MOT Must Know

Motorists across the UK are being slapped with fines for opting to have their new MOT done before the old one expires

British drivers are being stung by the police for having a new MOT test carried out before their current certificate expires.

Motorists up and down the UK are being hit with fines after failing, as a failed test is recorded on the national database leaving drivers vulnerable to traffic police and prosecution. Motorists could be subject to fines if they take their car in for an early MOT.

Many drivers put their car in for a test early to find out if any faults need repairing, in the belief they can still use the vehicle until the old test runs out despite any discovered issues.

But if their car fails it is immediately deemed to be no longer road legal, regardless of how long the previous MOT’s validity has remaining.

Drivers that choose to drive their vehicle after a failed MOT test are at risk of being slapped with a £2,500 fine, a driving ban and three penalty points, even if the old roadworthy certificate is still valid, according to the DVLA.

An MOT can be carried out up to one calendar month prior to the expiry date of your existing MOT certificate, while still preserving the anniversary of the expiry date.

If you have your test carried out a month before the due date, your MOT is effectively valid for 13 months.

A lot of online speculation has surrounded the subject in recent years, with many people believing booking in early is a good thing.

The government’s guidelines warn motorists that they face prosecution if they drive their car following an MOT failure – even if its previous test hasn’t expired.

“If your vehicle fails the MOT: you’ll get a ‘refusal of a MOT test certificate’ from the test centre,” the DVLA website states.

“It will be recorded in the MOT database. You can take your vehicle away if your MOT certificate is still valid.”

A spokesperson for, a national comparison website that buys thousands of MOT failures, says many drivers are not aware of the MOT procedure. Even if an initial certificate is still valid, any failed MOT makes the car illegal to drive on the road.

“Many drivers will not be aware a refused MOT will be recorded on the national database potentially alerting your vehicle to the traffic police and it being potentially unfit to drive.

“We’ve had many a situation where a customer – after undertaking an early MOT and the car failing – has driven their car knowing it is potentially dangerous to drive.

“They’ve then been involved in an accident, writing off their car and ended up in court prosecuted.

“A current valid certificate doesn’t make a car ‘road safe’. Serious faults flagged up by an MOT inspector and these not being addressed could leave you seriously liable.

“In any case, your vehicle needs to meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times so it’s advisable to get any repair work fixed immediately so your car is fit for the road and avoiding prosecution.

“You will then have the peace of mind knowing it will sail through its next test.”

Drivers might want to think carefully before jumping in and booking an early MOT – it could end up a particularly costly exercise.