Can You Drive Without an MOT?

Driving a car without an MOT certificate is dangerous, illegal and unsafe. You should never drive your car without an MOT, if you do, you’re invalidating your insurance and risking the lives of yourself, your passengers and others on the road. Here’s why you should never drive without a valid MOT (and the consequences if you do).

Many people are confused or unaware of the MOT rules when it comes to MOTs. For example, 53% of drivers in our Roadworthiness Poll* said they didn't know their car’s MOT date.

The MOT rules have changed in recent years, so here’s what you need to know:

  • A new MOT certificate is valid for a year. But the earliest you can get a new MOT is up to a month – minus a day – before its expiry date. So, if your MOT is due to expire on 20 March, you can book it in for a test from 21 February, but you’ll keep the same renewal date.
  • If your MOT has expired, you can only drive it directly to a garage for an MOT retest or a repair. If you're stopped on the way by police, you must be able to prove that you have an appointment booked at a garage.
  • If your car has failed its MOT, you can only continue to drive it if the previous year's MOT is still valid. This could happen if you take your car in for a test a few weeks early, for example. You can still drive it away from the testing centre or garage if no dangerous problems were identified during the MOT. If there are serious issues with your MOT, you’ll need to have all repairs completed before you can drive the car away.
  • You shouldn’t need to pay for a retest if the work has been completed by the same garage and the test is done within 10 working days of the original test.
  • If you’re caught driving without a valid MOT you could face a fine of up to £1,000 and your vehicle may be impounded.

You can learn more about the MOT rules here.

*Based on Halfords Autocentres YouGov survey carried out in October 2017 from a sample size of over 2,000 adults.