bottle
  • Wheel and tyre condition
  • Windscreen wipers and windscreen condition
  • Vehicle emissions and safety


Getting Your MOT

It’s important that you make certain your vehicle is on time for all MOT checks. The DVLA suggests applying for a MOT booking by the third year of a car’s registration. Afterwards, a MOT should be performed yearly by the anniversary of the last check. Always book in for a car MOT check at least one month before your check is due.

MOT checks can be performed at any authorisedcentre throughout the country. In Northern Ireland, the process differs slightly.


Where to Get a MOT

MOT centres and other vehicle testing centres and garages can be found throughout the UK. It is important to make certain the centre is fully certified to perform a MOT inspection, according to the DVLA and DVSA’s requirements.


The Cost of a MOT Check

Although MOT fees will differ from one testing centre to another, the DVLA has established maximum fees. This depends on the vehicle type. For a car MOT check, the maximum amount you can be charged is £54.85. For a motorcycle MOT, the maximum amount you can be charged is £29.65. MOT fees are exempt from VAT. If any changes must be made to your car, additional fees will apply.


MOT Failures

If there are multiple issues that must be fixed or replaced, a vehicle will fail its MOT. All failures are documented in the MOT database.  To receive a new MOT certificate, you must bring the car up to code. If your car fails a MOT and you have a current, valid MOT certificate, you are still legally able to drive the car.

To pass your future MOT checks, you must fix all issues mentioned in your MOT report. You must be sure the car is road worthy or you run the risk of being fined or having points put on your driving license.


Failure to Have a MOT Check or Certificate

If you are found to be driving without valid MOT documents or without complying with the DVLA’s MOT service requirements, you face a penalty or fine. A MOT penalty may be as much as £1000. It’s also important to understand that having a valid MOT doesn’t allow you to drive your vehicle in a dangerous condition. For example, if you drive your car with unsafe steering or tyres, you can be fined as much as £5000 if a court determines the car was not safe to drive on the road. Always be sure your car is up to code and MOT ready to avoid any penalties or fines.


Replacing Your MOT Certificate

If your MOT certificate is lost or damaged, you can visit your closest MOT centre and request a replacement. You will be expected to pay £10 or half of what a full MOT service would cost at the centre, whichever amount is less.


Appealing a MOT

If your car has received a notification of failure, but you believe it should have passed, you should contact the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). You will be asked to complete a complaint form. This form must be completed within 14 business days of the test date. The DVSA will contact you within 5 business days to discuss your case. In some instances, you may be asked to go through another MOT check.

If you are not satisfied with the service you receive, you can contact the DVSA 0843 903 3770 to file a complaint. The DVSA is open Monday to Friday between 7:30am and 6pm.


How much will I pay for a MOT?

This fee will vary from one testing centre to another. However, they are not legally able to charge more than £29.95 for motorcycles or £54.85 for cars.

Are some vehicles exempt from MOT checks?

Any car less than three years old is not legally required to have a MOT check.  On the car’s third anniversary of registration, a MOT check will be required. Afterwards, MOTs are usually required once a year. All MOT checks should be booked one month in advance.

Certain vehicles are not subject to MOT checks. They usually include any vehicle manufactured before 1960 and any that run on electricity. Tractors are also not required to have MOT checks.

I want to complain about an MOT. What do I do?

You should contact the DVSA. This can be done by phone on 0843 903 3770. You also have the option of downloading a complaint form from the DVSA website and sending the completed version to or via post to


The Ellipse

Padley Road



When does a MOT expire?

MOTs expire one year from the date of the last check. You have until your car is three years old to apply for your first MOT check.

DVSA Contact Details

The DVSA can answer any queries about MOT requirements or any other questions you may have in regards to the process of obtaining a MOT. They can be reached via phone on 0843 903 3770.