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Can you drive a car without MOT to be scrapped?

When is it possible to drive without an MOT?

MOT (Ministry of Transport) certificates are annual tests that ensure all vehicles on the road are safe to be there. The test itself is designed around a predetermined set of key areas, those being roadworthiness, exhaust emissions and general vehicle safety. All motor vehicles over three years old are legally required to have a valid MOT certificate issued by an authorised testing station or garage. Without one you’re liable for prosecution. They are also a prerequisite for all car insurance policies, and without one you cease to be covered by your policy.

The only two instances when it’s deemed legal to drive your vehicle without a valid MOT are if you are heading to or from a garage for repairs or if you are taking the vehicle to an authorised testing station or garage for a pre-arranged MOT test. Driving your vehicle without a valid MOT in any other circumstances is breaking the law.

What next?

If your vehicle has failed its test, the garage or test centre will contact you, giving you all the details of why this happened. They will also give you a VT30 (Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate). A VT30 document contains all your vehicle’s details, the actual MOT testing number and exact reasons why the certificate has not been issued. You need to hang on to this document.

If your vehicle is getting old and/or showing any signs of problems, it might be wise to take it in to be tested prior to the current certificate expiring. This will then allow you to ascertain what the major issues are, if any, that would prevent a new MOT certificate being issued to you. Once you have this information, you can decide whether or not it’s worth carrying out the repairs, or whether to look at getting the vehicle scrapped. It’s worth mentioning at this point that should the pre-MOT checks come back with reasons to fail the test, you should limit your driving as you can be prosecuted for knowingly driving a vehicle with a fault.

Keep it, sell it or scrap it?

So, it’s decision time. If your car failed its test, you have three choices. Keeping the vehicle will require you to have the necessary works carried out and a retest once these repairs have been completed. Usually, as long as the car is returned to the testing centre or garage within 10 days, the retest is covered under the initial charge; any longer than that and you may have to pay full price for another test.

You can arrange to have your vehicle returned to you and put back on your drive or in your own private garage. At this point, inform the DVLA and apply for a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice). Now you’re in a position where you can advertise the vehicle for sale in need of repair or for spare parts.

Your final option is to scrap the vehicle. A commonly asked question is can you drive a car without an MOT to be scrapped? Unfortunately, you can’t for the reasons stated earlier in this article. You’ll need to contact an authorised treatment facility. These companies usually offer to come and collect your vehicle from you as part of the agreement. They will then issue you with any monies agreed as part of the scrap valuation.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

If you’re entitled to any unused road tax when you scrap your car, you should get in touch with the DVLA to reclaim it. Since tax discs were phased out, this can no longer be done at a post office – so you’ll need to contact the DVLA directly, either on the phone, by post, or using their website.

No. It’s important that your car is free of rubbish and personal belongings - as our scrap partners are not equipped to deal with anything other than the car.

Someone else can scrap your car for you but they must take it to an authorised treatment facility (ATF) and hand over all appropriate paperwork for it to be done legally.

When scrapping your car, you must inform the DVLA. You’ll need your logbook to pass onto the ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility). Afterwards, you’ll be given a Certificate of Destruction (CoD).

It’s illegal to sell a car with outstanding finance, so before you scrap a car you need to have paid off the outstanding finance amount. Technically, a car with outstanding finance is the lender’s property, not yours.

It’s illegal to scrap someone’s car without their permission and take payment. The Scrap Dealers Act requires that individuals scrapping cars provide photo ID and proof of address and are never paid in cash, ensuring transactions can be easily traced.

Yes, you can. Before your car is collected, you’ll need to ‘retain’ your registration with the DVLA; either online or through the post. Your registration will then be held on a retention certificate, ready to transfer to another car.

End of Life Vehicle (ELV) is the term used to describe a car that is no longer suitable for use – either through wear and tear or damage. ELVs must be recycled at authorised treatment facilities.

When a car is no longer roadworthy, it still has some value. An Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) will pay you the scrap value of your car, which could be well over a hundred pounds, depending on the model.

Yes – it’s important that you inform the DVLA when you scrap your car, as you could be liable for any on-going charges relating to it if you don’t. The quick and easy way to inform the DVLA is by completing and returning section 9 (or section 4 on post-April 2019 documents) of the V5C log book form.