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How much does an average MOT cost?

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The MOT test is an official annual check carried out by qualified examiners to check if a vehicle is roadworthy. Seeing as it happens every year once your vehicle is over three years old, knowing how much on average it costs to put a vehicle through an MOT can help you budget through the year.

The average cost of an MOT test fee

The MOT test – which stands for the Ministry of Transport test - costs different amounts depending on the type of vehicle that’s being checked. The Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) also sets the maximum fee that can be charged for vehicles.

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In 2021, the maximum fee for a car is £54.85 and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle. There’s a complete list on GOV.UK (Opens in a new window)

Some MOT test centres will charge less than the maximum fee. You might find fees of £30, or even as low as £25, for an MOT. While we often recommend the cheapest options when it comes to spending your money, you need to be careful going for an MOT at such a low price. Make sure you check reviews and do your research.

If the test centre is also a servicing and repair garage, it’s unlikely to be making a profit charging such a low amount. This means it is likely to have higher charges for servicing, repairs and parts should your vehicle fail the test to make up for the cheaper MOT.

Average cost of repairs from an MOT

Which brings us on to your potential repair bill. The average cost of an MOT fail repair depends on what failed.

Some of the most common faults are very cheap to repair – a blown bulb should cost less than £5, and they’re often something you can change yourself in a few minutes.

Windscreen wiper fluid being too low is also a fail, and is another cheap, fast fix.

Dirty car? Half an hour of your time and some washing up and hot water will make sure you won’t get failed for that embarrassing reason as well.

You can find some tips on passing the MOT on our site.

When all of these very cheap issues are combined with more expensive problems, the average cost of an MOT repair bill, according to the Express, is £272. Add £54.85 for doing the MOT and you're looking at a total fee of £326.85.

Average MOT retest fee

There are a few scenarios you should know about when it comes to MOT retests.

First, what happens if your vehicle fails an MOT and you leave it with the test centre for repair. You won’t need to get a full MOT done, just the part of the MOT that the vehicle failed on. This is called a partial retest. As long as this is done within 10 working days of failing the MOT, it’s done for free.

You could also take your vehicle away for repairs. If you come back before the end of the next working day, the test is normally free.

When is it free? That depends on which parts are retested – you can see a full list online

You could also come back to the same place you got your vehicle tested within 10 working days for a partial retest, and while the test won’t be free, it will be at a reduced rate. At the moment the most you should be charged is half the original MOT fee.

You can find out more about retests on the GOV.UK website (Opens in a new window)

Average MOT retest time

A full MOT for a car takes between 45 and 60 minutes. This will be shorter for a smaller vehicle, down to around half an hour for a motorcycle, and larger vehicles like multi-seat vans or lorries can take longer.

The time for an MOT retest will vary depending on what needs to be tested. Typically only one or two items will need to be re-checked, so a retest could take less than 15 minutes. Of course, if more complex items need retesting, or many repairs needed to be carried out, it will take longer.

Partial retests should take less time than a full MOT. Be aware of the test centres schedules though – just because your vehicle can be checked in 10 minutes doesn’t mean the centre will know when they’ll get to checking your vehicle. This means you could still be without your vehicle for the day of the retest.

The cost of fines you can get from an MOT

Even if you have a large repair bill, the real big prices associated with MOTs are actually what happens if you get a fine. There are a couple of ways this could happen:

First, if you forget to get your vehicle MOT’d when it’s due, and so have a vehicle without an MOT. You really want to avoid this as, apart from the safety element, you can be fined up to £1000. To avoid this scenario, the government has a useful free reminder tool which will text you when your MOT is due.

Not having an MOT for your vehicle could also mean your insurance is invalid – and the fine for that is a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points on your licence. In the unlikely event it goes to court, the fine can be unlimited, and you could be disqualified from driving as well.

The only time you can drive a vehicle without an MOT is when it is roadworthy and you’re driving it to have the faults fixed or to a pre-booked MOT.

Then there is the fine associated with driving a vehicle that fails an MOT.

If your vehicle fails the MOT and has a dangerous fault, you can’t drive it away. It’s deemed unroadworthy. If your vehicle receives a major fault on the MOT and that fault is deemed to make the car unroadworthy, you also can’t drive it away.

If you drive a car with dangerous faults or that’s unroadworthy, you can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get three points on your licence.

It’s important to not feel like your vehicle is stuck at the garage that failed it though. Get a quote from the garage for the repairs that are needed, and then get some quotes from other garages near you. Even if your vehicle needs to be towed by a repair truck, it still might be cheaper to go to a different garage.

If the major fault on your vehicle leaves the vehicle still roadworthy and your old MOT hasn’t expired yet, you may still be able to drive it away.

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