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What Happens If I Fail My MOT?

Every vehicle that is over three years old requires a mandatory MOT test once a year. This test will assess the safety and overall roadworthiness of your car, ensuring that you and others are safe on the road. 

When a vehicle passes an MOT, you will be presented with a valid MOT certificate that lasts a year. Without this certificate, you’ll be unable to renew your car’s road tax and you’ll also be driving the vehicle illegally.   

Figures from the DVSA estimate that around 37% of vehicles fail their MOT test the first time, and if this is the case for you, you’ll be required to organise repairs. Many motorists are not used to failing their MOT, and are often unprepared when it does occur.  

At Kilnhurst Tyres, we regularly oversee MOT tests for motorists in Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster and have put together an explainer about what happens if your vehicle fails an MOT, along with what you need to do next.  

Why do cars fail their MOT?

Before we explore what you should do if your vehicle fails, it’s important to understand the main reasons why cars fail their MOT so that you can do your best to prevent it.

An MOT test will look for any safety issues that could make your car dangerous when out on the road. Even the most composed drivers are at risk when behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn’t up to standard, so it’s essential to get this test carried out. 

One of the biggest causes for the failure of an MOT is also the easiest to address. If any of your headlight bulbs aren’t working, you will fail, as you’ll be unable to operate headlights or indicators. Before the test, check all the bulbs are working. If they’re not, it’s usually straightforward to replace them yourself. 

Tyres are one of the most fundamental parts of your car, and the only part of the vehicle that has physical contact with the road. An MOT will always check the tread depth of your tyres to ensure they’re in a good and safe condition. This is something you can also do yourself prior to a test. Simply use a 20p coin and insert it into the grooves of your tyres, if the outer band of the coin becomes obscured, then your tyres are safe – if not, then they’re unsafe and you should change them as soon as possible.

Your power steering fluid will also be checked during an MOT, so make sure it’s topped up and at the appropriate level beforehand. 

There are a whole host of other reasons why a car may fail an MOT, and these are just some of the most common factors. For a comprehensive list, check out our recent blog on the topic. 

What happens if I fail my MOT?

If any dangerous or major faults are detected on your vehicle during the MOT, you will fail the test. At this point, you’ll be presented with a refusal of an MOT certificate, and the result will be logged on the MOT database. Your refusal certificate will also outline the faults and issues with your vehicle that you need to get fixed before undertaking another MOT.

You may still be allowed to drive your car for a short period of time even if the MOT has failed. If your original MOT is still yet to expire, you can drive it until that date – meaning you’re able to drive it to a garage to organise repairs. 

However, if the MOT has detected dangerous faults on your car, then you will not be allowed to drive it under any circumstances. 

If you disagree with the result, then you can appeal the decision but it’s unlikely the decision will be overturned. 

Can I get the car retested?

There are a number of instances where a retest may be appropriate. If the garage that conducted the MOT test also handles repairs, you can ask them to fix the issues that caused the failure. Then, a partial retest can be conducted within 10 days of the original result. A partial retest will only test the issues that caused the initial failure, and if the test is passed, you’ll be presented with your MOT certificate. 

You can also take your car away and have the repairs conducted elsewhere. If you return to the original test centre within 10 days, then a partial retest can be carried out. If you want a test done after 10 days of the original result, a retest will not be possible and the entire MOT will need to be redone. 

A partial retest is cheaper than a full test, usually half the price, so it’s always worthwhile going for this option if you need a retest. 

At Kilnhurst Tyres, we conduct MOT tests for customers throughout Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield, ensuring your vehicle is safe when out and about. If you’re wondering ‘how long does an MOT take?’, our team strives to get you back on the road as soon as possible and our MOTs take, on average, between 45 minutes and one hour. For more information, or to book your vehicle in with us, get in touch with Kilnhurst Tyres today.    

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Continental Tyres
Goodyear Tyres
Michelin Tyres
Maxxis Tyres
Riken Tyres
Falken Tyres
Uniroyal Tyres

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Kilnhurst Tyres, 9A Glasshouse Road, Kilnhurst, Mexborough, S64 5TQ

Mon – Fri8:00 – 17:00

Saturday8:00 – 12:00


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