With the vast majority of vehicles, the rules on annual MOT testing are fairly straightforward. You either have your car tested as UK law demands, or you face the prospect of a seriously heavy penalty.

However, there are some instances where a vehicle does not have to undergo annual testing in the normal way. If your vehicle qualifies as MOT exempt, it can be driven legally on UK roads with no MOT required.

You still need to keep your car in appropriate roadworthy condition, but still – no MOT formalities.

The question is, which cars are exempt from MOT testing, and is there a catch?

When is a Car MOT exempt?

All new cars sold in the UK are exempt from MOT requirements for the first three years. It’s basically assumed that as the car is pretty much brand new, it’s highly unlikely to experience any major faults during the first 36 months.

Interestingly, the same also applies with cars that were built or registered 40 or more years ago. If you drive a ‘classic’ car that’s been around for at least four decades (and you haven’t made any major modifications to it), you won’t need to have it tested annually. 

There’s also no MOT testing requirement for tractors, of for most electric goods vehicles – in case you happen to drive either. 

Do I need to Apply for MOT Exemption?

When a new car qualifies for three years of MOT exemption status, you don’t need to do anything at all.  The fact that it was registered less than three years ago means it automatically qualifies for exemption, and the car’s registration/sale date is the only evidence you need.

Elsewhere, cars that are MOT exempt for other reasons must be registered accordingly with the DVLA.  Specifically, a V112 “Declaration of Exemption from MOT” form must be completed and submitted, as otherwise it will not be possible to tax the car in question.

On that note, it’s worth highlighting how MOT exemption has no bearing whatsoever on road tax or insurance. Even if you never need to have your car tested at an MOT centre, you still need to tax it and insure it in the normal way.

What if I’m Unsure About My Car’s Status?

If you think your car may be exempt from MOT requirements but aren’t quite sure, it’s worth getting in touch with the DVLA directly.  There is an extensive list of exempt vehicles on the DVLA website, but making sense of the whole thing can be quite tricky.

Given how you could find yourself on the receiving end of a fine for not registering your car as MOT exempt, a quick call to the DVLA isn’t the end of the world. 

And just in case you wondered, the answer is yes – motorbikes fall under the same rules as cars, with regard to age-related MOT testing exemption. 

If you would like to discuss scrapping and recycling a car of any kind, call Take My Scrap Car anytime for an obligation-free consultation.