Here are the most likely reasons your car will fail its MOT – and how to avoid them

Here are the most likely reasons your car will fail its MOT – and how to avoid them
Here are the most likely reasons your car will fail its MOT – and how to avoid them

More than a third of cars failed the MOT test last year, according to government figures.

Data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) shows that 34 per cent of cars presented for the roadworthiness test failed at the first attempt, and also reveals the most common reasons for failure.

Three-quarters (77 per cent) of the 7.5 million failures in 2017/18 were down to four main problem areas.

Read more: How to check your car’s MOT status and history

Dim view

Faults with lighting and signalling accounted for 30 per cent of all refusals, despite being easily checked for and rectified before the test.

(Picture: Shutterstock)

Issues with suspension were the second most common cause of failure – at 20 per cent – with the safety critical areas of brakes and tyres behind 17 per cent and 10 per cent of failures respectively.

Ten most common causes of MOT failure

Lighting/signalling 30%
Suspension 20%
Brakes 17%
Tyres 10%
Drivers view of road 8%
Fuel/exhaust 6%
Seat belts 3%
Bodywork 2%
Registration plates 1.5%
Wheels 1%

Just under one in ten (eight per cent) of cars failed for issues related to the driver’s view of the road. While some of these will be for serious issues such as cracked windscreens many are also down to simple problems such as damaged wipers and insufficient wash fluid – things that can be fixed at home.

By failing to address simple issues like wipers and lights ahead of the MOT, drivers are wasting an estimated £326 a year, so here are a few simple steps that could save you the inconvenience and expense of an MOT failure.

Lights

Enlist a friend to help and switch every light on and off to check for blown bulbs. That includes fog lights, running lights and even the registration plate lights.

Wipers

First give your wipers a visual inspect for cracked or loose rubber. If they’re falling apart they’ll fail the MOT. Even if they look okay, switch them on and activate the washers. If they don’t clear the screen properly, they could need replaced. And if there’s no washer fluid you’ll instantly fail so top up the reservoir and check the system isn’t blocked.

windscreen wiper fine
Replacing faulty blades takes a few minutes but could save you from trouble. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Tyres

If your tyres need replaced you’ll need to spend some money, obviously, but it’s better to know in advance than get the dreaded fail for something that could have been fixed first. Check your tyres are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure (it’ll be in the handbook) and examine the tread depth – it should be at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre.

Number plate

An obscured or illegible number plate is grounds for an MOT refusal so make sure yours is clean and free from damage.

Horn

A working horn is a requirement to pass the test so give it a toot to check it’s in working order.

Seatbelts

Check they all buckle, unbuckle and move properly. Even if they have a problem you can’t fix the problem yourself it’s one less nasty surprise.

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