Expert Advice: How to Choose the Right MOT and Repair Workshop

Every car over three years old needs to have an MOT to make sure it’s safe to be on the road and meets environmental standards. Fortunately, since the car itself, road tax, insurance and fuel can be very expensive, the price of the MOT test is capped by the Ministry of Transport at just over £54. 

So, since the price of the MOT doesn’t vary greatly, what else do you need to consider when choosing the right workshop to have your MOT and any repairs done? We’ve put together a list of considerations before choosing the garage, and what makes a good car workshop to help you make the right decision when getting your MOT done. 

Main Considerations When Choosing a Car Workshop

Choosing where to get your car MOT and repairs done is not an easy decision as there are lots of factors to consider, including:

  • How close the workshop is to you
  • The workshop’s experience
  • Recommendations and reviews
  • Your budget
  • Whether the workshop does repairs as well as MOTs

Proximity to the car workshop is a bigger consideration than you may think. When getting your MOT done, you’ll have to leave your car at the beginning of the day and, even though the MOT itself only usually takes up to one hour, any necessary repairs will take longer. Plus, if it’s a busy garage, there may be plenty of other cars that need seeing to, so in most cases, you can expect to pick your car up again at the end of the day.  You’ll, therefore, want to be close to home, or at least a taxi or bus ride away so you can get on with your day. 

You’ll also want to check first that the workshop does repairs as well as MOTs. If your car fails its MOT, you won’t be able to drive it away unless it’s suitable for the road and your MOT certificate is still in date. You might then have to pay for a tow truck which can be pricey, or pay separately for the repairs with another garage, making the overall price of testing your car safety more expensive. 

The other considerations speak to the quality of the workshop itself, which we’ll look into in more detail. 

What Makes a Good Garage

As well as considering where the garage is and what services it provides, you also need to look at the quality of the services being offered. This can be more difficult, especially if you’re not a petrolhead, but there are key factors that can help you choose the right garage to have your MOT and repairs done.


Experience in most industries is worth a lot, and the automotive industry is no exception. A repair company with many years of experience working with and repairing cars will have an in-depth knowledge of many types of cars which helps them to expertly repair any damage, as well as well-established connections to quickly order any necessary parts for your car. 

Up-to-date and accurate knowledge of work, parts and prices is also an integral part of experience; the mechanic who performs your MOT should give you an accurate quote for any necessary repair work, so you’re not surprised by any extra fees at the end. 

Great reviews also come with experience. If a car workshop has been in a community for several years and is well-known by the locals, it’s more likely to have a tonne of excellent reviews, and perhaps even your friends and family can give you a personal recommendation. 

Reasonable Price

By ‘reasonably priced’, we don’t mean that the MOT and repair should be cheap. If your repairs are significantly cheaper in one garage than others, the likelihood is that they’ll be using cheap, substandard parts and will do a shoddy job of repairing your car. 

You also don’t need to pay through the nose to get your car fixed, so shop around, find an average price and choose whichever you think best suits your budget. 

Before the repair work is started, get a quote including parts and labour and double-check that they’ll be using approved parts for your car to ensure you keep the warranty if applicable. 

Free Retest

There are many reasons a car can fail its MOT, and not all of them are serious issues. Whether minor issues or serious issues are present with the car, you should make sure the repair workshop includes a free retest with their MOT service before you book. Paying for the initial test each year is one thing, but paying twice is an unnecessary expense. 

Friendly Staff

Having friendly, amicable staff is not the key factor to help you choose the right MOT and repair workshop, but paired with experience, results, recommendations and price, it can help you pick the right garage. Whether you’re attached to your car sentimentally or because it simply helps you get around, you want to leave your car with mechanics you can trust to do what’s best for your vehicle. 

When you get your quote for parts and labour, check to see if there are any small or sneaky charges added to the bill. Most decent garages will advise you to refill your wiper fluid or check your tyre pressure before bringing it in for a service to keep the costs down or simply provide minor services like this at no extra cost. But if you get the feeling you’re being scammed or taken advantage of with hidden costs, shop around for alternatives. 

What Happens in an MOT Check

The MOT test itself is usually no longer than an hour, as the licensed mechanic will look over your brakes, lights, fuel system, seatbelts, mirrors and exhaust, among several other parts of your car. They do not look at your engine, gearbox or clutch, so if you have issues or suspect something is wrong, you should take your car for a full service before having your MOT. In some cases, an MOT is included in the price of a full service, so check with the garage when you book. 

Since many of these issues covered by an MOT are minor, you can increase your chances of passing the test by taking care of some things yourself, including:

  • Cleaning the inside of your car and glovebox
  • Cleaning the windows and mirrors
  • Cleaning the number plate so it’s legible
  • Ensuring there are no obstructions to the driver’s view such as stickers on the windscreen or objects hanging from the rearview mirror
  • Checking and if necessary refilling your oil and windscreen wiper fluid
  • Resolving any issues that cause a light on the dashboard
  • Checking tire pressure and tread
  • Checking the brake lights, headlights and indicators work
  • Checking the front seats and all seatbelts are functioning and adjustable
  • Ensuring there is no major damage to the windscreen
  • Filling your fuel tank ready for the MOT

By checking these parts of the car yourself before your MOT, you can increase your chances of passing the MOT the first time, or become aware of any issues that need to be resolved in a service before the MOT is done. 

The MOT will also check your handbrake, suspension and exhaust, although these aspects are more difficult to check yourself. That’s why you should choose a car workshop that does MOTs, repairs and free retests, to keep your costs down. 

Preparing to Sell Your Vehicle

If you’re considering selling your vehicle, you might think paying for an MOT isn’t worth it, but you’d be wrong. Getting an MOT before selling your vehicle can help ensure that it’s in good condition for the next owner, which will increase its chance of selling, and help you understand the value of your car so you sell it at the right price

After your MOT and repair, make sure you get a detailed invoice or receipt, so you know exactly what’s been done to show off your vehicle’s capabilities when you try to sell it. 

Byron Wynn Autos – Mechanics You Can Trust

With over 50 years of experience selling cars and a further 20 years of experience servicing, repairing and performing MOTs, Byron Wynn Autos is a car workshop you can trust. 

Find out more about us, or simply contact us to learn more about buying a used car, requesting a car and other services we provide.