What documents do I need to take an MOT test?

Last updated January 12, 2023

Any UK-registered vehicle that is over three years old must be MOT tested annually to ensure it is safe and roadworthy. It is illegal to drive a car without a valid MOT certificate, unless you are driving it to a pre-arranged MOT test - or to fix a fault highlighted during a previous MOT test.

If you have an MOT coming up, you may be wondering what you’ll need to take with you on the day of the test. In this guide, we will cover the documents required for an MOT test, what to do if any of these are missing - and what else to consider before your upcoming MOT.

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What documents will I need to bring to my MOT test?

You should bring your vehicle’s V5C logbook if this will be its first MOT – or its first MOT since a numberplate change. You do not need to bring this document for any subsequent MOTs, unless you have changed your registration number since your previous test.

If you do not have your V5C logbook, the MOT tester may be able to retrieve your vehicle’s details from the garage’s system. However, we would still advise bringing your V5C document if this is your vehicle’s first MOT (or its first since a numberplate change).

There is no requirement to bring any previous MOT certificates, although you should retain these so that you can provide the next owner with a full MOT history when the time comes to sell your car.

What else do I need before getting my MOT test?

Before arranging an MOT test, make sure you have the following:

  • A valid driving licence – You cannot legally drive your vehicle to the MOT test centre without a valid driving licence.
  • Valid insurance - You cannot drive your vehicle to an MOT appointment without valid insurance.

What should I do if I’ve lost my documents?

For comprehensive information on how to replace any car-related documents, please refer to our guide: ‘How to replace missing car documents’.

Bear in mind that requesting replacements for any of these documents will incur a fee and your replacement document(s) may take several weeks to arrive. So, for instance, if you realise that you have lost your V5C, you should take care to order a replacement well before your next MOT test to help ensure there are no issues on the day.

Do I need consider anything else before my MOT test?

Prior to your MOT, you should attempt to ensure that your vehicle meets all the test requirements. All MOT testing personnel check vehicles against the same set of criteria. To familiarise yourself with these requirements, please refer to our MOT checklist. By making sure your vehicle is up to scratch ahead of each MOT, you can help avoid the cost and hassle of booking re-tests.

Unless you have paid for your MOT in advance, make sure that you have the means to pay for your test on the day of your appointment.

At the time of publication (January 2023), the maximum chargeable price for a car MOT is £54.85 (no VAT applies). Many garages will charge less than this, so it’s worth doing a little homework if you want to find the cheapest test centre in your area.

You should also ensure that your tax is up to date before your appointment, as it is illegal to drive an untaxed vehicle, even to or from a test centre.

Don’t forget, you can check your vehicle tax due date - and the expiry date of your current MOT certificate by entering your vehicle’s registration number into our free MOT check tool.

After your MOT

When your MOT has been completed, you will be presented with a certificate to prove that you have passed that you must keep for your records. However, in some circumstances, you might find that errors (such as the wrong mileage on MOT) have been made, so it’s of the utmost important to check this document after the check itself. Beyond this, be sure to keep this certificate to hand should you ever require it.