What kind of garage is best for the cheapest MOT test

Mechanic running MoTThe £54.85 MOT test is often seen as an annual expense drivers could do without, but it’s an important safety check that must not be ignored.

We’ve already shown how to cut the cost of the test by conducting your own pre-MOT inspection. Another way of ensuring you pay a minimum for your car’s yearly health check is to consider the many locations that can carry out an MOT test today. Here are the options drivers can choose from.

Franchised dealer

Of the various choices, the franchised dealer is usually the most expensive option. Car dealerships are expensive places to run so although they might advertise cheap MOT tests, if the car fails and needs repairing to pass you’ll be paying the high labour rates required to maintain their expensive overheads. However, some manufacturers such as Ford are wising up to this and offer cheaper rates and local price match guarantees for cars over four years old. And theoretically, if you’re a Ford driver, their mechanics should know your car’s workings better than anyone else.

For: Can advertise cheap MOT rates, good vehicle knowledge
Against: Remedial work can be expensive

Independent garage

Striking up a relationship with a local garage can be one of the best motoring money savers there is. If they’re not licensed to conduct MoTs themselves, independent operators usually know garages or individuals that are. As they know their business depends largely on word of mouth and repeat visits, it’s generally not in their interest to fail cars for the sake of it. Many will also agree to re-test the car for free assuming you carry out any corrective work with them. However, there are still dodgy garages out there so to be sure of redress, pick one that’s rated by the Government-approved Motor Codes.

For: Can be trustworthy and cheap
Against: There are still dodgy garages out there

‘Fast fit’ centres

These can appear cost effective because they advertise cheap MOT tests. However, they have to make their money back somewhere. Frequently if the car fails they’ll charge you to do the re-test. And repairs can be expensive if conducted on site. There’s also the suspicion that some less scrupulous operators can fail cars in the hope of keeping their own mechanics in gainful employment.

For: Cheap rates – if you’re certain your car is going to pass
Against: Repairs can be expensive

Council test centres

For nearly new cars, the sort that fail an MOT with worn wipers and bust bulbs rather than perforated bodywork and corroded suspension arms, the council test centre is a good way forwards. These are designed for council vehicles but have to test the public’s vehicles by law. However, they’re not allowed to repair them so there’s no vested interest in them failing a car simply to boost income for their own workshop. You’ll pay the full £54.85 but at least you’ll know that if your car fails it’s done so for legitimate reasons.

For: Cheap; you’ll get an honest result
Against: Don’t carry out any repairs

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