As we rely on our cars every single day, there are certain standards that our cars should meet to ensure we are driving a safe vehicle that isn’t going to put the driver, passengers, pedestrians or other cars at risk. If your car is older than three years (based on the age from the plate number, not how long you’ve personally owned it), these standards are carried out each year in a legal test known as an MOT.

An MOT involves dozens of checks on your car, ranging from the brakes and fuel system to windscreen wipers and seatbelts. This can be done at an MOT test centre, local council or a garage. These are tests that are carried out on a daily basis, but, what happens if you fail?

In this blog, we look into what happens if you fail your MOT, what options you have and getting any faults rectified, particularly through a local car garage to you.

What gets checked at a garage

An MOT test involves a lot of different checks of various parts of a vehicle. Carried out by a mechanic, there is a set MOT list that they follow. Here is a brief run-down of what gets checked during an MOT at a garage:

  • Brakes (including handbrake)

  • Car body and structure including metres on the dashboard

  • Lights and all electrics

  • Tyres

  • Suspension

  • Steering

  • Driver’s view

  • Exhaust and emissions

Most common MOT fails

The MOT is a simple test of roadworthiness, so if it doesn’t meet the legal standard then it will fail. Whether it’s a simple problem with one of the front lights or something more serious, such as the colour of the exhaust fumes, these failures can vary. Although it can be extra financial stress, if yours does fail, try to see it as a positive – you’ll be glad that your local garage has detected the fault to ensure you’re not driving around in a potential death trap and putting your life at risk.

Here are some of the most common MOT failures according to breakdown sites such as the RAC and AA:

  • Lights and electrics – did you know that 18% of MOT failures are lighting and electrical related? With nearly a fifth of all cars hitting this, this could be down to anything from a simple blown bulb to an insecure and leaking battery. Many drivers tend to forget about the number plate whilst they’re preparing for their MOT test too.

  • Suspension – 13% of MOT failures are caused by issues with a car’s suspension. Whether it pulls to the side when stopping, clunks whilst driving or doesn’t sit level when static, this will mean the suspension will be the reason for the failure. MOT testers won’t actually drive the car, but they’ll inspect all suspension components and shock absorbers and will be able to tell if something isn’t right as soon as they sit in the car. With so many accidents and problems caused by potholes, it’s no surprise that the second highest on this list.

  • Brakes – as one of the most important aspects of your car, it’s surprising that one in 10 cars fail their MOT due to brake problems. Any squeaking, grinding or resistance from car brakes should be a warning sign that the pads are wearing and there are issues present. An MOT tester will carry out what’s known as an efficiency test to check the performance of the brakes. Along with the brakes, an anti-lock brake system (ABS), electronic stability controls (ESC) and a handbrake will be checked. If they’re not up to standard, the car will fail.

What happens next if it fails

In recent times, a garage carrying out the MOT test will categorise any faults into ‘minor’, ‘major’ and ‘dangerous’ ratings. A car can fail an MOT through receiving ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ ratings.

Once failed, the garage will issue you with a VT30 ‘Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate’. This will include details of your car, the test number and, most importantly, the reasons why it didn’t pass. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to drive with an invalid MOT certificate, so you’re not allowed to drive it away from the garage or test centre if you fail – the only exception to this rule is if you’re driving it to be repaired or to a pre-arranged MOT test.

Be sure to keep hold of your VT30, as you’ll need to present it in the event of a retest, for repairs or at an appeal.

Advantages of using the same local garage to fix your MOT faults

If your car does fail its MOT test, consider using the same local garage you used for your MOT to repair any faults or issues. There are many advantages to doing so, including:

  • You avoid driving a failed vehicle – what we mean by this is that if you aim to use a local garage to get your car tested, any repairs that need doing can be arranged and sorted immediately. This is opposed to it failing at an MOT test centre/council and you having to drive a dangerous car to a garage without a prior appointment afterwards.

  • You know the mechanics – even if you’ve only used them once, you’ll still know the mechanics and team better, which is preferable to going from an MOT test centre straight to a new garage of strangers. They are more likely to fit you in for repairs as soon as possible instead of putting you on a waiting list.

  • They know your situation – similar to that above, using the same car repair shop for your repairs means they already know the situation with your vehicle and will be totally clued up on how to tackle your repairs.

  • They’re experienced – if they’ve accepted your car, it means they are experienced at dealing with your make and model and know exactly the approach to take in order to fix it.

  • It’s convenient – using a garage that is local to you to complete your MOT test and any repairs will definitely be more convenient and more suited to your daily routine. After dropping your car off, or if you can’t drive your car back, you could easily walk or take public transport back to your home or work.

  • It’s cost-effective – if budget is a priority, especially if you’re worried you’ll have to fork out for repairs if your car fails, opt for a trusted local garage instead of a national test centre or council. But, for a rough guide, the maximum fee that can be charged is £54.85 for a car and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle – usually, a test centre can tend to charge the maximum, whereas a garage will offer affordable rates to compete with them.

Overall, using a reliable local garage to complete your MOT test and any faults afterwards mean you establish a good relationship with them. And, as your one-stop-shop for everything, this is incredibly convenient.

Adderley Green Garage – from a comprehensive car service to running a car diagnostic, our expert team can repair and maintain your vehicle today

If you’re looking for a garage to be your one-stop-shop for MOTs, auto repairs, comprehensive car servicing or engine diagnostics, Adderley Green Garage is the garage for you. Operating in and around Stoke-on-Trent, our expert team of mechanics are on-hand to complete quality repairs or inspections today.

To book in an MOT with us today, check out our online booking section of our website. Or, to find out more regarding our services, get in touch with one of our friendly team today on 01782 312 510.