What do I do if my MOT fails?

Your options if your car fails its MOT test

Up to a third of vehicles fail the MOT test, according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) - many for minor things that can easily be prevented or quickly be repaired.

The DVSA reports that lighting and signalling are the biggest issues - causing 30% of defects - followed by suspension (20%), brakes (17%) and tyres (10%). And in 2020, almost 1.3million cars failed MOT emissions checks.

The MOT test confirms that your car meets the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards required by law. The test involves checking parts of your car like your seatbelts and brakes to determine that they’re working how they should. 

If your vehicle’s more than 3 years old (and not a taxi), it'll need an MOT test every year.

Need a hassle-free MOT? Book with Smart Care and we'll take care of it.

Book now

What do I do if my MOT fails?

If your vehicle fails its MOT, you can leave it at the test centre where they’ll carry out the essential repairs needed. As long as these repairs are done within 10 working days of failing the MOT, your vehicle can then be partially retested for free.

If you’d rather take your car away for repairs, your retest will usually be free, as long as you return it to the test centre before the end of the next working day. You can only take your car elsewhere if your current MOT test certificate is still valid and your vehicle is roadworthy. 

If you book your MOT through Smart Care, we’ll do everything we can to get your vehicle back on the road as safely as possible.

We’ll carry out any essential work needed at the same garage within 10 days and do a retest free of charge. If you choose to take your car elsewhere for repairs, you can return it to us within 10 days and we’ll retest it for only £15.

What are MOT defects?

MOT defects are categorised as ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’ – a dangerous or major defect will result in a fail. You can appeal the result if you think it’s wrong.

A dangerous defect means the car is unroadworthy. Dangerous defects must be repaired before the car can be driven as it’s illegal for an unroadworthy vehicle to be driven on the road at any time  including to or from an MOT test.

Major defects must be repaired immediately but they don't mean the car is unroadworthy. So, if your current MOT certificate is still valid and no dangerous defects were found, you can drive your vehicle away.

Pre-MOT checklist

Up to 1.5 million cars fail their MOT every year because of small issues like faulty bulbs or even a dirty number plate - so we’ve put together a pre-MOT checklist to give your car the best possible chance of passing the MOT first time. 

Why use AA Smart Care for your car’s MOT?

Whether your vehicle passes or fails the MOT test, we’ll contact you straight away to discuss your options.

If it passes, we’ll highlight any recommended minor advisory work that'll need to be done in the future. We can also provide a quote for completing this work, if you’d like.

Remember, if your car fails its MOT and you’d like us to make the necessary repairs, we’ll carry out your retest for free.

When you book through Smart Care, you'll also get:

  • Free vehicle collection and return.
  • AA approved garages.
  • Quick and easy online booking and payment.
  • 12-month guarantee on all parts and labour.
  • Fair, transparent pricing.

Every garage in our network is independent and trustworthy. We thoroughly inspect each one before it can join the AA, to ensure it fully meets our quality, service and training standards. We then carry out full audits annually, as well as ad-hoc spot checks.

We even have next-day availability for servicing and MOTs in some locations.

AA approved MOTs, services and repairs at a local garage near you

Book with Smart Care and get a 12-month guarantee on all parts and labour, fixed pricing with no hidden extras and free vehicle collection and return (subject to availability).