Figures from the Department for Transport show that around one in three vehicles fails its MOT first time. 

Most cars fail because of minor faults. These can be annoying. but they are usually quick and easy to sort out. 

Sometimes failures are more serious, or a car will fail for multiple reasons. These problems are generally harder (and more expensive) to repair. 

In this guide we’ll cover what happens if your car fails an MOT, whether you can drive it somewhere else and how you can get back on the road quickly. 

What happens if my car fails its MOT?

Your car will fail its MOT if it has one or more ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ problems. 

You will get a VT30 ‘Refusal’ certificate which shows why your car has failed. The failure will also be logged in a national database. 

If you think your car has failed incorrectly, you can appeal the result. The DVSA will be in touch within five days of receiving an appeal, but you should avoid repairing your car until the appeals process has finished.

Lee’s top tip!

“Your MOT test certificate may show ‘minor’ or ‘advisory’ warnings. These aren’t serious enough to fail your car by themselves, but you should keep an eye on them and may need to repair them before your next MOT test.”

How long after an MOT failure can I drive?

If your car fails its MOT, and there are no ‘dangerous’ problems on your VT30 ‘Refusal’ certificate, you can drive your car, as long as the previous MOT is still valid.

If you’re caught driving a dangerous MOT failure, you are liable for a fine of up to £2500, a driving ban and 3 penalty points on your licence.  

If your car has failed, and your MOT certificate is out of date, you can only drive it to get it repaired or to a pre-arranged MOT appointment. 

You have a responsibility to make sure your car meets the minimum standards of roadworthiness at all times when driving.

What to do if your car fails its MOT?

If your car fails its MOT and you don’t want to appeal the decision, you have a number of options. 

  • Leave your car to be fixed – If your test centre also does repairs, you can leave your car with them and they’ll fix it. This is usually the quickest and easiest way to get back on the road and your retest will be free, if it’s done within ten working days.  
  • Take your car away and bring it back within one working day – If your car doesn’t have any ‘dangerous’ faults, you can drive it away and get it repaired by someone else. You’re entitled to a free retest at the original test centre if you bring the car back within one working day. 
  • Take your car away and bring it back after one working day – If you take your car away to get repaired, but don’t return it to the original test centre the next working day, you can pay for a partial retest, as long as the retest is within 10 working days. After 10 working days, you’ll need to pay for a full retest again.
  • Scrap your car – If your car is very old, or the price of repairs is higher than the value of the car, you might think about scrapping it and getting something newer.  Most garages will give you their opinion on whether it’s worth repairing, but the final decision will be left up to you.

For more information about MOTs, or to make an appointment, speak to a member of our team. Call: 0161 834 4168. 

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