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HomeMotoringCar BuyingHow to do a historical MOT check

How to do a historical MOT check

If you are thinking of buying a used car, make sure to do a historical MOT check before signing on the dotted line.

Buying a second hand vehicle involves so much more than purchasing one fresh off the showroom floor. You need to glean as much information as possible and to check MOT and tax online is an integral part of this process.

What is a historical MOT?

As the name implies, it is there to provide you with everything you need to know about the vehicle’s past. A car might look all bright and shiny on the forecourt, but it might not do what it says on the tin.

These days, it is increasingly difficult for a second hand car dealership to do any dodgy deals. An online historical MOT check, which can be accessed by anyone, ensures that you, the buyer, won’t be bitten. All you have to do is punch in the vehicle’s registration number and most of what you need to know will be there. This includes:

  • MOT expiry date
  • Tax expiry date and current vehicle tax rate
  • Date of registration
  • Year it was manufactured
  • SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice) status
  • CO2 emissions
  • Engine size
  • Colour

There are other online options that, for a small fee, you can drill right down into the vehicle’s history to discover how many owners it has had; its imported and export status; any outstanding finance; a stolen check; valuation and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number); fuel consumption and emission statistics.

Why is a historical MOT check so vital?

Buying a vehicle is not like buying a loaf of bread, it is likely to be a substantial outlay, especially if you are looking to take out finance to pay it off over a period of time.

Given the facts that a third of cars sold have a shady past, their history successfully hidden from the buyers, 17 percent with mileage discrepancies, and that more than 30 percent still with outstanding debt, it is evident that doing your homework will pay dividends.

Guidelines when buying a used vehicle

You don’t want to buy a car that’s going to give you headaches not only each time it goes in for its MOT, but all year round.

  • Smaller engines are most efficient in town and city driving, but a little engine has to work so much harder at high speed. So, if you spend a large chunk of your week behind the wheel on highways and byways, then it makes more sense to buy a vehicle that can cope more mph
  • When doing your historical MOT check, pay particular attention to the vehicle’s CO2 emissions because it effects the duty you pay
  • Hybrid vehicles might cost more, but they are cheaper to run. They won’t be giving you any CO2 emissions problems come MOT time and they tend to hold their resale value

Armed with this information when it comes time to you book your MOT, it will be with a vehicle with a good track record, meaning it is more likely than not to pass its MOT first time.


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