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.