What can I do if my car fails its MOT?

Don’t panic. That’s lesson one when it comes to dealing with a failed result from the dreaded MOT test. Getting flustered and rushing into things will not help you, your car or your bank balance so try to stay calm and work your way through this list.

What is an MOT test?

The MOT (aka Ministry of Transport Test) is a compulsory annual test that concentrates on the safety, road-worthiness and exhaust emissions of your vehicle. If you have an accident and you don’t have a valid MOT certificate, you could invalidate your car insurance – meaning that you’ll have to pay for all damage and any compensation required yourself.

As you can see, it’s best to organise this simple test at your local garage once a year. You can even watch while they do it. Here’s a quick summary of the things they look for:

• Lights – they make sure they’re correctly positioned, secure, in good condition, unobscured and are the right size and colour
• Horn – must emit a continuous note and must be loud enough to be heard by another road user
• Battery – must be secure and have no signs of electrolyte leakage
• Electrical wiring – all must be secure and have no damage
• Steering – the tester will make sure it’s in good condition
• Suspension – your suspension components and shock absorbers will be checked for excessive corrosion, distortion and fractures
• Brakes – the overall condition of the brakes will be inspected
• Tyre – these must be the appropriate tyres for your vehicle, and the tread depth must at least the legal limit of 1.6mm with no lumps, bulges, tears or damage.
• Exhaust system – the tester will ensure that there are no leaks and it is secure. The emissions themselves will be tested by a gas analyser probe while the engine is running.

There are a few things to look out for, but you can check most of these before you leave your house! Save time and money by looking at your car before you take it to the garage. Lights, tyres and your wipers are normally the biggest culprits.

I checked everything, but still failed my MOT, what do I do now?

There are over 600 ways to fail your MOT, so don’t be surprised if yours doesn’t pass first time. If you don’t think your car should have failed, you can compete a VT17 form online to dispute it and reschedule the test.

Do not ‘pay your way’ to passing your test. It’s very easy to open your wallet on the spot and let the garage go ahead, but first ask for quotes and proof of the issue. Shop around a bit because, chances are, someone round the corner will do it cheaper and for much better quality.

If you do get your car fixed at the test centre, try and get it done within 24 hours – minor repairs such as to lamps, to the bonnet, horn, mirrors and wipers, are free within this time period. If you can’t get them done straight away, for up to 10 days you’re entitled to a free partial re-test at the same station (if it was left for repair) and a retest at half the fee if the car was removed from the premises. After 10 days, you have to pay the full MOT test fee when your car is retested, so speed is of the essence.

If your car fails again, or you decide it’s going to be too expensive to fix, take this opportunity and take a look at our new cars at your local Perry’s dealership and find the perfect new car for you.