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When do I need an MOT on a new car?

14th June 2021

When you buy a new car, you expect it to be in perfect condition and completely safe to drive. This will most likely be the case to begin with; however, it won’t be long before your vehicle is required to have its first MOT test. This is a DVSA-authorised inspection to confirm your vehicle meets the legal road and environmental safety standards.

If you have questions about how your first MOT will work, keep reading our helpful guide to get clued-up.

How early can I MOT my car?

Your very first MOT test is due when your car is three-years-old. Before that, you’re not obligated to take your vehicle in for testing. To find out exactly when your test will be due, check when your vehicle was first registered and count three years forward from that date.

For example, if your car was registered as new on 17th April 2020, its first MOT test would take place no later than 17th April 2023. After 17th April 2023, your vehicle would require a valid MOT certificate and it would be illegal to drive without one.

Own an imported car and unsure of the registration date? Then you’ll have to work out the manufacture date – counting three years forward to get your MOT due date.

Alternatively, check your vehicle's age by looking at the V5C form, which is also known as the logbook. This form always includes details about the vehicle’s registration date, giving the month and the year.

Can I drive without a MOT?

In most cases, no. It’s illegal to drive without a valid MOT and without one, you’re putting yourself, other road users and pedestrians in danger. If you’re found driving without an MOT certificate, you can incur significant legal and financial penalties:

  • Typical fines are £100, but can go up to £1,000 if the case goes to court, and £2,500 if you’re found driving your car despite a ‘dangerous’ MOT classification
  • In more severe cases, you could also have points added to your license or a driving disqualification being enforced.
  • You’ll invalidate your car insurance, you won’t be able to park your vehicle on the road or renew your road tax

However, there are a few scenarios where you can drive without an MOT certificate, which our handy guide on driving without an MOT covers.

Do I need to take anything to my car's MOT test?

As it's your car's first MOT test, it would be helpful to bring along your V5C vehicle registration document. For future tests, you don't need to worry as garages can typically access the required documentation online.

Can someone else take my car for its MOT?

If you’re self-isolating or clinically vulnerable and can’t take your car to the test centre yourself, you can get someone else to take your car for its MOT as long as they’re insured on your vehicle.

An IGA survey found that 88% of garages are offering to collect your vehicle, complete its MOT and then return it to you.

What happens if my car fails its MOT?

If your car fails its MOT test, you will be presented with a VT30 'Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate'. This informs you that your vehicle has not passed the test and the reasons why. Keep hold of it as you’ll need your VT30 in the event of a re-test or appeal. Discover the options available and next steps with our helpful guide to what happens your car fails its MOT.

How often does my car need an MOT after its first test?

Once your car is three years old and has successfully passed its first MOT, you are responsible for keeping up to date with further tests. An MOT is required once a year and with each one, a new certificate will be issued.

Time to book your car’s first MOT test? Book online with your nearest Merityre Specialist branch or contact our team of experts today.