How To M.O.T, Tax, Insure And Register A Car In England (UK)

M.O.T Test - Road Tax - Car Insurance - Car Import Certificates

If you buy a car in England (UK), second-hand or new, it will need to have passed a M.O.T Web PageM.O.T (Ministry of Transport) vehicle test, to make sure it meets current safety and environmental standards, before it can then be Vehicle Tax Web PageVehicle Taxed and Insured. Vehicle Insurance Web PageInsured. Only then, with a valid FULL Driving Licence Web PageDriving Licence, can you drive the car on UK roads.

If you are thinking of importing your car, temporarily or permanently, into the UK you will need to get certain certificates/papers relating to, and/or proving, the car's M.O.T status, left hand or right hand drive status, commercial or private and so on. This government web page does a very good job of explaining the process of Import A Vehicle Web PageImporting A Vehicle Into The UK.


If you have just bought a new car you do NOT need to renew its M.O.T Certificate until the third anniversary of its registration, and then each year after that. However, if you have just bought a second-hand car you need to renew its currently valid M.O.T Certificate before it expires (before the anniversary of its last M.O.T). The expiry date is printed on the M.O.T Certificate.

If the car, new or old, has no valid M.O.T Certificate you MUST take it into a garage for an M.O.T Test. It is against law to drive a car in England (UK) without it having a valid M.O.T Certificate, which is normally valid for one year only unless the car is new, but there are exceptions such as when driving a car to or from somewhere to be repaired or to a pre-arranged M.O.T Test. You are allowed to drive a car without a valid M.O.T Certificate in these exceptional circumstances.


You can take an M.O.T Test up to one month (minus one day) before the car's M.O.T Certificate expires in order to keep the same renewal date. So if your current, valid, M.O.T Certificate is valid until 31st August 2018, you can take an M.O.T Test on 30th July 2018.

M.O.T Sign

ONLY garages, service stations, etc with this M.O.T Sign can perform an M.O.T Test

When looking for an M.O.T Test centre (i.e. garage or repair shop) to carry out your car's M.O.T Test, make sure their workshop has the Blue, Three Triangles, M.O.T Sign displayed somewhere nearby. If you do not see the sign, ask questions or just don't use their M.O.T Test services. In today's age of 'pop-up car wash/m.o.t' places and computers having the ability to produce fake documents.....

If you are unsure about the renewal date for the second-hand car you have just bought, perhaps because its documents are being posted to you, or you have misplaced the M.O.T Certificate of your existing car, do not panic! You can use the government's own M.O.T Status Web PageM.O.T Status tool to check whether or not a particular car has a valid M.O.T Certificate and, if so, when it expires. The M.O.T Status tool requires the Registration (Number) Plate and Vehicle Make only. NOTE: That tool might not be up-to-date by five days, so if someone has recently passed their M.O.T Test.....

How Much Is A CAR M.O.T TEST?

An M.O.T Test centre can only charge a M.O.T Fees Web Pagemaximum of £54.85 for a car M.O.T Test. If your car fails its M.O.T Test, you have the choice of letting that same M.O.T Test centre carry out the necessary repairs for your car to pass its second M.O.T Test (known as a Partial Retest when repair work has been done after a failed first M.O.T Test) or take your car away for repair elsewhere.

If you take your car elsewhere for repair work and then bring it back to the same (original) M.O.T Test centre for a Partial Retest, before the end of the next working day, you should not be charged for that Partial Retest; but this depends on what car parts need retesting. On the other hand: If you give the repair job to the same (original) M.O.T Test centre whereby they do the repair work and Partial Retest within ten days, the 'Partial Retest' should be free; but this depends on what car parts need retesting.

What Checks Are Done DURING A M.O.T TEST?

During the M.O.T Test your car's important parts will be checked for safety and environmental issues/problems, to make sure they meet the legal standards. Basically, to make sure parts work the way they should, to make sure there are no fuel/oil leaks and that everything is securely connected and in place.

Parts such as the Exhaust Pipe (emissions), Towbars (secureness), Fuel System (leaks), Seat Belts and Air-Bag (working correctly and in place), Wiring and Lights (indicators), Seats, Doors, Brakes, Tyres and Wheels. The government has produced this excellent, downloadable, PDF file about the M.O.T Car Parts Web Pagecar parts checked in an M.O.T Test.


If you lose or damage your M.O.T Certificate you can get a replacement from any M.O.T Test centre by giving them your vehicle registration number (number plate) and either your original M.O.T Test number or the Vehicle Log Book Web PageV5C Document Reference number found on your V5C registration certificate (log book). You will NOT need to take another M.O.T Test if your current (lost, stolen or damaged) M.O.T Certificate is still valid.


With a valid M.O.T Certificate you then need to insure your car, against accidents for example, so that you can physically drive on the roads and in public places of England (UK).

Car Insurance Web PageCar Insurance prices vary a lot simply because insurance companies take your age, gender, occupation, driving years, mileage, location of your car (i.e. in a private garage or on the street for criminals and vandals), location of your property, manual or automatic car, and other factors into consideration when offering their car insurance quotes. Doing an online check for a 40-year-old male, living in London, with 20 years driving experience, wanting comprehensive car insurance, got me rough quotes of between £1,140 to £1,210; with average monthly payments of £95 to £100.

