Avoid a hefty driving fine: How to quickly check a car is taxed and has MOT

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Forgetting to tax a car, or not taxing one once bought can result in an eye-watering fine. The same applies to driving a car without a valid MOT – that risks a penalty of £2,500. Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Mark Royal, Operations Manager at Goodbye Car to get expert tips on ensuring a car is ready for the road.

Check a car has been taxed:
“You can check vehicle tax easily and online by going to the DVLA website and entering the vehicle registration number.

‘It’s important to check if your car is taxed – if you are caught with an untaxed vehicle, you could be fined up to £1,000.

“In some cases, your untaxed vehicle can be clamped and impounded by the DVLA.”

Mark continued: “If an untaxed vehicle is clamped by the DVLA, the owner will be charged a £100 release fee.

“If you can’t prove that your vehicle has been taxed when it is released then you will have to pay a surety fee of £160.

“However, you can claim this back if you can show that your vehicle has been taxed within 15 days.”

And Mark had similar advice for those wanting to check the MOT status.

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How do I know if my car has been MOT’d?
“If your car is less than three years old then you won’t need to get an MOT certificate for it just yet.

“If it’s older than three years, the easiest way to check whether your car has a valid MOT is by looking at the paperwork.

“If everything is in order, you should have a valid MOT test certificate which will tell you the date that the MOT test took place, whether your car passed, and when the current MOT is due to expire.

“Alternatively, if you don’t have the relevant paperwork to hand, you can use online websites such as gov.uk/check-mot-status which will tell you if your vehicle has a valid MOT certificate and when it is due to run out.”

Mark added: “All you’ll need to do is to enter your car’s registration plate and the site will do the rest.

“These sites can also provide you with a full MOT history including passes, fails, and any issues.

“If you drive without a valid MOT certificate in the UK, then be aware that it is classed as a criminal offence.

“That means you could be hit with a fine of £2,500, three penalty points on your licence, and potentially even a driving ban.

“Not only that, but it could make your insurance agreement invalid too.”

Meanwhile, according to the RAC, If a car fails an MOT test while a certificate is still valid, and no ‘dangerous’ problems are found, the car can be taken away. However, the car must meet the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times.

Any owner can appeal against an MOT fail decision on the Government site if they disagree with the inspection findings.

If a driver misses the MOT and the certificate has expired, they can be prosecuted.

Sometimes manufacturers will issue recalls for older models – failing to get these taken back and fixed can also lead to MOT failure.

Product recalls are not taken lightly and so will most probably be due to a serious issue.

Running a car with one of these faults could well be classed as not having a roadworthy vehicle, again, that can lead to a hefty fine and points on a licence.

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