A yearly MOT test is required on all cars over 3 years of age in order to prove they are roadworthy. Here you can find out the 5 most common, simple reasons why they fail, as well as a checklist you can use to improve your chances of your car passing the MOT, and save money.
In Northern Ireland or anywhere else in the United Kingdom, cars must be tested every year, once they are 3 years old, to ensure that they meet safety and environmental standards.
Often called an MOT, this test is run by the Ministry of Transport. All test centres in the country display a special blue sign with 3 white triangles to signify they are authorised to carry out MOT checks.
A car's MOT examines dozens of parts including the brakes, fuel system, mirrors, seatbelts, wipers, windscreens and exhaust systems. Let’s dive into the guide to answer all the questions on your mind related to costs.
MOT testing cost guide
MOT test centres are permitted to charge the maximum fee set by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.
All car MOTs cost £54.85 and motorcycles are £29.65. However, many garages charge less, sometimes as much as 50% less.
Even if your car is serviced regularly, the cost of a full service may include an MOT. Servicing your car is a good idea but it is likely to cost more than comparing prices for an MOT and service.
While cheap MOT test centres are widespread, sometimes an MOT will cost £30 or even as low as £25. While we often recommend cheap MOT test centres, you need to be careful so do your research and read reviews.
The test centre may be a servicing and repair garage, and therefore is unlikely to be making a profit on such a low price, meaning it may charge a higher rate on servicing, repairs and parts if your vehicle fails the test.
However, not all cars pass their MOTS. Upon failing an MOT, the test centre will give you a VT3O Certificate showing the reasons for the failure. If your car has failed an MOT but does so before the previous year’s MOT has ended, i.e. you submitted the car for the MOT before it was due, you can drive your car away but beware that it is unroadworthy and if stopped by the police, it could result in prosecution. If your car fails the MOT after the previous MOT has ended, you will not be able to drive your car away.
Get a quote and then call round for more quotes from other local garages. You may be able to find much cheaper repair options even if they need to tow your vehicle to their garage. The only time you are allowed to drive your car with a failed MOT is when you are taking it to a garage for repair and have a pre-booked appointment.
If you drive a car without an MOT in any circumstance or if your car has any dangerous faults, you can face a £2,500 fine, be banned from driving and receive 3 points on your license.
MOT failures and service costs
An MOT failure repair cost depends on the type of fault. Some of the most common faults can be repaired very cheaply, such as a blown bulb which should cost less than £5, and you can repair it yourself in a few minutes.
A low level of wiper fluid is also a reason for failure and it is another cheap, fast fix. Combined with more costly problems, though, these very cheap fixes result in an MOT repair bill in the region of £143.
MOT retest fees
If your car needs an MOT retest, you should know a few things. In the first case, what if your vehicle failed the MOT and you left it at the test centre? You will not need to get a full MOT done, just the part of the MOT that the vehicle failed on.
Partial retests are free after failing an MOT as long as they are performed within 10 working days of the failure. The test is also normally free if you return before the end of the next working day. You can also take your vehicle away for repairs, if needed, before returning it for an MOT retest.
You can also return to the same place you received your vehicle's test within 10 working days for a partial retest. While the test is not free, it will be charged at a reduced rate.
An MOT retest takes anything between 45 and 60 minutes. Of course, if the repairs to be carried out are more complex, do expect to have to wait longer.
Driving a car with an expired MOT is illegal and you could be prosecuted for it. A car insurance policy that is invalid because of a failed MOT could also lead to prosecution.
Only if you had already booked an MOT and were driving your car to the test would this not apply. If you have an MOT certificate but have lost it, you can pay for a new one. It costs £10. You can get a test at any MOT center by providing the V5C number and the vehicle registration number. A vehicle does not need an MOT test to be sold but many buyers will ask to see it.
Summary of costs for different MOT repair jobs
|MOT repair job||Average cost||Average time to complete|
|Blown headlight bulb||£5||45 minutes|
|No screen wash||£5 to £10||30 minutes|
|Registration plate issue||£10 to £20||1-2 hours|
|Stickers on windscreen||£10 to £20||1-2 hours|
|Lit-up warning light||£80 to £100||3 hours|
|Dirty car||£15||2 hours|
3 tips for finding the right professional for the job
When looking for an MOT service, choose a garage that is professional and reliable. There are many options available to you by searching online at Yell.com.
We list all of the best garages in your area so that you can quickly source quotes for MOTs online.
Some garages have been established for years while others may be fairly new; therefore, it is essential to know you are going to the right place for the job. Below we have put together some tips to help you find the right MOT service garage for you.
Recommendations and reviews
It is a good idea to read customer reviews on the garage's website as this will give you a better idea of what to expect. With so many reviews at your disposal, it is always good to check out what other customers have to say. If you fail to find reviews or positive testimonials, you might need to look for an alternative professional.
When hiring a professional, it is wise to verify whether they are qualified and that they are a freelance tradesperson. You should also ask them directly if they are a freelancer. In addition, you may be able to find this information online. You can tell if a professional is qualified for the project by visiting their website.
Having your expectations set for the job is important as it is not the cheapest of jobs. If you have never worked with this type of labour before, you should explain your expectations and the timeframe in which you will need it completed. Setting expectations can be uncomfortable but it ensures success overall. While this may not be necessary for larger companies as their workers are moderated, it can be worth doing this in the case of independent tradesmen.
Search Yell.com to find a professional local garage for MOT testing near you today. There are many MOT garages in your area that can help you get your vehicle passed and onto the road.