How to check your car’s MOT status and history

How to check your car’s MOT status and history
How to check your car’s MOT status and history

The MOT test is a vital part of car ownership.

It is the government-approved test that ensures a car meets minimum roadworthiness standards, meaning it’s safe to drive.

New cars don’t need an MOT until the third anniversary of their registration but it’s an annual legal requirement after that – until they are 40 years old, at least.

But unlike car tax and insurance you don’t get a handy reminder through the post that your car’s MOT is due.

Potential fine

That makes it easy to overlook and potentially expensive. Driving a car without a valid MOT carries a fine of up to £1,000.

Obviously, you could refer to previous test certificates to check the expiry date but rather than rifle through drawers of paperwork, there’s an online tool that does the same job in seconds.

Read more: How to tax your car and how to check when your tax is due

The government MOT checker will tell you if your car has a valid MOT and the date it expires. It also lets you request a reminder by text or email. All you need is your registration number.

MOT history check

Checking your MOT isn’t just handy for making sure you’re within the law, it’s also a useful tool when looking to buy a used car.

The online database gives basic information such as make, model and colour to confirm a car’s identity and charts a vehicle’s entire MOT history, noting every date it has been tested, the car’s mileage, whether it passed or failed and any advisory notices.

This makes it easy to check the registration matches the car you’re looking at and that its mileage really is as advertised. It also gives an impression of the car’s maintenance history and whether claims of “trouble-free” motoring are wide of the mark.

The tool also checks for any outstanding safety recalls issued by the manufacturer or DVSA.

Nuna Myti car seat review - premium performance at a price

Celebrities' choice comes with substantial price tag

The best Christmas car gifts 2019 - perfect presents from £3 to £300

Our pick of motoring-related presents for every age and budget

Viofo A119 dash cam review

Straightforward dash cam with superior image quality

Do I need winter tyres in the UK? How to prepare your car for extreme weather conditions

We test whether it's worth shelling out for climate-specific tyres