Check the MOT history of a vehicle

There is a new Government website that allows users (motorists) to check the MOT history of a vehicle online, meaning you could save yourself a lot of potential headaches when it comes to buying in the used market.

All that is required to run the check is the make and vehicle registration number – this information lets you check whether the vehicle has passed or failed and more importantly (and interestingly) what the vehicle has failed because of.

This is a huge step forward in understanding more about the vehicles available on the used car market – a full service history is a great thing to have for any car, but having information on what the car has previously encountered issues with at MOT tests is priceless information. It also gives the date that the next MOT is due, meaning you should have no problem in staying legal by forgetting or not knowing!

For example, I know my own car has failed the MOT test twice in the past 5 years due to the front bushes being over worn. However, checking this site I can see that it has also previously had this being an issue on two previous tests. If I had known it could have informed my decision whether or not to purchase the car.

Also listed on the results page for the given vehicle are advisory notices – these are not fails as such, and have not caused the car to fail at this test but they should be kept in mind. If they are not addressed in advance of the next MOT they could potentially cause the vehicle to fail then. Again this is fantastic information to know on the vehicle prior to making the decision to buy it.

Imagine you are looking at two cars, deciding between them which one to get. Both have roughly the same mileage, both have 1 previous owner and both have a full service history. How do you pick which one to get? Well with this new website, available at, you have information about how both of the vehicles have done on previous MOT tests.

If one of the cars has a long list of advisories, then it might be advisable to ask the owner whether any of this has been addressed and where necessary rectified, before any money leaves your pocket. Obviously, you would want evidence that the work has been undertaken and completed to a professional standard in addition to the sellers word.

A second website, not currently available to the public, gives more information about any vehicle – including the date it was originally registered, the tax band it falls into due to CO2 emissions or the vehicle age and when the tax is next due. All of this information serves as further guidance for purchasers in the used market.

While the MOT changes in 2015 have been derided, these two websites show that the UK Government is actively engaged in increasing transparency in the used market, putting more power into the hands of the buyer.