Using a Private Car On a Driving Test

There is no reason why you cannot take your own car or someone else’s car to a driving test.

However there are a couple of things that you need to be aware of. It needs to be suitable, road worthy (legal) and insured. You will also need to be accompanied by someone over 21 years of age who has held a licence for at least 3 years.


The ideal driving school car has a wheel in each corner, good all round visibility, simple controls and 4 seats. There is nothing to stop someone using a 2-seater smart car for a test. However a 2-seater car is not suitable for professional driving instruction due to the fact an examiner cannot sit in the back. A 2-seater soft top is not suitable in case of any accidents that involve the car going on to its roof.

If you have anything out of the ordinary check with the DVSA before you turn up there. This particularly applies if you have a van, a convertible or anything with restricted visibility. Remember it will be the examiners opinion that will count, not yours! 

Follow the link here for more information on what you cannot use for the test.   Unsuitable vehicles, recalls etc. 

If you have cameras capable of filming they need to be filming outside the car. Filming inside is not allowed, also no audio recording can be made inside the car.

Your car must have 4 wheels and be able to reach at least 62 mph and have a speedo that will measure that speed in mph. It should have at least one window each side that is capable of being opened. So make sure you have proper clothes for the weather.

Road worthy (legal):

Externally the side, indicator and brake lights all must be working. The tyres must be legal and you are not allowed to use a space saver tyre. Anything that might cause a car to fail an MOT would also prevent it going out on test.

While an examiner will not be checking each individual item. But they will at the beginning of a test, walk around the car to ensure its road worthiness. So if you have a bald tyre, broken brake light or anything that makes the car not roadworthy. You will not be going out on a test and will have to pay for a new test. Be aware that as part of the driving test you could be asked what are know as Show-Me-Tell-Me questions. This could make known a mechanical fault that might not have been apparent like a side light not working. So check.

The car should have legal  “L plates” front and rear of your car. These should be on the drivers side and not stuck on the windscreens where they would obstruct visibility. If using magnetic ones make sure you have a spare in case one comes off. Taping the “L plates” on with a clear tape would be a good idea. Also make sure your windscreens and windows are clean. 

Inside the car it needs to be clean, tidy and smoke free. Rubbish or papers on the dashboard will reflect up on to the windscreen and affect visibility. The foot wells need to be clear of rubbish. And rubbish in the drivers footwell is positively dangerous as this could affect the use of the pedals.

While the car might be your car and you are entitled to smoke in your own car. For the purpose of the driving test it is now a place of work for the examiner and needs it to be smoke free.

If you are a non-smoker and you have ever got into a car used by a smoker, the smell will be apparent as soon as you open the door. After sitting in the car your clothes will stink of cigarette smoke. If this is going to be an issue, get it cleaned properly and keep it smoke free till after your test.

You will need an interior stick on mirror for the passenger side so the examiner can see what is happening in the road behind. The seat and seat belt both need to be working properly. The seat belt must lock up when being tugged. And the seat must be capable of adjustment both forward and back and back of the seat the same. 

All the warning lights should be working properly and go out as the engine is started (handbrake light excepted). This means the yellow warning lights as well. Your mechanic might have told you it is just a faulty sensor. But as far as the examiner is concerned the car has a mechanical fault. They will not be taking your word on a faulty sensor being the only thing wrong with the car.


It is your responsibility to make sure that the car is insured for a driving test. At the very beginning of the test you will be asked to sign a declaration that you are insured. Always check with your broker or insurance company. Do not accept that it should be alright because you are insured as a learner on it. CHECK!!

Remember if you are driving your own car as a learner you are not allowed on a motorway. Only a fully qualified driving instructor in a dual controlled car is allowed to take a learner onto a motorway.

If you need to get your car insured to take it on test follow this link 

Learner Driver Insurance


There is nothing to stop you using your own or someone else’s car for a test. But it does need to be:

  • Suitable
  • Insured & Legal
  • Roadworthy
  • Clean
  • Fitted with “L plates” and an interior rear view mirror
  • Windows that open each side