Every year, car owners in the UK with vehicles that are aged three years or older must pass a Ministry of Transport (MOT) test. Although this does not apply to vehicles that were manufactured before 1960, the chances are that you’re driving a car that needs to go through an MOT test and pass it.

Why is passing your MOT important? Because it means your vehicle is in healthy condition, it’s safe to be on the road and it does not pose risks to other drivers and road users. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that an MOT check is not always easy to pass and many car owners (roughly 36% of cars or 7.8 million tests carried out in 2015/16) failed their MOT.

So, what are some of the most common MOT failures and how can you prevent them? We answer these questions in more detail below.

What is the most common failure on an MOT?

It’s worth knowing that most defects that cause an MOT failure are quite easy to fix and can easily have been prevented. And with data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA), which oversees MOT testing, it has been discovered that one of the most common MOT failure reasons is the simple issue with lighting and signalling. In fact, this is the most often cited problem and cause of an MOT failure, and it occurs around 18.9% of the time. This means you either have defective lights, your lighting is cracked, the signalling is faulty, or something similar.

What fails on a MOT?

Apart from issues with your vehicle’s lighting and signalling, there is another extensive MOT failure list with some of the most common MOT failures to bear in mind. Here they are:

  • Suspension – suspension issues account for 13% of MOT failures. They can be due to a leaking shock absorber, a snapped spring or an additional related issue. You’ll be able to pick up any issues with your suspension particularly well on bumpy roads (e.g. when driving over potholes). It’s all about how your car carries itself over a bump and whether it is particularly low in one corner of the vehicle.
  • Brakes – faulty brakes account for 10% of MOT test failures. We already know how important these car features are to safe driving. And yet, many people fail to have their brakes in good working condition. If you hear noises such as grinding or squealing from your brakes, the chances are that your brake pads are running low. Other potential issues include brake discs and your handbrake. Make sure to check for these issues before your MOT test.
  • Tyres – next on the list are worn-out tyres, which account for 7.7% of MOT failure tests. You need to ensure that your tyre tread is deep enough. The general rule of thumb is 1.6 mm of tread across the central three quarters. Failure to comply with this could cost you dearly. In fact, the fines for poor tyres can go as high as £2,500 with separate penalty points per tyre.
  • Issues affecting road view – this issue accounts for around 7.2% of MOT failures. This could mean cracks and chips on the window that are at eye level with the driver’s view, etc. It’s all about having good visibility of the road from practically every angle.
  • Other important causes of MOT failures – other important causes of MOT test failures include exhaust emissions, problems with your steering, seat belts and airbags, body and structure and registration plates. Each of these needs to be addressed properly to ensure you pass your MOT test.

Can I still drive my car if it fails its MOT?

If you receive an MOT failure check, you may wonder if you can still drive your car. In the general sense, driving without an MOT is illegal and if your car fails its MOT, you need to book a retest. In the more specific test, it can be driven but this is provided that no “dangerous” faults were identified during the test and your previous MOT certificate is still valid.

However, if you drive your vehicle after failing an MOT with one or more “dangerous” faults, you could be fined up to £2,500 and receive three penalty points on your licence or even be banned from driving. This is irrespective of whether the existing MOT certificate is valid or not.

What gets checked during an MOT?

An MOT test is a comprehensive vehicle check that looks at a broad range of issues that could potentially cause a driver difficulties with driving and present issues that make the vehicle unsafe for other road users.

As such, an MOT test usually covers – body, boot and bonnet, brakes, doors, electrical wiring and battery, exhaust system and emissions, fuels system, horn, lights, mirrors, seatbelts and seats, registration plates, steering and suspension, tyres and wheels, towbar, as well as windscreen wipers and windscreen.

Tips to prevent MOT test failures

Despite the extensive test that the MOT entails, you can take small, preventative measure for preventing MOT failures. Examples of these include:

  • Inspecting your vehicle’s lights for loose or damaged parts.
  • Inspecting your vehicle’s tyres for tread that’s at least 1.6 mm deep. Also, check for cuts, bulges and inflation.
  • Testing that your windscreen wipers and washers work for optimal visibility.
  • Finally, it’s worth clearing any obstructions from your view of the road. This means removing things like sat navs and air fresheners.

Of course, if you want to be absolutely sure that your vehicle is in top working condition, it may be time to have it serviced. And now, you can take a look at what an annual car service includes.

Bottom line

Passing your MOT test doesn’t have to feel like an overwhelming experience. You simply need to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy and safe for both you and other drivers. To do this, make sure to book your car service with us today!

As a professional MOT testing centre in Leicester, you can also book your MOT test with us at your convenience. Don’t get left on the side of the road with an unroadworthy vehicle. Enjoy your drives anywhere you please safe in the knowledge that your vehicle is in great condition.