Most of us couldn’t imagine our lives without cars. Depending on where you live, they might be the only viable option of getting from point A to B. But it’s not just about the functional – your vehicle gives you freedom, and can be a space of privacy and retreat when you need some ‘me’ time. Yep, vehicles are valuable things, indeed.

However, we shouldn’t forget that their complexity means that, unfortunately, a lot of things can go wrong, and often, you might not even notice that something is malfunctioning until it’s too late.

If we take into consideration the speeds that our vehicles can reach without much effort, and that you’re essentially in charge of a lethal weapon every time you get behind the wheel, no wonder that there are regular tests that your car has to pass. If you live in the United Kingdom and have ever wondered if it’s legal to drive without an MOT and other pressing questions on the subject, then read on; here are 6 things you need to know about MOTs and driving.

WHAT IS AN MOT?

The MOT (Ministry of Transportation) test is nothing new – its first version was introduced in 1960, though initially, it wasn’t as extensive as it is now. However, as vehicles became more advanced, these routine checks focused on an ever larger number of systems.

In Great Britain, vehicles that are older than three years must pass the test every year. Cars that are used only on small islands are exempted from this routine check; Jura, Sark, we’re looking at you. Also, tractors and vehicles manufactured before 1960 are also exempted from MOT.

However, in Northern Ireland, the regulations about MOT are somewhat different. Vehicles that are not over 3, but over 4 years old, require an MOT test if their owners intend to use them. On the other hand, the law in Northern Ireland doesn’t grant exceptions on the basis of where the vehicles are used. 

IS IT LEGAL TO DRIVE WITHOUT AN MOT?

The short answer is no; you are not allowed to drive your vehicle if it hasn’t passed an MOT test – if you want to avoid potentially breaking the law then you should read more on driving without one and the possible punishments; you can click here to do so. 

These laws are in place because a failure to pass the test indicates that your vehicle could potentially be dangerous to you or other drivers on the road. However, there are some exceptions to this rule….

DRIVING WITHOUT YOUR MOT 

There are more than 20,000 places all around the United Kingdom, where drivers can undertake an MOT test. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting contact with other people is currently the top priority, and as such, due to past regulations, all class 4 vehicles that had certificates valid at least until the 30th of March will be allowed on the road for the next 6 months.

In less unusual circumstances, driving on the roads after your car has failed an MOT test would be permissible if you had undertaken the test less than a year after the previous one, meaning that one full year hasn’t yet passed. 

However, it only applies if the routine check hasn’t revealed that there are major issues with your vehicle that are serious enough for your vehicle to be called unroadworthy. Still with us?

One final scenario in which you would be allowed to drive your car without a valid MOT certificate is if you are driving to a place where such a test would take place. However, you would have to book your appointment first, so that if you were stopped by the police while on the way, you would be able to present proof. 

FEAR THE FINES 

Otherwise, you might be in for trouble or, to be more specific, liable to a fine of up to £1,000. To avoid wasting such a significant amount of money, we recommend setting up an appointment long before your certificate’s expiry date. As we have previously mentioned, there are more than 20,000 points in the UK where you could pass such tests, so the distance shouldn’t be a problem. 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

What about the costs? Although MOT tests are not free, you’ll be pleased to hear that their cost isn’t particularly high, either. Owners of motorcycles should be prepared to pay up to £29.95, whereas car owners should expect a fee of up to £54.85. Larger vehicles are only a little more inexpensive; in the majority of cases, they remain below £60.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CAR FAILS? 

You’ll need to address any issues on your VT30 ‘Refusal of an MOT Test’ certificate. Depending on why your MOT failed, your test centre will let you know the options for retesting.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Vehicles in the United Kingdom need to pass their MOT each year; it serves as an indicator that they are well-suited for the road and that they don’t pose any danger to their drivers but also to others. 

In 2020, the situation is different, as due to the regulations passed as a consequence of COVID-pandemic, some of these vehicles may not need to pass an MOT test until October. However, in any other case, experts recommend that all drivers to check their vehicles, or they might have to pay hefty fines or worse still, risk potentially dangerous accidents.