When will a new car need its first MOT test?

When will a new car need its first MOT test?

New set of wheels? We know the excitement. That brand new car smell, your favourite tunes over the speakers, and how it feels to roll into your driveway for the first time — there’s nothing else quite like it. But while a new ride is all kinds of exciting, it also needs to tick all the boxes for road safety.

That’s why it’s so important to get your MOT sorted. But, what exactly is an MOT? And, when do you MOT a new car? Well, take a break from admiring that shiny new paint job and let’s go through some of the basics.


What is an MOT?

We won’t make it any more complicated than it needs to be — an MOT is an annual test to check whether a car is safe to be on the road or not. MOT stands for Ministry of Transport, which was the government department that introduced the test in 1960.

During an MOT test, your examiner will look over the following:

  • Brakes
  • Bodywork
  • Doors and openings
  • Exhaust and emissions
  • Horn
  • Lights
  • Seats and seatbelts
  • Steering
  • Tow bar
  • Wheels and tires
  • Windows and mirrors

The whole process usually takes between 45-60 minutes and you can usually watch the test from a viewing area — or head down to the pub for an hour, it’s up to you. If all’s well then you’ll get a certificate afterwards which means you’re good to go. An electronic version of this will also be stored should the police ever need to check your vehicle history. But it’s a good idea to keep the paper copies too — just in case you have an accident and need to make an insurance claim (to prove you were MOT certified at the time of the accident).


Do new cars need MOT?

If you’re wondering whether you need an MOT certificate for a new car to start driving right away, then that really depends on whether it’s brand new or second-hand. If you’ve treated yourself to something fresh out of the packet, then your car won’t need an MOT for 3 years.

But if you’re buying a second-hand car, you should always ask to see the last MOT certificate before sealing the deal. It’s a red flag not to have one and suggests the car has been off the road for some time. You can contact the DVSA to check a vehicle’s previous MOT test history here.

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When does my car need its first MOT?

Here’s how to check when your first MOT is due:

First, you’ll need to find your new car’s registration date.

Your car dealership should be able to help you with this, or you can always check your car’s logbook — this is usually kept under the front seat or in the glove compartment. This logbook is a valid document that you can present to prove your car’s age in case you’re ever asked. If you’ve bought an imported car, you might not be able to find a registration date, so you’ll have to request the car’s date of manufacture from your dealership instead.

Next, once you’ve got your car’s registration/manufacture date, count forward 3 years to find out when your new car’s first MOT is due.

So let’s say your registration is 1 Jan 2022 — you’ll need to have your first MOT completed by 1 Jan 2025. After this, you’ll need to book in for an MOT every year to make sure your car continues to meet safety standards.

It’s worth mentioning that the rules are a bit different for ambulances, taxis, and private passenger vehicles. How to know when your first MOT is due still depends on your vehicle’s registration date, but testing begins one year from that date instead. So, if your new taxi was registered on 1 Jan 2022, you can celebrate its first birthday the year after with an MOT.


How to prepare for an MOT

To give yourself the best chance for success, here are a couple of things you might consider checking over before taking your new car in for an MOT:

  • Check your brake fluid
  • Check your mirrors aren’t cracked or damaged
  • Check all the warning lights are working on your dashboard
  • Check your tires aren’t worn down or thinning
  • Make sure your front and rear lamps are working
  • Make sure your car has enough oil — the MOT garage won’t be able to check your emissions otherwise
  • Check for significant chips or scratches in the windshield that might block or obscure a driver’s view
  • Check that your windscreen wipers have enough fluid

If you find any problems during these checks, it’s best to get them fixed right away rather than risk failing your MOT. Even if there’s something you’re not sure will be a problem or not, maybe a small dent in the wing mirror or a flickering light in the dashboard — it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s always best to have a professional look over anything that you’re concerned about, whether your MOT is due or not.


What happens if my car fails the MOT?

If your car is brand new and you’ve maintained it properly, it’s unlikely that it would fail an MOT — unless there’s a factory fault or your weekend activities include some crazy off-roading. But if it does, you’ll be given an official refusal of an MOT certificate (this is called a VT30). You’ll then need to take your car off for any repairs, before returning for a second MOT test.

If you’ve failed your MOT and it’s been 3 years since your registration date OR your last MOT certificate has expired — you absolutely must not drive your car. It’s not only illegal, but it could be dangerous too. It’s also unlikely you’ll be covered by your insurance until your car has a valid MOT certificate.


A few final tips…

MOT tests cost around £50 and while you might resent having to hand this over each time, it will remind you to keep your car in tip-top working order. After all, if you loved your car when you bought it, you’ll want it to last as long as possible.

Still shopping around for new wheels? Check out: ‘What is an estate car’.