Plans to extend MOT to every two years have been scrapped

The Government has scrapped planes to extend the gap between MOTs from one year to two years. 

Plans would have seen motorists get their car tested every two years under proposed changes which would have saved them up to £55 each year. 

After a consultation, the Government confirmed there would be no change in MOT frequency for Brits. It said: 'Motorists will still take the first MOT test 3 years after buying their new car as the government continues to listen to drivers. 

'Today (25 January 2024), the government has published its response to the consultation on updating MOT testing for cars, motorbikes and vans, which confirms that the first MOT will remain at 3 years from registration. Every subsequent MOT will also continue to be taken once every year, ensuring motorists can continue to drive with peace of mind.'

Roads Minister, Guy Opperman, said: We have listened to drivers and industry, and keeping MOTs in their current form shows once again that we are on the side of motorists.
By offering clarity on MOT tests, alongside our recent street works consultation and unprecedented £8.3 billion to resurface roads, we are helping motorists drive with peace of mind and ensuring Britain’s roads continue to be some of the safest in the world."

Do electric cars need an MOT?

Electric vehicles will need to pass an MOT test after three years like all other vehicles using public roads - it's all about the vehicle being roadworthy and safe. However, unlike diesel and petrol counterparts, EVs do not require an emissions test.

The following is historic Covid information on MOTs - no longer vaild.

Will my MOT be extended because of the Omicron variant?

The first Covid lockdown saw expiring MOT test certificates automatically extended by six months, but this ended on 31 July 2020. Despite subsequent lockdowns, the government has not returned to the scheme where certificates are extended. 

Current MOT advice under Covid restrictions

Official advice is that MOTs must be renewed as normal. However, the Gov.UK website says you must not take the vehicle to a test station in person if: 

Not being able to take the car in for an MOT due to Covid or isolating is not an excuse for not having an MOT and the vehicle must be put on a SORN and taken off public roads until one can be obtained.

Is there an grace period because of the coronavirus pandemic?

The MOT extension - or grace period as it is often referred to - has now ended. Drivers must ensure their vehicle is covered with a valid certificate.

Does my car need a new test certificate during the Covid pandemic or will it get an extension?

Use the following MOT checker for lockdown to see if you'll need to take your vehicle for a test or whether it will be automatically extended.

Date that car's MOT check is due

Automatic extension to MOT due to Covid-19

Car will need MOT test

1. MOT due on or before 29 March, 2020 No automatic six-month MOT extension Yes
2. MOT due between 30 March, 2020 and 31 July, 2020 Automatic six-month MOT extension No
3. MOT due on or after 1 August, 2020 - 5 January 2021 No automatic six-month MOT extension Yes
4. MOT due on or after 6 January, 2021 onwards No automatic six-month MOT extension Yes

No new extension at the moment as test centres will remain open 2021

The Government has released guidance confirming that MOT test centres will remain open. This mean there will be no new scheme to automatically extend MOTs when they expire. 

Please read on for the latest news on getting an MOT during the Covid-19 pandemic.

I am in an area with high numbers of Covid infections - will I get an extension or will I need to take a test?

Currently there are no plans to give MOT extensions in areas affected by local restrictions due to the rise Covid cases causing concern across the UK. This means there will be no new MOT extension scheme and a new test certificate will be needed for all qualifying cars - even if the MOT runs out in an area affected by large numbers of Covid infections.

Are test centres closing during the pandemic?

No, as stated above, the Government is allowing test centres to remain open during  2021.

Where can I get my car tested during the pandemic?

All MOT centres are allowed to remain open - so you should be able to find one near you that offers a test. All centres have access to Government advice on how to carry out the MOT test safely and reduce any risk of spreading Covid-19. 

How can I check when my MOT runs out?

Having a valid MOT for your car is a legal requirement for cars over three year's old, but unlike other aspects of vehicle ownership, there are no reminders sent out covering the MOT expiry date. However, there are government services to help you find out when the test is due.

Use the government MOT check service to find out right now when your MOT is due. All you need is your registration number for an instant date confirming when your MOT runs out. It's free and takes just a few seconds.

Find out when your MOT and tax runs out.

Are tests going ahead in England, Scotland and Wales during the Covid-19 lockdown and beyond 2021?

