TfL private hire vehicle inspection- How to pass TfL vehicle test?

Not always hiring a PCO car is popular among the PCO drivers, thus it is good to know that the process of licensing your vehicle in TfL is such a necessary issue. Sometimes you would like to buy a car to use it as the PCO car or sometimes you try to use your own vehicle. In both choices, you are required to offer the PCO license of the vehicle to join any rideshare platform such as Uber. So, let us guide you in this process!

TfL private hire vehicle inspection- How to pass TfL vehicle test?

Content overview

  • In what case I don’t need to license my vehicle?
  • Conditions of the first licensing
  • How to book the PCO vehicle test?
  • Documents to bring to in the inspection day
  • What will cause me to fail the vehicle license?
  • The inspection test day

In what case I don’t need to license my vehicle?

So, you are about to join a PHV operator, and the main tool of your job is the PCO car. If you decide to have a PCO car rental, there is no need to go for TfL inspection as the vehicles are already licensed. But, if you decided to buy a car note two things:

  1. If you buy a new vehicle just released from the company, it may not be necessary to pass the TfL inspections. (check the conditions part to learn more)
  2. If you buy an already licensed car (a second handed PCO car or a rent to buy PCO car), there is no need to go for the inspection.

Once you license the vehicle, it is valid for one year and each year you need to renew the license by passing the test. So, let’s see what are the terms and conditions of licensing.

Conditions of the first licensing

Once you want to take part in the PCO vehicle licensing, you need to make sure the vehicle meets the minimum requirements. These minimum requirements are:

  1. Euro 6 fuel type.
  2. 10 years or newer model of the car.

Note that if the vehicle is within 18 months old, it needs to be fully emission free. Hybrid, plug-in or full electric vehicles are in this group. It is worth mentioning that this rule is only considered for the first licensing.

How to book the PCO vehicle test?

No matter if you are up for a renewal appointment or looking for the first licensing, you need to book the inspection before going to the TfL department. Hence, you need to do one of the ways below to book the inspection:

  • Contact this number to set the date 0343 222 5555
  • Check your profile on the official website of TfL.
How to book the PCO vehicle test?

If you wonder how much does it cost to license my car? We should inform you that it typically costs £140 for first licensing and it is paid in advance when you want to book the test.

Documents to bring to in the inspection day

When the booking is done, you need to be prepared for the inspection day by having the required documents. Please make sure you have all the mentioned documents below to have no problem in the test day:

  1. Existing PHV vehicle licence (for renewals)
  2. V5c DVLA Vehicle Registration Certificate
  3. Hire and reward insurance documents
  4. MOT certificate issued within the last 14 days *
  5. Bill of sale**

*about the MOT test you need to be sure that the paper is for at most 14 days ago. So, when you check the date, book the inspection test before the MOT certificate passes 14 days after the releasing date.

** about the Bill of sale, you need to take it from the dealer you bought the vehicle from. Even if it is a private seller you need to prepare the bill of sale on your own.

There is also a paper that you sign on the inspection day, promising if the vehicle license expires, you won’t use it for private hire driving unless the renewal happens.

What will cause me to fail the vehicle license?

Now, it is the time for the most important part of the inspection test and that’s how not to fail the test! If you are completely prepared for the test and bring all the required documents plus avoiding the following list, you will surely pass the test successfully.

What will cause me to fail the vehicle license?

Invalid documents

Make sure all the documents you need to bring are up to date. If a document is missed or invalid, you have no chance to pass the test the same day. Also note the MOT and the Bill of sale tips we mentioned earlier.

The body of the car

Check the body of the car before the inspection day comes. Dents, cosmetic damages and big scratches caused multiple drivers to fail the test. No matter how big or small the dent is, if it is noticeable at first glance, you need to fix it in advance. However, some NSL centers may pass you with the noticeable dents, there is still the risk of failure.

Cosmetic damages can be considered removing paint of the body, broken bumper, etc. If you also experienced scratches, try to use special stickers or markers to remove the scratches as much as possible.

Damaged (or torn) tapestry

The holes and tears on seat covers, ceiling cover, mats, etc. can lead you to failure too. Just make sure if there is any tapestry damage, fix it in advance.


Any other probable damages in or on the car can cause you a failure. All you need to do is to check the car from a buyer point of view! You know that when you want to buy something, you check every detail. If it passes your test, it will fortunately pass the inspection as well.

Last but not least, the dash cams need to be accepted by TfL, unless you won’t be approved. It is a safe idea to remove the dash cam on the inspection day and reapply it after licensing.

Successfully pass the vehicle inspection test by G&M Direct Hire guide.

The inspection test day

Being on time is so essential! On the inspection day, try to arrive at the center 10 minutes earlier, because if you are late, the test result may be considered a failure. The whole process of the test will take about 20 to 30 minutes and an inspector will come to drive your car in the test garage and bring it back with passed or failed papers.

Note that if you fail the test, you will have a free retest within 21 days which needs to be booked. The rebook can be either in the same center or any other center you prefer to.

There are 6 NSL centers in London in total that you can pick either of them based on the closeness to your location.

  1. Canning Town
  2. Heston
  3. Enfield
  4. Coulsdon
  5. Crayford
  6. Staples Corner

But it sounds Crayford is the best NSL center based on what drivers reported. However, it is totally your choice to pick the center you want to go to.

Although you can simply avoid all these processes by hiring Uber-ready PCO cars which are already licensed, we hope you have a perfect experience, pass the test successfully and become a distinct PCO driver as soon as possible.  

Uber-ready PCO Car Rental in London

with our pco car rental plans you can earn money, take a look at our best pco cars and if you need more detail about how you can rent pco cars call us

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