DVLA warns against early MOT testing

Many drivers put their car in for an MOT early in order to find out if any faults need repairing, in the belief they can still use the vehicle until the old test runs out despite any discovered issues. However, if their car fails the MOT, it is immediately deemed to be no longer road legal, regardless of how long the previous MOT’s validity has remaining.

Drivers who choose to drive their vehicle after a failed MOT test are at risk of receiving a £2,500 fine, a driving ban and three penalty points, even if the old roadworthy certificate is still valid, according to the DVLA.

An MOT can be carried out up to one calendar month prior to the expiry date of the existing MOT certificate, while still preserving the anniversary of the expiry date. If a test is carried out a month before the due date, the MOT is effectively valid for 13 months.

Much online speculation has surrounded the subject in recent years, with many people believing booking in early is a good thing.

The government’s guidelines warn motorists that they face prosecution if they drive their car following an MOT failure – even if its previous test hasn’t expired. “If your vehicle fails the MOT: you’ll get a ‘refusal of a MOT test certificate’ from the test centre,” the DVLA website states. “It will be recorded in the MOT database. You can take your vehicle away if your MOT certificate is still valid.”

However, many drivers may not be aware that a refused MOT will be recorded on the national database, potentially alerting the vehicle to the traffic police and that it is potentially unfit to drive.

Situations have occurred where, after undertaking an early MOT and the car failing, it has driven knowing it to be potentially dangerous and unroadworthy. The vehicle has then been involved in an accident and having been written off. The vehicle owner ended up in court with a prosecution.

A current valid certificate doesn’t make a car ‘road safe’. Serious faults flagged up by an MOT inspector and without being addressed could leave the owner seriously liable.

Vehicle need to meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times so it is always advisable to get any repair work fixed immediately so that the vehicle is fit for the road and to avoid prosecution.

Drivers and vehicle owners should think carefully about the implications of booking an early MOT – it could end up a particularly costly exercise.

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