auto

How to cut the cost of your car’s MOT – and avoid £1,000 fine


THE cost of a car MOTs is capped at just over £50 – but you can get your legal car check for much less.

All cars that are more than three-years-old need to get an MOT every year.

MOT charges in Britain are capped at £54.85 for cars and small vans

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MOT charges in Britain are capped at £54.85 for cars and small vansCredit: Getty

Here’s how to make that inevitable cost as low as possible.

How much is an MOT?

Since April 2010, the price of an MOT in Britain has been capped at £54.85 for cars and light vans.

Motorcycle MOT charges are capped at £29.65, while larger vans pay a maximum of £58.60.

The biggest private passenger vehicles and ambulances pay no more than £124.50.

However, the average car MOT in the UK costs much less than the DVLA’s limit of just under £55.

In fact, most UK drivers spend less than £35 on their vehicle MOT, according to NimbleFins.

Can I get my car MOT’d for even less?

There are some pre-MOT car checks which could bring the cost down.

They’ll minimise the time spent under the mechanic’s spanner and should improve your vehicle’s chances of passing its MOT too.

Mechanics must still check the bare necessities during the MOT for the vehicle to pass, but they’ll need less time to do it.

First, check your front and rear headlights are working – plus your rear number plate light, brake lights and indicators.

Check your car’s tyre pressure and tread depth, which must be at least 1.6mm – though auto experts advise 3.5mm in winter.

Make sure there’s enough oil in the engine, that your windscreen isn’t cracked and that your car exhaust is in good shape.

Fixing these before your MOT will save you time and money – plus the stress of getting a failed MOT certificate.

Doing these checks will also help make sure any repair costs following a failed MOT shouldn’t be too high.

What else do I need to keep in mind?

Always shop around for the best-value MOT.

That isn’t necessarily the cheapest – you want to make sure the mechanic is doing the checks thoroughly, after all, and not finding problems where there are none.

Knowing roughly how much any required repairs will set you back before your legal car check is always advised.

There are around 20,000 qualified MOT garages in the UK, so you should have plenty of options for shopping around near you.

You can also take advantage of a free MOT re-test if your car needs another check before the end of the next working day.

What are the fines for driving without an MOT?

If your car fails its MOT, you’ll be given a test refusal certificate – and won’t be able to drive your vehicle, unless you’re taking it to the garage to have its defects fixed.

However, if you receive a failed MOT note before your previous MOT certificate expires you can still drive your car.

But you must have the defects fixed before returning it to the garage for a retest.

Be warned: driving without an in-date MOT certificate will see you fined a maximum fine of £1,000.

Legal small print means you could even be charged £2,500 if your car is found to be “unsafe” to drive.

But you are allowed to drive your car to an MOT appointment if its certificate is out-of-date – and nowhere else.

And remember, the MOT extension is long gone, so you can’t use the pandemic as an excuse for not getting the crucial car check.

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