The 5 most common reasons your car will fail its MOT

Nearly every person who owns a vehicle dreads the annual MOT test. Will it pass or not? And if it doesn’t, what has it failed on and how much will it cost you this time around? But did you know that nearly 50% of all faults causing MOT failure could have been avoided by regular vehicle maintenance? So, let’s take a look at what you can do to help your car pass first time.  (Statistics taken from DVSA who oversee the MOT test).

Headlamps and bulbs

Almost a fifth of all MOT failures is caused by issues with lights and signalling. This can be down to a simple blown lightbulb which can easily be replaced by yourself, or headlamp positioning which will need to be checked over by a mechanic.  

It’s easy to check to see if your lights are working, by simply switching on your car and taking a walk around it. Check to see if your rear lights, headlamps, sidelights, number plate light and indicators lights are working properly.  Ask someone else to check your brake and reverse lights, or if no one else is on hand, back your car up near a window and check the lights in the reflection.

Cloudy, scratched and dull headlamps can also cause your car to fail its MOT, so pop down to your local motoring or car maintenance shop and pick up a DIY kit or have them professionally restored.

Obstructing the driver's view

It’s obviously very important for the driver to be able to see the road ahead, but 8% of all MOT fails are down to issues affecting visibility. For example, faulty windscreen wipers unable to effectively clear away water when it rains can lead to grave consequences. Likewise, with cracked mirrors, chipped windscreens, sat nav’s, air fresheners, and any other items that may block the driver’s view. Also, make sure that you keep your windscreen fluid topped up.


Did you know that 1 in 10 cars fail their MOT due to issues with the brakes? That’s quite a frightening thought!

You can make these simple checks whilst driving;

  • Check for noises – grinding or squeaky brakes may be an indication that the pads are wearing down and need replacing.
  • How do your brakes feel? Vibrations or pulling to one side, can all be a sign that your brakes are not working as they should be.
  • Is your handbrake working? Check it by stopping on a steep hill and test it out.

Don’t compromise on you or your passenger’s safety.  Come along to any of our garages for your Free brake pad check.

Tyre conditions

It goes without saying that it’s important to check your tyre tread and pressure, but this is the fourth most popular reason why vehicles fail their MOT.  A simple way of checking the tread is to use a 20p coin.  All you have to do is place the coin in the main tread grooves of your tyre.  If the outer band of the coin is obscured, then your tyre tread depth is above the legal limit, but if it’s not obscured then it’s time to replace them. And if you do need to replace them, we have over 4000 tyres for you to choose from! We can help you decide which ones are best for your vehicle and your budget.

It’s also important to make sure that your tyres are correctly fitted to your vehicle.  If you start to hear odd noises when you are driving or if something doesn’t feel right, don’t delay in getting this checked out. Visit one of our garages and we’ll take a look for you.

Suspension and wheel alignment

Your vehicle’s suspension is important because this is what helps to keep your tyres stable and in contact with the road.  For example, a worn suspension can cause you to aquaplane when driving in wet conditions, causing you to lose control of your vehicle.

You may also notice that your steering has become ‘heavy’ or your car may pull to one side after driving over a pot-hole or ‘kerbing’ your wheel.  This could indicate that your wheels have misaligned. 

Pop into one of our garages and get your Free Tracking & Wheel Alignment Check.