Most Common MOT Fails & How To Avoid them

This is a collaborative post

The MOT test is a roadworthiness test that all vehicles on the UK’s roads must take annually from their third birthday (the third anniversary of the vehicle’s initial registration date), and its remit has expanded from the initial checklist of three items to well over thirty today. New items are continually being added to the MOT checklist, to take into account modern vehicle design and newly mandated environmental considerations. Every motorist is required to have a proper MOT test according to motoring law. Additionally, motorists should now have an updated MOT certificate and this applies for all the major areas of the UK like London, Birmingham or even Scotland.

Most Common Fails by Type

The top three most common fails are:

    • Lighting and Signalling: Under the broad category of ‘lights’ are included indicators, hazard lights, dashboard warning lights, as well as the more standard headlights, reversing lights, brake lights and fog lights. It is, perhaps, no surprise then, that lighting fails make up almost one-fifth of all MOT fails. Avoid these by spending a few moments checking over all your car making sure that anything that should light up does, and also ensuring that pairs of lights offer an even light pairing.

    • Suspension: The suspension system is responsible for offering you a smoother ride, and for the even balance of your vehicle over the wheels (wheel balancing performs a similar task, working with the suspension system for best results). As many as 7.5% of MOT fails are found in the suspension system. Avoid this by paying attention to your car when driving: does it feel looser than it should? Do you sway excessively going around corners? Does the car bounce more than feels appropriate? And are there strange squeaks and other noises when you are driving? Take a look at your car when it is parked: does it look even? Any hint of unevenness can be a sign of suspension issues should be fixed before you book your MOT test. 

    • Brakes: One tenth of MOT fails are for the brakes not working as well as they should. While your brakes might work to stop your vehicle, there are criteria that your brakes must meet in order to pass the MOT test, so do check the regulations and make sure you can stop in the time and distance allowed for the speed you are travelling, that the car stops evenly – not slewing to one side, and that your handbrake and service brake can both perform emergency stops when called upon to do so. Let’s say for instance you are on a long drive with your family in Scotland and your MOT is about to expire; Fife Autocentre offers MOT in Dundee at their local garage.

Most Common Fails That Shouldn’t Happen

Fails that shouldn’t happen are those that can be easily remedied by a layman in a few moments before the MOT. These include things like presenting a clean and uncluttered car for inspection – inspectors are permitted to refuse to MOT test a dirty or overly cluttered car if they feel it is egregiously so.

Walk around your car and check that your mirrors are in place and firmly attached. Your number plate should be clean, in a legible font and correctly attached to the car. Lightbulbs should be correctly fitted and appropriate for their purpose. The driver’s seat should be adjustable and seatbelts should be in good working order where they are fitted (most cars, by now, will have seatbelts and the old exemptions for older cars which did not have seatbelts will fall away).

Test your seat belt by tugging on it sharply to make sure it locks, and check them for signs of fraying and other damage. Check your horn (in an out-of-the-way place, not on a busy road!) to make sure it responds to a firm press, and ensure your screen-wash reservoir is full of an appropriate soap-based liquid.

Finally, make sure there is enough fuel in the car – if the car runs out of fuel during the test, or is otherwise excessively low, this can constitute a failure too!

Most Common Serious Fails

The most common MOT test fails are designated ‘dangerous’ fails and these will result in your car not being permitted on the road again, not even to drive from the MOT testing centre to your preferred garage – you will have to organise a car transport for your car.

Dangerous failures include things like severe brake defects, especially brake lighting issues, serious issues with the tyres that will almost certainly fail in the very near future. Avoid these by always driving with care, and taking your car for the requisite services when they fall due.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

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