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Taking your driving test in your own car

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You can take your driving test in your own car if it meets certain rules. While most people choose to take the test in their instructor's car, there's no rule that says you have to.

We look at the pros and cons of using your own car on your practical driving test.

Young woman taking driving test in her own car

There are a number of positives to using your own car on your driving test:

  • It's your car, so you're used to driving it. You know where all the controls are and you know exactly where the clutch bites.
  • You spent hours practising manoeuvres in it so you know exactly where the back end is when you're reversing.
  • Your seat and mirrors should be perfectly set for you.
  • Your car is always available so you can be more flexible with test dates
  • If you use your instructor's car you're probably going to be paying them for 3 hours of their time.

If you decide to take your driving test in your own car, make sure you check the following before booking your test:

  • Tax: your car must have valid car tax that is in date when you take the driving test
  • Insurance: your car must be insured and you must be insured to drive it on your practical test (check with your insurer!)
  • Roadworthiness: your car must have a valid MOT, no warning lights must be lit on the dashboard, and the tyres must have legal tyre tread depth
  • Speed: your car must be able to achieve 62 mph
  • Smoking: you must not smoke in your car before or during your driving test
  • Wheels: your car must be a category B and must have 4 wheels

We'd also recommend moving any rubbish out of your car and giving it a good clean and tidy. It never hurts to create a good first impression.

Extra requirements for driving test cars

As well as the basics, you also need a few specific items:

  • The car must have L plates on the front and back.
  • An extra interior rear-view mirror for the examiner (you need to buy one of these)
  • The car must have a passenger seat belt and fixed head restraint for the examiner
  • If you've got a dashcam it must not record audio or video inside the car during the driving test

Are some cars not allowed for the driving test?

Certain cars aren't suitable for taking your driving test in. This is because the examiner doesn't have all-round vision from the passenger seat.

These cars include:

  • BMW Mini convertible
  • VW Beetle convertible
  • Smart Fortwo (2-door)
  • Ford KA convertible
  • Toyota iQ

In fact, if you want to take your driving test in any car, you should check beforehand with the test centre or the DVSA that it is acceptable. This is especially the case with convertibles, panel vans and coupes.

You're also not permitted to use a car that has known safety faults unless you can provide proof that the problem is rectified and the car is now safe.

What insurance do I need to take my driving test in my own car?

You must have valid insurance for the car you intend to use for your driving test.

If you've been learning to drive in a friend or family member's car then you probably have learner driver insurance.

Learner driver insurance covers you to practice in your friend or family members car while you learn and should also cover you for your driving test.

There's also the option of temporary learner driver insurance. Temporary car insurance gives you short-term cover for as little as 1 hour to 28 days.

But before you book your test it's always best to check the terms of your policy in case there are any restrictions.

It's up to you whether your instructor sits in with you during your driving test or not. If you feel like they can bring you reassurance, you can ask them to sit in the back during your driving test.

No, you don't need dual controls in your car to take your driving test unless you're using a hire car.

In fact, they aren't mandatory for driving lessons either, but most driving instructors choose to have them.

After all, their car is their livelihood, and dual controls probably give them a bit more peace of mind!

No, you don't need to tell the test centre beforehand if you want to use your own car, but it must fulfil all the requirements for a driving test car.

If it fails to meet the standard, or is found to be unsuitable, your test is immediately cancelled and your money isn't refunded.

Yes. But if you take your driving test in an automatic car you can only get a driving licence for automatic cars.

You aren't able to drive a manual car unless you take another driving test, this time in a car with a clutch and gearstick.

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