The government has updated its advice on MOT centre opening to make it clearer that tests can go ahead in all parts of Great Britain. This includes lockdown 2021. MOT test centres will remain open in:

  • Tier 1 to 4 areas and the national lockdown 2021 in England
  • protection level 0 to 4 areas and the temporary lockdown in Scotland
  • alert level 1 to 4 areas in Wales

Read on to find out what you should do if you need a new MOT for your vehicle during the coronavirus pandemic.

How long were test certificates extended by?

Lockdown restrictions in March 2020 caused by the coronavirus pandemic prompted the government to change the rules around MOTs, with test MOT tests being extended by six months - but only during the lifetimes of the scheme.
MOT rules and extensions are based around three dates, as follows:

MOT extensions scheme dates explained


1. MOT check due on or before 29 March, 2020

Up until 29 March, the MOT system was operating as normal, with all qualifying vehicles needing to obtain a test certificate to be eligible for use on public roads. 
However, if the owner or someone they live with had coronavirus symptoms during this period, or they were deemed extremely vulnerable to the virus, they were told not to visit an MOT test centre. To avoid being prosecution, owners would need to have declared their vehicle SORN until they were well or no longer needed to shield.
There was no 6-month MOT extension offered during this period.

2. Check due between 30 March, 2020 and 31 July, 2020 

If your MOT was due between 30 March and 31 July, 2020, the expiring MOT certificate will have extended by six months. 
The extension will apply if your vehicle is a car, motorcycle, light van or other light vehicle.
The six-month extension also applies to qualifying vehicles that reached the three-year qualification for a first MOT between 30 March 2020 and 31 July 2020.

3. Check due on or after 1 August, 2020 - 5 January 2021 

MOTs expiring  after 1 August, 2020, will not have been extended. Car owners must book the MOT test as usual.
Failure to do so would mean the vehicle must be taken off public roads.

4. Check due on or after 6 January, 2021 

MOTs expiring  after 6 January, 2021, will not be extended due to the new national lockdown. MOT test centres remain open. Car owners must book the MOT test as usual.
Drivers should not take vehicles for an MOT test is they are feeling unwell, showing symptoms of coronavirus, or self-isolating. 
However, even if vehicle owners cannot attend for reasons linked to illness, the vehicle will not receive an additional six month extension to its MOT.
If the vehicle is about to run out of road tax - which cannot be renewed without an MOT - owners should register it as off-road SORN. The vehicle must not be stored on or used on public roads during this period. Register your vehicle SORN here.

Can a test centre refuse to check my car over Covid-19?

Yes. If the MOT test station staff believe customers are displaying signs of Covid-19 and should be isolating, government advice says they can refuse to carry out a test.

Can I wait while my car has its test?

Government advisory information says customers are allowed to wait in the test centre waiting room or viewing area, provided social distancing measures are observed. Test staff and reception workers should wear single-use gloves at al times during tests and customer interactions - such as taking the key fob.

Can I drive without an valid test certificate during lockdown?

No. There are no circumstances in which you can drive without an MOT due to lockdown measures - aside from existing rules where a vehicle can be driven to the test centre. 

Events such as self-isolating or illness do not exempt a vehicle from needing to have a valid MOT certificate to be used on public roads. If the vehicle has no MOT it must be removed from public roads - and put on a SORN if it also has no valid road tax (VED).

Sign-up to MOT reminder system to avoid missing renewal date

The number of drivers using cars without a valid MOT test certificate has tripled over the past year as extensions due to the Covid-19 restrictions have left many confused by their new renewal date. 

Signing up to the official MOT reminder system could help the millions of motorists who had the test certificate extended avoid being fined - and even driving with invalidated insurance.

From March 30 to the end of July 2020, as lockdown measures curtailed movement, 10 million cars, vans and motorcycles were given a MOT extension for a six-month period.

All of these vehicles will now a have different renewal date for their MOT, increasing the risk of missing the new renewal date. 

Sign up for the MOT reminder service here

All test stations listed - find a centre near you

Use this official UK Government list of active MOT test centres to find one near you. Click here to view active MOT test centres.

Will I get a 6-month MOT extension due to coronavirus?Here's our at-a-glance guide to work out if you will have received a 6-month extension to your car's MOT

How can I check when my MOT is due for renewal?

