What to do if your car has failed its MOT

Last updated April 28th, 2023

Many drivers will have to deal with an MOT failure at one time or another.

Common reasons for MOT failure include issues with a vehicle’s lighting and signalling (18.9%), suspension (13%), braking (10%), tyres (such as incorrect tyre tread depth or tyre pressure) (7.7%) - and obstructions blocking the driver’s view of the road (7.2%).

So, what should you do if you receive the unwelcome news that your car has failed its MOT? In this guide, we will explain the various options at your disposal, including repairing, retesting and selling your MOT failure.

Value your car in under 30 seconds

My car has failed its MOT – what should I do?

If your car has recently failed its MOT, there are several options to consider:

  • Fix it at the garage

    You can arrange for the necessary repairs to be carried out at the garage where your car initially failed its MOT.

  • Take your car to be fixed elsewhere

    If you wish, you can take your car to a different garage for the repairs to be carried out.

  • Scrap or sell your car

    If the faults highlighted by the failed MOT are too expensive to repair, you may decide to sell your car or scrap your car. It’s important to know when to repair your car or sell it - and how to sell an MOT failure.

Getting an MOT retest

Depending on why your car has failed its MOT, there are a few options available for retesting. You can leave your car at the garage to be fixed and then have it retested. Alternatively, you can take your car to be repaired at a different garage and then return it to the original MOT test centre for a retest.

Related: Getting an MOT retest

What is the process for appealing a failed MOT?

If your car has failed its MOT (but you disagree with the result), you have the option of appealing against it by submitting a VT17 form to the DVSA.

Can MOT certificates be wrong?

Yes, although usually accurate, MOT certificates sometimes contain incorrect information.

For instance, the wrong mileage may be recorded during an MOT test. This could be due to an error by the tester. However, in some cases, discrepancies between mileage readings may indicate that odometer tampering has taken place.

The process for rectifying an incorrect mileage reading is outlined in our guide ‘Wrong mileage on MOT certificate’.

Driving a car after a failed MOT

You may be wondering, “Can I still drive my car if it fails its MOT?” If your previous MOT is still valid, and your car does not have any ‘dangerous’ faults, you can legally drive it.

However, bear in mind that if you are stopped by the police and an officer deems your vehicle to be unsafe for use on the roads, then you could be fined and given points on your licence.