What if my car fails its MOT?

So your vehicle’s more than three years old? It’s time for your MOT, and you can book online for just £39!

Hopefully, your vehicle will pass with flying colours, but what do you do if it fails?

What is tested at the MOT?

Only some parts of your vehicle are tested, to check that they meet specified legal standards. It’s not the same as having a service done.

The MOT doesn’t check the general mechanical condition or the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox.

Knowing what is tested will help you to prepare and minimise your chances of failing, and contributing to the half a million pounds a year that is wasted on failed MOT tests. Five biggies as a starter for ten are:

• Windscreen – look for chips, cracks and discoloration
• Tyre pressure and tread
• Oil and fuel levels – are any warning lights on?
• Handbrake – is it working properly?
• Seat belts – are they all working?

To drive or not to drive?

If your car does not pass its MOT, the first question you’re likely to ask is ‘Can I drive it away?’

The short answer is yes, but only for a short, specified period of time to get your repairs done, and take it back for a repeat MOT test.

Apart from this, you cannot drive your vehicle legally if you don’t have a valid MOT certificate and you could be prosecuted. You could be fined as much as £2,500, banned from driving and receive 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition. So get it fixed in time to avoid a whole lot of hassle.

You can take your car in for testing a little before the test is due. If you do this, your MOT certificate will still be valid and the car driveable. You will then have a window of time in which to organise any necessary repairs.

If you prefer, you can leave it at the same garage for the repairs to be made. This is one option open to you. In all cases, the identified faults need to be rectified if you want to continue driving your car legally.

Fix and retest

What are the options?

If you want to minimise your costs, you can arrange for a partial retest to be carried out for free. This means that checks are only made on the failed items. These are helpfully listed on the VT3O certificate you will be issued.

Free partial retests can be made:

• If you take the car away but bring it back to the same garage within the next working day
• If you leave the car at the same garage for repair and a retest within 10 working days

If you take the car away for repair, you can still have a partial retest. It’s not free but the fee is reduced if it’s undertaken within 10 working days.

Note that you can only have one partial retest for every full examination undertaken. So if your batmobile fails again, it’s back to the drawing board and full charges for the next one.

In all other cases a full retest is required at the full fee.

The current maximum fee garages can charge for testing most cars is £50.35. At Perrys, we charge only £39 for our quick and friendly service – all makes and models. See the complete list of fees here or visit VOSA – the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.

Appealing the decision

If your vehicle fails its MOT you’ll be given a ‘refusal of an MOT test certificate’. It is possible to appeal if you disagree with the result.

You would need to:

• Fill in the complaint form and send it to DVSA within 14 working days of the test
• Discuss the result with the test centre before any repairs are begun

The DVSA will contact you to recheck your vehicle within 5 days. Following this, you are sent an inspection report listing defects to be rectified.

You must send the full fee with the complaint form. You should also avoid having any repairs done until the appeal process is complete. On the plus side, if you appeal successfully, some or all of the fee will be returned to you.

You can also complain to DVSA if your car passes when you think it isn’t roadworthy.

Book your MOT today

Unlike the road tax, the government does not issue us with reminders to get our MOTs done. So if this has jogged your memory, consider booking those all-important 45 minutes with our expert MOT team.