How the MOT scheme works
MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards. It is an offence to use a vehicle of MOT test age that doesn’t have a current test certificate on a public road.
When vehicles are tested
You can check the status of your vehicle on the GOV.UK website.
However, during normal operating times, as a general rule the points below suggest when your vehicle will be due a MOT test:
- cars and motorcycles which are four years old and over
- light goods vehicles from three years old
- trailers, large passenger carrying vehicles and heavy goods vehicles (over 3,500kgs gross weight) from one year old
- buses and taxis from when they are first used
How to apply and costs
You can book a test online or by phone by calling the vehicle test booking line:
- Driver & Vehicle Agency - vehicle test booking
- A guide to booking your MOT/ vehicle test
- MOT test fees
Check the MOT history of a vehicle
You may check the past results of a vehicle’s MOT tests online.
You can only get results for tests done since December 2017 for vehicles tested in Northern Ireland.
MOT testing for quadricycles
A quadricycle (quad) with an unladen weight not exceeding 400 kg and a maximum engine power not exceeding 15 kW must be certified as meeting on-road Type Approval requirements. The check for type approval will be carried out at the time of booking the test.
Quadricycles exceeding 400 kgs or whose maximum engine power exceeds 15 kW are tested as ‘motor cars’ under Northern Ireland legislation. These vehicles are unlikely to meet the legal requirements for a motor car, particularly for construction and lighting requirements.
Vehicles of historical interest – annual testing exemption
Vehicles of Historical Interest are vehicles manufactured or first registered over 40 years ago and are no longer in production. These vehicles must not have been changed in any major way within the last 30 years. Major changes are noted on the V112 form (Declaration of Exemption from MOT).
You do not need to complete an MOT/ Goods Vehicle test if your car, motorcycle or light goods vehicle is 3500kgs or lower and was first manufactured or registered more than 40 years ago.
Even if the vehicle is exempt from annual testing, it must be maintained in a roadworthy condition. You can still choose to test the vehicle on a voluntarily basis if you so wish. For example, a voluntary test may be needed to transfer a registration number off a vehicle, as this scheme sometimes needs a test certificate.
If a vehicle owner cannot decide if the vehicle has had a major change, they should not claim an exemption from the MOT test.
Different rules apply to heavy goods vehicles and buses.
Buses and public service vehicles
Buses and taxis used commercially are not exempt from annual testing.
Buses not used commercially over 40 years old are exempt from annual testing if they meet the definition of a ‘vehicle of historical interest’.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (gross vehicle weight exceeding 3,500kgs)
The existing exemption for HGVs manufactured or registered before 1960 will stay providing these vehicles have not been changed a lot since their first registration. These vehicles when used for commercial purposes will continue to undergo annual roadworthiness testing.
Taxing an exempt vehicle
Vehicles which are exempt from Annual MOT testing will continue to need Annual Road Tax.
If your vehicle has a valid vehicle test certificate you can tax your vehicle as normal.
If your vehicle’s MOT has expired and the vehicle is now exempt from testing, you must fill in the right form for your vehicle type and present it at a Post Office when applying for road tax to confirm MOT exemption.
Goods vehicles and trailers
You must present all goods vehicles with a gross vehicle weight up to and including 3,500kgs (light goods vehicles) for first test on the third anniversary of the date on which they were first registered and once a year afterwards.
You must book a test for goods vehicles with an unladen weight exceeding 3,500kg (heavy goods vehicles) at the end of their first year and every year after.
For a trailer the test is due on the first anniversary of registration and then every year afterwards.
When to apply for an MOT
You should not delay making an MOT appointment when you receive a reminder from the DVA to book a vehicle test, even if the next available appointment falls after the MOT expiry date.
As the DVA transitions back to its normal testing regime it is experiencing a high demand for its testing services. As a result, there are longer than normal appointment waiting times and you may not be able to get a vehicle test appointment before your current MOT expires. If this is the case, you must book the earliest available test appointment for your vehicle.
It may not always be possible to get a test appointment at your preferred test centre and you may have to travel to another centre to secure the earliest appointment available.
For more details and the latest on DVA service availability visit: A guide to booking your MOT/ vehicle test
Vehicle testing outside Northern Ireland
An official MOT vehicle test certificate issued within the United Kingdom is valid in Northern Ireland.
MOT test procedure
A strict routine is consistently applied in all test centres to test the safety and roadworthiness of your vehicle.