Yes, under certain conditions, and if you have met specific requirements, you can take your driving test using your own car. However, the question is not just whether or not you can use your own car, but deciding which is the better option: taking the driving test in your own car, or is it better to use your driving instructor’s car?
There can be advantages to using your own car for your driving test, such as being comfortable in the vehicle that you will ultimately be driving. If that is what you want to do, there are numerous requirements and exclusions that you must adhere to use your own car.
Regardless of what car you decide to use, there is a critical requirement that everyone and every car must comply with valid insurance. If you are driving your own vehicle, you must have the appropriate insurance.
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In this article, we will address all the requirements, exclusions and the factors to consider regarding whether you should take your driving test in your personal vehicle. Keep in mind that the number one requirement is having the right temporary car insurance for your driving test.
The requirements for using your own car for your driving test
It is possible to take your driving test in virtually any car that meets the requirements in the UK. That can be one you own, a friend family member’s vehicle, or it can be your driving instructor’s car. Bearing in mind that driving and having a driving license is as much a legal operation as it is a mechanical one. If you decide to use your car for taking your driving test, the UK has established 12 rules that must be met before taking your driving test.
The 12 rules are:
- The car must be taxed.
- The car must have valid insurance for a driving test.
- The car must have the correct L-plates properly placed and visible from the front and rear of the vehicle.
- The dashboard and car controls must not show any warning lights, such as the check engine light or the airbag warning light.
- There must not be any tyre damage, and all the tyres must meet the legal tread depth – the car cannot have a space-saver spare tyre mounted as one of the four tyres.
- The car must be legal and roadworthy, and if the car is more than 3-years old, it must also have a current MOT.
- The car must have a functioning mph speedometer and safely be able to reach at least 62 mph.
- The car is required to have four tyres and most not exceed 3500 kg of Maximum Authorised Mass – the car’s Maximum Authorised Mass can be found in the car’s handbook.
- The interior of the car must be smoke-free – smoking in the car prior to or during the test will result in failure.
- The car is required to be equipped so that the examiner has an extra interior rearview mirror to use –temporarily installing an interior rearview mirror for the driving test is acceptable.
- The front passenger seat must be equipped with a functioning passenger seatbelt and proper passenger head restraint for the examiner’s safety.
- All cameras that record/capture the interior of the car must be removed, or at the very least the cameras must be turned off.
If you arrive at the test centre with a car that fails to satisfy all 12 of these rules, your test will be cancelled, and you will need to schedule a new test and pay again for the new test. In addition to these 12 rules, you can only use your own car if the make and model of the vehicle are approved for use.
It should also be noted that you are permitted to take the driving test in a manual car as well as with semi-automatic cars and automatic cars. However, take your driving test in an automatic or semi-automatic car and pass. Your driving licence will only be valid for an automated and semi-automatic car and not a manual car.
Finally, you need to ensure that the car’s interior is clean and free from clutter. This includes rubbish and unnecessary items on, around or in the door pockets, dashboard, cup holders, footwells, and seats that are not needed for the test.
What are the exclusions?
You must adhere to several exclusions for your car to be acceptable for use in your driving test. Some of the exclusions you have control over; such as ensuring you do not have a space-saver spare tyre mounted, any cameras cannot record audio or video of the car’s interior, there are no warning lights showing (especially the airbag warning light), there is a functioning passenger seatbelt, and the interior of the car is smoke-free.
However, there are also a few exclusions you cannot change your car to meet, as these are regarding which cars you can and cannot use in a practical driving test.
Vehicles you cannot take your test in
While you are permitted to take your practical driving test in virtually any legal and roadworthy car, there are a few makes and models of vehicles that are excluded from use on your driving test. Currently, the UK’s standard list of excluded vehicles is:
- Volkswagon Beetle convertible
- BMW Mini convertible
- Toyota iQ
- Smart Fortwo (2-door models)
- Ford KA convertible
However, it should be noted that this does not require the test centre or examiner to accept every car that is not on this list. In order to for a car to be deemed acceptable for use in your driving test, the car must provide the examiner with all-around vision.
