Driving without an MOT: everything you need to know

mot tester with clipboard in front of car engine

All vehicles that are over three years old are required by law to have a valid Ministry of Transport test certificate – more commonly known as an MOT. Driving without an MOT could result in a hefty fine, or worse – if your vehicle doesn’t have a valid MOT, that means it’s not safe to be on the road, putting you and other road users at risk.

So in what circumstances can you drive a vehicle without an MOT, and what happens if you get caught? We’ve got the answers to all your questions about driving without an MOT.

How can I check my vehicle’s MOT?

Information about a car’s MOT is kept on a DVSA database, and is updated by an MOT tester after carrying out the test. You’ll also be given a paper copy of the certificate, which will specify the expiry date.

If you don’t have a paper record of your MOT, you can use Vasstech’s MOT checker and enter your registration plate to find out when your annual test is due.

What is the penalty for driving without an MOT?

The DVSA database holds information about a vehicle’s MOT status – whether it’s passed or failed, if it’s been deemed “dangerous” by an MOT tester, and the expiry date of the certificate. This database is accessible by anyone who has your number plate, including the police, and you could be slapped with a fine for driving without an MOT.

If you’re found to be driving a car without a valid MOT, you could be fined up to £1000 – even if you’ve forgotten and are accidentally driving without an MOT.

If you’re found to be driving a car deemed “dangerous” by an MOT, you could be fined up to £2,500, and be given three penalty points on your licence.

It’s really not worth the risk – if your MOT is due for renewal, book your test with one of our experts today.

You are allowed to drive your car to an MOT testing centre, even if your MOT is expired. You may need evidence of your appointment if you are stopped by the police, so be sure to have your booking confirmation on you.

You can also drive your car back to the test centre or to another garage for repairs after an MOT fail – but only if your old certificate is still valid, and that none of the defects mean the car is classified as dangerous. If the car has been classified as dangerous, you should not drive it and will need to arrange for it to be transported by a trailer or recovery vehicle.

There is no law as to how far you can drive to your pre-booked MOT appointment, but you should try and make the journey as short as possible as your car may not be safe. So look for a local garage to carry out your MOT.

mot tester with clipboard in front of car engine
electric vw id 3 in blue parked

Can I book an MOT after it’s expired?

In short, yes – but you should try to get your MOT carried out before the old one expires, to avoid needing to drive without a valid test certificate. You can book your MOT any time in the month before the old one runs out, and still keep the same renewal date.

Is car insurance valid without an MOT?

Even if you’re just driving to the test centre, your car does need to be insured to be on the road. Having a failed or expired MOT could impact your insurance cover – some policies are void if the vehicle doesn’t have a valid MOT.

You should check with your insurer as to whether you can drive to the test centre without an MOT, as this will vary depending on the policy.

Is your MOT test due?

Driving without a valid MOT test comes with huge risks. Not only are you at risk of a fine and penalty points on your licence, you could be driving a vehicle that isn’t safe on the road.

Get ultimate peace of mind with a Vasstech MOT; it’s easy to book, and our efficient, cost effective MOT services will have you safely back on the road in no time. Book yours today.

Book in at your local branch