DVLA MOT exempt rules

Avoid MOT testing on a classic vehicle

DVLA exclusions guide


Vehicles built more than 40 years ago do not need a valid MOT. This is a rolling exemption applying to vehicles 40 years old or more from their date of manufacturer.


What you’ll learn about MOT exemption and its appending rules:

If you have purchased a classic car and want to know exemptions, modifications and general car specs.

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Data for classic cars tend to be more limited. Detailed MOT history improves from 2005 via DVLA and holds a spectrum of vehicle information. Our free report lets you know what is available.

Under three years old


Vehicles under the age of three years don’t need an MOT. After three years, the vehicle must be tested every 12 months from its first MOT.

If you are unsure of your vehicle’s age or whether you need to get an MOT test, check out CarVeto’s MOT Checklist guide or use our vehicle check to get your car’s age and MOT history.


There are some exceptions however, below is the list of vehicles that need to get an MOT when 12 months old:


  • Ambulances and taxis
  • Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (9 to 12 passenger seats)
  • Class 4 vehicles (9 to 12 passenger seats) with a seat belt installation check
  • Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (13 to 16 passenger seats)
  • Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (more than 16 passenger seats)
  • Play buses
  • Class 5 vehicles (13 to 16 passenger seats) with a seatbelt installation chec
  • Class 5 vehicles (more than 16 passenger seats) with a seatbelt installation check

Image of a modern classic vehicle nearing MOT exemption

MOT exemption example

Over 40 years old


The updated MOT laws state that vehicles registered over 40 years ago are exempt from futures MOT tests.

Before reforms, the law stated it was not mandatory for cars built before 1960 to have a valid MOT.


However, there are a few exceptions.

First, there can be no ‘substantial changes’ or ‘modifications‘ made to a vehicle in the last 30 years which change how the vehicle works.



Examples of ‘substantial changes’


Chassis or Monocoque body shell – However, if these are replaced with the same as the original, it is not considered a substantial change.

Axles and Running gear – alterations to the method and type of suspension or steering is considered a substantial change.

Engine – However, if replaced with the same as the original then this is not considered a substantial change.


For more information on what is meant by ‘substantial changes’ please see the Gov.uk guide on substantial changes.



Classic that are not exempt


  • A reconstructed classic car which meets the criteria of the DVLA  – Visit gov.uk to find out more.
  • Vehicles with a ‘Q’ prefix on the registration – this often means that the age or identity of the car is in question – See Gov.uk for this.
  • A kit car – if you have purchased your car in parts and assembled it yourself – specifically if it is made from parts from different makes and models or if you have added newer parts to the old kit car.

Other MOT exempt vehicles


  • Cars that are registered wiith ‘Statutory Off-Road Notice’ or SORN status do not have to have a valid MOT. You cannot drive a car that is SORN on public roads. The only time you can is to a pre-booked MOT test.
  • Electric powered goods vehicles registered before 1 March 2015.
  • Tractors
  • Lorries, buses and trailers, however, these vehicles must have an annual test instead of an MOT.

Apply for MOT Exemption


To declare exemption you need to download and fill out the V112 form.  Eligible vehicles are listed on the form. For example, if your car is over 40 years old and has not been substantially changed you would input category (R) into the box shown.


It is your responsibility to remember to correctly register your vehicle as MOT exempt.