Car sales

Selling a car can sometimes be quite an involved process, especially when you’re selling to a private buyer or dealer – although as you might expect, we’ve made sure to make the process as simple as possible when you sell anything on our online car auctions here at RAW2K!

Now, lots of buyers will want to know about the car’s MOT, which for a lot of sellers means that it can often end up being the pivotal factor in the final sale of the vehicle. But let’s be honest – getting an MOT sorted can be a bit of a hassle, and at times quite expensive too, which can obviously have a knock-on effect on how much you’re going to be able to get for the car. So it’s no wonder that so many often end up asking: is it legal to sell a car with no MOT?

What is an MOT test?

An MOT test is named for the Ministry of Transport, which is today known as the Department of Transport (but the acronym remains). It’s essentially a mandatory examination intended to assess a vehicle’s basic roadworthiness, including (crucially) how safe it is to drive. All the key components of the vehicle are checked, including its brakes, tyres, its electrical systems, and its emissions levels.

A new car is exempt from taking an MOT for the first three years of its operational life, and from that point onwards it’s legally required to have one annually. If its MOT expires, it cannot be legally driven until it’s given a new certificate.

In case you’re wondering, you can arrange for an exemption in order to physically get it to the test centre for its MOT, but to be honest it’s generally easier to save yourself the hassle and just arrange for a re-test before the original certificate expires.

Is it legal to sell a car or van without an MOT certificate?

Yes, it’s legal to sell a car with no MOT test certificate, but it’s worth noting that it does make the process notably more difficult.

Obviously, there are some tangible benefits for you in that you don’t have to spend the time or expense getting the parts replaced, and you won’t have to concern yourself too much with the overall condition of the vehicle if you’re planning on putting on the market sold-as-seen.

However, that’s obviously going to make it generally less attractive to private buyers, for a couple of key reasons:

  • They’ll have to spend effort and expense in identifying the potential faults with the vehicle, as that responsibility doesn’t necessarily rest with the seller
  • The buyer must then take on responsibility for getting those issues fixed, which again takes time and money
  • Once they take possession of the car, they’ll have to organise transport for it initially, as it won’t be legally driveable from the location of the sale

Now, it’s worth noting of course that when you want to sell car without an MOT, you’ll generally have a couple of options.

Can you sell to a private buyer? Yes, but as we’ve just touched on above, it’ll mean added inconvenience and expense for them. So if you do find a private buyer who intends to drive the car again, they’ll likely want to be compensated accordingly, which will impact the price you’re able to ask for it.

Can you sell to a dealer? Yes, it’s legal but if anything even harder than selling to a private buyer. Commercial dealers deal in cold hard numbers, and they’ll know they’re very unlikely to make anything more than a very modest margin on reselling a car without an MOT. So don’t be surprised if you get very little interest from a commercial dealer – if anyone does make you an offer, you can expect it to be a very low one.

Can you sell a car without MOT to an online car auction? Yes, it’s legal to do this too – and it might well end up being your easiest and most lucrative option. (As long as you properly identify it as missing its MOT, of course.) Customers in online car auctions often include professional and hobbyist mechanics, who may want to take the car to pieces for parts. If that’s the case, they’re not going to be too concerned if the electrics or engine don’t work – so you may be able to get a higher price for it.

Of course, if it comes right down to it and you can’t get anyone to take the car off you at all, then the best option may be simply to have it scrapped.

What to remember about selling a car with no MOT

While the sale itself is legal, as the seller you are still bound by a couple of key rules – so make sure to bear them in mind! The main ones to remember are as follows:

  • You need to ensure the buyer is aware of its condition and status as a non-MOT vehicle
  • It’s a good idea to check that they have the means to collect the car without driving it on a public road
  • Similarly, potential buyers aren’t legally permitted to test drive the car, as they’d probably want to normally

To be honest, it’s best if you and the buyer take equal responsibility for the last two – you can both get a bit legally entangled if the authorities spot anything they think might be illegal, and obviously it all gets a bit tricky from there.

If you do indeed decide to go down the route of selling your car at auction (with or without an MOT), well that’s exactly where we can help here at RAW2K

We can help you sell your car no matter what state it’s in. In fact, we’ve worked hard to make it really simple for you to sell your salvage car. Once you’ve confirmed the age of your vehicle, you can set a starting price, and you’re ready to go. Our online car auctions list thousands of used, salvaged and seized vehicles every week. So, whether you’re just a hobbyist, or a full time professional mechanic, why not take a look around, and see what you can find?