When a motor vehicle is more than three years old, it requires an MOT (Ministry of Transport) certificate to remain on the road. MOT tests are carried out on an annual basis, analysing three key areas:
- General vehicle safety
- Exhaust emissions
Due to the thorough nature of the test, it’s not unusual for a vehicle to miss out on MOT certification. In fact, more than one-third of cars fail their MOT at the first attempt.
This is problematic for two main reasons. Firstly, no car insurance policy will cover a vehicle that fails to possess a valid MOT certificate. Secondly, it is illegal to operate a car that has no MOT, and you are liable for prosecution if caught driving.
What happens when a car fails its MOT?
If your car fails its MOT, the test centre or garage that issued the test will get in touch. They will explain what caused the car to miss out on a passing grade. A VT30 (Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate) will also be issued. The VT30 document features your MOT test number, general car details, and the exact reasoning behind its failure.
It’s important to keep hold of the VT30 for deciding on what to do next with the vehicle.
What if I drive after receiving a failed MOT?
As mentioned above, it is illegal to drive a vehicle that has no valid MOT in place. At least, that is the general outline. There are two occasions where, in fact, you can drive legally without an MOT certificate. These are:
- When you have pre-arranged a new MOT test and are driving it to a test station
- When visiting a garage to get the car repaired
There is also a grey area where a car fails its MOT, but its current MOT certificate is still live. This situation can happen when a vehicle is taken in for its test before the expiry date of the current certificate. In this case, it is legal to drive your car – despite the failed test – until the end date of the current MOT certificate.
If you’re unsure your car will pass its upcoming MOT, it could be wise to do the test early. This way, you will be able to determine if there are any major issues with the vehicle, and you have more options available with the car than one that doesn’t have an MOT certificate.
Just remember: even if the MOT certificate is valid, you can still be judged as breaking the law if you knowingly drive a vehicle that has a fault. As a result, use of the car should be kept to a minimum.
How do you pass an MOT after a failure?
For your car to once again become road legal, repairs will need to be made. Before retesting, the problems listed on your VT30 certificate have to be resolved. There are two main ways in which this can be done.
- Get the issues resolved at the test centre: If the MOT test centre offers a car repair service, this is naturally the easiest solution available. There’s no need to take the vehicle away, and the issues can be fixed immediately. A test centre has a total of ten working days to finish the repairs and have the car pass its MOT
- Take it to an alternative source to be fixed: If you want to have the vehicle fixed at an alternative garage, you are free to arrange for this to happen. Once the repairs are done, you can return the car to the original test centre where they will perform a partial retest. This partial retest will only test the problems highlighted by your VT30. If you return the vehicle within one working day, you will receive the partial retest free of charge. A reduced test fee will be charged if the car is brought in two-to-ten working days following the initial test. After ten working days, the test will revert to a full MOT, and you will be charged accordingly
Is selling an option?
If the vehicle has reached the stage where it’s simply not worth carrying out the repairs to pass its MOT, you have the option to sell the car. In this case, you have two valid options:
- Sell the car privately
- Sell the car for scrap
When selling privately, you will need to have the car returned to you. This can be arranged where the vehicle is either put in your garage or drive. You will also have to acquire a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) from the DVLA. Once done, you are free to begin advertising the car for sale.
Scrapping the vehicle is arguably the more suitable choice of the two. There’s no need to wait around for a private buyer to pick up the car for spare parts or a serious repair job. Contact a local treatment facility, sell the car for its scrap value, and you can profit in double-quick time.
Can you drive a car without MOT to be scrapped?
If you have read through this article, you will already be able to ascertain that the answer to the big question is, unfortunately, no. If there isn’t a valid MOT in place, you’re not legally permitted to drive any form of vehicle to a scrap facility.
Because of this, you will need to organise for your car to be picked up. Authorised treatment facilities will usually offer this type of service and include it as part of any arrangement. They will come and get the car, pay you for the pre-agreed scrap valuation, and take it off your hands.