How to report a car with no MOT

    man being pulled over by the police

    In the UK, vehicles must undergo an annual Ministry of Transport (MOT) inspection to ensure that they meet the latest safety and environmental standards. Designed to protect drivers, passengers, and bystanders, the MOT exam tests all key vehicle functions, from boot to bonnet.

    Cars and vans that pass their annual assessment are issued an MOT certificate, which is valid for the next year. Driving with an expired or invalid MOT is illegal and can result in significant fines, points on your driving licence, and legal issues. Plus, selling a car without an MOT can lower its overall price on the resale market. 

    When driving, safety is everyone’s priority. But how do you know which vehicles have valid MOTs? Learn the best way to identify and report uncertified cars and vans in your area.

    Motorway’s free MOT Checker tool shares your vehicle’s MOT status instantly.

    Importance of the MOT

    The MOT exam checks the safety, roadworthiness, and exhaust emissions of the vehicles on UK roads. The test was designed to help prevent drivers from using cars with potentially dangerous faults and has expanded to better protect against environmental damage from the automotive industry. 

    Save for a few exceptions, all vehicles from small motorcycles under 200cc to the biggest lorries must pass the MOT to legally drive. Vehicles must undergo an annual MOT exam after they’ve been registered for three or more years in England, Scotland, and Wales (this bumps to four or more in Northern Ireland).  

    Your MOT certificate proves that your vehicle has passed all safety and functionality inspections and is deemed roadworthy. Cars and vans that do not have valid MOTs therefore pose several risks – and not just to their drivers! These include: 

    🚩 Safety concerns – Vehicles without an MOT may not meet essential safety standards, endangering drivers, passengers, other road users, and pedestrians.

    🚩 Environmental impact – MOT tests also assess vehicles’ environmental impact, including emissions. Unchecked cars (or those that have failed the MOT exam) could emit pollutants above legal limits.

    🚩 Legal issues – Driving without a valid MOT is illegal and can lead to fines, penalty points, and even vehicle seizure.

    🚩 Fraud – Unscrupulous car sellers may try to offload unsafe or stolen vehicles onto unsuspecting buyers. 

    police pulling a vehicle over
    Driving without a valid MOT is illegal and can result in several sticky situations.

    Vehicles operating without a valid MOT pose significant risks to people inside and outside the car. Without undergoing regular MOT inspections, these vehicles may compromise on essential safety measures, potentially leading to hazardous situations on the road. Critical components such as brakes, tyres, and lights might not meet safety standards, increasing the likelihood of collisions and accidents.

    Owners of vehicles found without a valid MOT certificate can face a range of penalties under UK law, including: 

    • Fines of up to £1,000
    • Points on their driving licence
    • Vehicle impoundment 
    • Potential insurance invalidation, which leaves drivers liable for damages in the event of an accident
    • Legal liabilities for any harm caused 

    There are few exceptions for driving without an MOT. Vehicles registered for less than three years (four years in Northern Ireland), those considered historic, and some heavy goods vehicles may be exempt from MOT testing. 

    How to identify vehicles without an MOT

    As MOTs are a key component to keeping British roads safe, it’s essential to know your vehicle’s status. Our free MOT Checker takes the guesswork out of the MOT process by providing instant information on your car or van’s MOT standing

    Simply enter your registration number into our search box for a full MOT history check. This report details your vehicle’s current MOT status, past MOT exam dates, recorded mileage for each annual exam, and even provides a countdown to your next MOT expiration date.  

    By following these same steps, you can also use this MOT Checker to verify the status of other vehicles’ MOT certificates. Confirming a car or van’s MOT status is key before proceeding with any report about certification.

    Alternatively, you can also check any vehicle’s MOT history on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) website. As the formal government agency in charge of the country’s database of drivers and vehicles, the DVLA maintains records on previous MOT test dates, results, and service advisory notes.

    How to report vehicles with no or invalid MOTs

    Anyone can report a vehicle that is suspected of missing its MOT. Anonymous reporting is in some cases as many reporting channels do not require individuals to disclose their identities when submitting cases. 

    Law enforcement agencies, local councils, and other relevant authorities have the authority to enforce MOT regulations and may initiate investigations based on reports received.

    There are many ways to report vehicles missing their MOT: 

    • Online – Many local councils and government agencies provide online forms or portals where you can report vehicles without an MOT. These platforms often allow you to attach supporting evidence, such as photos or documents, to strengthen your report.
    • Phone – Some councils offer dedicated hotlines for reporting vehicles without an MOT. You can call these dedicated numbers to speak directly with a representative and provide details of your observation
    • In person – You can also visit or contact your local council or law enforcement agency to report vehicles without an MOT. Officials can provide guidance on the appropriate steps to take and may initiate further action based on your report.

    When issuing an MOT report, the more information you can share, the better. Recording as many details as possible will help authorities locate the vehicle in question and verify its MOT status. Key details to share include: 

    • Vehicle make, model, and year
    • Colour
    • Registration plate number
    • Specific observations suggesting a missing MOT liked expired tax or a missing MOT disc in the front window
    • Vehicle location
    • Date and time you observed the vehicle


    What do police do if you have no MOT?

    If you’re caught driving without an MOT, police can issue fines up to £1,000, penalty points on your licence, and potentially seize your vehicle. The same is true if your vehicle does not have a valid MOT and is parked on public roads. Authorities enforce MOT regulations to uphold safety and legal standards.

    Is it worth reporting a car with no MOT?

    Reporting a car without an MOT can help maintain road safety, prevent fraud, and ensure environmental standards are met, benefiting both individuals and communities across the UK.

    Can you sell a car without an MOT?

    Yes, you can technically sell a car even if it doesn’t have a valid MOT. However, this will be much more difficult!

    Lacking an MOT certificate will likely reduce both your potential buyer pool and your vehicle’s sales price as buyers are shopping for safe transport. Since their roadworthiness has not been verified, cars that do not have valid MOT certificates carry an additional element of risk and may seem like a riskier investment. Similarly, cars that have failed their MOT are more likely to be classified as Cat D write-offs and could be dangerous! 

    If your car fails the MOT test and you’re looking to get rid of it, another option could be to sell it for scrap

    Is it time to sell your car?

    Want to learn more about owning, maintaining, and selling your car? You can also check your MOT status with our free MOT checker tool.

    Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from finding buyers, to negotiating a good price, and completing payment safely.