What are the Most Common Reasons That Vehicles Fail an MOT?


Your yearly MOT vehicle inspection is a necessity – there is no avoiding it unless you want to get given a hefty fine. You must take your vehicle into the mechanic or local council so that it can be inspected (for everybody’s safety) from top to bottom, including your tyre pressure, light bulbs, washers and mirrors.

The unfortunate news is that 40% of all cars and half of vans do not pass their MOT at the first attempt. Many of these failures are due to problems that could have been resolved in a very straightforward way if the vehicle was inspected beforehand. You can save yourself a significant amount of money by making sure that your car doesn’t suffer from any of these simple and common issues. Fix them yourself before your MOT, so that you aren’t being held for ransom by your mechanic.

So what are the most common reasons that the average car fails an MOT?

Lighting Problems

Did you know that almost a third of all failed MOT inspections are due to lighting faults? This might be something as simple as a burnt out taillight or hazard light. This can be easily avoided by checking the lights in your vehicle before bringing the car in for an MOT. You can buy a replacement bulb cheaply and you can change the bulb yourself – check online for a tutorial or look on Youtube for instructions on how to do it.

Tyre Issues

Another common cause of MOT failure is the tyres – 1 in 10 vehicles fail because of this reason. This does not really have to be an issue considering that there are services like a mobile tyre service to ensure that your tires are in great condition. Regarding MOT, make sure that you check that your tyre pressure is correct before you bring your vehicle in – as well as making sure that the vehicles don’t have bulges, cuts or any other type of damage. You can also use a 20p coin to check the depth of the treads on your tires. If you can insert the coin between the treads and the edge of the coin does not show, there is enough tire tread remaining.


This is what a road legal tyre should look like with the 20p test – Wikihow.com

Windscreen Wipers

The windscreen wiper blades in your vehicle need to be replaced if they show signs of wear and tear. Also you should take a close look at your mirrors and windscreen. Some small stone chips might be acceptable, but if there are large chips in the windscreen they will result in failure. Make sure that your vehicle is topped up with screen wash – it might sound silly but more than 4500 cars per years are failed due to this reason so make sure that you check it!

Excessively Dirty Car

Is the floor of your vehicle covered in a layer of food wrappers, empty coffee cups and other junk? You might be surprised to know that you can be failed on your MOT for an excessively dirty car that is filled with rubbish. You won’t be failed if there is one or two old receipts on the floor – but if the car is very dirty it can be a problem. Make sure that you clean out your vehicle before you get it tested so that you can avoid this simple problem.

The Wrong Wheels

Some people change the wheels on their car for aesthetic or other reasons – but this can be a common reason to fail an MOT. The standard wheels for the car are required, as the road holding, gearing and speedometer are all designed around a specific size of wheel. Changing this can cause your MOT to fail and in addition can cause long term damage to your car. Make sure that your vehicle still has the standard wheels that it was designed for.

Damaged Number Plates

Another common reason for an MOT fail is number plates that are not visible. If they are excessively damaged at the rear or front of the vehicle and they are not readable this will result in an MOT fail. When you are inspecting your vehicle before your MOT check, make sure that you take a look at your number plates. Are they visible and can they be clearly read from all angles?

These are just a few of the common reasons why most vehicles fail their MOT test. If you can check your vehicle over for these problems in advance you will avoid making these mistakes and have a better chance of passing. Of course you can save money by finding MOT and car servicing deals online.

Posted October 4, 2014 by Car Blog in category General