Avoid this MOT mistake when purchasing a used car to save £1,000

By Laura Linham

14th Mar 2024 | News

Overlooking MOT details can lead to unexpected costs. (Photo: Unsplash)
Overlooking MOT details can lead to unexpected costs. (Photo: Unsplash)

Road safety experts, etyres, are warning used car buyers that while it's legal to privately sell a car that has failed its MOT, buyers must be aware so they can arrange transportation to a garage for the test as soon as they purchase the car.

If drivers don't check this with the seller before buying a used car the penalty for driving or parking a car on the road without a valid MOT certificate, including during test drives, can result in a hefty fine of £1,000.

Richard Croft, Operations Director at etyres explained "When considering buying a used car, it's essential to undertake thorough checks. Begin by verifying the MOT Status through the gov.uk MOT history service to prevent a potential £1,000 fine."

Road safety experts eyres conducted research into used cars being sold on Facebook Marketplace, they found that one-third of car advertisements analysed failed to mention the MOT status of the vehicles being sold. 

The road safety experts at etyres have also warned drivers not to forget to ask about tyre condition of a used car before agreeing to the sale. Not only would it cost the buyer £400 for a new set of mid-range tyres, they could also face a £2,500 fine per tyre if they're caught driving a car with tyres below the legal tread. 

Richard Croft, Operations Director at etyres said "Don't forget to find out the tyre condition of a vehicle before agreeing on the sale to avoid having to unexpectedly pay out on average £400 for a new set of mid-range tyres. Pay close attention to tyre tread, tyre pressure and examine the general tyre condition, including signs of wear, bulges, or punctures." 

The legal limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm however etyres recommends changing your tyres at 3mm as once they are below this, stopping distances increase drastically. 

Richard continues "Luckily, tyres have tread wear indicators, so it is easier than ever to check your tread depth. If the surface of the tread rubber is level with the raised areas, then the tyre depth is a sign that your tyres could be under the legal limit."

Only one in seven car advertisements analysed by etyres disclosed any information about tyres. Given that tyre tread depth is the most common reason cars fail their MOT in winter followed by tyre faults in general, this oversight is alarming. 

Methodology: etyres analysed 200 used car advertisements from Facebook marketplace from areas across the UK. All advertisements were for used Ford Fiesta cars, the most popular car in the UK. Data correct as of February 2024.


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