Getting an MOT retest

Getting an MOT retest: Full guide

Last updated April 21, 2023

If your car has failed its MOT, the tester will issue you with a VT30 document (or a ‘refusal of MOT test certificate’). This document will list the ‘major’ and ‘dangerous’ defects that caused your vehicle to fail.

You may be wondering what to do if you have failed your MOT . Unless you intend to scrap your car or sell your MOT failure in its current state, your next step should be to arrange the necessary repairs and an MOT re-test for your vehicle.

In this guide, we will clarify what an MOT retest entails and the rules around MOT retesting. We’ll also explain the process for arranging a partial retest after an MOT failure, when you can drive your car after failing an MOT – and the window of eligibility for arranging a free (or reduced rate) MOT retest.

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What is an MOT retest?

MOT retests are either partial or full MOT tests that are carried out after a vehicle has failed an initial MOT. These retests are crucial, as they provide proof that any ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ faults highlighted during the initial test have been rectified.

MOT retest rules explained

The maximum fee for an MOT retest is half of the original MOT test fee, although some garages will provide a partial MOT retest (where the vehicle is checked for the fault(s) on which it originally failed) free of charge.

The maximum price for an MOT is £54.85, therefore the most a test centre can charge for a partial retest is £27.45.

All MOT retest applications need to be made within 21 days of the initial failure. The retest then must be completed within 60 days of the initial test.

Can I drive my car following a failed MOT?

You can drive to another garage for repairs, providing your existing MOT certificate is still in date – and no ‘dangerous’ faults were raised on the failed MOT test.

Related: Can I drive my car if it fails its MOT?

What if I disagree with my MOT result?

You can appeal against an MOT failure if you believe that your vehicle should have passed. If you decide to do this, your first step should be to speak with the test centre manager; they may be able to resolve your issue.

If you are still unhappy with the outcome, you should complete a VT17 form (downloadable from the website) with details of why you wish to complain about the MOT test. You should email the form to Alternatively, you can send the form by post to:

DVSA, The Ellipse, Padley Road, Swansea, SA1 8AN.

The DVSA should then contact you within 5 working days to discuss your appeal. If they determine that a retest is needed, you can then arrange a new MOT test. You will be required to pay the full test fee again. However, if your appeal is ultimately successful, you will be refunded some (or all) of the fee.

How much does an MOT retest cost?

In some cases, you may be offered a partial MOT retest for a reduced fee – or even for free. Whether or not a partial retest is available to you will depend on where you have your vehicle repaired - or how long you take to return it to the test centre.

How can I get a partial MOT retest?

If you want a partial MOT retest, there are three options at your disposal:

  • Leave your vehicle at the testing garage for repairs – and a free MOT retest. If the test centre offers a repair service, you can usually leave your car to be repaired (and then retested within 10 working days).
  • You can also take your vehicle away for repairs and as long as you return it by the end of the next working day, you might also be eligible for a free retest. However, you will only be able to drive your vehicle away for repairs if the failed MOT did not highlight any ‘dangerous’ faults. Otherwise, you will need to arrange for the vehicle to be towed to the repair garage, as it cannot legally be driven.
  • If you drive your vehicle away for repairs and return it to the MOT test centre for a retest within 10 working days, then your partial MOT retest will likely be offered at a reduced rate. However, if you miss this window, you will need a full MOT test, meaning you will have to pay the full fee.

When is an MOT retest free?

If you leave your car for repairs at the test centre where you initially failed your MOT, the re-test should be free. The same should apply if you take your car away for repairs but return it within one working day.

When does an MOT retest incur a fee?

You’ll need to pay the cost of a full MOT test if you drive your vehicle away and don’t have it retested within 10 working days.

Getting a partial MOT test after you’ve failed

If you decide to have your car repaired and retested after failing an MOT, you can opt for a ‘partial retest’. You will only be eligible for this option for 10 working days after your initial MOT failure.

A partial MOT test may be offered for free (or at a reduced rate), as the tester will only examine the areas that caused the vehicle to fail the first time around, rather than covering the full MOT checklist.

What happens if you fail your MOT retest?

It’s unlikely, but if you fail your MOT test again, you can follow the same process and have your car repaired and tested once more. However, be sure to talk to the workshop manager if this occurs, especially if your car fails with the same faults as before.

How long does an MOT retest take?

The time taken for an MOT retest may differ from the timeframe for a full MOT. How long an MOT retest takes will vary depending on factors such as how busy the garage is on the day – and which issues were highlighted on the failure form.

How to book an MOT retest

There isn’t an official process for booking an MOT retest. Instead, when the necessary repairs have been affected, the tester will carry out the partial retest.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can often get an MOT retest for free by either leaving your car at the test centre for repairs after its initial MOT failure - or by taking it for repairs and returning it to the centre within one working day to be retested.

Yes, you can take your car away for repairs, but you cannot take your car to a different garage for a retest.

Yes, if you take your car to another garage, you will have to pay the full MOT testing fee – even if it is still less than 10 working days since your initial MOT failure.

Yes, you can take your car back to the MOT test centre for a retest on the same day.