Is It Important to Check the MOT History of a Car?

Kevin Thorpe | Thursday 30th May 2024 8:35am

Technician Conducting MOT Checks Under a Car Bonnet

There are several reasons why you may want to check the MOT history of a car. Typically, the MOT history is checked when you’re deciding whether to buy a second-hand car, but it can also be checked if you’ve lost the paperwork from previous MOT tests on your own vehicle.

Now, MOT tests don’t tell you everything about the health of the vehicle – because they only focus on safety-critical parts of the car, but they can act as a good benchmark.

Keep reading this blog to learn more about why it’s important to check the MOT history of a car and how to find previous checks online. 

Can I check the MOT history of a car?

In short, yes. If you’re planning to buy a vehicle, regardless of its age, you can check the MOT history of it and obtain current and past copies of certificates. For cars, motorcycles, and vans, you can only obtain MOT test results from 2005 onwards. For larger vehicles, such as HGVs and coaches, results start from 2018. 

Why should I check the MOT history of a car I'm planning to buy?

At first glance, a car may look perfectly fine - but looks can be deceiving. Because of the relatively high value of many cars, owners will sometimes clean everything in the engine bay and interiors to make the car look new and well looked after.

In some cases, this is a fair indication that a vehicle is cared for. After all, the owner has gone to the effort of cleaning it. But it should always be taken with a big pinch of salt – hiding potential problems means that the current owner can sell a vehicle for much more money than they’d otherwise be able to.

And, that’s where checking the MOT history of a car comes in.

If, for example, you see that the current owner has been given advisories in MOTs two years in a row, then it might indicate that they’ve not bothered to fix things. If you see particular types of faults come up regularly, then it could also indicate that the owner’s driving style is causing these faults – that could, itself, indicate other problems in areas not covered by the MOT test checks.

Consistently over-worn tyres, for example, might indicate that the driver likes to go fast and/or over-rev their engine. This, in turn, might mean that there’s also damage to the clutch system from this kind of driving behaviour.

Another reason to check the MOT history of a car you’re intending to buy is simply in order to see how soon you’ll need to take it for another test. Many drivers use this to assume that they’ll need to pay out a certain amount of money and factor this into budgeting.

How can I check the MOT history of a car?

You can get a comprehensive MOT history of a car by simply entering its registration plate number on The Government’s website

The results will indicate whether a test has passed or failed, the mileage recorded when it was tested, when the next MOT test is due, and you can also download current and previous MOT test certificates. 

If a test was completed in England, Scotland, or Wales, the MOT history will also indicate any parts that failed at each test, and if any parts had minor problems.

Checking the MOT history of your own vehicle

The same process can be used to find the MOT history for your own vehicle. This is usually done when you want to sell the vehicle but have lost your paperwork, or if you’re conducting routine maintenance and want to check that every advisory has been fixed.

The only other reason to check your own vehicle’s MOT history is if it’s a relatively old vehicle and you’ve only owned it for a few years. Advisories and repairs conducted years ago might indicate ongoing issues that you may want to address.

Need to get your car MOT tested?

Is your vehicle due for an MOT test? At Kwik Fit, we’re the number one MOT tester with over 500 centres based around the UK, and many open seven days a week. 

Get in touch with our expert team at your local Kwik Fit centre to book an MOT test. If you book a service and MOT test at the same time, you’ll receive an additional saving over the standard individual product price. 

In the meantime, keep up-to-date with the latest motoring news and trends on our blog

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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