What to Do After Failing an MOT Test? Your Top Questions Answered


Facing an MOT test failure can be a daunting experience for any vehicle owner. The MOT, or Ministry of Transport test, is a crucial annual evaluation that assesses the roadworthiness and safety of vehicles in the UK. Its primary purpose is to ensure that cars on the road meet certain standards to safeguard both drivers and pedestrians. However, when your vehicle doesn't pass this test, it's natural to feel a mix of frustration and concern. But fear not, as the CarCheckUp team is always working on bringing the best car information and solutions to you. This guide will walk you through the steps to take after failing an MOT test, offering solutions to address the issues and get your vehicle back on the road safely.

  1. Understanding the MOT Test Failure

The reasons for failing an MOT test can vary widely. These can include:

  • Issues related to emissions,
  • Safety components,
  • Overall vehicle condition.

It's essential to recognize that a failed MOT doesn't necessarily indicate that your vehicle is in terrible shape. In many cases, the failure might result from minor problems that can be resolved with the right attention.

Head up to CarCheckUp right now and figure out whether your vehicle’s MOT is valid or not.

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  1. Addressing the most asked questions on Google:
  • Can I Drive After a Failed MOT?

If your vehicle fails its MOT, you're allowed to leave it at the test centre for essential repairs. You have up to 10 working days from the test date to complete the repairs and qualify for a free retest.

  • Can I Drive Home After Failing an MOT?

Indeed, you can drive home after a failed MOT, provided no issues are classified as 'dangerous.' However, driving with dangerous faults, even with remaining time on your old MOT certificate, can lead to severe penalties, including a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points on your license.

  • How Long Do I Have After a Failed MOT?

You have a window of 60 days from the original test date to complete a retest. However, if you wait beyond 21 days, you'll need to pay the full test fee again. Keep in mind that a vehicle that fails its MOT is considered not roadworthy and should not be driven, regardless of remaining MOT validity.

  • What Is the Most Common Fail on an MOT?

Lighting and signalling issues contribute to nearly a fifth of all MOT failures. Often, it's as simple as a blown bulb. To avoid this common pitfall, perform a thorough check of all lights, indicators, and brake lights. Cleaning misty lenses and checking for cracks is advisable.

  • What Is a Major MOT Failure?

Defects that are considered major but not dangerous can lead to an instant MOT failure. Rectifying these defects is essential before passing the test. Examples include substantial fluid leaks from components like shock absorbers or the exhaust system.

  • Is There a Grace Period for Failing an MOT?

Regrettably, there's no grace period for renewing a lapsed MOT, except when driving to a pre-booked MOT test. An MOT must be renewed before its expiry date to ensure road legality.

  • Can You Drive with a Failed MOT but Not Expired?

If your car fails its MOT but doesn't have any 'dangerous' faults listed and your previous MOT certificate is still valid, you can continue driving. However, it's recommended to address the issues and retest as soon as possible.

  • What Are the Odds of a Car Failing Its MOT?

The initial fail rate for MOT tests is around 37% for cars, vans, and passenger vehicles with up to 12 seats. While there's a chance of failure, addressing common failure points can increase your chances of passing.

  • What If My MOT Ran Out 3 Months Ago?

If your MOT expired up to 3 months ago, it's advisable to schedule an MOT test promptly to ensure your vehicle's roadworthiness.

  • Is Insurance Valid with a Failed MOT?

If your vehicle fails its MOT, your insurance coverage might be affected, even if your certificate is still valid. Once your MOT certificate expires, your insurance and tax become invalid. It's crucial not to drive your vehicle under such circumstances.

  • How Strict Is an MOT?

The MOT test is comprehensive but generally fair. Failures often stem from safety or potential safety issues. While approximately 40% of cars fail their initial attempts, most failures are due to basics like wipers, bulbs, or tires.

  • Wht Is a Minor Fail on an MOT?

A minor defect indicates an issue that isn't severe enough to fail the test but should be addressed soon to ensure your vehicle's overall condition.

