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Ah, the MOT… a single piece of paper that is hugely misunderstood. But it can be of great help to the car buyer IF looked upon correctly.

MOT Test Certificate


…a physical safety test completed at a government-approved MOT centre. It is required on every car’s 3rd birthday and every 12 months after that.


…a guarantee that a car is in good condition. But if a car passes an MOT (Ministry of Transport) Test fairly, then it does point to the basic parts being safe overall.

Of course, a car that has non-safety-related issues such as overheating or a damaged engine may still pass. Also, if the seller knows some ‘dodgy geezers’ who run an MOT centre, you will be amazed at what they can get away with.


Half way down the right-hand side of the green MOT pass certificate is a tiny little box that says,“Advisory Notice Issued”. If this reads, “YES”

MOT Test Certificate

…then there should also be an orange-coloured Advisory Note which will list items that, although not failures, are still faults with the car.

MOT Test Advisory Notice

Many crafty car sellers will destroy the Advisory Notice hoping that you will not spot the tiny “YES” on the green pass certificate. They do this as the Advisory Note may point to money needing to be spent on the car. (The above Advisory Notice equates to around £600 of repairs!)


But you can always be even craftier! The government now lists the history of all cars’ current and old MOTs online. All you need is the car’s Registration Number and the MOT Test Number from the current MOT (shown in the top left most box).

Just go to, enter the site, select ‘Request History’, enter the car details and have a browse through the details of the MOTs.

Don’t worry, it will MOT be long until you hear from me again!

Ashley Winston
(Founder & Owner)

At Palmdale we specialise in taking all the hassle out of the car buying process:


  • YOU tell us exactly what car you want
  • WE search for every available car in the UK that meets your description
  • WE negotiate with the seller
  • WE make sure that the car is perfect
  • WE collect the car and bring it to your door
  • YOU enjoy your new wheels for many years to come

These newsletters are our attempt to teach you everything we know about car buying; however, if you would like us to find and buy your next car for you, all you have to do is ask!