The New MOT Certificate Changes—Everything You Need To Know


There’s a lot to take in with the new MOT test—from the way defects are categorised to harsher emissions tests. While we have already looked at these general changes, there’s certainly no such thing as too much information when it comes to driving. With that in mind, we’re going to delve further into how the new test has lead to further MOT certificate changes.

MOT certificate changes…

As we’ve already discussed in MOT test changes 2018, the new MOT test has brought about a variety of changes. Previously, vehicles would receive a pass or fail. With the MOT certificate changes, however, faults are now recorded as minor, major or dangerous.

  • Minor fault: won’t cause an immediate safety risk to the driver of other road users. That being said, it does need to be rectified as soon as possible. Your vehicle will pass with minor faults.
  • Major fault: more serious and could pose a safety risk to the driver and other road users. It might even impact the environment. Your vehicle will receive an MOT failure and you won’t get your certificate until the changes have been made.
  • Dangerous fault: the issues found will pose an immediate risk to you and other road users. If you receive this, you won’t be able to drive your vehicle until the issue has been addressed.

If you receive major or dangerous faults, you won’t get your new MOT certificate until repairs have been made. On the other hand, if you receive minor faults, you’ll still get your certificate. Drivers will also receive advisories from MOT testers. This advice will appear under “advisory items” on the new MOT test certificate.

New MOT certificate: what does it look like now?

If you’ve had an MOT test before, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the layout of the previous MOT certificate:

example of the current MOT certificate
Image source: DVSA

To encourage drivers to carefully look at the faults found by MOT testers, the new MOT certificate not only records everything found—from minor to dangerous defects and even advisories—it now includes safety warnings for vehicles that have serious faults. The certificate also highlights the penalties that drivers will face for driving a dangerous vehicle.

New MOT certificate: pass

You can pass your MOT test if no faults are found or if there are only minor defects. The example certificate below shows a vehicle that has passed with defects. In the example, the MOT tester found issues with:

  • Registration plate lamp throwing direct white light to the rear Nearside (minor defect)
  • Tyre worn close to the legal limit Nearside Front (advisories)

Fortunately, the vehicle can still be driven. The minor defect needs “repair as soon as possible”, and the driver needs to “monitor and repair if necessary” the advisory listed.

example of the new MOT certificate with minor defects
Image source: DVSA

New MOT certificate: fail

If you fail your MOT, you won’t receive an MOT certificate. Instead, you’ll receive a refusal form. This form will list all of the dangerous, major or minor faults found by the MOT tester. The example below highlights issues with:

  • Tyre tread depth below requirements of 1.6mm Nearside Front (dangerous defect)
  • Stop lamp(s) not working Offside (major defect)
  • Windscreen wiper blade defective Nearside (minor defect)

You’ll notice that on each fault, the certificate lists explicitly whether the vehicle can be driven or not. In the example, the dangerous defect states “do not drive until repaired”, the major defect says “repair immediately” and the minor defect advises “repair as soon as possible”.

example of failing the new MOT certificate
Image source: DVSA

Outcome of the MOT changes

It’s easy to see the potential benefits of the MOT certificate changes. With the new categories and safety warnings, drivers will be able to see exactly what needs repairing straight away and what needs to be fixed in the near future. It will make it abundantly clear whether it’s safe to drive or not—preventing drivers from leaving the MOT centre with vehicles that aren’t roadworthy. Of course, only time will tell how much of an impact this will have on overall road safety.

MOT changes: FAQs

North Coast 500
Photo © Peter Moore (cc-by-sa/2.0)

① How long is my MOT certificate valid?

Your MOT certificate is valid only for 12 months from the date of your MOT test.

② When can I take my vehicle in for an MOT test?

You can renew your MOT up to one month before it expires. You can find the earliest date you can present your vehicle for test on the front of your certificate.

③ Do I get any reminders for my MOT test?

If you’re prone to forgetting things—or you just want to be safe—you can get a free MOT reminder by test or email a month before your MOT is due.

④ What do I do if I lose my MOT certificate?

You can replace your MOT certificate by heading to the centre where your vehicle was last tested. You’ll need your MOT test number or V5C document reference number. The fee is typically £10 and they should be able to give you a copy.

⑤ If my car fails the MOT but I still have time left on my old certificate, can I still use my vehicle? 

No. If your vehicle fails the MOT test then you no longer have a valid MOT certificate.

If you’d like to stay updated on everything related to driving, keep a close eye on the PassMeFast blog. We keep readers updated on all the latest driving news and all the top driving tips!

By Bethany Hall

Whether you’re a learner or a pro driver, Bethany is here to help. From defensive driving to the Highway Code, she’ll tell you everything you need know about driving. If she’s not on the road, you’ll probably find Bethany with her head in a book or binge-watching the latest TV show.


  1. Reply

    Terence Barker

    Good afternoon
    I’ve received a personal plate as a gift and ask whether I need to amend the details on my MOT Certificate.

    Thank you
    Terry Barker
    [email protected] or [email protected]

    1. Reply

      Bethany Hall

      Hi Terence,

      If you need to fix anything on your MOT certificate, you can find all the information you need here. Alternatively, you can get in touch with the customer service team on:

      Hope this helps!


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