An MOT certificate is one of many documents that you need before you are legally allowed to drive on roads. It is compulsory when it comes to safely and lawfully driving on roads.
However, what happens if your MOT is due to expire?
What is an MOT?
An MOT stands for Ministry of Transport which was the government department that checked whether a vehicle was suitable for the roads when the MOT test was first introduced in 1960.
An MOT test checks numerous important parts of your vehicle to ensure that they are undamaged and unlikely to cause injury. The main components that MOT testers will check during an MOT test include:
- Body, vehicle structure and general items
- Fuel system
- Electrical e.g. battery
- Exhaust emissions and exhaust system
- Seatbelts and seats
- Boot/tailgate and bonnet
- Tyres and wheels
- Registration plates and vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Windscreen, and wipers and washers
- Steering and suspension
A Valid MOT is a Legal Requirement
To be able to legally drive on roads, your car must have a valid MOT certificate which confirms that your vehicle is safe to drive on the road, having met the minimum road safety standards that are required by law.
To obtain an up-to-date MOT certificate, you must take your car to a MOT test centre where they will conduct a test, identifying any defects or faults with your vehicle. These faults are categorised as either of the following:
A ‘dangerous’ or ‘major’ fault is an automatic fail in the MOT test, meaning that you will not be legally allowed to drive your vehicle on the road until these faults have been fixed. If a fault is classified as ‘dangerous’, you will not be permitted to drive until the problem is rectified as it poses a serious risk to the safety of yourself and others on the road.
What does an expired MOT mean?
An MOT certificate is valid for 1 year, meaning that if your car is over three years old, an annual MOT check is mandatory per regulations. This is to ensure that your car is roadworthy to minimise potential risks and hazards that could cause an accident due to car mechanics.
If your MOT has expired, this means that you are legally not allowed to drive on roads until you have passed a new MOT test. This means it is best practice to pre-book an MOT test before or on the expiry date as you will not be able to drive your car if your MOT has expired.
You are only permitted to drive if you are driving to an MOT appointment, otherwise, you could be fined up to £1,000 for driving without an MOT and up to £2,500 if your vehicle is classed as dangerous.
It is also worth noting that if your MOT has expired, the following may apply:
- Car insurance invalidated
Regardless of whether your car insurance is still ongoing, an expired or absent MOT certificate means that your car insurance will no longer be valid. This can incur penalties such as fines and points added to your driver record – in particular, if you build up 12 or more penalty points on your licence within 3 years, you could be disqualified from driving.
It is also important to consider that you can also be penalised in endorsements if you drive a car with defective parts, so regular servicing and ensuring that you book your yearly MOT appointment is crucial in preventing accidents and keeping everyone safe when driving.
- Inability to obtain car tax
If your car tax is due around the same time as the expiration date of your MOT certificate, you may find that you are unable to tax your car without a valid MOT certificate. In turn, you can also get fined for driving an untaxed vehicle which is another hindrance to your bank account.
Now you may be wondering, “how can I drive to the MOT test if my car is untaxed?” – luckily for you, regulations state that you are allowed to drive your car only to the test centre with no unnecessary stops along the way. As soon as your vehicle passes its MOT test, you must tax your vehicle.
If your MOT is due soon, you should head to your local MOT test centre before the expiry date to ensure your car is roadworthy and safe for use. If you live in the South East area, book your MOT test at our MOT centre in Laindon, Thurrock and Basildon to ensure the best service possible.