What To Do If You Fail Your MOT

The purpose of the annual MOT test is to ensure that vehicles meet the minimum safety level required by law. Trained and certified examiners perform MOTs to determine whether a car is fit for purpose and roadworthy. They check several parts on the inside, outside and underneath the vehicle especially where brakes and emissions are concerned.

Many drivers may feel that annual MOTs are an inconvenience but we don’t share that sentiment. Driving a car that is not deemed roadworthy is unsafe and dangerous to you, your passengers and other road users. An MOT is inexpensive and really doesn’t take that long and while some may fear to fail the test, at Elite Garages, you can get a free retest within 10 working days.

Have You Failed Your MOT?

There’s no denying that failing your MOT is disappointing and that’s what close to 37% of drivers experience every year (source: DVSA). Many vehicle owners don’t always know what to do when they fail the test but there are options to help get you back on the road as soon as possible. But first, let’s have a quick look at the new MOT rules as of May 2018.

New MOT Rules

In May 2018, a few changes to the MOT test came into play across England, Scotland and Wales. It impacts how faults are classified on cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles. The categories will depend on the sort of problem and the severity thereof including minor, major or dangerous faults. For those living in Northern Ireland, the rules are somewhat different.

Dangerous Faults

Your vehicle will fail if it has any dangerous faults that are deemed an immediate risk to road safety or the environment. In these cases, you are not allowed to drive the vehicle until the faults have been repaired.

Major Faults

Your vehicle will also fail if it has a major fault that could possibly affect vehicle safety, putting road users at risk or have an impact on the environment. You need to arrange repairs immediately. There are also stricter emission limits for diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). Your vehicle will get a major fault if smoke of any colour is emitted during the test or if there is clear evidence that the DPF has been tampered with.

To summarise, if the test identifies a dangerous fault you are not allowed to drive your car. However, if you have a major fault, you might be able to drive your car if it is still roadworthy.

Minor Faults

These are classified as not having a significant effect on vehicle safety or environmental impact but repairs should still be done as soon as possible.


These ‘faults’ are not yet a safety concern but could become more serious in the future. Examiners will give advice on the items in question that need close monitoring and repair if necessary.


This is self-explanatory as it means all checks have been made and the car meets the minimum legal standards. Ensure that you maintain the vehicle properly to continuously meet the requirements.

What’s Included In An MOT Test?

Among others, the new MOT test includes checking the steering system, reversing lights and brake discs. A major leak in the steering box will result in a failed MOT while broken or blown reversing lights are also scrutinised. Further to that, brake discs that are significantly or obviously worn will also result in an automatic fail.

Remember that an MOT does not cover the mechanical condition of your vehicle and that includes the engine, clutch or gearbox. That means you still need to book a car service. While we’ve mentioned some of the important elements of the new MOT test, please contact Elite Garages if you would like additional information.

Can I Still Drive My Car With A Failed MOT?

By now you should know that it is illegal to drive with an invalid MOT certificate. If your car has failed the MOT and the previous certificate has expired, you can only drive your car to have it repaired or to a pre-arranged MOT appointment. However, it MUST BE completely roadworthy at all times.

If it is not, you could face a hefty £2,500 fine, three points on your licence and invalidated insurance. Even though you may drive your car to get it repaired on the same day as your MOT expires, if you are pulled over and the police find your car not roadworthy, you could face possible prosecution.

Nearly half of MOT failures can be avoided with simple, regular vehicle maintenance. Here’s a recent article that will help you pass your test the first time.

How Do I Appeal A Failed MOT?

Some drivers may feel that their car has been unfairly failed and there is an option to appeal the decision. Before doing so, make sure you discuss the reasons properly with the testing centre to clarify any possible miscommunication. If you still feel that the decision warrants appeal, there are certain steps you can take. Please remember to not carry out any repairs or modifications as this can cause the appeal process to be cancelled.

First, fill out a complaint form and send it to the DVSA within 14 working days of the original test date. Once processed, an alternative appointment to retest your car will be arranged within five days. From there you will be required to pay the full MOT fee but you will receive a full or partial refund if your appeal is successful.

MOTs, Services and Free Retests At Elite Garages

MOTs should never be taken lightly as poorly maintained cars are extremely dangerous. Not only can it lead to serious injury but it can also have severe financial repercussions. For your convenience, our service centres are DVSA-accredited which means we can conduct MOTs and book a service on the spot.

Our expert technicians can test and service your vehicle with original matching quality parts while avoiding dealership prices. If your car fails its MOT, we offer a free retest within 10 working days. Get in touch with your nearest branch to book an MOT and join the Elite Members Club for a free MOT reminder and many other benefits. Please find us on Facebook and become a valued member of our online community and join the conversation.