Can you use your own car for your driving test?

Woman sat in car driving

February 25, 2022

Learning to drive is an incredibly exciting thing as a young person as it usually marks the start of your entry into adulthood and once you’ve passed your driving test, it provides you with so much freedom to go out on your own.

However, there’s obviously the issue of learning to drive first and then actually passing both the theory and practical test before you’re fully qualified to legally drive on your own.

One thing that many people wonder while learning to drive is whether you can use your own car for a driving test and in our extensive guide below, we explain everything you need to know about taking your driving test in your own car, plus the exclusions of car models that you can’t take your test in and what to bring with you on your DVLA driving test.

Can I use my own car for my driving test?

In the UK, you can start learning to drive on your 17th birthday, providing that you’ve applied for your provisional driving licence. Some people may receive a car for their 17th birthday as a gift, or buy one themselves and so they may start learning to drive in their own car.

Therefore, after several months (or however long it takes you to reach the stage where you’re ready to take your driving test) of learning to drive in your own vehicle, you may wish to take your actual driving test in your own car.

Most people take driving lessons in their driving instructor’s car and they usually take their driving test in that same car as it’s the one they’ve been used to driving in. However, if you’ve been learning to drive in your own car, or you’d just feel more comfortable taking your test in your own vehicle, it’s perfectly legal to do so, providing that the car meets the requirements listed below.

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What are the driving test car requirements?

There are several requirements that a car must meet before it is deemed acceptable to be used for taking a driving test, including:

  • It must be safe and roadworthy
  • It must be fully taxed and have an MOT if the vehicle is more than 3 years old
  • The car must have valid car insurance
  • The car should be able to reach a speed of at least 62mph
  • It must have L plates securely and visibly displayed on the front and back
  • The car must have working seatbelts for both the driver and passenger
  • It must have 4 wheels and a maximum authorised mass of 3,500kg
  • It must have an additional rear-view mirror fitted inside the vehicle that the examiner can use for observation
  • The car must have zero warning lights on its dashboard

If your car meets all of these requirements, then you should be able to take your driving test in it.

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Which cars can you not use when taking a driving test in your own car?

However, even if your car meets all the above criteria, there are still some vehicles that are not permitted for use in a practical driving test. Cars such as Ford KA convertible, Toyota iQ, BMW Mini convertible and VW Beetle convertible cannot be used in the practical driving test because they don’t offer the examiner all-round viewing to properly examine your test.

What to take on your driving test

When it comes to taking your practical driving test, you’ll likely be a bag of nerves, so thankfully you don’t have to remember to bring too many things with you, just the following items:

  • Your provisional driving licence
  • A copy of your theory driving test
  • Your own car or your driving instructor’s car, depending on which one you want to use for the test
  • If you’re taking your driving test during the Coronavirus pandemic, you will also be required to bring a face covering with you

When can you take your driving test?

You can take your driving test as soon as you turn 17 years old in the UK. However, you will need to take several driving lessons before you can complete your driving test so that you know exactly how to drive safely. 

You must also apply for your provisional driving licence and pass your theory test before you can take your practical driving test.

How long is a driving test?

The average driving test in the UK is approximately 40 minutes. This usually includes several minutes at the start of your test to complete vision tests such as reading a number plate from a certain distance and answering a few questions about the vehicle itself.

How to find available driving test dates

You can find available driving test dates and book your driving test on the gov.uk website. To book your test, you’ll need to have your UK driving licence number, credit or debit card for payment and you must have lived in England, Wales or Scotland for at least 185 days in the last 12 months before the day you take your test.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, there is a huge backlog of people waiting to take their driving test so you may be waiting many months to take your test. However, you can search for driving test cancellations online so that you can be moved up the queue so that you can take your test sooner.

How many times can you fail your driving test in the UK?

Before you book your driving test, it’s important that you feel as comfortable as possible behind the wheel of a car and you know exactly how to drive practically and safely. 

However, even if you feel as prepared as possible for your driving test, you’re not always guaranteed to pass as external factors could cause you to fail. Thankfully, there are no limits on the number of times you can take your driving test in the UK, so even if you fail a few times, you can keep retaking your test.

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