One of the most daunting things about car ownership is the annual MOT. There’s always that hope your car, will receive a clean bill of health or the concern of a few advisories to be attended to or worse — a total failure.
If you’re looking to sell your car, it can be even worse too — is it really worth sorting any problems out if you’re only going to lose money?
Well, if you’re looking to sell a car without an MOT, the good news is that it’s perfectly doable.
If you choose to sell your car privately though, there are some things to consider. Read on for a guide to selling a car without an MOT.
What is an MOT certificate?
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) test was introduced to annually assess a vehicle’s roadworthiness once it is over three years of age. It is now called the Department of Transport, but the original acronym remains.
Everything from the lights and electrical equipment to the suspension, brakes and tyres are checked to ensure they are operating correctly. An emissions test is carried out which checks whether the engine is not emitting excess pollutants. As a car gets older its components start to wear and it is more likely to need repairs to stay road legal.
Your car will either pass the test outright, receive advisories for issues to be attended to before they become a greater concern, or have a defect that can be minor, major or dangerous.
Minor defects should be fixed as soon as possible, while a major defect will need to be rectified immediately.
If your current MOT has yet to expire, the car can still be driven home, or preferably repaired either at the MOT test centre if possible or an alternative garage.
If not, then it is illegal to drive the car and it will have to be towed. It is illegal to drive your car if it has a dangerous defect, even if your existing MOT is still valid.
What happens if my car fails MOT and I want to sell it?
Let’s assume your car has failed its MOT, this means that it has a major or dangerous defect. As mentioned, if your current MOT is still valid and it does not have a dangerous defect, then you can drive it away.
If your MOT has expired, you are only allowed to drive your vehicle to a garage to have it fixed or to a pre-arranged MOT test appointment.
Can I sell my car without an MOT?
The good news is that if you are not prepared to repair the car, then you are still legally allowed to sell it even without a valid MOT. Just ensure the buyer is aware, and that they have the means to collect the car without driving it on a public road.
Pros and Cons of selling a car without MOT
Selling to a private buyer is more complex as they will need to arrange for the car to be towed away and repaired before they can legally drive it. You should adjust your asking price to factor this in.
The benefit of selling a car without an MOT is that you won’t have to spend more time and money getting it fixed and then still have to worry about whether it will pass the 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.
How to sell a car without MOT FAQs
Is it illegal to sell a car without an MOT?
Not at all. You are allowed to sell a car that has either a failed or expired MOT. Just ensure the buyer has a way to collect the car without having to drive it on public roads — ideally via trailer.
Where can I sell my car without an MOT?
You can sell your car to private buyers or businesses, just as with any other car.
How can I get rid of my failed MOT car?
If you feel that the vehicle is beyond repair, you can decide to scrap it. You will need to find an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). The ATF will need your V5C and they will either scrap the car or repair it, sending you a ‘certificate of destruction’ within 7 days if it is the former. The process is usually free, and you may be paid for the scrap value of the vehicle. Let the DVLA know you have scrapped the car or you may be liable to a fine.
Can I drive a car without an MOT?
If your MOT has expired, you are only allowed to drive your vehicle to a garage for a pre-arranged MOT test appointment. If your car has failed an MOT but its existing MOT has yet to expire, the car can still be driven home, or preferably directly to a garage for repairs. However, it is illegal to drive your car if it has a dangerous defect, regardless of its MOT status.