All vehicles older than 3 years must have a valid MOT in order to drive on UK roads. Some vehicles will need to be tested at 1 year old (ambulances, taxis and vehicles with over 9 seats).
Some vehicles are excluded from needing an MOT. These include cars and motorcycles made before 1960; goods vehicles powered by electricity; tractors. Lorries, buses and trailers need to get an "Annual vehicle test" instead of an MOT.
An MOT lasts for 1 year. In order to keep the renewal date the same each year, you can renew the MOT up to 1 month minus a day before the current MOT runs out. E.g. if the MOT runs out on 15th May, you can renew the MOT from the 16th April onwards.
It is possible to get an MOT at any time, but the renewal date will be different.
You are not allowed to drive a vehicle if the MOT has expired. If caught you can be prosecuted. The only exceptions to this are if you are driving to a pre-booked MOT test, or are driving to a nearby garage to have the car repaired. If pulled over by the police, you may need to provide proof of either of these scenarios.
MOTs have a set maximum charge, but can be cheaper at the discretion of the MOT test station. The maximum fee for a car is £54.85, and for a standard motorcycle is £29.65. Other vehicles may vary - see this page for more details.
An MOT must be conducted by an approved MOT test centre. These are identified with a blue sign with 3 white triangles.
The MOT tests various parts of a vehicle to make sure they meet the legal standards. The test does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox. For more details of what parts are checked during an MOT, read the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency guide.
If caught driving without a valid MOT certificate, you can be fined up to £1000. Any vehicles without a valid MOT certificate will have their registration details automatically sent to the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) database as used by police and some static roadside cameras. If a camera on a police vehicle detects that your vehicle is in the ANPR database, the police will be alerted and you will likely receive a £60 fixed penalty notice. Failure to pay could lead to a court summons and up to £1000 fine and court costs.
Vehicles that are driven or parked on public roads need to be taxed. If the vehicle is to be kept off the road, then it must be declared SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). SORN lasts for 12 months, and must be renewed if the vehicle is to continue being kept off road.
The amount of tax due on a vehicle will vary according to the type of vehicle, engine size and CO2 emissions (CO2 only applies to cars registered after 1st March 2001). Each vehicle is allocated a tax band based on engine emissions. Use the tables on the Government website to help you find the cost of tax on your vehicle.
Despite being used as a term by arrogant drivers towards cyclists, there is no such thing as road tax. The correct term is vehicle tax, car tax, or VED (Vehicle Excise Duty). Vehicle tax collected by the government goes into the general funds of the Treasury, and not towards repairing roads.
The paper tax discs issued by the DVLA and displayed in car windscreens as proof of payment stopped being issued on 1st October 2014.
Police now check whether a vehicle is taxed by using the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras in their vehicles which connects to the DVLA database. There are also static cameras at the side of many roads across the UK which use ANPR, and will flag up if an untaxed vehicle is driving around. Fines are automatically processed and sent out to owners of vehicles not taxed or SORN.
You can pay for vehicle tax on this government website. You can also pay over the phone or at a local Post Office. You will need your V5C registration document, a V5C/2 new keeper supplement, or your reminder letter in order to pay the tax.
Driving without tax will incur an £80 automatic fine. This may be discounted on early repayment. Failure to pay the fine could lead to a court prosecution and a fine of up to £1000 plus court costs.
When you access your account, you will be able to view the expiry dates of your MOT certificate and vehicle tax. We will also show you other details of the vehicle including amongst others; make and model, colour, first registration date, year of manufacture, CO2 emissions, fuel type, and MOT history (if available). The MOT history will include dates of previous tests, odometer readings and any details of failure or advisory items for all previous MOTs related to the vehicle.
You will also receive reminder SMS text messages to let you know when your MOT and vehicle tax are due. If you choose, you can also be reminded about your car insurance renewal, and set up other reminders for servicing, breakdown cover and parking permits.
You can have up to 5 vehicles listed in your account at any one time. These can be added, removed, and updated whenever you choose, so if you buy or sell a car, it is very easy to update your account to ensure you only get reminder notifications about the vehicles you need.
The Vehicle Information service costs £10 for 12 months access. It is a one-off charge (not a subscription) and will not automatically renew. The charge will be added to your mobile phone bill when you join the service. You can use the service as much as you like, including adding, removing and checking an unlimited number of cars, without incurring any extra costs.
To access your account, you will need to login with your registered mobile phone number, and the PIN code we sent you when you first joined. The PIN code was sent to you in a text message under the number 60076. If you can't find this message, visit the Login page and click the "Forgot your PIN?" link to be sent your PIN code again in a free text message.
If you received a PIN code from us in a text message, but are unable to access your account, please visit the Login page and click the "PIN not working?" link. Simply submit the form and we'll try to see what the problem is.
If you want to stop receiving the text message reminders and permanently close your account, please text the word STOP to 60076.
If you no longer wish to use the service, please text the word STOP to 60076, and your account will be cancelled.
If you have any other questions regarding the Vehicle Information service, please contact us. We will get back to you within 2 working days. Our office hours are Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm.