Toggle menu

The most common MOT failures - and how to beat them

Nearly 40% of MOTs fail first time and far too many are due to a simple avoidable reason. Some of the fails you can sort yourself, others will need a professional. Either way, sorting it before the test is usually cheaper.

The most common MOT failures - and how to beat them:

Lights - Are all lights fully working? Have someone sit in the car while you walk around checking every light.

Suspension - Check suspension. While a full suspension check is difficult, to see if the shock absorbers have gone, quickly apply your weight to each corner of the car then release. It should quickly settle back.

Brakes - Is there tension on the handbrake? Not easy to test yourself, and it'll need a proper mechanic to fix it. But if your brakes feel loose and unresponsive, or the handbrake slides up without resistance and can't be ratcheted at a set level, it's likely there's a problem.

Tyres - Check tyre pressure. To check tyre pressure, look up what they should be , and fill them up at a petrol station.

Check tyre tread. This is the depth of grooves for road grip. The legal minimum's 1.6mm for a car tyre. To measure, use the quick 20p tyre test detailed on the Tyre Safe website. Pop a 20p coin on its edge into the main grooves of the tyre tread. If the outer rim of the coin is hidden, your tyres should be legal. If you can see it, get them checked.

Windscreen - Is the drivers windscreen damaged? Damage in the driver's central view should be no larger than 10mm. In the whole of the swept area, it should be no larger than 40mm.

Windscreen wipers? Front wipers are in check. They need to clear the windscreen in conjunction with the washers.

Exhaust - Is the exhaust leaking? To check, start the engine and from the rear of the car listen for any unusual noises or abnormal smoke. These indicate a leak, which you should fix before the MOT.

Steering - Is your steering working properly? Again this isn't really easy to check for yourself, so if you think the steering is less responsive, or have noticed any other issues it's likely you need to get this looked at. Also check for a warning light.

Fluids - Are all fluids topped up? Check the brake fluid, windscreen washer and oil reserves.

The rest - An all-over once-over. Make sure the fuel cap is secure, mirrors are in good condition, and seatbelts, etc, are all fully functional.

Share this page

Facebook icon Twitter icon email icon


print icon
Last modified on 24 March 2022