Can you drive a car without an MOT?

Author Name – Jack Underwood

    143 people



Wondering whether you can drive a car without an MOT? The answer is that it is illegal to drive your car without an MOT unless you are driving to an MOT test centre or garage. However, even then your car must not have any serious, dangerous faults – these will be listed on your MOT test certificate.

Once your MOT expires, you will no longer be able to drive your car as you would be doing so illegally. That means it’s vitally important you remember your MOT date, so be sure to check when your MOT is due or use our free MOT reminder service.

In this guide, we explore the situations where you can drive a car without an MOT, such as to a garage or test centre, and how factors like insurance and tax are impacted by not having an MOT. We’ll also look at the penalties for driving a car without an MOT, and how you can report a car driving without an MOT.

Driving without an MOT to the MOT testing centre

Driving without an MOT to the MOT testing centre is legal under certain circumstances. If you have booked an MOT at your local National Tyres and Autocare branch and your MOT has expired, you must ensure you have proof of the appointment with you when you travel and take the most direct route possible.

If you are stopped by the police, they will need to be shown proof that you are driving to the MOT test centre. It’s also important to understand your route – if you take a significant detour to your appointment and the police pull you over, you will need to be able to explain why you are taking such a route to the MOT testing centre. If you don’t have proof, you could be prosecuted.

Related: Find your nearest branch

Can you drive a car without an MOT to a garage?

 You can drive a car without an MOT to a garage, provided your MOT certificate does not show a dangerous defect. Aside from an MOT test centre, it is illegal to drive your car elsewhere.

The MOT testers at National Tyres and Autocare garages do not have the authority to stop you from driving away after an MOT failure. However, if your MOT has a dangerous defect, it’s illegal to drive and, if caught, there are several penalties likely to be levelled against you.

What’s the penalty for driving a car without an MOT?

It is illegal to drive your car without an MOT. According to the police, there are over 11,000 automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras across the UK, which check over 50 million records every single day. These cameras and police out on the road can automatically see whether your car has a valid MOT. If it doesn’t, you will be pulled over or otherwise visited by the police.

If the police stop you and you don’t have a valid MOT, you can be given a £1,000 fine. If the vehicle’s condition is dangerous, you can receive an unlimited fine if you’re driving a van or £2,500 if you’re driving a car. That’s on top of three points on your licence, and if you were convicted of driving in a dangerous condition within the past three years, you can be disqualified from driving for at least six months.

Can a car with no MOT be parked on the road?

According to government guidelines, you can’t park your vehicle on the road if its MOT has expired. That means you must park your car on your private property, such as your driveway or in your garage, or pay for it to be parked and safely stored until it can have its MOT and any servicing thereafter.

Can you drive a SORN car to its MOT without insurance?

If your car is subject to a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) and you want to get it back on the road, you can drive it to a test centre. However, you would need valid car insurance to make this journey. No vehicle can be driven without valid insurance. You should get temporary insurance to drive your car to the garage. The correct steps to driving it are:

  • Book an MOT test appointment for your SORN car – you can only drive straight to this appointment
  • Pass your MOT or fix any issues and get a retest
  • Get your vehicle taxed using your MOT certificate
  • Insure your vehicle using your tax information

Can I drive my car to its MOT without tax?

If your car has no valid MOT and no tax, you can drive it to a test centre. That’s because, without an MOT, you will be unable to renew your road tax. By law, your vehicle needs to have passed its MOT test to be taxed. Once it passes, however, you must immediately organise your car tax so you are driving legally.

Is car insurance still valid without an MOT?

 Once your MOT has either expired or failed, your car insurance will no longer be valid. This means that if you are involved in a road traffic accident, your car insurer will not be liable to pay out on your insurance.

If this is the case, you would need to pay for any repairs – yours and the other driver’s – out of your own pocket. What’s more, since it is illegal to drive without car insurance, you may also receive six to eight points on your licence, an unlimited fine, or a driving ban.

How to report a car driving without an MOT

 If you know that a car is being driven or parked on a public road and it does not have an MOT, you can report it to the authorities. If you report it online, your report may be logged depending on the police force in question; if you want to remain anonymous, you can also call 101 and report the crime.

To report a car driving without an MOT, you’ll need to provide the vehicle make, model, number plate, body colour, and location. If it’s parked, you may also be asked for how long that has been the case.

 Driving your car without an MOT is dangerous and typically illegal. To make sure you don’t get caught out, organise a free MOT reminder or check your MOT date with National and be sure to book your MOT well in advance. For more information, view our range of helpful guides, contact our team online or give us a call today.

Related: Book your MOT

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