Since the MOT system moved online, there is less need for a printed MOT certificate. If you sell your car, or need to buy car tax, then the government system can check your MOT status automatically. Anyone buying a car can check the MOT and tax status online, as all you need to do so is the registration number. If you have lost the certificate which you were handed at the time of the test, then you may decide not to bother getting a copy printed at all. There are lots of circumstances under which you might want a new MOT certificate though, so here’s what you need to know about getting one. Longer term, the government has a stated aim of moving away from paperwork, not just for everything car-related, but in all aspects of our lives and dealings with government bodies.
Only drivers of certain classes of vehicles can get their MOT certificate printed quickly and easily. If your vehicle is a public service vehicle (PSV) like a bus, or a heavy good vehicle such as a truck or lorry, then you will have to fill on a specific form online to request a duplicate MOT certificate from the DVLA. If however you are driving a car, van or motorbike, then it’s easy to get a replacement MOT certificate online. Plans are still underway to expand the system to cover other classes of vehicle too, but the Covid-19 pandemic has put the roll-out on hold at present.
There are two ways of doing this. Firstly, if you have access to a printer at home, go straight to the government website. Press the green “start now” button and follow the step-by-step instructions to get a new MOT test. There are two key pieces of information you will need to complete the process. These are:
Replacement MOT certificate are provided as a .pdf file, and should be easy to open on most devices. This form of file can be printed, or sent by email as an attachment, but cannot to edited to change the details.
If you don’t have a printer at home, then the other option is to go to the garage which last carried out the MOT and ask them for a replacement certificate. You will still need to tell them the registration number of your car, and provide the 11-digit reference number. Garages are allowed to charge for printing off a new certificate for you. Some may provide a new certificate free of charge, but the law allows them to charge up to £10 for the service.
As it’s often much easier and quicker to check a MOT status online, the requirement for paper checks is becoming less over the years. Some garages and private buyers will still expect to be able to take a piece of paper away with them though, and having a paper MOT certificate might make selling your vehicle a bit easier. Every year, around 640,000 duplicate certificates are requested in England, Wales and Scotland, accounting for 2% of all car MOTs in circulation. It’s therefore clear that there is a fairly strong demand for a replacement certificate, whatever the reasons for needing one.
The ability to print your certificate online is a relatively new option, as previously the only way of getting a replacement certificate was to go to the garage and pay £10 for them to print it off for you. The new “print at home” facility came into effect in 2019, and is aimed at making things easier for customers, and free up time in the garage to repair and test cars rather than administrative tasks. Using the government website, you can print off a replacement certificate at home, whether it’s a pass, or a fail. It’s probably more likely that you’d need to print off a pass certificate, but a fail certificate could be useful if you have lost the original and want to take your car to a different garage for remedial work.
Printing from a laptop is usually the easiest option, but you might need to make sure that your printer has wireless capability and can communicate with your laptop. Printing from tablets and smartphones is also usually possible, but might take a bit more setting up. Weigh up the time and effort of getting it all set up at home to print, against popping into the local garage and getting them to do it for you. There’s no need to have an expensive laser printer, and you won’t need colour ink as the certificates are in black and white only. One of the key benefits of printing at home however, is that you can do this at any time of the day and night, rather than being constrained to the times when the garage is open.
As well as requesting a duplicate MOT certificate online, the government portal gives lots of other information about your car’s history too. Checking the history of a car’s MOT online will show you details of all of the checks that the car has undergone since the system went digital. This is a very useful tool if you are buying an older car and want to check which items have been flagged as needing repair, or have been classed as “advisory” on previous MOT checks. Using the same system, you can check to see when your car tax runs out, or check the car tax status of a car you are considering purchasing. You can also buy your tax online, rather than queuing up on the last day of the month at the post office with various pieces of paperwork and identification.