My car has failed its MOT again – should I scrap it?


Mazda Miata on the road

Your MOT test is rarely a date anyone finds themselves eagerly counting down the days for, but like them or not, they’re an undeniable necessity. Once your car passes three years of age, it’s mandatory to have an MOT on it annually. And while sometimes a fail result can be an unpleasant surprise, other times you may be able to see it coming a mile off.

According to the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency, around 40% of cars fail their MOT at the first attempt, with causes ranging from the trivial to the catastrophic. Research by car recycling specialists Scrap Car Network, the three most expensive car repair bills are for the cooling fan motor, engine and gearbox. If your car fails, the MOT test center will send you a VT30, which is known as the Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate.

Now, from here you’ve got several options, including the decision whether to scrap your car. If you decide that time has come, it’s worth considering organizations like Scrap Car Network, who can provide you with a great price for your used car. That’s generally a last resort though. You’ll first need to think about…

Option 1: Fix the car and get a retest

This is the option most commonly chosen by drivers, who generally prefer to have problems solved with their car and then have them back on the roads as soon as possible. Though it’s a common thing to have your car repaired by the same test center, it’s not mandatory.

Have the car fixed there and then

Most drivers find that the fastest and easiest option is simply to hire the same test center to carry out the necessary repairs on the car, and then perform a partial retest. This time around, they won’t do a full MOT, but just focus on the issues that caused the car to fail.

Have the car fixed elsewhere

If you’d prefer, you can have the repairs completed by a different mechanic (although this does leave you with the challenge of how to transport it there, since driving a car with a failed MOT is illegal). Then, you can get it brought back to the original test center for a partial retest. If this is done within one working day, you won’t be charged for the retest. If it takes between 2 and 10 working days, you’ll be charged for a partial retest. If it moves beyond the 10 day mark, on the other hand, you’ll still be charged a full MOT.

Option 2: Appeal against a failed MOT test result

You can also choose to appeal against the decision. However, if you’re planning on doing this, it’s wise to first have a discussion with the test center about the reasoning for the fail – just so that they make their position absolutely clear and you don’t pursue an appeal based on a misunderstanding.

If you still feel you’ve been treated unfairly, you’ve only got 14 days from the original MOT test date to file a complaint about your MOT, and send it off to the DVSA. Once they’ve received it, you’ll be given an alternative retest date within 5 days. The important thing to remember here is that you will be charged again in full for the MOT, but if your appeal is upheld, they’ll give you a refund for what you spend. In order for your appeal process to remain valid, you can’t modify or alter the car yourself in the meantime in any way.

Option 3: Scrap your car

If your car has serious structural, mechanical or electronic faults, you may well find that the repairs required to get it road legal again can outweigh the value of the car. This is often the case if the vehicle is particularly old, or has been repaired multiple times before. In this scenario, sometimes the simplest and cheapest option is to scrap your car, and replace it with a model in better condition.

True, it’s far from an ideal scenario, but if you find yourself looking down the barrel of a particularly expensive or complicated repair, it’s certainly worth considering whether scrapping your car would be a more effective and profitable solution.

While the process of scrapping your car used to be notorious for the amount of time and paperwork involved, nowadays the rise of companies like Scrap Car Network have made it (thankfully) a lot faster and easier. Entering in your car registration and postcode to their homepage will get you an immediate online car valuation, and the entire process can take as little as 10 seconds.


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