Forgot to book your MOT test? Read this before you drive your van
Let’s say you forgot your MOT test was due, realised too late to make an appointment at the garage and now face a choice between losing out on work, or driving without an MOT for a few days. We know that when your van is your livelihood, this may seem like a tough call. But choosing the second option could have a bigger effect on your income than missing a few days of paid work.
What is an MOT test?
The Ministry of Transport test, otherwise known as the MOT test, is a comprehensive inspection of a vehicle to make sure it is roadworthy. This includes checking that the vehicle meets the minimum road safety and environmental standards. Your vehicle must pass the MOT test in order to be legally driven on the road, and the test must be carried out at an authorised test centre.
What happens if I’m caught driving without an MOT?
If you’re stopped by the police and asked for a copy of your valid MOT, not being able to show one can have serious consequences. While you may be let off with a warning, you could come away with a hefty fine – the penalty for no MOT can be up to £1,000.
And if your van is seen as ‘unroadworthy’, things could get a lot worse. You could be fined up to £2,500 if your van is in a dangerous condition and given 3 points on your driving licence per fault. If you’ve already got existing points on your licence, one or two damaged tyres and a broken light could lead to a driving ban of up to two years. The result? You might have to cancel planned business activities and turn down future work, which could lead to losing clients – both new and existing – who might question your reliability.
Is there ever a time I can drive without an MOT?
The simple answer is, no. If your vehicle is more than three years old, you can’t drive without an MOT unless you’re on the way to the garage for your pre-booked MOT appointment. Hoping to use this excuse if you’re caught on the way to work? Be warned – if stopped, you’ll need proof of your appointment. Otherwise you’ll face the same penalties as everyone else.
Is my car or van insurance valid without an MOT?
In most cases, as soon as your MOT expires, your insurance will no longer be valid. So if you have an accident, your van won’t be covered by your insurance provider and you’ll have to pay for repairs yourself – or potentially have your van written off. If the accident was your fault, you’ll also have to pay for the damage caused to any other vehicles involved, which could be very expensive. And, because it’s also illegal to drive without valid insurance, if you’re caught, you can face an unlimited fine or even disqualification from driving, plus 6 to 8 penalty points.
When does my new vehicle need an MOT?
Straight away, unless it’s less than three years old. Just got the keys to a second-hand van? The same driving without an MOT rules will still apply to your drive home, so ask the seller how long is left on the MOT before you buy. If you decide to buy a van without an MOT, book a test appointment before you collect it, so you can pick it up and drive it straight there. Easy.
I’ve booked my MOT test – what can I expect?
That’s great – here are the answers to some common MOT questions:
How much does an MOT cost?
There’s a limit to how much you can be charged for your test, depending on the size of your van and what you use it for. But an MOT costs £54.85 or less. How much you’ll pay for repairs depends on what the test finds, but the more you’ve looked after your van, the less likely something unexpected (and expensive) will be found.
What do I need to bring to an MOT?
Bring your appointment letter, vehicle registration document or log book (V5C) and latest MOT certificate, if you have one.
What do they check in an MOT?
All the important parts of your van will be tested to make sure they meet the legal standard, including the:
How long does it take for an MOT?
MOTs take about an hour, but bear in mind the time you drop your vehicle at the test centre might not be the time the test starts. Check what time your van will be ready when you book so that you can plan your business activities accordingly.
How can I avoid driving without an MOT in the future?
By now, you’ll probably agree it’s much better to arrange your MOT before it expires. That way, you can give yourself time to save for it and won’t run the risk of driving without one. Worried you’ll forget? Set a reminder on your phone or sign up for free reminders by text or email.