How much does it cost to get an MOT?

    In the UK, it’s illegal, not to mention unsafe, to drive a car that’s failed its MOT inspection. The annual MOT test is crucial for keeping your vehicle on the road and ensuring that it’s up to the latest safety standards. 

    Not having an up-to-date MOT – as well as failing an MOT assessment – can decrease your vehicle’s value and make it a tough sell. In addition to the legal and safety elements, staying on top of your MOT is also key if you’re planning on selling your car

    Read on for more on MOT pricing and expert insights for navigating the costs of this essential examination.

    What is the MOT?

    infographic of outside of a vehicle
    The MOT inspection checks that your car follows the UK’s safety and environmental standards.

    The Ministry of Transport, or MOT, requires all cars over three years old in England, Scotland, and Wales to be tested according to mandatory safety and environmental standards to legally drive on UK roads. The rules are a bit different in Northern Ireland, where all cars over four years old need to be tested annually.

    This comprehensive annual assessment evaluates the functionality and safety of crucial car components, such as brakes and lights, and checks if your vehicle’s emissions abide by existing standards. 

    Yearly MOT testing is a legal obligation and a fundamental aspect of responsible vehicle ownership. Beyond meeting statutory requirements, an MOT examination ensures your car’s safety, minimising the risk of breakdowns and accidents. 

    The MOT certificate verifies that your vehicle has passed a series of required safety examinations and has been deemed ‘road safe.’ Without an MOT certificate, your car cannot be taxed and is therefore illegally on the road. If you are stopped by the authorities driving a vehicle that has no MOT certificate, you can be fined up to £1,000 on the spot and receive points on your licence. 

    Additionally, a valid MOT certificate is often necessary for insurance coverage. Read our guide for more information on the MOT certificate when selling your car.

    How much does a failed MOT test devalue a car?

    If you’re thinking about selling your vehicle, a failed MOT test can contribute to a decreased resale value as it indicates that there are greater issues with the car that need attention and could cost your buyer more money in the future.

    The degree to which your sale price declines depends on factors such as:

    • Reason for MOT failure: If your vehicle failed the MOT assessment because of critical safety or environmental issues, the devaluation in price could be more significant.
    • Repair costs: How much will it cost to fix the issues identified in the MOT? If the required repairs are expensive, potential buyers may factor in these costs when negotiating price.
    • Age and mileage: Older cars with higher mileage might already have a lower market value, and a failed MOT can further impact their resale value.

    However, a failed MOT doesn’t necessarily mean your car is worthless or unsellable. Addressing the identified issues and obtaining a pass certificate can help restore the value. Additionally, providing documentation of repairs and maintenance history can reassure potential buyers.

    If you’re concerned about the impact of a failed MOT on your car’s value, it’s advisable to get a quote for the necessary repairs and weigh the costs against the potential devaluation. More advice for selling a car without an MOT can be found here.  

    Average MOT costs

    a man driving
    It is a legal requirement to have an annual MOT inspection in the UK.

    While the national average for an MOT test is approximately £45 to £55, costs can vary based on several factors, including: 

    Location

    While the UK maximum cap on annual MOT costs is £54.85, where you’re based can play a big role in your total bill. While MOT pricing is generally steeper in urban areas, it’s important to get multiple quotes to find the garage that works best for your budget, regardless of where you live.

    We break down MOT pricing in each UK region below:

    RegionAverage MOT cost
    London£50 to £60
    South East£45 to £55
    North West£40 to £50
    Midlands£45 to £55
    Scotland£40 to £50
    Northern Ireland£30 to £40
    Wales£30 to £55

    Vehicle type

    Do you drive a car, van, motorcycle, or other type of vehicle? What you drive also impacts the total pricing of your MOT exam. Our table lays out average costs and considerations based on the most popular vehicle types in the UK: 

    Vehicle typeAverage MOT costConsiderations
    Passenger cars£45 to £55While standard cars typically fall within this price range, your total MOT bill will also be influenced by factors including location and garage.
    Motorcycles£25 to £35Motorcycles generally incur lower MOT costs due to their simpler structure and testing requirements.
    Vans, campervans, and other vehicles£50 to £60Larger vehicles often face higher MOT costs due to the complexity of their systems and the additional time required for examination.
    Specialised or modified vehiclesHighly variableUnique or modified vehicles may require specialised MOT testing, potentially leading to higher costs based on the intricacies involved.

    Additional services or repairs

    the underneath of a vehicle
    MOT inspections may uncover car parts that need repair, such as rust in your engine.

    An MOT exam may reveal vehicle issues that need to be addressed. While important to fix for the health and safety of your vehicle (and passengers!), additional, unforeseen repairs may drive up your overall MOT cost.

    However, timely repairs identified during MOT help prevent potential breakdowns and accidents, saving you on expenses in the long term. Addressing issues ensures your vehicle remains safe, reliable, and compliant, justifying the added cost.

    Service or repairAverage cost
    Brake system repairs£60 to £120
    Lighting adjustments£20 to £50
    Exhaust system repairs£80 to £150
    Suspension system repairs£80 to £150
    Tyre replacements£40 to £120 per tyre
    Windscreen repairs£20 to £70
    Emission system repairs£50 to £100
    Fluid top-ups or changesVariable
    Steering system adjustments£60 to £100
    Battery replacements£60 to £120

    Retesting after a failed MOT

    A failed MOT doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road. When a vehicle fails its MOT, it’s often retested to confirm identified issues. 

    Typically, many garages offer a free or significantly discounted retest if the vehicle is brought back within a specified timeframe and only specific issues are addressed.

    If the issues are more extensive or if the vehicle is not brought back within the given timeframe, a partial retest fee may apply. This cost can range from £15 to £35.

    FAQs

    Can I drive without MOT after buying a car?

    Driving without an MOT is illegal. After buying a car, it must have a valid MOT. Use the existing certificate or get a new MOT before driving, ensuring compliance with UK road regulations.

    What is the process for MOT testing in the UK?

    Book an MOT with an approved test centre, present your vehicle, and undergo a comprehensive examination. Receive results, address any issues, and obtain a valid MOT certificate.

    What does the UK MOT test check for?

    The MOT assesses vehicle safety and emissions, examining components like brakes, lights, suspension, and exhaust. It ensures compliance with the latest standards, contributing to road safety and environmental protection.

    When does a new car need an MOT?

    Typically, new cars need their first MOT after three years. The countdown for your next MOT begins from your vehicle’s registration date.

    How can I track the value of my car?

    graph of a BMWs value
    Tracking your car’s ongoing valuation is a smart move for your personal finances

    If you’re not sure what your car’s value is to begin with, it’s hard to know how much money incorrect MOT documents might take off the price.

    All vehicles depreciate at varying rates, with no rule of averages accurately describing any one car’s changing value. Motorway’s Car Value Tracker provides a free, reliable monthly price alert for up to six vehicles at once. 

    Follow changes to your car’s value to choose the best time to sell, and make informed choices about investments in your car’s maintenance.

    Selling your car?

    Want to learn more about owning, maintaining, and selling your car?Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from Clean Air Zones to car tax, and plate changes to part exchange.