A Step-by-Step Guide to Booking and Taking Your Vehicle for an MOT

Booking and taking your vehicle for an MOT is an important legal requirement and responsibility for anyone in the UK owning and operating a car, motorcycle, van, or other vehicle. This article provides a helpful guide to the key steps involved, including finding an approved test center, scheduling an appointment, knowing what documents to bring, understanding the rules around driving to the test itself, and insight into what happens during and after the MOT inspection.

Finding an Approved MOT Test Centre

All MOT tests must be carried out at garages and test stations officially authorized by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Look out for the “MOT Test Station” signs when driving or use the government’s quick and easy online MOT centre finder. When choosing a test centre, consider the location, opening hours, and whether they offer additional handy services like vehicle repairs or maintenance.

Booking and Taking Your Vehicle for an MOT

Scheduling Your MOT Appointment

Once you’ve identified a suitable DVSA-approved MOT center, you’ll need to contact them directly, either online or by phone, to book an MOT appointment. Ensure you have your vehicle registration number to hand, as you’ll need to provide this when arranging a test. You should also indicate your preferred test date and time slot. Some test centers allow dropping off the vehicle early in the morning or picking it up later in the day for extra flexibility. Be aware that MOT test costs can vary depending on the type and class of vehicle, with different fees applied to cars, motorcycles, vans, buses, trailers, etc.

What to Bring to Your MOT Appointment

While not always essential, it’s useful to bring certain documents with you when taking your vehicle for its MOT test:

  • Your vehicle’s V5C registration certificate (log book)
  • A list of any known issues or problems with the vehicle to discuss
  • Confirmation of your booking details (email, reference number)

Driving Your Vehicle to the MOT Test

Driving a car or motorcycle without a valid, in-date MOT certificate is illegal, with fines of up to £1,000. However, you are permitted to drive your vehicle to a pre-arranged, booked MOT test appointment. The vehicle must still be roadworthy when driven to the test center, with no dangerous components. If stopped by police en route, you must be able to prove you are driving to or from a scheduled test. Avoid unnecessary detours and drive directly to the appointed test center. For vehicles with identified dangerous faults, consider having them collected and transported for their MOT instead.

During and After the MOT Inspection

After arriving at the test center, you will typically need to wait while the MOT inspection is carried out or arrange to collect the vehicle later once complete. If your vehicle passes its MOT, you will be issued a new VT20 MOT certificate valid for 1 year before the next test is due. The tester may also make advisory notes for issues that could develop into more significant faults before the next annual test. If your vehicle fails its MOT, you will receive a VT30 document clearly listing the failures and problems identified that need to be fixed. Driving a car or vehicle away after a failed MOT is prohibited except within very specific circumstances, such as going for urgent repairs before taking an MOT retest.

Booking and taking your vehicle for its yearly MOT is a crucial legal requirement for all drivers and car owners. By finding an approved test center, arranging an appointment at a practical time, bringing the necessary documentation, and safely driving your vehicle to the test, the process is usually quick and straightforward. Ensure you understand the specific rules around driving to a test to stay compliant. While most vehicles pass the first time, be aware of the procedures and limitations if your car or motorcycle fails its MOT.


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