Your MOT Test Certificate

Old and New MOT Test Certificate

Your MOT Test 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 certificate or notification of failure. The certificate is your receipt for the MOT test and shows the information that’s held on the database.

New ‘Categories’

The MOT Test certificate changed in May 2018 to incorporate different categories of pass or failure.

These categories in some cases replace ‘advisory’ notes by the Tester; remarks on items which although not covered by the MOT, or not serious enough to fail, would indicate to the vehicle owner anything which needed attention.

Now, an item which is covered by the MOT, but which is not serious enough to fail, or does not currently present a risk to road-safety (for example brake pads which are near but not at the limit for a fail) would result in a pass with “minor defect”. A ‘pass’ certificate may contain more than one ‘minor’ defect.

The old ‘advisory’ is still available however, for a Tester to use should they come across an item which needs attention

‘Failure’ certificates will carry one or more ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ category defects.

While there is nothing an MOT Testing garage can do to stop you driving away in a vehicle with a ‘dangerous’ defect, you should bear in mind that you have been notified in writing that the vehicle is in a dangerous condition, and that once the MOT Test result is recorded on the MOT computer, it is available for traffic police to view should they have cause to.

Sample MOT certificates:

1. Pass


MOT Test changes May 2018 - new Pass certificate
MOT Test changes May 2018 – new Pass certificate

2. Pass with minor defect and advisory

New MOT Test changes sample Pass certificate
May 2018 MOT changes: A sample MOT Pass certificate with minor defect and advisory

3. Fail with minor and major category defects

MOT changes May 2018 - MOT Fail certificate with major defects


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
  •   of the general mechanical condition of the vehicle
  •   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.

Check the MOT status of any vehicle here

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 that 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.

More about the new MOT Test changes here

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