A tabloid newspaper is telling motorists they can “make massive savings” by using a council MOT test centre.
But it goes on to warn drivers that using a council-run test centre “could backfire and lead to further costs” in the event of a ‘dangerous’ fail.
The article in the Express calls the use of a council facility “a little-known” hack and says motorists “can secure discounted MOT tests as demand surges this November”. It includes advice from David Kottuan, operations manager at a scrap car comparison website.
He says: “Not many people know that lots of councils have their own MOT testing stations for their own vehicles, buses and vans – and by law, these centres must also be open to the public.
“While these centres generally only carry out tests (and not any subsequent checks), they often will charge a cheaper fee for tests than mainstream garages and test providers.
“Not only this but, due to the fact they will not benefit if your car has to undergo repair work (unlike mainstream garages), council test centres can be trusted to be impartial when it comes to failing or passing your MOT test – which could also save you money in the long run.”
While the impartiality factor isn’t in doubt, council test centres aren’t necessarily cheaper than independent garages. For example, Teinbridge District Council charges the maximum £54.85 for a test, while Wiltshire County Council charges £54 (although its MOT service is currently suspended).
Of the other facilities picked at random, Darlington Borough Council charges £53, although motorists can save nearly £7 by using Bristol City Council’s facility, or around £11 at Halton Borough Council.
David Kottuan goes on to warn drivers that they should avoid using council test centres if a car is likely to require work to get through an MOT, because they lack the facilities required to make repairs.
He says: “Drivers should seriously consider whether their vehicle is likely to need major repairs before booking at a council test centre because thanks to laws introduced in 2018, cars which receive a ‘dangerous’ fail are not able to be driven until they are fixed.
“This could mean that you’d end up having to pay additional fees to get your vehicle transported to a garage to get necessary repairs done, if it were to fail.”