Car raised on joists in a motor garage

When does a new car need its first MOT?

Buying a new car can often be a great way to ensure reliability and you know that the owner history is going to be one you can trust – because it’s simply just you! However, did you also know that buying a new car comes with the added benefit of not having to worry about an MOT straight away?

When is the first MOT due on a new car?

For the first three years of its life, your car will not need to get an MOT, which is one of the reasons you will find a number of manufacturers offering 3-year finance deals on new vehicles, with the idea being that you trade your now-old(er) car in as a deposit towards another new car, avoiding the need for an MOT and keeping the cycle going for the dealership. 

Why don’t new cars need an MOT straight away?

New cars do not need an MOT for their first three years on the road due to the quality of build standards among modern cars. While drivers are expected to keep their cars in roadworthy conditions, it is unlikely that any major defects will have surfaced in the car’s first 36 months on the road.

As a result, while it’s strongly advised to keep your car serviced regularly, there is no legal requirement for you to get an MOT until three years after the car is manufactured. So if the car is first registered on the 6th March 2022, you will need an MOT from the 6th March 2025 and beyond.

What’s included in a new car’s first MOT?

There’s no such thing as a ‘new car MOT’ specifically for those vehicles that are yet to or about to reach their third birthday. After three years on the road, the standard MOT procedure starts, which checks all of the important parts of the car for signs of damage or decay that could make the vehicle dangerous and, by extension, not road-legal.

For anyone who wishes to have their car looked over before the three-year milestone, a service is a much better option. In fact, generally speaking, services check an awful lot more than MOTs do anyway, despite not being a legal requirement. Keeping up a regular service routine will also help ensure when that first MOT does come around, your car will pass with flying colours.

What happens if my new car fails its MOT?

If your new car fails its MOT, the normal rules apply. You will have to have the faults repaired and put it through a second test in order for it to pass. Driving it without a valid, passed MOT is illegal.

While it’s unlikely that a new car will fail its MOT, especially if we’re talking about the very first test of its entire life, it’s not unheard of. However, the reasons for this are typically quite minor. Many first MOT failures are down to relatively inconsequential things like misaligned headlights or windscreen wipers that have already worn down and aren’t clearing the windscreen effectively. These problems will be fast and cheap to put right, but can be a thorn in the side of any driver hoping for a first-time MOT pass.

These, along with more serious mechanical faults, could possibly be down to manufacturer error. It’s probably fair to say that if you’ve bought a brand new car, you’re going to look after it. Therefore, if a there’s a significant problem, it may have been lying in wait from the moment the vehicle rolled off the production line. These manufacturer faults are likely to be covered by warranty, especially if you’ve gotten the vehicle serviced annually at an approved garage.

Despite the price of a brand new car, there will be some drivers out there who can afford to drive them without concern for any damage they might be doing. If you like to drive your car hard and really make it work, accelerating and braking erratically, taking corners at speed and generally driving it like it’s a rally car, your MOT might reveal that this extra effort has sped up the wear and tear it’s suffered.

How do I find out when my car’s first MOT is due?

Your first MOT is due within three years of the vehicle being first registered. The best way of finding out when this was is by checking the V5C – or logbook – where all essential information about the car will be listed. Every driver should have their vehicle’s logbook kept somewhere safe, if only for the fact that it costs £25 for a replacement!

The vehicle enquiry service could also be used for this purpose, though it can only show you the month of the car’s first registration rather than the exact date. However, this should give you some idea of when you should get that first MOT booked in.

What happens if I forget to MOT my car?

It can be quite easy to forget that your car is due an MOT if you have been driving for the past three years without having to worry about one – if not longer if you’ve been in the dealership cycle for the last few years. While it’s easily done, you want to make sure that you avoid any the risk of your MOT expiring, as driving without a valid one is a big no-no, and, unless you are driving to a pre-booked MOT appointment, you could find yourself slapped with a £1,000 fine.

Your chances of being caught without a valid MOT are quite high, too. With the MOT database being computerised, any Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system will automatically flag you up as not having a valid MOT, and unless you’re going to your MOT appointment there is no wiggle room – if you’re caught, you’re caught. To avoid this happening to you, you can set up MOT reminders through the DVLA – our MOT renewals guide explains more. 

Have you been thinking of replacing your tired old car with something a little bit newer and without the added fear of an annual MOT? Why not scrap your old vehicle to go towards the deposit of something new? We at Scrap Car Comparison would be more than happy to help you out, and with our nationwide network of collectors and buyers will even be able to pick it up free of charge – no matter where you are! So get a scrap quote today and see just how much you can put towards the car of your dreams.

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