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The most common MOT fails and how to avoid them

September 28th, 2017

In the UK, all cars that are more than three years old are required by law to pass a yearly MOT test to assess its road worthiness. Although a MOT will not uncover problems with areas such as the clutch or the engine, you still need to make sure your vehicle is safe on the road for both you and other drivers.

Here are the most common reasons for a MOT fail and what you can do to avoid them:


Issues with suspension account for 13% of all MOT fails, equating to more than 1 in 10. It is incredibly hard to notice problems with your suspension, but you should pay attention to any strange noises made by your car during everyday driving or when passing over bumpy roads. When you’ve parked your car, take note of whether it is too high or low as this might be a clue that your suspension needs to be looked at by a professional.


1 in 10 cars fails a MOT because of brake issues. When it comes to your brakes, faults will be fairly obvious. If you hear a screeching or grinding noise from your brakes, it might mean that the pads are low or if your vehicle pulls to one side when applying the brakes, you should take it in for inspection. The handbrake is involved in this figure too so to check this, stop your vehicle on a hill and apply the handbrake. If it doesn’t hold the vehicle steady, it definitely needs attention.

 Lights and signals

Staggeringly, almost a fifth of all vehicles will fail their MOT because of lights and signals. Ironically, a simple blown bulb is probably the easiest issue to notice. All you need to do is switch on your lights and check that they’re all in working order. Make sure to check that your indicators are working properly and that the plastic lenses are clean and not cracked. Remember – you will have to ask someone else to check the brake lights for you.


The tyres on your vehicle should be checked regularly because they account for the fourth most popular MOT failure. The law states that your tyres should have 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters and you can check this using a 20p coin. Insert the coin into the tread, and if you can see the outer band, the tread is too low. Feel inside the tyre too as uneven wear might cause issues with alignment or poor inflation. Always look out for tears in the tyres as this can cause a dangerous blowout.

Issues affecting the driver’s view

7.2% of vehicles fail their MOT because of things that have affected the driver’s view of the road. These things include cracks and chips in the windscreen, poorly placed sat-navs and wipers that don’t work properly.

Even if you own or hire a high quality, second-hand vehicle such as those from Low Cost Vans, a yearly MOT is vital. If you make sure all of these issues are dealt with before the test, you should pass with flying colours.