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Taking a driving test in your own car

Can I take a driving test in my own car?

Rebecca Goodman
Written by  Rebecca Goodman
Saarrah Mussa
Reviewed by  Saarrah Mussa
Updated: 31 Aug 2023

If you’re learning to drive in your own car, you may decide to take your practical test in it. This can make the experience easier, as it’s a car your familiar with, but you’ll need to check your car’s allowed before you arrive at the test centre.

Can I take a driving test in my own car?  

If you want to take your driving test in your own car, you can, but only if it meets the requirements of the test centre.   

It’s up to you to decide and while many people choose to take their driving test in an instructor’s car, if you’re more comfortable doing it in your own vehicle this is possible too.   

What are the benefits of using your own car for your driving test? 

 If you choose to use your own car for your driving test, there are lots of benefits including the following points:  

  • Own car: you’ll be familiar with how the car works and how sensitive the breaks are. You’ll also have built up a lot of practice driving it and you’ll know its size like the back of your hand which should help with maneuvers such as three-point turns and reversing around a corner. 

  • Mirrors and seats: as you already drive the car, the mirrors and the car seat will be in the right position. 

  • Extra assistance: your car may have gadgets like an electronic parking brakes or a hill-start assist which an instructor’s car may not have. 

  • Cheaper: as you’re using your own car, not your instructor’s, you won’t need to pay any extra for the time you spend taking your test. 

  • Flexibility: you won’t need to book a car to use for your test, such as your instructor’s as it’s yours which gives you more freedom when booking it. 

  • Peace of mind: taking a driving test can be stressful and driving your own car which you’re comfortable with could make the whole process easier.  

What are the downsides of using your own car for your driving test? 

Before you make a decision about what car to use for your test it’s important to consider the downside of using your own vehicle including the following points:  

  • Type of car: some cars are not allowed to be used for driving tests, including some convertibles and smart cars. 

  • Extra instructor tips: if you’re using your instructor’s car, you’ll drive in it to the test centre and you’ll get some last-minute extra driving advice from them. If you’re in your own car you won’t get this. 

  • Dual control: your car won’t have dual controls for the instructor, or examiner, to use if they need to. 

The requirements for using your own car for a driving test  

There are certain rules you must follow if you choose to use your own car for your test including the following:  

  • Tax: you need to have paid your car tax and it must be in date for the driving test. 

  • MOT: the car needs a valid MOT if it’s over three years old 

  • Insurance: your car insurance needs to be set up and it needs to be the correct type for you to be covered during your test. 

  • Condition: your car needs to be in good working order. This means all lights need to be working correctly and you’ll need to make sure you have the right tyre tread depth. 

 If you arrive at the test centre and you haven’t followed the rules, such as arriving in a car that’s not allowed for driving tests, you will not be able to take the test. In most cases, it will be cancelled and you won’t receive any money back that you have already paid.  It’s also a good idea to clean your car in advance and to remove anything you don’t need.   

Extra requirements for your practical car test   

Don’t forget to check the following points too if you’re using your own car for your test:  

  • Extra mirror: you will need to fit an extra interior rear-view mirror for the examiner. 

  • Seatbelts: there must be a seatbelt and a head rest for the examiner on the passenger seat, this can’t be a slip-on type. 

  • Speed: the car needs to achieve at least 62mph and have a miles per hour (MPH) speedometer 

  • Dashcam: you can use a dashcam, but it is not allowed to film inside the car or record audio of the test. 

  • L-plates: you must have L-plates at the front and the rear of the car (‘D’ plates in Wales) 

  • Wheels: the car needs to be a category B vehicle with four wheels.  

What kind of insurance do I need for using my own car?  

To use your own car, you’ll need a valid car insurance policy. While learning to drive with a provisional licence, most people have learner driver insurance. This covers them to practice in another person’s car and to take their driving test.  

Temporary car insurance is another option as this can cover you when you need it, usually from an hour up to 28 days.  

You’ll need to make sure you’re covered to take the car practical test in your vehicle. Your insurance policy should tell you what cover you have but if not, you can always ask your insurer to tell you. When you pass your test, you’ll need a new driver policy.   

Can I use my automatic car for the test?  

Yes, you can use an automatic car or a manual car for your driving test. If you do use an automatic, or a semi-automatic, car you’ll only be able to drive these cars once you pass your test.  

Can I use a rental car?   

Yes, you can use a rental car for your driving test as long as it meets all the requirements required and has dual controls.  

What kind of cars are not allowed?   

Some cars are not allowed to be used for driving tests and it’s always worth checking with your test centre in advance to make sure you can use yours. The following cars are not allowed because they don’t provide the examiner with all-round vision:  

  • BMW Mini convertible 

  • Ford KA convertible 

  • Smart Fortwo (2-door) 

  • Toyota iQ 

  • VW Beetle convertible 

The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says if you are planning on using a convertible car, a panel van, or a coupe you should always check in advance if your car will be allowed.  

The DVSA also has a list of cars that aren’t allowed because they have been recalled due to faults. You can find the list on the DVSA website.   

Is the chance of me passing higher if I use my own car?  

Unfortunately choosing to use your own car won’t improve your chances of passing your test but it may make you feel more comfortable which could help to keep you calm on the day.  

Can I still bring my instructor with me?  

You can bring your instructor with you on your test if you would like them in the car. This is completely up to you but you will probably have to pay them for their time.  

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to tell the test centre if I use my own car? 

No, you don’t need to tell the test centre in advance if you’re using your own car. But you might want to check that your car is allowed. 

Does my car need dual controls? 

No, you don’t need dual controls in your car for your test unless you have a hire car. 

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