Many tend to put off getting their MOT renewed, but doing so puts their car insurance at risk and may also result in a hefty fine. Here’s what you need to know about renewing your car’s MOT
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MOTs are an annual legal requirement for all vehicles in the UK and each vehicle has an MOT (Ministry of Transport) due date.
For a new vehicle, the due date will be three years after the car was first registered.
You can check your MOT expiry date on the government website.
It’s best not to leave the renewal of your MOT until the due date because this could mean you face as much as a £1000 fine.
This fine could then be increased to a whopping £2,500 if you’re found to be driving a car that’s deemed dangerous, regardless of whether your MOT is valid or not.
What is an MOT?
An MOT test is done to make sure that your vehicles, including cars and motorbikes, meet the legal safety standards that make it roadworthy.
The MOT will include a series of tests and checks to make sure that the lights, steering, suspension, windscreen, horn, seat belt, tyres, brakes and several other aspects of a car are in proper working condition.
A qualified mechanic will also check your car’s fuel system and emissions, but an MOT will not test the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox.
How much your MOT costs will vary depending on the type and size of the vehicle you’re driving.
For cars this is usually capped at £54.85 and at £29.65 for motorcycles.
When does your MOT run out?
Drivers are often advised to organise an MOT test before their current certificate expires, but you can usually get an MOT up to a month, minus a day, before it expires.
The best place to check your vehicle’s MOT status and expiry date is on the government website.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency(DVLA) also has a free reminder service to help ensure you don’t forget the date.
Another online service called Automyze is offered by the AA and this one not only helps you check the due date but also provides a list of nearby MOT garages.
What happens if you lose your MOT certificate?
The DVLA also has a service which car owners can use to download a copy of their MOT certificate for free.
This means you won’t need to pay a £10 fee to a garage to get the certificate.
If you lose your certificate, you can get a replacement certificate through any MOT centre. Just ring them, give your number plat and log book reference number to get your replacement.
You will be charged £10 or half the MOT test fee (if this is less) this service.
Sometimes your car might fail its MOT. In this case, you’ll be given an MOT test refusal certificate.
If you receive this before your MOT expires, then you will still be able to drive your car as long as you get any defects fixed before applying for a retest.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.