MOT Grace period explained

If the MOT extension announcement has pushed your MOT due date back 6 months, be sure to book in advance to guarantee the most convenient time for you. Our test centres are beginning to get bookings in advance, so to avoid disappointment be sure to book online today.

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The myth of the MOT grace period

All drivers should be aware that to drive a vehicle on a public road, it must be roadworthy. This means it must pass an MOT test every year, if the vehicle is more than three years old.

However, some people may be under the false impression that there is a 'two week grace period' for lapsed MOTs - this is actually not true. If you're caught with an invalid MOT you may be prosecuted, unless you can prove you are on your way to an appointment for an MOT examination.

To clear up any confusion, we've put together a short guide on MOTs and the misconceptions around a grace period.

What is an MOT?

An MOT test checks that your vehicle complies with road safety and environmental standards to ensure it's roadworthy. You must have an MOT test every year once your vehicle is more than three years old, or in some cases once a year - for taxis, ambulances and people carriers with 13 or more seats.

As of 20th May 2018, new MOT rules came into force affecting anyone driving a car, van, motorcycle and other light passenger vehicles. For those of you unaware of these rules, check out new MOT rules 2018, to make sure your vehicle is road legal.

MOT renewals / expiry

Without a current MOT, your insurance will be be invalid. Not having a valid MOT certificate is also illegal under Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and you run the risk of getting a £1,000 fine and six to eight points on your licence. The earliest you can renew your MOT is one month before the expiry date. If you do that, effectively you'll have 13-month MOT.

The only time you can legally drive without an MOT is if you're travelling to a pre-booked MOT appointment. You may need proof of that appointment. Your local MOT centre is under no obligation to remind you when your test is, so mark a date in your diary and set a reminder. If you are unsure when your MOT is due, use our MOT due date checker.

Only tractors, vehicles that run on electricity, vehicles newer than three years old and cars or motorbikes made before 1960, are exempt from these rules - find out more here.

If your MOT is about to expire, book online with us at Halfords Autocentre for an MOT test.

So, in conclusion, there is no two month grace period and you must make sure you have a valid MOT on your vehicle at all times to drive it out on the roads. For more information, check out our MOT page.

The myth of the MOT grace period

Your guide to the temporary MOT extension

The Government’s advice to stay at home during the Coronavirus outbreak has caused concern among drivers whose vehicles require an MOT. The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority) has subsequently changed the legal requirements for an MOT during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you’re searching online, the advice may seem confusing so we’ll try and make it as clear as possible. Here, in our guide to the temporary MOT extension, we explain what you need to do if your car, van or motorbike is due an MOT soon.

My vehicle should have had an MOT before 29 March 2020

If your car should have had an MOT on or before 29 March 2020, or it has recently failed its MOT, DVSA guidance is clear that you must get it tested. MOT testing stations are staying open for this purpose, and you can book your test in the usual way at 

You’re only exempt from this if you, or someone you live with, has coronavirus and you are self-isolating, or that you personally are extremely vulnerable from coronavirus.

If you are self-isolating, then you should not drive your car to its MOT. Instead, you should remain in your home and take your vehicle to its MOT after 14 days. 

If your car is without an MOT, it’s illegal to drive it, and you should only drive it to a pre-booked MOT appointment. If you are self-isolating and your car runs out of its MOT, you should register the vehicle SORNStatutory Off Road Notification.

Once you have a valid MOT certificate, you can then tax your vehicle. 

If you are vulnerable from coronavirus, you should stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact, including taking your car to its MOT. The Government has said that its’ working with insurance companies and the police to ensure you won’t be penalised for not having an MOT while you remain inside, although there are few details yet on how this will work in practice, we will update this page as soon as we know more. 

My vehicle needs an MOT on or after 30 March 2020

If your car, van or motorcycle’s MOT is due on or after 30 March 2020, then it will automatically be extended by six months. 

This means you won’t need to have it tested before the MOT expiry date or date of first registration if it’s the first MOT. The extension will be automatically applied to all vehicles – including those who are due to have their first MOT. 

Your MOT expiry date will usually be updated on the day your MOT is due to expire, however it might be done a few days before. To check visit If you vehicle tax is also due you can tax your vehicle as soon as your MOT expiry date has been updated.

Can I book an MOT if I want one?

Yes, if you want to book an MOT for any reason, including selling your car, or if you are required to have one by your employer then you can still book one. The Government have confirmed MOT test centres can remain open. They have issued guidance on protecting the health of employees and customers from coronavirus, including information on social distancing.

An MOT test is designed to ensure the safety of your vehicle and many people will continue to have the MOT for safety reasons. 

As a responsible employer, at Halfords, we have stringent processes in place to ensure that all of our colleagues and customers remain protected. See how we have changed our garages to serve you safely. We may be using our vehicles less often right now, but the essential journeys we do make really count. Cars will get nurses to hospitals, volunteers to the pharmacy, and all of us who are not high risk and not self isolating to the supermarket.

That is why we are continuing to provide motoring essentials, fittings, vehicle checks, servicing and MOTs during these troubled times. We’re here to keep the cars that matter most on the road and safe to drive.

Keeping your car roadworthy

All drivers should be aware that to drive a vehicle on a public road, it must be roadworthy. The rules regarding this, which can be found in The Highway Code will still remain in place during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Around 9% of vehicles fail with at least one dangerous item when presented for MOT. Just because your car has an MOT, it doesn’t mean that it is safe. During this time, it’s up to you to monitor the condition of your car, van or motorbike, undertaking essential checks on the tyres, bulbs, wipers, batteries and more to ensure that it’s roadworthy. We put together a special battery guide to avoid getting a flat battery; How to avoid a flat battery during Covid-19.

And our advice on checking brake pads you may find useful.

Our motoring advice centre is full of useful information and advice on the sort of checks that you can do at home. While you can’t browse in your local Halfords at the moment, you can pick up all your motoring essentials online, click and collect to your local store or have them delivered to your door for free when you spend over £40.

Driving an unsafe road vehicle is an offence that could see you fined up to £2500 and receive penalty points on your licence. But more than that, at this time when our emergency services are being called upon to do more than they ever have done, your actions could result in unnecessary and avoidable pressure on an already stretched system.

Be safe, not sorry

During the coronavirus outbreak, the Government advice is to stay at home unless you need to leave to pick up essential supplies, for a medical appointment or for work that you can’t do at home. Otherwise, leave your car where it is and stay indoors, it’s the best option.

However, if your car isn’t running or you are concerned about its condition, then it is important that you get it fixed. We hope you never need it, but if you do you’ll want to be confident that it’s safe to drive during an essential trip or emergency journey.

For the millions of key workers who are keeping the shelves stocked and the population safe, rest assured that Halfords is still here for you. To check if your local garage is open visit