Checking or MOT is short for “the Ministry of Transport”. It is a mandatory test which car must pass in order to verify that the vehicle meets the minimum safety and road worthiness standards. The testing is conducted by private garages, MOT stations, on behalf of DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority).

DVLA MOT check: what does it cover?

MOT tests cover four main areas of a car: its lighting system, tyres, brakes and safety features (e.g. airbags). However, it does not cover maintenance issues such as oil change or the condition of the paintwork. For that, you will need to get an MOT check online.

As of April 2019, MOT tests are free for cars that are up to 10 years old and tax-exempt vehicles such as vans. For all other cars, the cost is between £19 and £54. If your car fails the test, you will be able to book a re-test immediately for free up to three times within a two-month period. After that, you will have to pay for the test.

MOT history

The MOT history records the checks that have been conducted on a given car. This includes both pass and fail results as well as any MOT testers’ comments. The history is maintained by DVLA and is accessible online through their MOT Verify service. MOT history can be useful when looking to buy a car or when trying to spot the history of maintenance of a car.

How to Check MOT with DVLA?

You can check MOT online by using “MOT history” function of “MOT Verify” service provided by DVLA.

  1. Visit MOT Verify. On the left-hand side, you will see “MOT history” section. Click “Start now” button next to “MOT history”.
    Find out if a car has any MOT faults or restrictions by reading MOT history notes
  2. Enter the vehicle registration number (VRN) of the car you wish to check. You can find the VRN on the registration certificate, insurance certificate or on the car’s windscreen sticker.
    VRN will identify the car and will show its MOT history from when it was first registered until present day.
    You will also have the option to renew the MOT test online if the car’s MOT is expiring within the next 4 weeks. Click “Book an MOT” button if this is the case.
  3. Once you have clicked on the VRN, details of the most recent MOT test will appear, as well as all previous tests conducted since the car was registered. It will also show any MOT history notes.

Check MOT online – what does MOT history notes mean?

MOT history notes are comments that MOT testers make when they conduct the inspection. The testers can make comments about the car regarding its general condition, any repairs that might be needed in the future or if the car needs parts that have a different specification to the original parts.

These comments are recorded in the MOT history notes, which you can see when you check MOT online or when you visit an MOT test station.

What do MOT history notes mean? Here are some examples:

  • Repairable/immobilise – This means that although the car passed the MOT test, if the issue is not repaired within a specific time frame, the car will be required to be immobilised (taken off the road).
  • Minor – This means that there are minor issues that need to be repaired but that don’t require stopping the car from being used.
  • Major – This means that there are major issues that require the car to be taken off the road until the repairs are made.
  • Exempt – This means that the vehicle is exempt from requiring an MOT. Examples: of when a vehicle is exempt from requiring an MOT include: vehicles that are over 10 years old, vehicles that are held by museums and vehicles that are imported into the UK for private use and not for resale.

How to read MOT history notes

When you check MOT online and see MOT history notes, it’s important to understand what these notes mean because they could affect the safety of yourself and other road users.

MOT Test centres: How much does an MOT cost?

You also need to know how much an MOT costs and how much it would cost to get repairs done if the car did need repairing.

The cost of the MOT will vary depending on the car and where you take the test. On average, an MOT for a car will cost £26.67, while bikes will cost £14.16 (source: Gov. uk).

Some MOT test stations will also offer half price MOT’s to cars that are seven or eight years old (i.e. between 7 and 8 years old are eligible for half-price MOT’s).

It’s worth shopping around as you can save money by going to a local MOT test centre that may offer discounted rates.

MOT Price

What does an MOT test cost to get repaired?

If the car does need repairs, the cost to get the fixes done will also vary depending on what is needed. On average, repairs will cost £26.67, but this can range from £8.33 to £133.33 (source – Gov. uk).

DVLA MOT Test fees

You also need to know about DVLA MOT fees as this is what you’ll need to pay for the car to be eligible to get its road tax checked. On average, it will cost £9.50 to get a vehicle registered with the DVLA (source – Gov. uk).

However, if the car is between three and six years old, there is a one-off fee of £54.00 to register it with the DVLA. This system was introduced in April 2020 to ensure that drivers pay road tax based on the car’s emissions and performance.

How to check road tax history

Finally, you might want to know how to check road tax history. Road tax history is stored with the DVLA as well as being displayed on a car’s MOT certificate. If you’re buying a used car, the seller should also provide you with this information.

If you are worried about buying a car that has outstanding road tax payments, you could also use a road tax reminder service to ensure that the seller isn’t forgetting to pay up.

You can also check a current road tax rate online. One-year road tax is currently on average £216 (source: Gov. uk).