If I said I kept the car in garage and only wanted third-party car insurance, I would have got a lower quote. And if I said I had two cars that needed insuring I would have got discounted offers. Property location also made a difference. So it really depends on your particular circumstances and needs as to what you will end up paying for car insurance.

If you do not want any hassle, use an Insurance Broker instead. They usually get you a better deal.

NOTE - You must have a minimum of Third Party car insurance to physically drive on the roads and in public places of England (UK) - All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third party cover to drive in other EU countries.

NOTE - If you take your car "off the road", because you want to stop taxing and insuring it or have it in your garden awaiting repairs for example, you must fill out an online SORN Web PageSORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) Application Form. You also have to declare a car as "off the road" if you intend to break it down for parts in order to scrap it.


Road Tax, which was abolished in 1937, is now called VED Tax Web PageVehicle Excise Duty (VED). To car owners it is better known as Car Tax, even though VED applies to other vehicle owners. Either way, road tax no longer exists. Furthermore, VED is not a tax on road usage and does not pay for road repairs. It is a tax on the vehicle itself, based on either its engine size or fuel type and CO2 emissions.

Another thing that no longer exists is the paper Tax Disc, that used to be displayed on the inside of a car's windscreen. Now when you buy a car, new or second-hand, you tax it by taking its necessary documents/certificates to the post office, call the DVLA (0300 123 4321) with those necessary document/certificate numbers to hand or enter them online via the (Process VED Online Web PageOnline VED Process).

Buying And Taxing A SECOND-HAND CAR

When Second-Hand Car Advice DVLA Videobuying a second-hand car, the current owner should give you (after purchase) the green section of their Log Book (V5C Document Reference), known as V5C/2, for you to fill out with your details on it. Once completed, you must send it to the DVLA for them to register the bought car in your name. Likewise, the current owner (seller) has to fill out section 6 of the log book, sign the declaration in section 8 (you must do this too) and fill in section 10 (and then give it to you) before sending it to the DVLA.

Upon receipt and verification of details of the green V5C/2 section, and the seller's V5C, you should be sent a new Log Book (V5C Document Reference) within 2 to 4 weeks. Here is more information about the Vehicle Tax Rules Web PageVehicle Tax Rules.

UPDATE 2018 - The seller can now do the DVLA 'new owner vehicle registration' part online whereby you (the new owner) then receive a new log book (V5C Document) in your name within 10 working days from the online registration date.


As cars are now taxed and banded according to their engine size or fuel type and CO2 emissions, there isn't a one-off tax fee for everyone. Instead, your car is taxed according to its band. For example: If you have a petrol/diesel car that has an emissions rating of 151-165 g/km (band G), the annual tax will be £190. Here are the current Vehicle Tax Rates Web PageVehicle Tax Rates. And here you can Check Vehicle Tax Web Pagecheck if a vehicle is taxed.


If you buy a brand new car from a car showroom for example, the dealer will normally register that car for you whereby you should then receive a V5C Registration Certificate (Log Book) for it within 6 weeks. Alternatively, you can Vehicle Registration Web PageRegister A New Vehicle yourself. Old Vehicle Registration Web PageRegistering a second-hand (used) car is as described above (see: Buying And Taxing A SECOND-HAND CAR).


An average price to pay for a good second-hand car these days is between £1,000 and £1,500. With M.O.T (maximum £54.85) and Car Insurance (between £1,100 and £1,300) that will total between £2,154.85 and £2,554.85. With car fuel averaging £1.02 per litre for Petrol and £1.06 per litre for Diesel, you are realistically looking at the first year's "ownership, maintenance and usage" costs as totalling between £2,500 and £3,000.

Cost Breakdown: Many small cars can do between Car Mileage Web Page54 and 60 Miles, or between 86.9 and 96.5 Kilometres, Per Gallon (MPG). 1 UK Gallon is roughly 4.5 Litres. So every 1 Gallon (4.5 Litres) of petrol allows you to travel 60 Miles, which at a cost of £1.02 per litre would cost you £4.59. 4 Gallons (18 Litres) of petrol would allow you to travel 240 Miles, at a cost of £18.36. So 240 Miles (18 Litres) per month multiplied by 12 equals £220.32 per year. With M.O.T (maximum £54.85) and Car Insurance (between £1,100 and £1,300) the yearly maintenance/usage cost would be between £2,375.17 and £2,775.18.

As said above: Realistically costs will be slightly higher than those mentioned above due to you travelling a longer distance, waiting in traffic, the age of your car, years of driving, professional or provisional, gender and so on. Therefore, treat the above costs and information table below as guidance to "a rough idea of what you are likely to pay".

Used Car (2010) M.O.T Insurance Vehicle Tax Driving Licence
£1,000 - £1,500 maximum £54.85 £1,100 and £1,300 £190 £34 (Provisional) - £43 (FULL)

NOTE - The above costs are based on 1 Gallon being 4.5 Litres, when in fact 1 Gallon is actually 4.54609 Litres! Anyway, here is an exact Miles, MPG and Petrol Cost calculatorMiles, MPG and Petrol Cost calculator.

UPDATE 2018 - As of Sunday 20th May 2018 the M.O.T Test has some changes to it:

Changes To M.O.T Test 2018M.O.T Test Changes - 20th May 2018.