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Your MOT certificate

Your MOT certificate is a record of the MOT database. It confirms that your vehicle, without dismantling it, met the minimum 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

Changes to the MOT certificate

Where your vehicle is tested on or after the 16 October 2011 you will receive a new style of MOT certificate. This will be printed on plain paper in a landscape format instead of a pre-printed coloured form. Changes to the certificates are part of an ongoing drive to reduce costs and wastage.

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 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 test certificate is no longer proof of an MOT and shouldn’t be relied on as such. Only the MOT computer database record can prove a vehicle has a valid MOT.

Your MOT certificate may also contain information on advisory defects found during the test which do not in the personal opinion of the tester warrant a notification of failure. These may include:

  • testable items which only just pass and may need attention soon
  • items which are not within the scope of the MOT test and may need attention
  • any peculiarity of the vehicle

When you can MOT your vehicle

You can renew your MOT up to one month before it expires without affecting your annual expiry date. The earliest date you can present your vehicle for test is printed on 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 subscribe to the text reminder service

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.


If your vehicle fails its MOT it should be retested at the same test station which carried the original test, the notice of failure will contain further details of the type of retest required.

For the purposes of retests, working days do not include Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays. If the test station changes ownership then a full retest must be carried out and a full test fee may be charged. Only 1 partial retest can be conducted in connection with this refusal notice - if that test is unsatisfactory then a full retest must be carried out when the vehicle is next inspected.

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 genuine

If you have reason to believe the certificate you have been issued isn’t genuine 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 V5C document reference number - this can be found on the registration certificate (V5C).

The maximum fee for a duplicate certificate for a car is £10.

  • Source Direct Gov
  • Last Updated: 06 Jan 2012