What happens when your car fails its MOT test?

Written by Summit Tyres August 2019

 

Once a year you put your car in for its MOT and spend the whole day wondering “will it pass?”. Unfortunately for you, it doesn’t, and you’re left wondering what to do next. Sound familiar?

Around 40% of cars fail their MOT test at the first attempt, so if you have found yourself in this sticky situation, you’re not the only one. Below you will find out what your rights and requirements are if you fail your MOT test.

 

Copy of an MOT certificate

 

Why might your car fail its MOT?

Firstly, it is important to understand why your car has failed its MOT. You may even be a little bit surprised, or completely expecting it, but either way it is important to understand what the problems were.

There are two MOT failure categories:

  • Major faults, which mean the vehicle is unsafe and/or presents a risk to other road users or the environment
  • Dangerous faults, presenting a direct risk to road safety and/or the environment, requiring urgent repair before being driven on the road

Your car may have major or dangerous faults on the following:

  • Vehicle identification
  • Registration plates
  • Brakes
  • Wheels and tyres
  • Lights and lamps
  • Steering and suspension
  • Windscreens, wipers, washers and driver visibility
  • Audible warnings (horn)
  • Seat security, seatbelts and interior safety
  • Fuel systems
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Bodywork integrity
  • Mirrors and doors

This means it is crucial to check all of these car parts before your MOT to avoid any nasty surprises.


Is it possible to appeal against a failed MOT?

Sometimes your car fails its MOT even if you really believe it was worthy enough to pass! If you truly believe that your car should have passed, you can in fact submit an appeal through the DVSA (the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency). This appeal should be made within 2 weeks of the MOT test and before any repairs are made on the vehicle.

You may have to pay to have your car checked over by the DVSA to ensure that it truly is worth passing. They will then give you a report that details all of the faults or defects to the car.

On the contrary, you may believe your car was in no state to pass but it did. If you feel like it is unsafe to drive, you can contest the decision to pass it.

Are you allowed to drive your car if it has failed its MOT test?

As stated by Gov.uk, it is possible for you to drive your vehicle with a failed MOT test under two circumstances, as long as the vehicle meets the minimum standard of roadworthiness:

  • You are removing the vehicle to have any defects and faults fixed ahead of a retest
  • You are driving the vehicle to a pre-arranged MOT appointment

If your car has been deemed too dangerous, with a ‘dangerous fault’ failure, this means it cannot be driven away from the testing site.

Are you allowed to drive your car if it has failed its MOT test?

As stated by Gov.uk [2], it is possible for you to drive your vehicle with a failed MOT test under two circumstances, as long as the vehicle meets the minimum standard of roadworthiness:

  • You are removing the vehicle to have any defects and faults fixed ahead of a retest
  • You are driving the vehicle to a pre-arranged MOT appointment

If your car has been deemed too dangerous, with a ‘dangerous fault’ failure, this means it cannot be driven away from the testing site.

Are there any fees or rules for MOT retests?

If your car needs repairs and they are done within 10 working days, then you are entitled to a free partial MOT retest.

If you wish to take your car away to be repaired by a different garage or mechanic, it must be done by the end of the next working day in order to receive a free partial retest. If this cannot be done so quickly, you can still take your car back for a retest but you may receive a bill for it.

How to pass your MOT test

Passing your MOT test is possible if you follow these steps:

  • Drive safely and efficiently
  • Keep up with regular car maintenance
  • Check your tyres, bodywork, lights, fluids, mirrors and windows for any damage
  • Have your car serviced after an MOT test to delve deeper into your car’s true roadworthiness

It can be tempting to neglect your car maintenance until you hear, or feel, that something is wrong with your car when you are driving it. This can often mean there is a bigger issue than if you were to regularly check your car and tyres to spot any wear and tear before it developed into significant damage.

If your MOT test is due, don’t forget to check your tyres and your car to ensure that you can save time and money on getting repairs done to your vehicle.

 

Man filling up his vehicle with oil

 

 

 

 

[1] Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. “Reasons why your car fails an MOT”. Gov.uk, 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/reasons-why-your-car-fails-an-mot

[2] Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. “Getting an MOT”. Gov.uk, Undated, https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/after-the-test

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