Car owners no longer get paper reminders before their vehicle's MOT is due to run out, but ignorance is not defence in law for driving with an expired test certificate. However, you can check the status and renewal date of your vehicle's MOT with a free online checker. All you need is your car's registration number. Click here to check your MOT and road tax status on the official checker.

When does a car need a test certificate?

You must get an MOT for your car by either:

  • The third anniversary of its registration
  • The anniversary of its last MOT, if it is more than 3 years old

Did I need to do anything to extend my certificate for six months?

No. If you owned a qualifying vehicle, this would have been done automatically about seven days before the current one expired.

Should I have received a new certificate?

You will not have received a paper certificate with the new expiry date on it. You will need to make a note of the new expiry date and ensure you book a test before it expires if you intend to use the vehicle on public roads.

Can I tax my vehicle during the six-month extension?

Yes. It will be possible to tax vehicles as normal if they have received a six-month MOT extension.

What about car insurance during the extension or if I need to purchase new cover?

Your insurance cover will not be invalidated during the extension period - provided you are not knowingly driving a dangerous vehicle. 

What if I have returned from abroad and self-isolating?

There is no longer any provision for car owners who are self-isolating through displaying symptoms, or returning from a foreign country not on the 'safe' list. Therefore, it would seem the vehicle must be taken off public roads and declared SORN, or taken to an MOT centre by someone who is insured to drive the vehicle and not self-isolating.

A car without an MOT being left on the road could attract a fine of £1,000

Find when my test due date is

You can check your MOT due date on the official government site for free here.

How much does an MOT cost?

The following price list is the maximum you should pay for an MOT as published on the You Gov website. 

Vehicle class Age first MOT needed (years) Maximum MOT fee  
Motorcycle (engine size up to 200cc) 1 3 £29.65
Motorcycle with sidecar (engine size up to 200cc) 1 3 £37.80
Motorcycle (engine size over 200cc) 2 3 £29.65
Motorcycle with sidecar (engine size over 200cc) 2 3 £37.80
3-wheeled vehicles (up to 450kg unladen weight) 3 3 £37.80
3-wheeled vehicles (over 450kg unladen weight) 4 3 £54.85
Cars (up to 8 passenger seats) 4 3 £54.85
Motor caravans 4 3 £54.85
Quads (max unladen weight 400kg - for goods vehicles 550kg and max net power of 15kw) 4 3 £54.85
Dual purpose vehicles 4 3 £54.85
Private hire and public service vehicles (up to 8 seats) 4 3 £54.85
Ambulances and taxis 4 1 £54.85
Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (9 to 12 passenger seats) 4 1 £57.30
Goods vehicles (up to 3,000kg design gross weight) 4 3 £54.85
Class 4 vehicles (9 to 12 passenger seats) with a seat belt installation check 4a n/a £64
Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (13 to 16 passenger seats) 5 1 £59.55
Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (more than 16 passenger seats) 5 1 £80.65
Playbuses 5 1 £80.65
Class 5 vehicles (13 to 16 passenger seats) with a seatbelt installation check 5a n/a £80.50
Class 5 vehicles (more than 16 passenger seats) with a seatbelt installation check 5a n/a £124.50
Goods vehicles (over 3,000kg up to 3,500kg design gross weight) 7 3 £58.60

Will the Police stop me if my vehicle is on an extended certificate?

No. When the scheme is active - should it become so again - Police databases will be updated to avoid any issues with vehicles being stopped by officers. 

Can I just keep driving whatever the condition of my vehicle?

Just because your vehicle has an MOT - extended or otherwise - the driver is responsible for ensuring it is safe to drive - roadworthy - at all times. Drivers can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Will I get a reminder that my extended test certificate is about to run out?

No. Should the scheme be reinstated, it is unlikely you will not get an automatic notification that your extended MOT is about to expire. No reminders were sent when the first scheme was in operation. However, the government offers a service where you can input your details to receive a reminder sent to a mobile phone number or email address. You will need one of these contact methods, along with the vehicle's number plate. 

Does this advice apply to all of the United Kingdom

The advice here applies to England, Scotland and Wales, but drivers in Northern Ireland have separate rules covering MOTs during the coronavirus pandemic - here the extension could be up to 12 months. Find out more here. 
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