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Using Your Own Car for Driving Test in the UK

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated December, 15, 2022

Did you know that no rule prevents you from using your own car for a driving test? However, if you’re planning on doing so, you should be aware of a few restrictions.

In this article, you’ll find out what it takes to make your car test ready, as well as learn about the pros and cons of taking the driving test in your own car.

So, let’s dive in.  

Can You Take a Driving Test in Your Own Car?

Most people choose to use their instructor’s car for their driving test, but there is nothing that’s stopping you from using your own car.

If you’ve spent plenty of time practising in your car outside of lessons, you may be more comfortable using that one.

So, as long as the car you want to use meets all the requirements for driving test vehicles, it is perfectly fine to take the test with it. 

Rules about the car

If you decide to use your own car for the driving test, first, you must ensure that the vehicle meets the standards set out by the DVSA.

  • Tax – your car tax needs to be valid and up to date when you take the practical driving test
  • Insurance – your car must have valid insurance, and you need to be covered for the driving test itself
  • Roadworthiness – If the car is over 3 years old, it must hold a valid MOT certificate, have no dashboard warning lights and no tyre damage. There should be at least 1.6 mm of thread on each tyre to be able to take the driving test.
  • Wheels – Your car must be fitted with 4 wheels and have a maximum authorised mass ( MAM) of 3.500 kg
  • Speed – It must be able to reach at least 62 mph and have a working speedometer
  • Smoking – You’re not allowed to smoke in your car before or during the driving test

Note that if your car fails to meet these requirements, your driving test will be cancelled, and you won’t be able to get a refund.

Additional requirements if you’re taking the driving test in your own car

Apart from the basics, there are also a few extra items that all cars used in driving tests must be fitted with. 

Thus, for your car to be test ready, it must have the following:

  • An extra interior rearview mirror for the examiner so they can have as much visibility as possible
  • Properly secured L plates on the front and back of the vehicle (D plates can be used in Wales)
  • A working passenger seatbelt and fixed head restraint for the examiner

If your car has a dashcam, make sure to turn it off, so it doesn’t film or record audio from the inside of the car during the driving test. 

Which cars can you not take for a driving test?

Certain models of cars can not be used for a practical driving test because they don’t give the examiner sufficient visibility from the passenger seat.

Therefore, to be able to take the driving test in your own car, your vehicle shouldn’t be:

  • MBW mini convertible
  • VW Beetle convertible
  • Ford KA convertible
  • Smart Fortwo (two-door)
  • Toyota IQ

In fact, if you’re planning on taking the driving test in your own car, it would be best to check beforehand with the DVSA that the vehicle is acceptable, especially if it’s a convertible or panel van. 

Also, if your car has been recalled due to a safety fault, you won’t be able to take your driving test unless you prove that the issue has been fixed and the car is now safe to drive.

To do that, you’ll need to provide a document stamped by the dealer/ manufacturer that states the recall work has been completed. 

Pros and Cons of Using Your Own Car vs Using an Instructor’s Car

If you’ve taken driving lessons but also used your own car to get extra practice, you probably got used to driving two different cars, so you may be struggling to choose between doing the driving test in your own car or using the instructor’s car. 

To help you with your decision, we’ve put together a list of the pros and cons of using your own car for the driving test.

Pros

  • You’ll avoid the cost of hiring your instructor’s car for the driving test, which can often turn out to be more expensive than the test itself
  • Since it is your own car, you don’t have to rely on your instructor’s availability so that you can pick your desired test date
  • One of the biggest advantages of taking the driving test in your own car is that since you are used to your vehicle’s controls and handling, you’ll feel more at ease when taking the test. And the more relaxed you are, the better the chances you’ll pass.
  • Also, your car might have more driver assistance features than an instructor’s car, which can make it easier for you to perform parking manoeuvres

Cons

  • Unlike the instructor’s car, your car doesn’t have dual controls, so the examiner won’t be able to intervene in case of an emergency
  • If you are taking the driving test in your own car, you will be responsible for making sure that it meets the DVSA’s standards for driving test vehicles. In case your car breaks a single rule, the examiner will have no other choice but to cancel your test, and you won’t be entitled to a refund. 
  • You won’t be able to get some last-minute advice or a quick driving lesson from the instructor before the test starts
  • You’ll need to make sure that your car is fully covered by a valid insurance policy. Apart from that, you also need learner driver insurance that gives you cover while you learn and during the practical driving test. However, once you pass the test, this type of insurance will be automatically cancelled, so keep in mind to arrange a lift home.

Bottom Line 

If for whatever reason, you prefer on using your own car for a driving test, you are allowed to do that as long as it meets the DVSA’s rules we’ve explained above. Remember, regardless of which car you choose to take the test in after you pass, you won’t be able to drive legally until you get the right insurance coverage.

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.