What You Need To Know About An MOT Renewal
If you own a car in the UK that is older than 3 years, you need an annual MOT. Without a valid certificate, you are not allowed to drive on public roads unless you can prove you are on your way to an MOT renewal. In this article, we look at an MOT renewal in more detail with tips for preparing your car for the test and how soon before an MOT expires can you renew.
MOT Renewal And The Importance Of Vehicle Testing
An MOT (Ministry of Transport) test is a mandatory annual safety inspection for vehicles in the UK. It checks that your vehicle meets the minimum road safety and environmental standards. An MOT certificate is a legal document issued by an approved testing station.
Caring for your vehicle doesn’t end with simple maintenance as an annual MOT forms a crucial part of owning a car. It may be a legal requirement under Section 47 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, but it should be seen as more. Whilst an MOT is only a visual inspection, it can help identify any issues that could be resolved before they become potentially dangerous and expensive.
Since it is required by law in the UK, you could face hefty fines or points on your license if you are caught without a valid MOT certificate which is why a timely MOT renewal is vital. To be more specific, the penalty for driving with an expired MOT certificate may include the following:
- a fine of up to £1,000
- six to eight points on your licence
- invalidated car insurance
What Is Checked During An MOT?
MOT tests from a DVSA-approved MOT testing centre are designed to ensure that unsafe vehicles are identified and removed from public roads. The test includes a visual inspection and a comprehensive series of checks around the vehicle. MOT technicians will look at the interior, exterior, under the bonnet and even underneath the vehicle.
Some of the checks include:
- steering system
- shocks and suspension
- registration plate
- tyre tread and tyre pressure
- windscreen wipers
- and more
MOTs are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. It is important to keep track of your MOT certificate’s expiry date, as you will need to have it tested again before the date on the document.
At Elite Garages, we offer a Free MOT reminder service so you will never forget to book yours again. If you’re unsure of your MOT renewal date (MOT test date), you can check the status of a vehicle here.
How Soon Before An MOT Expires Can You Renew?
If your vehicle requires an annual MOT, you may be wondering how soon before the MOT expires can you renew it. The answer depends on a few key factors, such as when your current MOT certificate was issued and when your MOT renewal is due.
An MOT renewal can take place up to one month before it expires. Most garages will offer you the opportunity to book a time slot for the next available date, although some may require that you wait until the MOT has expired.
If you miss this deadline, your vehicle will be deemed unroadworthy and may not be driven on public roads until you pass an MOT. It’s important to remember that an MOT renewal includes the same criteria as a first MOT test. If there are any MOT failures, all necessary repairs must be made to the vehicle before you can book an MOT retest.
How Can I Prepare My Car For MOT Renewal?
To prevent the most common MOT failures, do a few simple checks beforehand. Taking care of these minor details can help you avoid any potential mishaps and ensure that everything goes smoothly during the MOT test:
- Check that all the lights are working, including the headlights, indicators, fog lamps, brake lights and hazard lights
- Test your brakes, handbrake and steering wheel to confirm that they are in good working order
- Inflate all your tyres to the correct pressure, including the spare tyre if your car has one
- Check that your tyre tread depth is at least above the legal of 1.6mm
- Remove all stickers in the drivers view, and check the wiper blades for damage
- Check that your mirrors are intact
- Make sure that the VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number) matches your car’s logbook (V5C registration certificate)
- Check that your registration plates are in good condition, clear and easy to read
- Personalised number plates must still meet the DVLA standards
- Check that there is no damage to the filler cap and the seal
- Test the horn to make sure it’s loud and clear
- Clean your car beforehand as testers can refuse to inspect a cluttered car
What Happens If A Car Fails Its MOT?
If your car falls short of the required regulations, it will fail its MOT. A report detailing any faults will be provided and everything must be repaired before booking an MOT retest. In some instances, the same MOT test centre where you initially failed the MOT can often assist in repairs and may even offer a discounted rate. After the repairs have been done, you can book your MOT retest. This usually involves paying a small fee although some service centres like Elite Garages will offer a free retest if you book it within 10 days of your original test.
Final Thoughts On MOT Renewal
The best way to maximise your chances of passing the MOT the first time and avoid having to book a retest is to make sure your car is well-maintained throughout the year and to perform a few simple checks before the test as mentioned earlier.
In conclusion, it’s important to remember that you can do an MOT renewal up to one month before the current certificate expires. If your car fails its MOT test, all necessary repairs must be done and a retest booked before you can drive it on public roads again.
Regular vehicle maintenance will not only help you pass the MOT but doing so can also extend the lifespan of your vehicle and prevent any potential breakdowns in the future. If you are unsure about anything or need advice on how best to go about preparing for an upcoming MOT renewal, contact your nearest Elite Garages. Our experienced technicians are here to help you every step of the way!
You can renew your MOT up to ONE month (minus a day) before it expires. While most garages will give you the opportunity to book a slot for the soonest date, some may require that you wait until it has expired.
You can book your MOT earlier but the renewal date for the following year will change to one year (minus a day) from the date the vehicle last passed the test. For example, if your MOT expires on 21 September, the earliest you can book your MOT to keep the same renewal date for the following year is 20 August.
If you have a new car, you must book your MOT test by the third anniversary of the registration date. To receive an MOT notification, you have to sign up for reminders from gov.uk or through Elite Garages’ Members Club. This typically entails entering your vehicle’s registration number (number plate) and an email address or contact number.