What are the most common reasons for MOT failure?

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Written by C Wolsey

With more cars than ever sitting idle in driveways gathering dust, our cars aren’t thanking us. According to the latest research, MOT pass rates dropped from 97% to just 86% in August 2020. 

According to the DVLA, as part of your annual MOT the mechanic will look to check the following: 

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Registration plate
  • Lights
  • Steering and suspension
  • Wipers and washers
  • Windscreen
  • Horn
  • Seat belts and seats
  • Doors
  • Mirrors
  • Wheels and tyres
  • Brakes
  • Fuel system
  • Exhaust system
  • Vehicle emissions

Luckily, many cars that fail their MOT have relatively easy solutions. But what are the most common reasons for a failed MOT and how can you prepare for them?  

What are the most common reasons for failed MOTs? 

  1. Lighting and Signaling 

Nearly a fifth of cars that fail their MOT do so because of faulty lights. Luckily, in many cases this is a case of changing a few lightbulbs. To check whether yours are in good working order, switch on all the car lights and thoroughly inspect your car. Don’t forget to check the lights above the number plate too! 

  1. Suspension 

With winter potholes ravaging many roads throughout the UK, it’s no surprise that 13% of MOTs are failed due to issues with suspension. If you notice something is off, it could be your suspension. 

Whilst it can be tricky to spot, it’s important that your suspension is in good working order. It’s quick and easy to book your MOT online, so it might be worth leaving these types of checks to the professionals! 

  1. Breaks 

Did you know that 1 in 10 cars fail their MOT due to faulty brakes? To test if your beaks are working keep a lookout for squeaking, or the car pulling to one side. If you notice your car doing this, you may risk failing your MOT. 

  1. Tyres

Around 7.7% of cars fail their MOT simply due to tyres. Make sure that your car tyres are up to scratch by applying the 20p test to the tread, and checking your tyre pressure. 

  1. Visibility

Alarmingly, 7.2% of cars fail their MOT due to a lack of visibility. Make sure Satnavs or air fresheners are not blocking your view and ensure your windscreen remains free of cracks or chips at eye level. 

How does my car compare? 

If you’ve got a Honda Jazz, Honda CR-V, Toyota Prius, Mercedes GLA or Toyota Rav4 then you’re in luck! According to research, these cars came out on top when it came to MOT pass rates. Unfortunately, the likes of the Renault Megane, Citroen DS3, Volvo V40 and Vauxhall Insignia faired less well. If you own one of the less successful car brands, it may be worth being extra vigilant with your checks! 

What to do before your MOT

Whilst some things like checking the suspension can be tricky, there are a few quick and easy checks you can do before your MOT. From simply checking the lights are all in working order by thoroughly inspecting the car, to listening out for squeaky breaks and checking tyre pressure – there are several easy checks you can do to maximise your chance of passing.