What If Your Car Fails Its MOT?

You’re on your lunch break at work. You’ve got a mountain of stuff to do, and you get that dreaded phone call from the garage: your car has failed the MOT, that yearly pain-in-the-behind when it comes to car maintenance. It’s not a particularly rare occurrence. In fact, hundreds of thousands of cars across the UK fail their MOT tests for a particular reason, every year.

It makes sense then to know exactly what to do if this situation hits you.

Here’s what you can expect to happen if your car fails its MOT:

What happens if your car fails its MOT?

Usually you’ll get an awkward phone call from the garage which was doing the testing, letting you know that the car has failed the MOT. The car will then need to be fixed and retested before you can drive it again, or scrapped.  

"When your car fails its MOT, the failure is electronically recorded with the DVLA, you won't be able to get your car taxed without a MOT pass. You get a free MOT retest from the garage that failed your car if they are the garage that does the repair work." Richard Shaw, owner of Logbookloanhq, comments. "You can drive your car to and from the MOT testing centre even if your car has failed its MOT, as long as you have pre-booked your MOT test before you travel. If you were stopped by the police for any reason, you could at a later date prove that you had an MOT appointment at your local garage."

There is no limit to the amount of retests that you can put a vehicle through – a welcome thought for people in the habit of using dodgy mechanics. This means that you can keep repairing and retesting in a cycle until the car passes.

1. You'll be given a VT30 MOT certificate

If your car fails its MOT test, you’ll be given a Refusal of MOT VT30 certificate.This will set out the reasons that your car has failed its MOT. Legally, you won’t be able to drive the car properly until these things have been fixed – you’ll only be able to drive it to an approved garage to be repaired.

2. You’ll have to decide whether to fix or scrap the car

The next step is to decide if you want to fix or scrap the car. Most of the time, the garage will contact you to tell your car has failed the MOT. If your garage is worth their salt (and trying to stay in business) they’ll usually offer offer to fix the things wrong with your car and retest your car afterwards.

Some defects might call for more complex tasks to be carried that can’t be fixed then and there. In that case, your car will have to be kept in for a period of time until the defects have been fixed and the MOT has been rerun.  

3. If you fix the car, you’ll have to put it through another MOT test

If you decide to get the defects fixed, you’ll then be required to get the car retested to make sure that it’s legally roadworthy. If your car passes the MOT, you’ll be given a VT20 certificate, proving that the car meets the requirements of the law and has passed the test. With this certificate you’ll be free to drive to your heart’s content.