How can I pick the right garage to carry out an MOT test?

Plenty of places will carry out an MOT test, but how can you make sure that you make the right choice?

Words by: First published: 5th November 2015
Broadly speaking, there are three types of garage that can carry out an MOT test:
Main Dealer/Franchised
These are associated with a car manufacturer and kitted out with the latest equipment. For sorting out complicated repairs or problems, these will often be the only place to go. They will often provide better additional facilities, such as waiting areas and courtesy cars. If these are important to you, main dealers might be your best choice.

Labour rates here and manufacturer-based services are often the most expensive, but that doesn't mean the repair bill is always the biggest. Sadly, it is also no guarantee of perfect service or the right repairer.
'Fast Fit'
Branded chains like Halfords, Kwik Fit or National have a reputation for being the optimal choice for quick repairs or replacing items such as exhausts, batteries or tyres. Most outlets can also service and repair your car, with only the most complicated issues being beyond their capability.

These centres are usually cheaper than a main dealer when it comes to repair work, and can be competitive with the bigger independent garages.
Occasionally specialising in a particular make, these will usually offer the lowest labour rates. However, within this category, there is the biggest variety of quality and approach, so beware: some can be still be very expensive for repairs.

Many of these garages are very professionally run. Others are more 'old fashioned.' Some are, frankly, frightening.

Also within this category lie MOT test centres that just do MOTs and no repairs.
Our advice
If you need the garage to be very close, want to wait while the car is tested, or need the garage to open at certain times, your choice will probably be easier. To whittle down a long list, use these factors to help:
  • Don't decide solely on price
  • Check the labour rate in advance - if you need a repair, you won’t regret it
Also, don't forget to read our articles on 'How much should I pay for an MOT test' and 'How can I prepare my car for an MOT test'

For an MOT at our trusted partner network, Click here to get your hassle-free MOT.
MOT Only
These garages don’t offer repairs, leading some to believe MOT failures are less likely. In fact, there is no evidence that you are more or less likely to fail at such a centre.
What Do All Garages Have In Common?
All garages are adept negotiators. The good news is they are willing to negotiate on repair prices. The bad news is, if you don't know that you are doing, you won't get the best deal.
Sounds Like Hassle?
For a stress-free solution use MotorEasy. Engineers deal with the garage on your behalf, validate findings and provide advice on how to proceed. They provide access to ‘trade’ parts and labour discounts, further reducing the cost of your repairs and protecting you.
Related topics:
Car ownership