How to sell a car without an MOT

December 20, 2023 by

The MOT certificate is one of those important documents that can help increase the value of your car when you decide to sell it. A recent clean bill of mechanical health can be useful in proving how sound a car is.

If, however, your car has a history of advisories and failures, you have to decide whether it’s worth spending (in essence, losing) money on sorting any problems before selling.

The good news is that you can sell your car, even if it doesn’t have a current MOT. If you’re selling your car privately though, there are some things to consider – which Carwow’s crack team of experts explains here.

What is an MOT certificate?

To ensure that all cars are safe and roadworthy, every vehicle over three years old must be tested annually. The garage conducting the test checks all the major components, from the lights and electrical equipment to the suspension, brakes and tyres. An emissions test also ensures the engine isn’t emitting pollutants outside the legal limits.

A car will either pass the test outright, receive advisories (for minor issues that should be fixed before they become major issues), or have a defect cited. Minor defects should be fixed as soon as possible, but a major defect must be rectified immediately.

If your car is still covered by an existing MOT, the car can be driven home or repaired at the MOT test centre or another garage: if your car has a dangerous defect, however, it is illegal to drive it, so it has to be towed. If you don’t have a valid MOT certificate, it’s illegal to drive the car.

You can check your car’s MOT history using our free MOT checker.

Is it legal to sell a car with no MOT?

It is perfectly legal to sell a car without a valid MOT – even if you can’t drive that car on the public highway. What is illegal, however, is to sell a car without informing the prospective buyer of its status. This does happen – either by accident or unscrupulous design – so it’s important to make it clear that the buyer will need to bring a trailer to take the car away.

There’s also a handy online tool for buyers from the DVLA that allows you to enter a car’s registration number and get the car’s current tax and MOT status. If the MOT is not current, and it and the tax expired some time ago, the car might have been off the road for some time.

Where can I sell a car without an MOT?

Private buyer

If you’re selling a car without a valid MOT, there are plenty of places to advertise it to private buyers – specialist car selling websites, online marketplaces, bulletin boards – but you must make the car’s mechanical status absolutely clear and not allow viewers to test drive it.

Car dealer

Car dealers can buy and sell cars without an MOT, but many don’t want the hassle and expense of getting the car fixed. If a car dealer does offer to buy your MOT failure, it won’t be for much.

Car-buying service

There are car-buying services that will buy cars without a valid MOT certificate, but you’ll also have to provide some key documents, such as the V5C logbook.


You can scrap your MOT failure through car-buying services or at an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). You’ll have to arrange to have your car transported, though, because it’s illegal to drive it to be scrapped.

The pros and cons of selling a car without an MOT

The pros and cons of selling a car without an MOT


Selling privately is more complicated for a car without an MOT, because a buyer has to transport and fix the car before they can legally drive it. You will need to adjust your asking price to accommodate this extra cost for the buyer.

A car that isn’t mechanically sound also won’t be worth as much as one with a valid MOT, so you’ll have to lower your price to deduct what a buyer will need to spend to pass the test.


The biggest upside of selling a car without an MOT is that you’ll save lots of time and money by not getting the problems fixed and worrying about whether it will pass an MOT retest.

If you’re wondering how much your car is worth without an MOT, take a look at our car valuation tool. It’s free to use and gives you an estimate based on the age and condition of the car.

Looking for an easy way to change your car? Then carwow is the place to go. You can sell your old car for a great price, and get the best deals on a new one. All through our network of trusted dealers and all from the comfort of your home. Tap the button below to get started today.