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What To Do When Your Car Fails The MOT Test

What To Do When Your Car Fails The MOT Test

Many people over time have experienced that gloomy feeling when your chosen MOT Inspector comes towards you with a doleful shake of the head, clutching an MOT VT30 test failure certificate. Now what to do?

Various Courses Of Action

Ensuring that the VT30 document is retained for later, a failed vehicle can only be driven directly to a garage for repairs or for a retest. Otherwise it’s off the road and to use it in any other way risks almost certain prosecution. Only if the current MOT certificate is still valid and no dangerous issues were discovered can the hapless owner drive the car normally until the existing certificate expires. That at least gives a breathing space; otherwise things get a little more difficult.

It doesn’t matter to the law if the failure fault is just one item; a bald tyre, say; it still cannot be driven away. The only solution is to get the failure faults fixed there and then which may mean getting a lift home from a friend or relative or resorting to public transport. That’s why it makes absolute sense to take your car to the nearest professional car repair garage for maintenance, repair or testing. Not so far to travel. Otherwise the only recourse is get the car lifted or towed home, which could prove a costly action.

Remember too that a car that is not tested will also not be insured. Insurance providers take a dim view of driving without a proper MOT certificate and will instantly void the policy. There doesn’t even have to be an accident; just being stopped by the police for not having an MOT will result in a penalty also for no insurance. That’s a double whammy.

How to proceed is up to the owner. If the car is old and repairs are not viable then the vehicle can be scrapped. This must be done through an authorised scrap dealer and the DVLA must be informed. Alternatively, if repairs have to wait for a more financially appropriate moment, then the car must be kept off the public highway and a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) be issued by the DVLA. This must already be in place if the vehicle is to be scrapped. If a SORN is issued then there’s no need to pay road tax.

How To Ensure A First Time Pass

It doesn’t matter how good or recent the car, a first time pass at the local MOT testing station is always a relief. That’s done for another year. It makes sense therefore to take steps, prior to the test, to do everything possible to deliver a happy ending; something we all want.

The law allows that the current certificate is valid right up to final day and it is permitted that a MOT test can be carried out up to twenty-eight days early without it affecting the MOT expiry date. This is good news; forward planning and so on. That way there’s a period of grace to allow for sorting out finances or waiting for parts to arrive. Professional MOT testing stations are often part of a car repair garage so the whole thing can be handled in one location.

Getting a car serviced regularly is a good way of ensuring that the MOT day is a success. Neglecting routine maintenance might make for a short term cash saving or simply be less inconvenient but it has been shown time and time again that this is a false economy.
When servicing or carrying out other maintenance, your local garage can advise on any issues that might not be a problem right away, but will need attending to in the near future. Why leave it to the MOT test to get the bad news?

The diligent car owner also does routine home checks too. Certainly modern cars are more complex and the working parts of an electric vehicle are something of a mystery, but it still possible to, maybe once a week, have a walk round the motor and check it over. Examine the tyres for correct tread depth or uneven wear; check too brake operation and try and see behind the wheel how much meat is left on the brake pads. Check all the oil and fluid levels as these are the lifeblood of any internal combustion engine. Check simple things like seat belt operation and windscreen wipers. Use the car’s handbook as a guide.

If anything untoward is discovered then check in at the local professional car repair garage for advice. Make MOT day a relief, not a problem.

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