Can I Take a Test in My Own Car?

Don L. Gates

Can I take the test in my own car?Can I take a test in my own car? This is a common question that driving examiners have to answer over the phone. The short answer is yes, why not?

Many people seem to be under the mistaken impression that they need to be in a driving school car when they come for test. Although this is what most people do, the choice is yours. You can come with an instructor in your own car, or you can come with a friend or relative. It doesn’t matter, as long as the person accompanying you is:

  • over 21 years old
  • has held a full category B licence for at least three years.

You must insure the car for you to drive. There are insurance companies who are willing to give you short term cover. This can be considerably cheaper than taking out a full insurance policy.

Vehicle Condition

The vehicle must be roadworthy, taxed and with an MOT certificate where required. The examiner will not conduct the test if your car has broken mirrors, a badly cracked windscreen, or damaged tyres. Ensure you check your vehicle over thoroughly before you take it for test. Change any bulbs if necessary including for any interior warning lights. Safety items such as airbags must be in working condition, including their warning lights.

There are a small number of cars which you cannot use on test due to a limited view. There may also be some vehicles which are subject to safety recalls; these may not be acceptable. Check the DVSA’s website to make sure yours isn’t on these lists.

Visibility

You also need to display ‘L’ plates clearly to the front and rear. But don’t stick these in the windows where they will block your view or that of the examiner.

You should provide an extra rear-view mirror for the examiner to use. If you turn up without one, the test centre may be able to loan you one for the test but don’t rely on this. Sometimes mirrors get broken or are lost and you may be turned away if one can’t be provided.

It’s also a good idea to tidy the car up and remove anything that isn’t necessary. You may have to do an emergency stop and you don’t want anything flying off the seats. Also, if you have any items hanging from a rear-view mirror take them down. These are not only a distraction but they can block your view and you may be breaking the law if that’s the case.

You must also ensure that the car is smoke free. If you’re a smoker you may not realise how strong the smell can be. Make sure that you do your best to remove any traces of smoking; the examiner can refuse to sit in the car if this makes them uncomfortable.

So, can I take the test in my own car? Certainly, just make sure that you get it properly prepared in advance and don’t leave anything to chance.

Read ‘The Driving Test’ to find out all about what will happen on the day.

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