Last updated May 12, 2023
If you own a car that is over three years old, it is your responsibility to ensure it is MOT tested on an annual basis, unless the vehicle has MOT exemption.
This mandatory annual test is in place to ensure vehicles are safe for use on the roads and meet certain minimum environmental standards. (See our comprehensive MOT checklist for the full list of MOT criteria.)
If your car does not have a valid MOT certificate, you cannot use it on the roads (or tax your MOT failure) until it has passed an MOT retest.
Therefore, if you become aware that another vehicle is being used on the roads without a valid MOT, you should report it to the police. Anyone that is driving a vehicle that has not been MOT tested may potentially be putting themselves and other road users at risk.
You can report a vehicle that is being used without an MOT by contacting your local police station.
However, you can only report the vehicle if you know that it is still being used on the road. It isn’t an offence for someone to own a car without a valid MOT certificate providing they are not driving it (or parking it on a public highway).
If a vehicle is reported as being on the road without a valid MOT certificate, the authorities will have to investigate to confirm whether this is the case. If their investigation confirms that the vehicle is being used on the roads illegally, the driver may receive a fine of up to £1,000 (or up to £2,500 if the vehicle’s condition is deemed to be ‘dangerous’).
If you suspect that a vehicle is on the road without a valid MOT and are planning to report this, you should first run the vehicle’s registration number through our free MOT check tool. This tool will allow you to verify its MOT status before you report it.
You can report a car without an MOT by contacting the police force that covers the area where the car is located. You can do this online or by calling 101 (the police’s non-emergency number).
Ensure that you have the relevant information ready to report the vehicle (see below).
The police will investigate your report. (This may take up to a few weeks.)
If it is found that the driver has been using the vehicle without a valid MOT certificate, they may receive a fine of up to £1,000.
You should report a vehicle without a valid MOT if you see it being driven on a public road. There are only a few specific circumstances where it is legal to drive an MOT-less vehicle (e.g. to be repaired at a garage or for an MOT retest). If you make a report, the police will investigate whether the vehicle was driven illegally – and if it was, may issue a fine of up to £1,000 to the driver.
A car without a valid MOT certificate can also only be parked on a private driveway or in a garage. If the car is parked on a public road, even if this is outside the owner’s house, you should still report it.
The majority of police forces will allow you to report cars without an MOT anonymously over the phone. However, some forces do not allow anonymous reports online.
When you are required to give your own details, this information should not be passed on to the driver who you are reporting. The details you may be expected to provide include your name, date of birth, address and contact information.
You will need to give the police the registration number, make, model, colour and location of the vehicle that you are reporting.
You can find these details (excluding the vehicle’s location) by entering its registration number into our free car check tool.
The fine for driving without an MOT is up to £1,000. In some rare cases, the fine may be increased to £2,500 if the vehicle is classified as ‘dangerous’.