Your MOT certificate confirms that your vehicle, at the time of its test, without dismantling it, met the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards required by law. It doesn’t mean the vehicle is roadworthy for the life of the certificate and isn’t a substitute for regular maintenance.
Your MOT Test record
When your vehicle is tested at a testing station your test record will be entered on to a secure central database. You’ll then be given either an A4 size MOT (pass) certificate or notification of failure. The certificate is your receipt for the MOT test and shows the information that’s held on the database.
The MOT certificate only relates to the condition of testable items at the time of the test and should not be regarded as:
evidence of their condition at any other time
evidence of the general mechanical condition of the vehicle
evidence that the vehicle fully complies with all aspects of the law on vehicle construction and use
The certificate is no longer proof of an MOT and shouldn’t be relied on as such. Only the computer record can prove a vehicle has a valid MOT. You’ll also be given an Advisory Notice for any recommended repairs for the vehicle at the time of the Test.
When you can MOT your vehicle
You can renew your MOT up to one month before it expires without affecting your annual expiry date. You can find out when the earliest date to MOT your vehicle is by checking the front of the pass certificate.
Why you need an MOT certificate
It is generally an offence to use on a public road, a vehicle of testable age that doesn’t have a current test certificate, except when:
taking it to a test station for an MOT test booked in advance
bringing it away from a test station after it has failed the MOT test, to a place of repair
taking it to a place, by previous arrangement, where problems that caused the vehicle to fail its MOT test, can be repaired bringing it away from a place where the problems with the vehicle have been repaired
Even in the above circumstances you may still be prosecuted for driving an unroadworthy vehicle if it doesn’t comply with various regulations affecting its construction and use. Your car insurance may also be invalid.
The police can ask to see an MOT certificate for a vehicle that needs to have one. They also have access to the computerised records of MOT test results and can tell if the MOT certificate for your vehicle has expired.
It is your responsibility as the vehicle owner to ensure that the due MOT test is carried out in time. You can use the peel off reminder sticker on the front of the certificate and put it in a place where you’ll be reminded of the expiry date. A place like the sun visor or the back of the tax disc holder facing inside the vehicle.
The penalty for driving a vehicle on the road with an expired MOT certificate is a fixed penalty notice from the police, currently £60, or a court fine up to a maximum of a £1,000.
Taxing your vehicle
You'll need to take your certificate with you when you apply for a new tax disc at a Post Office® branch. You won’t need to do this if your vehicle isn’t subject to MOT testing because of its age or type. You can also tax your vehicle online.
Checking an MOT certificate is real
If you have reason to believe the certificate you have been issued isn’t real please contact VOSA on 0300 123 9 000. Calls are charged at the national rate.
Replacing lost or damaged MOT certificates
If you have lost or damaged your certificate, you can get a duplicate from any MOT testing station.
You’ll need to provide the vehicle registration mark and either the original MOT test number, or document reference number - this can be found on the registration certificate (V5C).
The maximum fee for a duplicate certificate for a car is £10.