Choosing the right MOT Testing Centre

The right MOT testing Centre….

If your car is over three years old then you will be due an MOT at some point in the next twelve months.  You may have had a previous hefty repair bill following an MOT failure in the past, or maybe you are new to the area and have no word of mouth to reply on.  Looking for a reliable and thorough testing centre with a good reputation which you feel you can trust may therefore seem like a bit of a task.

So what should you look out for?

There are a few factors which you should consider when searching for the right MOT centre.

  • Dont necessarily pick the testing centre with the lowest test fee.
  • Choose an authorised MOT testing centre.
  • Ask around, word of mouth locally is priceless.
  • Consider possible repairs,  labour charges and specialisation?
  • Are you charged a retest fee if you choose not to have repairs done there?

MOT test Fee

The garage or testing station with the lowest fee is not necessarily the best choice as sometimes these low fees can end up costing you in the long run with repair bills.  Consider the labour charges and the reputation of the testing centre too especially if you are not expecting your vehicle to pass.

Car dealerships are renowned for having high labour charges but often offer deals on MOT testing fees.  They do however have newer and more specialised diagnostic equipment over local garages and testing centres though and often provide a courtesy car.

Authorized Testing Centre.

Authorised MOT testing centres will display three white triangles encircled in blue.  Ensuring that the testing station is authorised with the council is essential.  Some councils also have authorised testing centres which are authorised MOT testing stationdedicated to the testing of their council fleet.  These centres do not carry out repairs so you can be assured that they have nothing to gain by failing your vehicle, however another reputable and trusted garage would need to be found should you need any done which could take extra time and possible cost you a retest fee.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find an MOT testing station which you are going to be able to trust.  If the garage or testing station has a website, look for testimonials and ask around friends, family and neighbours who may have had good or bad experiences.


If you have an older vehicle or you think there may be some reason why your vehicle may not pass the MOT test then potential repair bills can be a very big factor.  Make sure that you find out what repairs the testing station or garage that you are taking the vehicle to do.  Will they be able to carry out the necessary repairs and are there any which they would not be able to do?  What are their hourly labour charges?  What parts do they use?  Do you need to leave the car with them to repair immediately to avoid a retest fee?

You dont want to be saddled with a repair bill either for things that may not necessarily need doing or for work which is not done properly so ask around regarding the reputation of the testing station and the quality of their repairs.

Retest Fee

If unfortunately, your vehicle fails the MOT test for whatever reason, will you be charged an MOT retest fee if the repairs are not done at the garage?  How long have you got to get the repairs done before a retest fee is incurred if the garage does not carry out repairs or if you wish to do the repairs yourself?

Some garages insist that the repairs which are necessary are carried out without the vehicle leaving the garage for you to not incur a MOT retest fee.  This is because, should the vehicle leave the testing station then another full MOT test is needed to provide a certificate.  However, if repairs are carried out at the authorised testing station without the vehicle leaving then a certificate can be issued by re testing the areas which have been repaired and without the need for a complete retest.

Leap of faith versus calculated decision


In many ways, choosing an MOT testing station is a leap of faith, however if you have considered all of the factors above then you can make a calculated MOT testdecision which you can trust.

An MOT is a legal requirement and the penalty for driving without one is a £1000 fine.  In the event of an accident, it also invalidates your vehicle insurance, therefore rendering you driving without insurance to boot!

To check the exact date that your MOT test is due and for a more detailed explanation of what the test entails, you can look at the ‘getting an MOT test’ page at

AFF vehicle services are an authorised MOT testing centre and repair centre with competative prices and a list of recommendations and testimonials.