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How Much is an MOT?
According to our survey of two dozen MOT centres, the average cost of a car MOT is £34.65 in the UK. The cheapest MOT deal we saw was £15 and the highest MOT price was £54.85. Government regulations limit the amount a service centre can charge for an MOT—the maximum fee that an MOT centre can charge for a car (e.g., a Class 4 vehicle) is £54.85 and the most you'll pay for a standard motorcycle MOT is £29.65.
|Average MOT Cost UK||Maximum MOT Cost||Average MOT Cost|
Cost of a MOT Retest
According to the Gov.uk website, you may not need to pay anything for a retest if your car failed its MOT.
Leaving your car at the test centre: There’s no retest fee if you leave your car for repair at the test centre and it’s retested within 10 working days.
Taking your car back the next working day: If you drive away, get your car fixed and take it back to the same test centre before the end of the next working day you can get a partial retest for free for the following issues:
- access panels
- brake pedal antislip
- break glass hammer (class 5 vehicles)
- doors (incl. hinges, catches and pillars)
- door open warning device (class 5 vehicles)
- electrical wiring
- emergency exits and signs (class 5 vehicles)
- entrance door remote control (class 5 vehicles)
- entrance/exit steps (class 5 vehicles)
- fuel filler cap
- headlamp cleaning or levelling devices (with no headlamp aim check)
- lamps (excl. headlamp aim)
- loading door
- main beam ‘tell-tale’
- rear reflectors
- registration plates
- seatbelts, seatbelt load limiter and seatbelt pre-tensioner (not anchorages)
- sharp edges or projections
- stairs (class 5 vehicles)
- steering wheel
- trailer electrical sockets
- towbars (excl. body around anchorage points)
- tyre pressure monitoring system
- vehicle identification number (VIN)
- windscreen glass, wipers and washers
- wheels and tyres (excl. motorbikes)
Taking your car back for a retest within 10 working days: You can be charged a partial retest fee if you drive your vehicle away, get it repaired, and return to the test centre for a retest within 10 working days.
Odds Your Car Will Fail the MOT
31.4% of vehicles initially fail the MOT test. Many of the initial reasons for failing the MOT are due to minor defects that can be fixed at the time of the test, such as a burnt-out bulb. After these minor defects are fixed, the MOT failure rate drop to 25.8% of vehicles. Motorcycles have the best pass rates.
|MOT Failure Rates||Initial fail rate||Final fail rate|
|Classes 1 & 2: Motorcycles||16.8%||9.9%|
|Classes 3 & 4: Cars, vans (up to 12 seats)||31.7%||24.6%|
|Class 5: Private passenger (more than 12 seats)||28.4%||23.4%|
|Class 7: Goods vehicles (3,000 and 3,500 kg gross weight)||40.6%||32.7%|
Most Common Reasons for Car and Motorcycle MOT Failure
The number 1 reason that cars and motorcycles fail an MOT is Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment, which together account for 27% of car defects and 39% of motorcycles defects on failed tests. Brakes, suspension and tyres are next most troublesome for cars, accounting for another 46.5% of failed defects; for motorcycles, brakes, body/chassis/structure, suspension and tyres are the next most common faults accounting for 47.7% of defects.
In the table and chart below, you can see which defects are the most and least common when cars and motorcycles fail an MOT.
|Biggest Reasons for MOT Failure||Car||Motorcycle|
|Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment||27.0%||39.2%|
|Body, chassis, structure||6.8%||11.2%|
|Noise, emissions and leaks||5.6%||n/a|
|Seat belts and supplementary restraint systems||1.9%||n/a|
|Identification of the vehicle||0.7%||3.5%|
|Motorcycle audible warning (Horn)||n/a||2.8%|
You can check the specific fail codes for these categories in our article on MOT Fail Codes if you'd like for information on the specific defects that can cause a fail in each of these categories.
The good news about this data is that, it's relatively easy to pre-check your car before the MOT and possibly make minor repairs yourself if you're so inclined. In terms of tyres, your car should have at least 1.6mm of tread throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tyre (around the whole tyre). If you find an indicator is out or a brake light isn't illuminating, you may find that simply replacing the bulb can fix the problem so you pass your next MOT test.
By checking your car's lights, indicator signals and tyres you may be able to save money on potential repairs and preempt a failed MOT.
Should You Get the Cheapest MOT?
A cheap MOT may cost you more in the long run, through higher repair bills to fix any failed MOT defects. By offering a below-market MOT price a test centre may lose money that they'll need to make up elsewhere in order to stay in business. If your vehicle fails the MOT, these test centres may charge a higher markup on parts and/or more for labour for any repairs they suggest.
Why should this matter to you? Because 35% of cars fail their MOT test, which means 35% of car owners will subsequently pay for the required repairs to their car if they want to keep driving.
So it's not just the price of an MOT that matters—you also need to keep in mind the cost of car repairs, as these can significantly add to the amount you spend on running costs for your car each year. Before booking an MOT you might want to check the cost of repairing the most common MOT failures with your test centre.