If the car fails to provide the proper spectrum of vision for the examiner, the car will not be approved for use, and your test will be over.
Additionally, recalled cars cannot be used for your driving test either, unless and until you can provide proof that the reasons listed in the recall letter have been remedied.
Choosing between your own car or your driving instructor’s car
It makes sense to take your driving test in the car you have been taking your driving lessons with. However, it also makes sense to take your driving test in the car you will be driving after getting your driving licence. The car your driving instructor conducts lessons with will likely be approved for the test.
As long as your car will satisfy the driving test centre’s 12 requirements, here are four factors to consider when deciding whether to take your test in your instructor’s car or your own car.
Which car have you practised the most in?
The idea is to pass your practical driving test on the first go-round, so the car you have practised the most in is usually the best car to take your test with. You will already be nervous simply because an examiner monitors your driving test, so you want to ensure you have a second-nature relationship with operating the car.
The level of confidence you have with manoeuvres
That second-nature relationship is not solely about knowing where the buttons and levers are when you need them but also about manoeuvring the car. One of the most important elements of passing the driving test is knowing your reference points, especially for the reversing part of the practical driving test. The car which you know the best is the best car to use.
Consider how you will get home
This may seem crazy, but if you pass, you may not be able to drive home. Provisional car insurance policies become void once you pass your driving test. As some policies will give you a couple of hours from the moment you pass, you need to speak with your insurance company to see if you will still have a valid insurance policy after passing the test to leave the test site. If not, you may need your driving instructor to drive you home.
Is your car insured for a driving test?
Finally, while your driving instructor’s car most likely has an insurance policy for a driving test, your car may not. In order to use your own car for the practical driving test, your car must have an insurance policy that provides cover. Otherwise, it will not meet the requirements, and the driving test centre will not approve your car.
If your car is not insured for a driving test, make sure you are fully aware of the types of car insurance.
Is it a good idea to use your own car for your driving test?
Whether using your own car for a driving test is a good idea or not is a decision you need to make after considering everything discussed in this article. In addition, the Using Own Car for Driving Test section of GOV.UK can also be a valuable resource to review.
Ultimately, you as a driver need to make the responsible decision of which car is both the safest for you to use and which car you most comfortable controlling to give you the best chances of passing your driving test on the first go around.
Are you allowed to hire a car for your driving test?
You can take your driving test in a rental/hire car. The GOV.UK’s official statement is hire/rental cars are permissible for your test, providing the vehicle is fitted with dual controls and satisfies all the other rules. Most rental companies rent cars for driving tests to ensure they meet these standards.
Can you use a parking camera during your driving test?
You can use a car that is fitted with a parking camera, but you will not be permitted to use the camera during the driving test, according to the GOV.UK website, only cameras that are fitted for insurance purposes are permitted to be used, and only if they do not capture anything from inside the vehicle.
Can I use my friend’s car for my driving test?
Yes, you can borrow a car to use for taking your driver’s test, as it makes perfect sense to take the driving test in the car that you have learned to drive in. However, the car you are borrowing must be legal, must not be listed among the excluded models and must provide the instructor with an overall vision.
Getting your driving license is a monumental moment in life. It represents both a degree of adulthood and a greater sense of independence. To achieve this goal, you will need to rely on and trust your driving instructor to ensure you can pass the driving test. But students should consider whether driving tests should be taken with their own car or not.
All driving tests are designed for is to ensure that you are a knowledgeable and a safe driver.
Whichever car you can drive the safest in is the correct car for you to use. For the test, as well as to drive regularly, one of the most important requirements both from the perspective of safety and legally is that you have valid insurance. From learner insurance to after you pass the test
GoShorty may not guarantee that you will pass your test, however we can guarantee that you and your car will be legal while you try.
If you are successful on passing your driving test, here are five easy ways to save money when you drive, and you might also find useful what affects the price of car insurance so you can save money from the get-go!