Car calendar for MOT

How early can I MOT my car?

Last updated November 16th, 2023

You can book your MOT up to a month before your current MOT certificate’s expiry date, minus one day. For example, if the expiry date on your current MOT certificate is September 15th, you can book your next MOT from August 16th onwards.

In this guide, we’ll cover why you might consider getting your car MOT tested early, what happens if your car fails its MOT - and how you can prepare it for test success with a pre-MOT check.

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Should I get my MOT test early?

The main benefit to getting your car MOT tested early is that you won’t run the risk of being unable to drive it due to its MOT certificate expiring.

If you wait until the last possible moment, you may discover that you’re unable to book an MOT test before your current certificate expires. This could be due to all the available appointments being taken at your local garage or personal time constraints.

Whatever the reason, if your certificate expires, you won’t be able to drive your car for everyday use until you have obtained a valid MOT certificate. However, providing your car passed its most recent MOT, you can still drive it to the testing garage for a pre-booked MOT test.

What happens if I get my MOT test early and it fails?

  • If you take your car for its MOT early and it fails, you will receive a VT30 (or a ‘Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate’). This document will feature the MOT test number, details about your vehicle and a list of the faults that caused it to fail.
  • You cannot drive your car away if any ‘dangerous’ faults were recorded on the test. You will need to get these faults resolved and submit your vehicle for an MOT retest before returning it to the road. If you continue to drive it, you risk incurring an MOT fine of up to £2,500 – and three penalty points on your licence.
  • If no ‘dangerous’ faults were recorded, you can continue to drive your vehicle until your current MOT certificate expires. However, we would advise getting the faults highlighted on your failed test rectified as soon as possible so that you can obtain a new MOT certificate before the current expiry date.
  • If you’re able to drive your vehicle away, you must maintain the minimum standards for roadworthiness at all times.

Is there an MOT grace period?

There is no MOT grace period; it’s your responsibility to ensure your car is tested before the expiry date on your certificate.

If you are caught driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate, you could be fined up to £1,000 - and may even receive penalty points on your licence. To avoid this, you can remind yourself of when your MOT is due with our free MOT check tool.

Can I get a pre-MOT check at my garage?

Yes, many garages offer pre-MOT inspections, which give you the chance to identify, assess and repair any problems ahead of your MOT. (You can then evaluate your car against an MOT checklist.)

This is certainly worth doing if you are worried that your vehicle might fail its MOT. You also don’t necessarily have to get this done at the same garage as your MOT.