How to check your vehicle’s MOT status

Check out this blog to find out everything you need to know about MOTs, from what they cover and how much they cost, to checking your vehicle's MOT status online.

How to check your vehicle’s MOT status

A guide to MOTs

The Ministry of Transport test, more commonly known as an MOT test, was introduced by the UK government in 1960 as a way of annually checking a vehicle's roadworthiness, covering vehicle safety and exhaust emissions.

During the hour that it usually takes for an approved garage to complete an MOT test, several different parts of your vehicle are checked, including:

  • Body and vehicle structure
  • Fuel system
  • Seatbelts
  • Steering and suspension
  • Windscreen
  • Wipers and washers
  • Electrical wiring and battery
  • Lights
  • Registration plates
  • Bonnet
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Brakes
  • Horn
  • Exhaust system
  • Mirrors
  • Doors
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Towbar
  • Boot/tailgate
  • Seats

An MOT test doesn't cover the general mechanical condition of a vehicle, so parts such as the engine, clutch, and gearbox aren't checked.

How much does an MOT cost?

The price of an MOT varies depending on the garage you take your vehicle to, but the maximum amount an MOT test station can charge you is £54.85 for a car and £29.65 for a motorbike.

It's also worth knowing that VAT doesn't apply to the cost of MOTs, meaning you don't pay any VAT in the fee.

Vehicles exempt from needing an MOT

If your car, van, or motorbike was registered less than three years ago, it doesn't need an MOT test (if you drive a taxi, it will need an MOT on the first anniversary of its registration).

Tractors, goods vehicles that are powered by electricity and registered before 01.03.2015, and some classic vehicles (if they were built or first registered over 40 years ago and if there have been no substantial changes made to them in the last 30 years) are also exempt from needing an MOT test.

How to check your vehicle's MOT status

You must take your car, van, or motorbike for an MOT test once a year to avoid a fine of up to £1,000.

You can check when your vehicle is due for an MOT one of two ways:

  1. Check the date that's printed on your current MOT certificate
  2. Input your vehicle's registration number on the Government's website

Did you know... you can sign up to get (free) text messages and emails from the Government reminding you when your vehicle's MOT is due? 📱

How to check a vehicle's MOT history

If you’re looking to buy a used vehicle, it's always worth checking the MOT history to get an idea of how well it's been looked after over the years. Luckily, like checking your own vehicle's MOT status, you can find out the history of a car, van, or motorbike's MOT by searching the vehicle's number plate on the Government's website.

You'll be able to see if it's passed or failed any MOTs, the mileage recorded when it was tested, when the next MOT is due, and download a copy of the current and previous MOT certificates.


Information includes references to:

The AA - The MOT test explained

GOV.UK - Car parts checked at an MOT

GOV.UK - Getting an MOT

GOV.UK – Check the MOT history of a vehicle

Advice | 16.02.24

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