Can you use your own car for your driving test?

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Making sure your car is suitable
Extra fittings
Insurance and other costs
Top tips

Driving tests are scary! So it can be a good idea to drive your own car rather than rely on your instructor’s if it helps you feel more comfortable and confident.

There are some extra things to think about though, like making sure your car meets the right standards and ensuring you have the right insurance.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Using your own car in the driving test

Your car needs to meet certain standards if you want to use it for a driving test.

There are also a few cars that won’t be accepted for driving tests because they don’t give the examiner all-round vision. They are:

  • BMW Mini convertible
  • Ford KA convertible
  • Toyota iQ
  • VW Beetle convertible

If your car doesn’t meet the right standards or if it’s one of the unacceptable models, you’ll be turned away from your test. You won’t get a refund either, so it’s worth triple checking everything.

The standards your car has to meet

To be able to use your car for your driving test, it has to:

  • Be taxed
  • Be insured for a driving test (more on this below!)
  • Be roadworthy and have a current MOT (if it’s over 3 years old)
  • Have no any warning lights showing, like the airbag warning light
  • Have no tyre damage
  • Have the legal tread depth on each tyre (it can’t have a space-saver spare tyre fitted)
  • Be smoke-free (so you can’t smoke in it just before or during the test)
  • Be able to reach at least 62mph
  • Have an mph speedometer
  • Have four wheels and a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of no more than 3,500 kg (you can find your car’s MAM in its handbook)
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Things that have to be fitted

You need to make sure you car has:

  • An extra interior rear-view mirror for the examiner
  • L-plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) on the front and back
  • A passenger seatbelt for the examiner and a proper passenger head restraint (not a slip-on one)

Dashcams and other cameras

If your car’s got a camera fitted for insurance reasons, is has to:

  • Face outside the car and not film the inside
  • Not record any audio inside the car

Car features

You can use a car with:

  • An electronic parking brake
  • Hill-start assist
Some people feel more comfortable using their own car in the driving test
Some people feel more comfortable using their own car in the driving test

Manual and automatic cars

You can take your test in a manual car, an automatic car, or a semi-automatic car.

If you take it in a semi-automatic car, you can only drive automatic and semi-automatic cars after you’ve passed your test.

Rented dual-control cars

It’s fine to use a rented dual-control car for your test as long as it meets all the other rules.

Recalled cars

You can’t use a car that’s been recalled because of a safety fault unless you can prove that:

  • The car was recalled and the work has been done.
  • The car was recalled but didn’t need any work to be done.
  • The car wasn’t part of the recall.

The only proof acceptable is an official recall letter that’s been stamped by the manufacturer or dealer, or that’s on official headed notepaper.

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Making sure you’re insured to use your car for your test

When you use your own car for a driving test, you need to sort your own car insurance. This needs to cover you specifically for driving tests.

When you get to the test, you’ll be asked to sign a declaration saying you’re insured to use your car for a driving test.

Because you only have a provisional licence at this point, the insurance you need is learner driver insurance.

You might already have this if you’ve been learning to drive in your car. But not all learner policies cover driving tests. Before you take your test, make sure your policy doesn’t exclude driving tests.

When you pass your driving test your learner insurance isn’t valid anymore

Learner driver insurance isn’t valid for people with a full driving licence. So as soon as you pass your test, your cover stops.

If someone else is insured to drive your car, they could drive you home from your test.

Another option is to get temporary car insurance, just to cover the ride home. Then you can take your time shopping around for a longer-term policy.

If you don’t pass your test, you can drive home because your learner insurance will still be valid. Don’t forget, you’ll need someone with a full driving licence to sit in with you.

Are there any extra costs involved with using your own car for your driving test?

You don’t have to pay an extra fee to use your own car.

You do need to pay for your own insurance and make sure it covers you for driving tests. Plus, the extra fittings we talked about above.

Don’t forget, though – if you use your driving instructor’s car, you have to pay them. The cost of using their car for the test will be the same as a lesson.

You can read more about the cost of learning to drive and driving tests here.

Does your instructor have to sit in the car with you if you use your own car for your driving test?

No they don’t. A lot of people use their own car for their test because they want to book it at a time when their instructor isn’t available.

Did you know? 🤔
If you pass your test, you'll need to sort temporary insurance if you want to drive home from the centre.

Before planning those summer road trips, you need to pass your test
Before planning those summer road trips, you need to pass your test

Tips for using your own car for your driving test:

  • Make sure you check your insurance policy covers driving tests.
  • Organise a lift home in case you pass, or do some temporary car insurance research before your test.
  • Practice driving with the extra rearview mirror fitted so you can get a feel for it being there.
  • If you’ve been learning in a different car, get familiar with all your reference points in your own car before the test.
  • Don’t forget you need to arrange someone to go in the car with you on the way to your test.

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Whatever you're after, you can get a quote here.

And finally… good luck! 🚗 👍

Updated on 3rd April 2023