  1. Reviewing the Failure Points

When you receive the MOT test report, it will outline the specific areas where your vehicle did not meet the required standards. Take the time to review these failure points carefully. Understanding what went wrong will help you prioritize and address the issues effectively.

  1. Assessing Repair Options

After identifying the issues, it's time to consider your repair options. You have several paths to choose from:

  • DIY Repairs: If you're confident in your mechanical skills, you can attempt to fix some issues yourself. However, be cautious, as improper repairs can lead to further problems.
  • Professional Mechanic: Opting for a skilled mechanic ensures accurate diagnosis and proper repairs. While it might be a bit costlier, it's often the safest route.
  • Returning to the Test Centre: Some test centres offer repair services. This might be a convenient option, but it's essential to inquire about costs and scheduling.
  1. Prioritizing Safety Concerns

Safety should be your top priority. Address any safety-related failures immediately. These might include brake issues, defective lights, or structural problems. Neglecting safety concerns could not only result in penalties but also compromise your well-being and that of other road users.


  1. Estimating Repair Costs

Repair costs can vary significantly based on the extent of the issues and the chosen repair method. It's wise to get estimates from different sources, whether it's a local garage or the test centre itself. This way, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget.

  • MOT Price Guide

Repair Option       

Estimated Cost       

DIY Repairs         

Variable (Part) 

Professional Mechanic

£150 - £500         

Test Centre Repairs

Inquire at Centre   

  • MOT Test Costs According to the UK.GOV: Maximum Fees by Vehicle Class and Age

Vehicle Class                                  

Age First MOT Needed (Years)

Maximum MOT Fee (£)

Motorcycle (engine size up to 200cc)           

1 - 3                      


Motorcycle with sidecar (engine size up to 200cc)

1 - 3                      


Motorcycle (engine size over 200cc)            

2 - 3                      


Motorcycle with sidecar (engine size over 200cc)

2 - 3                       


3-wheeled vehicles (up to 450kg unladen weight)



3-wheeled vehicles (over 450kg unladen weight)



Cars (up to 8 passenger seats)               



Motor caravans                                



Quads (max unladen weight 400kg)             



Dual purpose vehicles                         



Private hire and public service vehicles (up to 8 seats)



Ambulances and taxis                         

4 - 1                      


Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (9 to 12 passenger seats)

4 - 1  


Goods vehicles (up to 3,000kg design gross weight)



Class 4 vehicles (9 to 12 passenger seats) with a seat belt installation check



Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (13 to 16 passenger seats)

5 - 1  


Private passenger vehicles and ambulances (more than 16 passenger seats)

5 - 1  



5 - 1                      


Class 5 vehicles (13 to 16 passenger seats) with a seatbelt installation check



Class 5 vehicles (more than 16 passenger seats) with a seatbelt installation check



Goods vehicles (over 3,000kg up to 3,500kg design gross weight)




  1. Seeking Professional Help

While DIY repairs are an option, seeking professional assistance is often the wisest choice. A reputable mechanic can provide a thorough assessment, accurate repairs, and peace of mind that the job is done right.

  1. Preparing for Re-Test

Before retesting, ensure that all identified issues have been addressed. Retain receipts and documentation of the repairs made. These records can serve as proof that you've taken the necessary steps to rectify the problems.

  1. Re-Test and Repercussions

During the re-test, the same standards will be applied to determine if your vehicle now meets the required criteria. Not addressing the issues promptly can lead to further penalties and potentially impact your insurance coverage.

  1. Learning from the Experience


View the situation as a learning opportunity. Regular vehicle maintenance and addressing issues promptly can prevent future failures and keep your car in optimal condition.


  1. Final Thoughts: Moving Forward


In conclusion, failing an MOT test might seem like a setback, but it's a chance to enhance your vehicle's safety and performance. By understanding the failure points, seeking professional help, and prioritizing repairs, you can turn this experience into a positive step toward better vehicle maintenance and road safety. Remember, an MOT test failure is not the end of the world; it's an opportunity to ensure your vehicle's roadworthiness for the journeys ahead.