Common MOT Misconceptions

For one of the most common motoring tests, there’s a lot of misinformation about the MOT floating around online. Everyone thinks they are an expert, and to add to the confusion, the system has changed several times over the year. What was once turn is no longer true in many cases. So let’s sort the fact from the fiction. 

There’s a 14 day “grace period”.

This is one of the most frequently heard and seen rumours online – that after your MOT expires, you have two weeks to get a new one without running the risk of prosecution. There is no truth whatsoever in this rumour. Your MOT must be renewed on or before the date it expires, which can be checked online here. There is no grace period at all. The only exception to this is that you are allowed to drive your car to the garage for another MOT test if it’s expired. Police won’t just take your work for it though, you’ll have to show proof of a pre-booked appointment. 

More than half of cars fail their MOT.

The actual percentage of cars which fail the MOT of the first test is around 62%. Once remedial work is done, another 10% get through their MOT on a retest. The remaining 30 or so percent are either scrapped as uneconomical to fix, or driven around illegally without a MOT certificate. Funnily, motorbikes are more likely to pass first time than cars. Around 81% of bikes pass their MOT with no faults found. 

Bus and Taxi drivers follow the same MOT rules as everyone else. 

Well it’s certainly true that taxis, vans and public service vehicles like minibuses have to get a MOT certificate just like every other road vehicle. However, the rules are much stricter for public hire vehicles than they are for private cars. Taxi drivers must have their cars tested from one year old rather then three. A MOT test for a standard taxi costs the same as a private car though. 

The MOT price is set in stone.

The government does publish prices for MOT tests. But these are the maximum fees that garages can charge, and many choose to charge less as a marketing tool. This is good news for you as a consumer as you are free to haggle, or negotiate, especially when you are having other work done on your car at the same time. Remember also that maximum charges rise annually, and that motorbikes cost less than cars and other vehicles. 

The MOT test is the same everywhere. 

What is true is that all MOT mechanics go through the same training, and test to the same checklist provided by the DVLA. The DVLA also do a lot of work to make sure that the standards for passing or failing are the same across the UK. Many people still think that the best place for the MOT is the Council run testing station, which is impartial. You might get an impartial service, but if your car fails, you’ll have to search elsewhere to get it fixed.