When it comes to passing an MOT, there are a number of checks that have to be made before your car can pass. Number plates are an important part of an MOT with it being possible to fail your MOT if you don’t meet an MOT’s number plate requirements. In this guide, we explain how a number plate can fail its MOT, so if your MOT is coming up or you want to know MOT private plate rules, read on for all the information you need.
Is a cracked number plate an MOT failure?
Your car will fail its MOT if the number plate doesn’t meet the specified requirements. This includes damage to your number plate, such as a crack due to a collision or a bent number plate due to an accident. MOT tests insist that your registration plate is not excessively damaged, deteriorated or delaminated. As a result, if you have a cracked number plate that makes it difficult to read, you should consider replacing it before your MOT or you could be looking at a failure.
Will a dirty number plate fail an MOT?
One of the key MOT number plate requirements is that your plate is easily readable and not obscured. Therefore, if your number plate is dirty, it could fail its MOT. Having a dirty number plate is common so taking the time to inspect it before your MOT and giving it a clean to ensure it’s not covered in mud before the test, is a sensible thing to do. Ensuring your number plate is clean before its MOT is certainly an easy thing to check off your pre-MOT to-do list.
Is a number plate light an MOT failure?
Working and functional number plate lights are a legal requirement and part of the MOT number plate rules. It’s not uncommon for a car to fail its MOT because the light that is situated above the number plate has stopped working. The light’s purpose is to illuminate your registration number in the dark so that it is easy to read by police and ANPR cameras.
There is a rear number plate light law that states your vehicle must have a light to illuminate the plate – it doesn’t state how bright the light must be but that it must be a white light. Breaking this law can result in a £1000 fine and lead your car to fail its MOT.
Can you fail an MOT without a number plate?
It is illegal to drive your car without a front and rear number plate. Further, if your plates are missing during your MOT, this will result in a failure, being designated a major defect. Cars have had to have number plates displayed and be officially registered since 1904. This allows all cars to be traced to the owner in the event of an accident, theft, or illegal activity.
Will a custom number plate fail an MOT?
A custom or personalised number plate will not necessarily fail an MOT but there are private number plate MOT requirements that must be met. Your car will fail its MOT if the private plate shows the incorrect registration or if the background of the plate has overprinting or features patterns. For example, if your plate has a honeycomb effect and was registered on or after September 1st 2001, the car will fail its MOT.
To discover exactly what is allowed on your private customer number plate, get in touch with a reputable supplier of private number plates in the UK like Right Reg and take a look at the official government regulations.
MOT number plate rules
For a quick reference, you can see the DVSA’s MOT registration plate requirements below to make sure your number plate doesn’t cause your car to fail.
You will fail an MOT if your number plate:
- Is obscured, excessively damaged, deteriorated or delaminated
- Has background overprinting
- Has any feature or fixing that has the effect of changing the appearance or legibility of any of the characters including the use of tints or films
- Has a honeycomb or similar effect background on vehicles first registered on or after 1st September 2001 - backlit registration plates may have a honeycomb-type construction which should not be confused with a honeycomb effect background
What are the MOT number plate ‘major defects’?
- The number plate is missing or it’s so insecure that it is likely to fall off
- The number plate inscription is missing or illegible
- The number plate is showing an incorrect registration
- The number plate does not conform to the specified requirements
Major defects are one of five categories (dangerous, major, minor, advisory and pass).
What happens if my car fails its MOT?
If your car fails its MOT due to a number plate or any other reason, the defects found are required to be fixed and then the car retested. The retest is normally free provided the fixes are completed within 10 working days and some garages will simply make the fixes (especially if the cost is negligible like replacing a light bulb) before retesting. If your car fails because a number plate is illegible or obscured, you will need to get a new number plate printed before it can pass its MOT.
How do you replace a number plate?
If you need a new number plate, you can either go to a local garage or Halfords and can expect to pay about £16 for your new plate. Or you might consider this as the perfect opportunity to personalise your number plate. You can find private plates for sale and select a registration that really speaks to your personality, giving your car a custom feel while meeting all the legal requirements.
Number plate MOT check
If you have forgotten when your MOT is due or want to make sure you have the date right, you can use the government’s number plate MOT check tool. Simply enter your registration and see when your MOT is due.
Speak to the private plate experts at Right Reg
If you are on the hunt for a personalised registration, here at Right Reg would love to help. Please do get in touch with our expert team for any questions.
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