MOTs and used cars
The MOT checks that vehicles meet minimum safety and environmental standards at the time of the test. Cars must have their first MOT when they are three years old in mainland Great Britain and 4 years old in Northern Ireland.
Check the MOT when buying
When you buy a car, it's obviously a good sign if you're shown a full MOT history and evidence any recommended repairs were carried out.
But don't rely on it - it's a snapshot at one moment of time, and it's concerned with safety, not how well the car runs. So there's no check of the gearbox, for instance. Make sure you go for a test drive and check the car carefully yourself or by a professional.
You should also check the MOT certificate online before buying (at the motinfo.gov.uk site) to ensure it's genuine.
After you've bought the car
Once you own the car, it's your responsibility to take it for its MOT. You can renew it up to one month before it expires.
Remember, it's an offence to drive a car that doesn't have an MOT (unless, say, you're driving it somewhere to be repaired after it's failed).
Different MOT rules apply to cars used as taxis.
Any person buying a used car should also seek their own independent advice
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Help and advice
Some relevant frequently asked questions
When does the 60 days start? When I register, purchase or when I check the first vehicle?
The 60 days start from the date of purchase of the AutoCheck.
Can you buy a check over the phone?
This service is an online service only, so we are unable to carry out a check over the phone.
When do I get my check?
You report appears as soon as you have successfully made your purchase. The results are instant.
How much does the data check insurance cost?
There is no extra charge for the data insurance, it is included in the cost of your check.