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What to do if your car fails its MOT

British motorists are obviously familiar with the MOT, the test certificate which must be renewed yearly for all vehicles which are three years old or more. This annual exam checks that the vehicle is roadworthy and meets certain environmental standards. The date of your next MOT is shown on the certificate you receive after each test – typically, you can get your car tested from a month before the current certificate runs out onwards.

Figures from the DVLA published by consumer group Which? show that, in 2019, more than a third (over 34%) of cars and vans in Great Britain failed the MOT test, with vehicles that didn’t pass displaying on average three faults. Meanwhile, in 2017-18, more than 7.5m cars and fans completely failed their MOT.

Among the common causes of not passing are problems with lighting and signalling, suspension, brakes and tyres. But the good news is that you can avoid nearly 50% of MOT failures with regular, straightforward maintenance of your vehicle – so being diligent about its upkeep will go a long way to getting your car through its MOT.

If MOT time is rolling around once again, understandably you may be concerned about the potential associated financial headache. But you’ll also be eager to back on the road again as soon as possible. And if your car doesn’t get through its MOT, it’s important that you understand what your options are.

Car Fail MOT

So here we outline the main ones:

What happens after a test if my car has failed its MOT?

The test centre will give you a Refusal of MOT Certificate or VT30. This explains why your vehicle has not passed, and includes details like the test number, so it’s an important document.

Can I drive a vehicle without a valid MOT?

We’re often asked this. If your certificate has expired, you can drive to a testing station for a pre-booked MOT, or for repairs after it has failed. Drive in any other circumstances and you’ll be breaking the law.

If your certificate is valid on the day of the failed test, you can still drive legally, until the date on the MOT certificate. But if there are faults with the vehicle, you’re potentially knowingly driving an unroadworthy car.

So, while you may not technically be breaking the law, driving a vehicle which has failed its MOT is never a good idea. (And ultimately, you could be prosecuted.)

Do I have a right of appeal if my car has failed its MOT?

Yes. Talk to the testing centre first. If you still feel your car should have passed, you have two weeks to make a complaint and an alternative appointment can be arranged. You’ll need to pay the MOT fee for a second time, although if your appeal is successful, you’ll receive a refund.

So what are my options?

You’ll need to address the repairs before you retest your vehicle. Depending on the fault, you have several options, some of which may incur extra charges:

· Repairing it on the spot – This is often the quickest and simplest option. The same centre can do the repairs and then test again for those issues only – it has 10 working days in which to do this.

· Repair elsewhere – You’re also perfectly entitled to repair your vehicle away from the original testing centre and then return it for a partial retest, which is free if you go back within one working day. Return it up to 10 days following the original test and you will be charged, typically half the original MOT fee.

· If repairs take longer – There’s a 10 working day window for getting post-MOT repairs done. If they take longer, you’ll have to pay again in full for a test.

What about scrapping my car if it fails the MOT?

Vehicle repairs can be expensive, to the extent that they can cost more than the value of the car. Selling your car for scrap could be a cost-effective solution, yet, oddly, it’s one that’s sometimes overlooked.

Talk to us first

At Remove Any Car, we are one of the north-west’s leading scrap car networks. With us, free collections, instant quotes and excellent customer service come as standard. Our service does what it says on the tin – we’ll take away any car regardless of its age, make or condition.

Serving a huge geographical area, our network encompasses a huge range of car salvage buyers who stand ready to give you an unbeatable price for your vehicle. It’s all very easy, quick and convenient. So if your car has just failed its MOT, don’t panic. Just enter your car registration details on our website today for an instant quote.