Your Driving Test: Rules and Recommendations for Using Your Own Vehicle

driving test

Learning to drive is an especially important milestone for many, being a key driver towards personal independence. Naturally, though, the learning process is a gruelling one for most, and passing the test a nerve-wracking affair in and of itself. Most tests are taken in third-party test vehicles leased out by a test centre, but is it possible to use your own vehicle to pass your test? 

Can You Use Your Own Vehicle?

Firstly, let’s comprehensively answer the question once and for all: can you use your own vehicle when taking your practical driving test? The answer is, essentially, yes. There are some key caveats to be aware of here, though – firstly, in relation to eligibility as a driver and vehicle. 

It should go without saying that your car would need to be roadworthy; this means meeting legality requirements for tyre tread depth and pressure, dashboard warning lights and basic safety features. It is also necessary for you to install an additional rear-view mirror for the examiner to use as part of the test.

Why Use Your Own Vehicle?

Just considering the above eligibility criteria can be enough to beg the question: why bother setting up your own vehicle as a test vehicle? The answer is a simple one, though. For many, familiarity can be a key provision in improving your chances of passing your practical test. With test failure rates at above half of all applicants, being able to control the type of vehicle you use could be the deciding factor in which statistic you eventually become.

Tax and Insurance

As with any vehicle, your test vehicle would need to be road-legal, taxed accordingly and appropriately insured. If you were using a third-party vehicle provided by your test centre, if would likely be insured through them; in using your own vehicle, you will need to take out your own learner driver insurance policy to ensure you are road-legal during testing.  

On top of taxation and insurance, you will need to ensure that your car has been MOTed before applying to be tested within it – at least, if it is four years of age or older, with younger vehicles exempt from MOT requirements altogether.

Which Vehicles Are Suitable?

As touched upon earlier, while the vast majority of vehicles on UK roads would be fine to use in test environments, there are some specific eligibility criteria provided by the Department for Transport regarding driving test vehicles. Not only are there essential provisions to render a vehicle eligible, but also restrictions preventing eligibility for specific classes or even models of vehicle.

On a general level, your vehicle can only be eligible for testing with if it sits below the MAM (maximum authorised mass) threshold of 3,500kg. On a more specific level, vehicles with no 360-degree vision for the examiner (such as the Smart ForTwo or many soft-top convertibles) are ineligible, as are any models of vehicle involved in product recalls.




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