Learner drivers are wasting £100,000s each year and instantly failing their driving tests for reasons such as forgetting their L plates, having vehicles that aren't up to scratch and that they're turning up without a car.

Almost 5,000 provisional drivers are failing their test each year because their car doesn't meet the Government's basic required standards, meaning they lose the minimum £62 fee they've paid for their test - even though in most cases they never actually get behind the wheel - data obtained by MoneySavingExpert shows.

If you're taking your driving test in your own car, make sure you've read all the regulations your car must meet, or you could end up wasting time and your money. See below for more information.

For 50+ quick tips to cut driving costs, see Motoring MoneySaving.

What does the data show?

We obtained the data below from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA):

Test fails by reason for the last five tax years

Tax year Breakdowns Car not suitable for test (1) No 'L' Plates
2013/14 2,816 1,877 54
2014/15 2,804 2,037 48
2015/16 2,797 1,352 56
2016/17 3,232 1,468 66
2017/18 3,427 1,425 64
(1) This includes people who turned up to their test without a vehicle.

The breakdown figures include issues such as the car's Engine Malfunction Indicator (EMI) being illuminated, while your car may be deemed unsuitable for the test if it doesn't have an MOT, isn't taxed, or if you didn't have an extra interior rear-view mirror for the examiner.

Weekday driving tests cost £62, but weekend tests and tests for drivers who have been previously disqualified cost significantly more.

In total, 23,523 tests were failed for vehicle issues in the past five years, meaning candidates have collectively wasted at least £1,458,426 on tests in this period.

How do I make sure my car is up to scratch for the test?

If you take your driving test in an instructor's car, you would expect it to meet all the required specifications for a test.

If you're taking your test in your own car, your car must:

  • Be taxed – see how to check
  • Be roadworthy and have a current MOT – See our Cheap MOT guide
  • Have no tyre damage – Your tyres must also have the legal tread depth, and you can't have a space-saver spare tyre fitted. See how to check if your tyres are safe
  • Be insured for a driving test – Check with your insurance company before you book. See our Cheap Car Insurance our Young Drivers guides for more tips
  • Have no warning lights showing, for example, the airbag warning light
  • Be smoke-free – this means you can't smoke in it just before or during the test
  • Be able to reach at least 62mph and have an MPH speedometer
  • Have four wheels and a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of no more than 3,500 kg

You must also have:

  • An extra interior rear-view mirror for the examiner
  • L plates (L or D plates in Wales) on the front and rear of your car
  • A passenger seatbelt for the examiner and a proper passenger head restraint (not a slip-on type)

There are also certain cars such as the Toyota iQ and Ford KA convertible, which are deemed unsuitable for driving tests because they don't give your examiner all-round vision.

A full list of the rules can be found on the Government website.

What does the DVSA say?

The DVSA's chief driving examiner Mark Winn said: "DVSA's priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving.

"Everyone wants to pass their driving test as soon as they can, but having one terminated because of a problem with the car is a lot more common than people think.

"Learners can easily save themselves a lot of time and money by making sure that both they and their car are ready for their driving test."

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