How to check the MOT history of a vehicle

Author Name – Jack Underwood

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mot history

Are you in the market for a second-hand car and want to check its MOT history to make an informed decision? Maybe you want to double-check your existing car’s MOT history or a family member’s MOT certificate? Whatever your reasons, car MOT history checks are easy to perform.

In this guide, we talk about how to check MOT history online and answer a range of questions surrounding the topic, including why you should check MOT history, if it’s necessary, how to check service and tax history, and more.

How to check your car’s MOT test history

You can check a car’s MOT history online by using the fast and free UK government tool. All you need is your vehicle’s number plate registration number and the 11-digit code in your V5C vehicle log book. Records are held for up to 10 years, so you will be able to check a detailed history of the vehicle, including:

  • Its MOT passes and failures
  • Which parts of the vehicle failed the respective test
  • Advisories
  • The car’s mileage at each test
  • The test centre the MOT was performed at
  • When the vehicle’s next MOT is due

You can determine the number of previous owners the car has had by checking the logbook. This will help you conclude if the vehicle has a full MOT history.

Related: Check MOT History

Why check the MOT history of a car?

There are lots of reasons you should check a car’s MOT history online.

Firstly, because every car three years and older in the UK needs a valid MOT certificate, so if you buy a car that doesn’t have one you will need to shoulder that cost yourself. You also won’t be able to legally drive it home or park it on the street – learn more about whether you can drive a car with no MOT.

If you check the car’s MOT history and it has gone a period without one, this can be an indicator of its quality and how well it’s been taken care of. This is useful if you’re buying second hand and want to predict future costs.

A full MOT test history will inform you of which parts of the car required an immediate repair and retest due to past MOT faults. This can be an insight into common issues in the vehicle, and, if the problems are recurring, give you an idea of future maintenance problems.

The car’s MOT history will also show any advisories. These are issues that didn’t require repair but were still concerning enough for the tester to comment on, given they are likely to cause problems later down the line. Again, this can be useful in working out how much the car could cost you in repairs.

And lastly, you can see full mileage information in the MOT history. This can be compared against typical maintenance timelines for the make and model, giving you a further idea of the vehicle’s future repair needs.

In essence, by checking the car’s MOT history, you can ensure you don’t get short-changed when buying a second-hand car.

If you’re purchasing from a private seller, unless they explicitly misled you, the chances are you won’t be able to return the vehicle for a refund if a problem occurs. And even if you were lied to, a lengthy court battle can be the only way to get your money back.

At the end of the day, checking the car’s MOT history is much simpler and quicker, as well as being entirely free.

How do you check a car’s service history?

As well as checking your MOT history, there are several ways that you can check a car’s service history. This is always a good idea when purchasing a car, as it will give you an even more complete view of the car’s past, informing your understanding of its future maintenance needs. View our clear and simple guide below to learn how.

Related: Check Service History

How do you check whether a car is taxed?

It is also important that as well as checking the UK MOT history of a car, you check its vehicle tax status too. Doing so is crucial, as it is illegal to drive a car that isn’t taxed. To find out when your car tax is due, use the government’s free online tool below.

Related: Check vehicle tax

Checking the MOT history of a vehicle is a shrewd idea if you want to protect yourself when buying a car or planning your car maintenance. Stay smart with your car upkeep by setting a free MOT reminder, and if you’re not sure when your next MOT is check the date with National and book your MOT to cross the task off your list.

Learn more about MOTs: view our useful guides, contact our experts online, or talk to us over the phone today.

Related: Book your MOT

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