MOT minefield could lead to three tests and a driving ban

Legal expert warns about little-known loophole

MOT minefield could lead to three tests and a driving ban
Photo: Bigstock

A legal expert has warned drivers about a little-known MOT loophole that could land them with a hefty fine, a driving ban, and force them to take the test three times.

The issue revolves around the misconception that a valid MOT guarantees roadworthiness for the entire year. While an MOT certifies a vehicle’s safety “at the time of testing,” as explained by Daniel ShenSmith, the online legal personality known as the Black Belt Barrister, any subsequent damage can render it unroadworthy.

This means even seemingly minor incidents, like hitting a pothole, could necessitate a retest. Driving an unroadworthy vehicle poses a safety risk and is considered an offence, potentially leading to a £2,500 fine.

The situation gets more complicated if a second test reveals the damage. Repairs become necessary before a third test can re-certify the vehicle. Considering MOT costs and potential repair bills, even minor issues can quickly become expensive.

Ignoring the rules comes with even steeper consequences. Driving an unroadworthy car can invalidate your insurance, leaving you personally liable for any caused damage. Repeat offenders (caught twice within three years) face a mandatory six-month driving ban on top of a potential fine.

While ignorance of the law isn’t a defence, proving you didn’t know or suspect the vehicle was unroadworthy can help avoid license points and disqualification. However, this can be difficult and may still result in a hefty fine.

Source: The Sun Motors


  1. The report requires further clarification.

    The term “Legal Loophole” is not appropriate as the process is well-documented.

    When a vehicle fails its initial test and undergoes repairs, it must be thoroughly re-inspected upon return for a re-test. This means re-checking all components affected by the repair, such as brake performance if the braking system was involved, or emissions following exhaust repairs.

    The re-test focuses on the items and related components that caused the initial failure. However, any advisories or minor defects must also be re-examined. For instance, tyres that were borderline could now fail upon retest.

    Additionally, if the tester discovers new issues during the re-examination, such as collision damage or damage from potholes as mentioned in the article, the vehicle will fail the retest. It will then require further repairs and a complete re-examination to achieve a “Pass” on the MTS.

  2. Typical Lawyer perspective, turn every driver situation or fear into a potential fee-making opportunity for themselves!

  3. The problem is that when a vehicle has passed a MOT things can happen in the following days like bulbs failing, ABS system detecting a fault, airbag system fault, engine light appears on dash or even get involved in an incident. But the vehicle was deemed roadworthy at the time of the test, that’s it. (I’ve had a coil spring break on the way back from a MOT test)

    Some vehicle owners know that if there’s a light on the dash, a very noisy wheel bearing, knocking noise from the suspension or even an issue with the brakes they don’t have to worry about it until the MOT is due and then get it sorted a few days or weeks beforehand, but this makes the vehicle unroadworthy in the meantime and if you get pulled by the police or get involved in an incident you could land in big trouble or have the vehicle impounded.

    Why would the customer take the vehicle to retake the MOT test because something had happened to it in the weeks or months ahead? The vehicle would simply get fixed at a garage and the repairs deemed satisfactory for the road by the garage who carried out the repairs.


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