Nobody looks forward to their MOT test.
If your MOT is due and you’re feeling a little on edge – you might take a little comfort in knowing you’re not on your own.
In fact, it’s estimated that more than half of drivers suffer from “MOT anxiety”, with 22% of those surveyed admitting that they suffer from sleepless nights worrying about the potential cost of repairs if their car fails.
We want to help put your mind at ease, which is why in this article we’re going to look at what gets checked during an MOT test, how much it should cost, things to watch out for with cheap MOT tests, and the options available to you if you are faced with an unanticipated repair bill.
The UK government has set a maximum cost for an MOT test at £54.85 for cars.
The reason that a maximum price was set was to prevent excessive charges, and also to ensure that all vehicle owners can access the required safety checks at a reasonable price.
Some garages may choose to offer the test at a lower cost, but it’s illegal for garages to price an MOT test above this maximum cost
If your vehicle fails the test, you should be eligible for a free retest within 10 days, provided you leave the car at the test centre for repairs or agree to have the necessary work done by them.
But the cost of repairs are not included in the £54.85 fee we’re afraid – they can sometimes be a lot more expensive.
You’ve probably seen garages in your local area advertising great offers such as “MOT for only £19!” – almost a third of the maximum price that they are legally able to charge.
It almost seems too good to be true, right?
The good news is that as long as they are on the Government’s list of active MOT test centres, they are approved to do the job and can issue a valid MOT test certificate.
So why do some garages offer MOT tests for such a low price?
In a lot of cases, the reason will be legitimate – it’s a bit of a ‘loss leader’ to attract new customers. The garage knows that everyone driving a car that is more than three years old will need an MOT test completing every 12 months. And they know that if they get you booked in and they do a good job, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll be back there if anything needs fixing with your car in the future.
But some garages offer low MOT testing rates as they are secretly banking on more expensive repair charges should your car fail. So it’s always worth looking on Google reviews and sites like Trustpilot to check what other customers have to say about their experiences.
An MOT test needs to be completed every 12 months to comply with the law. If you’re found driving without a valid MOT certificate you can be fined up to £1000.
A wide range of things are inspected during an MOT test to ensure that your vehicle is functioning properly, including:
- Wheels: Checked for alignment, structural integrity, and proper mounting.
- Tyres: Checked for proper inflation, tread depth, and condition.
- Suspension: Inspected to ensure that it’s providing the correct stability and control.
- Exhaust system: Assessed for leaks and proper emissions.
- Steering: Examined for anything that could impair your control of the vehicle.
- Brakes: Thoroughly tested to make sure they work effectively.
- Lights: Checked for correct alignment, operation, and brightness.
- Horn: Tested to ensure it can be heard by other drivers.
- Number plates: Checked for clear legibility and proper attachment.
- Seatbelts: Inspected for wear, functionality, and proper anchoring.
- Speedometer: Checked to ensure and accurate and clear reading.
- Visibility: Checking the condition of wipers, mirrors, and windscreen to make sure you have a clear view of the road.
- Fluid levels: Checked for proper levels and any signs of leaks, including oil, coolant, brake fluid, and washer fluid.
Getting a call from the test centre to hear that your car has failed its MOT is never pleasant.
It used to be as simple as either “pass” or “fail”, but since 2018 there’s been a change in the way that MOT test defects are reported and what it means for you..
If your car fails its MOT, you’re currently likely to be left in one of three scenarios:
If it’s found that your car has a dangerous fault, it will be deemed unroadworthy. And it’s illegal to drive an unroadworthy car.
So although the MOT test centre won’t be able to physically stop you – you’ll be breaking the law by driving your car away, even just to drive it home.
The test centre may be able to complete the repairs themselves, and complete the partial MOT retest to get you back on the road. That’s the easiest option. But it’s not always the most cost effective.
It’s not unheard of for drivers to find a cheaper repair in another local garage, even taking into account the cost of getting it towed there. So it’s always worth shopping around and not just opting for the easiest solution .
If a major fault is found on your car, it’s still an MOT fail – and you still need to get it fixed.
But it’s not deemed as dangerous.
If you have a bit of time left before your previous MOT certificate expires, you’re able to drive the car away and have until the previous MOT expiry date to arrange a repair at a garage of your choosing and book a retest.
If a major fault on your car is found, and your previous MOT certificate has expired – you are only permitted to drive the car to a garage to get the faults fixed, or to a pre-booked MOT centre to get it re-tested.
If your MOT test doesn’t come back with the positive news you were hoping for, and you have a significant repair bill to fix any faults – it’s worth thinking long and hard about what to do.
A lot depends on the market value of your vehicle.
For example, if your car’s market value is £10,000 and you have a repair bill of £1000 – it’s probably worth getting it repaired. But if your car is only valued at £2000, you might want to think twice about whether it’s worth the investment.
One option you have if you’re faced with a huge MOT repair bill is to try and sell your car.
A lot of private buyers won’t consider a car without a valid MOT certificate.
But this is where Flipit can help.
We buy any car, regardless of its age or condition and we regularly purchase cars that have failed their MOT and are uneconomical to repair.
We’ll need a little more information from you than usual if your car has failed its MOT, but it’s nothing too complicated – just things like mileage, overall condition, and the reasons why it failed its MOT test.
Once we have all this information, our customer service team will provide you with a customised valuation that we fully intend to stand by.
If you’re happy with our valuation, we’ll send our team round to give your car a quick final inspection, sort out paperwork, and deposit the agreed funds into your bank account before we leave with your vehicle.
Selling your car can be that simple.
So if you’ve been faced with a huge MOT repair bill and you want to see how much you could get by selling your car, give our Customer Service team a call on 01709 264614 or chat to us on WhatsApp