The most common MOT fails and how to avoid them

Simon Wells
Authored by Simon Wells
Posted: Friday, January 21, 2022 - 21:26

The annual MOT can cause a great deal of stress for motorists. Around a third of vehicles fail, which can be frustrating for motorists not to mention expensive. There are a number of reasons why a vehicle might fail its MOT and often you will find that these are easily preventable. Read on to discover the most common MOT fails and how you can avoid them.

Lighting & Signalling

The most common reason that a car fails its MOT is due to lights or signalling faults. You should spend some time testing that all of the lights work prior to your MOT and get any bulbs replaced if necessary. The condition of the lights can also be a factor, so use a cleaning kit prior to your MOT to restore them to their best condition.


Issues with the suspension are also common and can be a little bit harder to spot.  While driving, you should pay close attention to the noises that your car makes and be wary of any clunking sounds. You should also push down on each corner when the car is parked to see if it returns to the normal level. If you believe that you have an issue with the suspension, you should take it to your garage before the MOT so that you do not have to end up paying for the test twice (and repairs).


Obviously, the brakes are one of the most important features and any kind of fault will lead to a fail. To avoid this, you should listen out for noises while applying the brakes and see if the car pulls to one side - these are both signs that there is an issue that needs fixing before your car service and MOT. You can also inspect the brake pads yourself to see if they have become worn.


Tyres are another common reason that a car fails its MOT and is easily avoidable. You need to make sure that the tyre pressure is at the recommended level and perform a tyre tread depth test with a 20p coin - 1.6mm is the legal minimum so you need to replace these if you are below this. You can also examine the tyres for cracks, bulges and splits.

Issues Affecting the Driver’s View

Issues affecting the driver’s view cause many cars to fail and are usually avoidable. Items that can obstruct the view include aftermarket sat-navs, air fresheners and other accessories as well as cracks in the windscreen. You should also check that your wipers work and the fluid is topped up.

These are the main reasons that a car fails its MOT and will hopefully help you to avoid these issues so that you can pass your first time.

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