MOT failure reasons

Top MOT failures and how to avoid them

Your car’s just turned three and that means one thing: it’s due it’s first MOT test.  And while we all try to look after our cars, unfortunately failure is still a possibility.  Recently carried out a survey of over 29.5 million MOT records stored by VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency), and compiled a list of the top reasons cars in the UK failed their MOT in 2016.  Here’s what they found, as well as how you can help avoid failure.

1. Lamp Reflectors and Electrical Equipment

MOT check lights

Taking the top spot and accounting for 19% of the UK’s failures is lighting and signalling issues.  This includes blown bulbs and headlight misalignment.

Luckily this is also the easiest and cheapest thing to check before your car goes in.  Just get a friend to walk around your car checking through all the lights (headlamps, hazards, indicators, brakes).

2. Suspension

Suspension issues are the second biggest reason for failure.  Last year, they accounted for 12%.

Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution to suspension issues.  But a way to prevent small problems becoming big ones is to pay attention to your ride.  Does the car bounce over every bump? Does it dip when braking?  Is the tyre wear uneven?  All of these could be signs of suspension trouble, and it may be time to book the car in for a check-up.

3. Driver’s View of the Road

MOT windscreen damage zones

A slightly concerning point of failure coming in at number 3 – driver’s view.  This includes windscreen damage, faulty wipers, windscreen washer faults and faulty mirrors.

The rule for what counts as ‘obscuring’ the driver’s view is obstruction in the area directly in front of the driver. So before you go in, check for any damage over 10mm as well as the operation of the windscreen wipers.  Also, check your washers are working correctly and your washer fluid bottle is full.

4. Tyres

tyre tread and condition

Wear-and-tear items like tyre’s are always a risk when it comes to MOT.  They are designed to wear down and inevitably need replacing.  1.5mm is the legal minium for tread, but there are other defects that can cause your car to fail its MOT.  Damage, cracking, and bulges can all cause the tyres to be deemed unroadworthy.  So it’s important to make sure you check your tyres regularly to prevent being caught out.

5. Exhaust, Fuel and Emissions

You car will usually make it pretty obvious when there’s an issue with its exhaust.  Splutters, chokes, coughs and other unusal noises once the engines warmed up can all be your car warning you of an exhaust problem.  Other tell-tale signs include more smoke than normal, particularly black smoke.

Once again, the best way to keep your exhaust healthy is paying attention to the above signs and taking your car in for a check-up if anything seems out of the ordinary.

Other failure points

There also are few, less common points of failure, that are easy to prepare for:

  • Brakes – any grinding sounds could hint at warn out tyres, pulling in the steering
  • Seats and seatbelts – make sure seatbelts are working properly, that seats are bolted securely and that any folding seats lock securely in the upright position
  • Horn – make sure it’s working properly
  • Number plate – check that the numbers and letters on your number plate are easily and clearly legible
  • Fuel and engine oil – make sure the caps are in place and that the seals are undamaged

All of our aftersales departments provide MOT testing.  And if you want your car checked over before it goes in for a test, we can offer a free vehicle health check to make sure you’re not caught out. Our service centres are located in Byfleet, Surrey; Bookham, Surrey and Orpington, Kent. To make a booking enquiry simply click here and fill in our enquiry form.