How to avoid MOT fails

Nearly 40% of MOTs fail first time and far too many are due to an avoidable reason. Here are the most common reasons for failing an MOT based on data from the DVSA and what to do about them.




Lights 14%

Have someone sit in the car while you walk around checking every light – including the fog lights. If any aren’t working, buy a new bulb. Most are easy to replace.

Suspension 10%

While a full 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 easily settle back.

Brakes 8%

If the 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. Check the brake wear warning light too if you have one.

Tyres 7%

Check tyre pressure and fill them up if required. Check tyre tread too. To measure, use the quick 20p tyre test detailed on the TyreSafe 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 5%

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. It is it, get it fixed pre-test. Often this is included with fully comprehensive car insurance policies. Front wipers are also in the check and they need to clear the windscreen in conjunction with the washers.

Exhaust 4%

To check if the exhaust is leaking, start the engine in a well-ventilated place and from the rear of the car listen for any unusual noises or abnormal smoke. These indicate a leak which should be fixed before the MOT.

Other pre-test tasks

Check the brake fluid, windscreen washer and oil reserves and give the car an all-over once-over. Make sure the fuel cap is secure, mirrors are in good condition and doors, horn, seatbelts, speedometer etc are all fully functional. Check no warning lights are on and that bumpers and floors are in good order.

Remember a poorly maintained vehicle is a breakdown waiting to happen. Come to the experts at Worcester's Mobile Mechanic.

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