mot testing ramps

MOT checks are free and expose car history

An essential part of buying a reliable used car


The information contained in an mot history check report helps in two main ways. The first is to check if a car is genuine mileage. The second is a reasonable way of predicting how much money may need spending on a car during its next MOT test. More on this in a moment.

MOT checks are for cars over 3 years old. You need the VRM (vehicle registration number) and the .gov website – My sister website, CarVeto provides a comprehensive MOT history check in an easy to understand. Enter a VRM to the right or visit the MOT history website.


Correct steps to checking MOT history

You can track MOT history for the life of a car. This is an excellent open source of data if you are planning to buy a car.

Checking MOT history via .gov website


MOT test example

up to date mot certifcate



Aside from checking chronological mileages to ensure they tie together correctly, you can also look at ‘advisory items’ and ‘failure items’.


Advisory and failure items and why they are important


Failed items

You can see what a car has failed on during previous MOT tests and what parts should have been replaced or repaired during a retest.

Even better is evidence of those repairs in the way of workshop invoices that make up the service history.



reasons why a vehicle has failed its MOT



Advisory Items

The most significant part of an MOT check is advisory information (or advisories).

When buying a car, you should check the two most recent MOT tests to spot if advisories were listed.



reasons for advistory items MOT



Definition of advisory items on a VOSA MOT certificate

Advisory notes are provided as part of a MOT. They describe a notice of items that will ultimately need fixing but are not reasons to fail a test. Advisories are at the discretion of the MOT tester and vary in importance dependent upon each individual car part.


As advisory items are not a legal requirement of roadworthiness the car owner may not replace them.

This is common if the car is going to be sold before its next MOT test.


If you were to buy the car it is likely those items will fail on their subsequent MOT and become legal requirements for roadworthiness. As the owner, you are then liable for the repair costs.

This means uncertainty and possible expense not too far down the road. Items that were advised but not replaced are likely to become failures.

Identifying advisories on an MOT check, before you buy, means you can allow for the repair costs. If brake discs and pads were advised I’d allow £250 to get them replaced.

If a driveshaft is worn I’d ensure there was at least £350 set aside.


The danger of worn brakes and tyres

It is best practice to immediately replace brakes or tyres as they are fundamental to road safety.

My rule of thumb is that advised brakes or tyres must be replaced.

Perhaps you can use advisory MOT items to get a better price for the car?


Set your VRM and get a full MOT check


MOT’s and buying from a dealership

Insist on a new MOT with the car. Most will agree if it closes the sale on the day.


My last holler about advisories…

Ensure the dealer provides a new MOT and agrees to deliver it with no advisory items.

I have countless examples where a motorist has bought from the dealer with a new MOT only to find a small shopping list of car parts that were advised on the preceding MOT.

Unfortunately, most examples were highlighted months after the car was bought or when the next MOT was due.

With every aspect of buying a used car, it is best practice to have a close attention to detail. This includes inspecting the car thoroughly, buying a history of my car check, a thorough test drive and examination of car documentation.


Marcus Rockey
Used Car Guy


Watch the video below where I demonstrate a thorough online MOT history check

CarVeto MOT History Check

Make an informed choice when buying a used car

MOT history, owners, finance, accidents, mileage problems, theft, import, export, scrapped and more

CarVeto logo for buying a second hand car


Do you need a bit more help searching the background of a car?


  1. Instant reg check – This service is offered by Used Car Guy and provides solid details about any vehicle registered in the UK from new. All you need is a car reg to make a start
  2. Hpi checker – Many motorists will know of hpi who offer a paid service to investigate the history of a car. This is my guide to their services with some interesting facts
  3. Check car history free – This article is one of my most popular and offers sound advice on car service history including sourcing lost records and tips to mileage discrepancies
  4. Car previous owners – The busiest page on my site is right here and it’s all to do with car ownership, finding previous owners and a huge trade secret
  5. Car repair near me – Some great juice on finding a good quality, trusted local mechanic. The article here reviews one big brand and offers some nice tips to saving money