Private car on the UK driving test

Further to my last blog post about a learner driver who was stopped from taking the driving test due to a defect on their own car being used for the UK practical test, I thought I'd point out what an examiner will check on all cars presented for the UK driving test.

The dsa examiner needs to be satisfied that the car presented is roadworthy, so will walk round the vehicle, checking the tyres are legal, lights are not broken and working, external mirrors are present and not broken, and the windscreen is clean and not damaged. The car must also be taxed, insured and display a valid DVLA registration plate.

If the car fails to meet any of these requirements, the examiner will point out the defect, and will give you about 5 minutes to fix it, failure to fix the defect will result in the driving test being terminated and you losing the test booking fee with no refund option.

So you need to check everything is okay with the car before using it for a driving test.

Currently (March 2013), you can use your own private car for the UK driving test, but you need to make sure that it meets all requirements. I was at the Mill Hill driving test centre recently, and while waiting for my pupil to drive off, I watched in amazement as 2 driving examiners gathered around a private car that someone had brought for the test. After a few minutes of fussing over one of the tyres, the test was terminated as one of the tyres was not roadworthy. The learner driver did not even have a spare tyre to replace it with!

Remember that you only have about 5 minutes to fix any defects with your car, so the only realistic fault that can be fixed is a tyre change and maybe light bulb if you have a spare and know how to replace them. Arriving late for a test less than 5 minutes might also eat into this time so do check your vehicle a day before the test and again on the morning of the appointment.

You are also required to provide an extra driving mirror for the dsa examiner (if you don't have a mirror tell the examiner before you walk out, they usually have some spare in the office, but don't count on it, it is your responsibility), the seatbelts must be working properly and the car must have proper rear seats for adults, so you can't use a 2 seat coupee for the driving test, and don't forget your 'L' plates..

NOTE: Your car should not subject to a manufacturer's safety recall notice, as this would mean you might need to supply a note from a garage saying this fault has been checked. Check the dsa website, link in driver resources.

Finally, if you are taking the driving test in your car, check with your insurance company to make sure that you are actually insured during the actual test, as contrary to what many believe, you are NOT being supervised by the examiner during the test and thus technically your insurance is invalid unless your policy specifically covers the driving test.

Finally, remember not to forget your glasses if you wear these as you must be able to pass the eye test before you can proceed to the driving part of the test.

More Reading
Why I became a driving instructor.


  1. Hello, my car is not a power assisted steering Nissan, do youthink I can use it for my driving test ? Thanks in advance

  2. Yes, as long as it is roadworthy, that should not be a problem.




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