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Top Reasons Why UK Cars Fail MOT

Apr 7, 2017

Top Reasons Why UK Cars Fail MOT

Top Reasons Why UK Cars Fail MoT & How To Avoid Failing

Is it your cars 3rd birthday? At MyCarNeedsA we have investigated into the top reasons why cars in the UK fail MoT. After analysing a staggering 29,640,484 MoT records from ‘VOSA’ Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, we can reveal why vehicles undertaking their first MoT would be categorised as a fail.

Top Reasons for failing MoT in the UK

Reason for Rejection Quantity %
Lamps Reflectors and Electrical Equipment 80,026 19%
Brakes 59,133 14%
Suspension 53,322 12%
Driver's view of the road 47,662 11%
Tyres 42,193 10%
Exhaust, fuel & emissions 32,893 8%
Steering 29,101 7%
Seatbelts & restraint systems 22,824 5%
Body Structure & general items 22,566 5%
Reg Plates & VINs 17,655 4%
Road wheels 10,520 2%
Items not tested 8,812 2%
Towbars 2,827 1%
Driving control & speed limiters 206 0%


19% of vehicles fail their first MoT due to lighting and signalling including failed light bulbs and headlight alignment issues. A further 10% of MoT fails are down to tyres damage or wear and tear on tyres and Surprisingly 11% of failures were based on ‘driver's view of the road’ which includes windscreen damage, windscreen wiper faults, windscreen washers and faulty mirrors.

Scott Hamilton, managing director of MyCarNeedsA.com stated “The good news is that our research shows the majority of MOT failures can be fixed quickly and cheaply by motorists, before they book their vehicle in for an MOT. Many of these faults can be picked up by regular maintenance and can be detected by the owner, by a very simple walk-around inspection of the car.’’

Scott also suggested “If motorists take some time to check their vehicle over before undergoing an MOT, they can save money and improve the chance of their vehicle passing first time.” To help in preparation for an MoT we have a simple 10 step process of areas to check before the test.

Checklist To Prepare Your Car For MoT

1. Wheels and Tyres: The minimum tread depth allowed by law is currently 1.6mm in a continuous band, and this must be present around ¾ of the tyre’s width. So check out your tyres and replace worn ones.

2. Brake Lights: Brake light bulbs switch on and off far more frequently than other bulbs every time you brake. This causes brake bulb failure ahead of other bulbs, and this will lead to an MOT failure. Brake lights cannot be seen by the driver, so always get someone else to see if they come on before you go for your MOT.

3. Headlights and Indicators: More than a third of MOT failures are caused by lights. If your headlights and indicators are working perfectly, there’s no need to panic. However, bad headlamp alignment is just as likely to result in an MOT failure as a faulty bulb.

4. Seats and Seatbelts: Ensure your seatbelts fasten securely and that seats are bolted down to the inside of the car and that all folding seats lock securely in the upright position. If the seat is loose or the belts are not working, you will fail!

5. Windscreen: If you leave small chips in your windscreen for long enough, they’re likely to grow into cracks. You will fail an MOT if a crack is more than 10mm in the driver’s line of sight, or anything over 40mm in the area swept by the wipers.

6. Windscreen Wipers: Check that your wiper blades clear the screen from top to bottom so that you can easily see the road ahead. Lift the arm and check the rubber for splits or damage.

7. Screen Wash: If the nozzle of your screen wash is blocked by particles or dirt, the stream won’t fire properly. So ensure that it works correctly and top up the screen wash.

8. Horn: Ensure it is working properly!

9. Number Plate: If the letters and numbers on your plate are not clearly visible or difficult to read, you could be in trouble.

10. Fuel and Engine Oil: Check that your fuel and engine oil caps are in place and there is no damage to the seal of the caps.


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Follow all 10 steps before your MoT to ensure a first time pass, you can also see exactly what is checked on an MoT test. An easy way to do this is to book in with your nearest service provider using the MyCarNeedsA.com website. Simply type in your registration and get quotes directly from local service providers, my car needs a allows you to set your mileage and pick what every your car needs instantly.

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