Failed MOT Testing

Failed MOT Testing

Marcus Rockey

Marcus Rockey

The Used Car Guy

The Used Car Guy, a website and blog authored by Marcus Rockey. In-depth car buying guides, selling tips, tricks and specialist information for motorists across the UK.

Is your car an MOT failure?

MOT rules and steps to safeguarding your money


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If your car fails its MOT and you are surprised to have inherited a costly repair bill there are some steps you can take to ensure your MOT was legitimate. With more than 600 ways to fail, it’s no wonder that 40% of vehicles miscarry their MOT. Remember, until your current MOT expires, your car has a valid MOT, even though it has just failed. Let’s look at what you should do next.

image of an MOT

If you don’t believe your car should have failed

To dispute a failed MOT, you will need to complete a VT 17 form within 14 working days of the failed test, which you can find here. You can also reschedule within 5 working days, but you must repay the fee. (There is a chance the fee will be refunded if your appeal is upheld.)

Having serious doubts as to the validity of your MOT test?

It may be worthwhile taking your car to another MOT test station for another MOT. I have experienced several dozen such occurrences when a car had drastically failed, was retested at another station and had resulted in a much smaller (and less expensive) failure list. This step may be worth considering if your repair bill is significant but you had always considered your car to be roadworthy and in good condition. It’s going to cost you another MOT fee but if there are dramatic differences in the failure lists you can contest and likely get a refund on you initial fee. Note: MOT stations can see when a car was last MOT’d so they can see what was deemed a failure, advisory and pass. It’s worth explaining your situation with the MOT station before paying for a second MOT test.

image of an MOT being conducted

Don’t just give your money away

Before you hire someone to make the needed repairs query the garage work and request proof of the issue to ensure the repair is genuinely needed and a legitimate MOT failure.

Don’t immediately agree to repairs

If you receive a quote for a significant amount (£300 + for example), don’t leave your car behind. Provided you have booked the repair in advance, you should be able to shop around and get alternative quotes and save yourself some money.

After having your car repaired, if you need to have it retested, you can have the following minor repairs retested within 24 hours at the same test centre free of charge.

  • Boot lid
  • Bonnet
  • Brake pedal anti-slip
  • Doors
  • Drop sides
  • Fuel filler cap
  • Horn
  • Hazard warning light
  • Indicators
  • Lamps
  • Loading door
  • Mirror
  • Rear reflectors
  • Registration plates
  • Seats
  • Seat belts
  • Sharp projections/ edges
  • Steering wheel
  • Tailboard
  • Tailgate
  • Tyres
  • Wheels
  • Windscreen and glass
  • Windscreen washers and wipers

how cars usually fail an MOT

VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)

Within 10 working days, you can go to the same test station and receive a free partial re-test, provided the car was left there for repair. If the car was taken off the premises, you can retest at your chosen workshop for half of the initial MOT fee. After 10 working days, you will have to pay the entire MOT test fee at the time of retesting.


In most cases, advisories, or a save yourself some money containing comments will accompany the failure. They relate to work that will be required soon, though doesn’t have to be done immediately. This is a critical part of any MOT as it indicates that some of your car parts are worn but still roadworthy and legal. I advise that you don’t take risks for advisory items for tyres and brakes. These are essential to road safety so I regard advised ‘brakes’ or ‘tyres’ as actual failures.

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