Drivers: how to cut the cost of your MOT

If your MOT is coming up, here's how you can save some money.

Taking your car for its MOT is one of those really annoying tasks in life.

However, it’s a necessity.

If you get caught driving a vehicle on the road with an expired MOT certificate, you could face a fine of up to £1,000.

So if your MOT is looming and you’re desperate to keep the costs down, here are some top tips to help you!

Carry out some DIY

The first thing to do before taking your car for its MOT is to carry out a little DIY and check that everything is working as it should be.

That way, you can get anything that needs fixing repaired before it goes in for its MOT – and as a result, there’s less of a chance of your car failing.

Here are a few things you should check:

  • Are all the lights (headlights, rear lights, rear registration plate light, rear fog lamps, brake lights and indicator lights) in good condition and working fully?
  • Is the tyre pressure correct? Look in the vehicle handbook, or consult your garage or tyre dealer to find out the recommended tyre pressure.
  • Is the tyre tread correct? The legal minimum tread is 1.6mm.
  • Are there any cracks in the windscreen? Are the windscreen wipers in good condition or are they looking a little worn?
  • Are the handbrake, horn, mirrors and seatbelts in good working order?
  • Is the correct amount of oil in the engine?
  • Is the exhaust making unusual sounds or leaking?
  • Is the registration plate easy to read and properly secured to your car? Are there any cracks?

If any of these are not working as they should be, get them fixed before your MOT.

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Cheap MOT: be sure to shop around

The good news is there is a limit to how much you can be charged for your MOT.

The Government has stipulated that MOTs on cars and motor caravans must cost no more than £54.85, while MOTs for motorbikes can cost no more than £29.65.

You can view the full list on the website.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around to ensure you’re getting the very best deal, as some garages will charge less than this. 

Just remember that you will still have to pay for any repairs on top of the price of the MOT.

Choose your garage carefully

When you’re deciding where to take your vehicle for its MOT, choose carefully.

There are more than 20,000 garages authorised as MOT test stations across the country – so make sure you hunt one out by looking for the blue three triangles logo which should be displayed outside.

The maximum fee for the test must also be displayed on a poster inside every station.  

It’s also worth asking your friends and relatives if they know anywhere local that will carry out an MOT.

After all, if they can recommend somewhere that is reasonably priced and will do a good job, this will save you worrying about being caught out by a dodgy garage and shoddy work.

Use your local council

Instead of heading to your nearest garage, a better option might be to take your car to a Government MOT test centre provided by your local council.

Many local councils have their own MOT testing stations for council vehicles, such as buses or ambulances, but by law, they have to also be open to the public.

You may well find that the cost of your MOT at one of these testing stations is cheaper than at your local garage.

So it’s definitely worth investigating. That said, Government MOT test centres won’t carry out any repairs – so if you need any, you will have to take your car elsewhere.

On the plus side, this means you know the mechanic at the Government test centre won’t invent faults that need fixing because he’s not going to get any extra cash out of you!

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Free retest

If your car does fail its MOT, you may be entitled to a free or reduced-fee retest. This is the case if your car is left at the test centre for repair and retested within 10 working days.

You also won’t have to pay for a retest if the failed vehicle is taken away and repaired, but brought back to the same test station and retested before the end of the next working day - providing the failure points are one or more of the following:

  • access panels
  • battery
  • bonnet
  • boot lid
  • brake pedal antislip
  • doors
  • dropsides
  • electrical wiring
  • fuel filler cap
  • headline cleaning or levelling devices
  • horn
  • lamps
  • loading door
  • mirrors
  • rear reflectors
  • registration plates
  • seatbelts
  • seats
  • sharp edges or projections
  • steering wheel
  • tailboard
  • tailgate
  • towbars
  • tyre pressure monitoring system
  • vehicle identification number
  • windscreen and glass
  • windscreen wipers/washers
  • wheels and tyres

If the vehicle fails due to something else, you may only be charged a partial retest fee if you’ve taken the car away from the testing station for repair and returned it for a retest within 10 working days. 

Remember, if you've got an appointment for an MOT or for repairs to a car that will enable it to pass its MOT, then you are legally allowed to drive your car without an MOT - but only to the garage you've got the appointment at.

Replacing certificates

Finally, if you lose or damage your certificate, thankfully this doesn’t mean you will have to go in for a retest. You can apply for a duplicate from any MOT testing station – for a maximum fee of £10, or half the full MOT test fee, whichever is lowest.

You will need to provide the vehicle registration mark and either the original MOT test number or document reference number which can be found on the registration certificate (V5C).

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*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.

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