Can you drive without MOT?

Life involves a lot of admin especially when it comes to your car. Dates for things like your MOT can creep up on you and take you by surprise, leaving your car unroadworthy when you need to use it for work or pleasure. It may be tempting to think your car is in good health and to drive it just like you did the day before, but the fact is that you are breaking the law if you drive the majority of cars over three years old without a valid MOT.

What is the law?

All cars on British roads must have an up-to-date MOT, if they are more than 3 years-old, to guarantee that they meet road safety standards and meet environmental thresholds. The test consists of a large number of checks around the car. Experienced mechanics check all facets of the car, including seatbelts, exhaust system, window wipers, brakes, mirrors and more, but not the health of the engine, clutch or gearbox.

The truth of the matter is that the authorities take driving without an MOT extremely seriously, as you are not just putting yourself at risk but all other road users and pedestrians. If your MOT is expired then your car is flagged as unroadworthy in the eyes of the law and thus illegal to drive. There are just a handful of circumstances when you can drive without an MOT and they are the following:

Your car is new

When you buy a new car you are exempt from needing an MOT for three years after purchase. Naturally, for extra peace of mind you can take your car for an MOT, but you are not legally required to and if it fails you will have to repair it and pass before being able to drive it. Once the three years has elapsed you will need to obtain an MOT, if you are unsure of when this date falls then simply head over to the MOT checker here.

If your vehicle is too old

The majority of older and historic vehicles often cannot feasibly pass some of today’s more stringent safety and environmental tests. This is why regulations were changed to allow any car older 40 years of age to be exempt from requiring an MOT. Be aware though that if modified or changed in a significant way over the last 30 years your vehicle may still require an MOT, so be sure to check here. Whatever your car’s age you still need to keep at its best and in a fit state to grace the roads as Government guidance demands that ‘you must still keep it in a roadworthy condition’.

Driving to a test centre

If your car falls into neither of the two categories above, then the only reason you are legally allowed to drive your car with an expired MOT is to the garage to have it retested. Your journey must be directly to the testing station, so if stopped by police on route you must be able to show proof of appointment at the garage. This rule allows people who have made an honest mistake to get their car back in a roadworthy condition.

Police have license plate recognition technology at their disposal to catch you driving without an MOT, and it is matter of when, not if, that you will be caught. Fines can run up £2,500 and penalty points applied to your license, so do make sure your MOT is up to date and that you car is roadworthy at all times. Remember, if you are looking to sell your car without an MOT then you can here at Sell My Car Direct.

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