Taking your driving test in your own car has always been permitted, but make sure that you are fully aware of the new (and existing) rules about their use – or else your test could end up being cancelled.
Many learners opt to use their own car or a family member’s for their driving test. While this is acceptable as long as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s rules are adhered to (see below), the recent changes to the MOT test mean there are now two new small but very significant rules that must be followed.
From Monday 4th June, the DVSA says you will not be able to use your own car if:
• it is displaying an engine Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) or has a MIL that doesn’t work
• it has inoperative reversing lights (if the vehicle was first used after 1st September, 2009).
This is in line with the new MOT rules introduced in May this year, which state that if a MIL is inoperative or is displaying a malfunction, it is now classed as a major defect. If a MIL should illuminate during the driving test itself but the car continues to operate normally, the test will be allowed to continue.
Making Your Car Test Worthy
Bear in mind there are a host of existing rules about using a personal vehicle for the test:
1. Check that the car is taxed, insured for the driving test (some insurers may not allow it so check the small print) and, if the vehicle is over three years old, is fully MOTed in the first place! To be on the safe side, bring all relevant documentation with you in a folder.
2. As well as the MIL light, ensure that other warning lights aren’t showing; an airbag warning light for example will spell the end of your test before it’s even started.
3. Ensure all tyres are undamaged and have legal tread depths plus remember you are unable to take the test if you have one of those wretched space-saver tyres fitted. You should also only use a car that is able to do at least 62mph (so no wheezing classic cars please) plus there must a safety belt and a properly-fitted headrest for the examiner (again, leave that classic car at home then).
3. Make sure you have an extra interior rear-view mirror fitted for the examiner (don’t worry about the sat nav – they’ll bring their own) plus you’ll of course need L Plates fitted front and aft (or D Plates if you’re taking your test in Wales).
4. Remember there are certain cars that you are unable to use for a driving test. Why? Because according to the DVSA, they don’t offer the required all-round visibility needed by the examiner. The banned cars include the BMW Mini convertible, Ford KA convertible, Toyota iQ and VW Beetle convertible. If you do intend to use any kind of convertible, it’s best to double check with the DVSA before the test.
5. Oh, and if you’re a smoker, do not have a quick fag to calm your nerves in the car as you pull up at the test centre; any examiner will refuse to conduct the test if they are greeted by a cabin filled with smoke. You can’t really blame them!
• For more information about the do’s and don’ts of using your own car for the driving test, head here.