MOT failure – How to avoid it



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Figures reveal over a third have an MOT failure due to poor maintenance. Around 2.5 million fails could’ve been avoided, if simple checks were made on their car. The most common issue recorded was poorly adjusted head-lights with 976,569 failures, followed by failing brakes with 921,534 fails.

Pre-MOT checklist

It’s best to check your car for any faults a few weeks before your MOT date. This is so you can arrange for faults to be fixed in plenty of time before your MOT.

  • Keep your car clean, inside and out. A boot full of clutter and an excessively dirty car – especially if the number plate is no longer visible – can cause an MOT failure.
  • Check the windscreen wipers are in good condition, with no tears.
  • Check all lights are in working order. Ask a friend or family member to stand outside the car and confirm lights function properly.
  • Check tyre tread using the 20p test, and tyre pressure too
  • Top up all fluid levels – screenwash, brake fluid and oil.
  • Check that the horn works – give it a quick honk!

Common faults

Data also shows the most common reason for an MOT failure relates to defects with vehicle lighting, brakes, tyres and suspension. But what many people don’t realise is that they can check MOT history for free and identify future problems when buying a used car.

1/3 of the UKs MOT failures can be avoided if drivers made the simplest checks to their car.

From the 7.3 million MOT failures that were recorded in 2017, 2.5 million could have been avoided.

976,569 failures were recorded due to an incorrect headlamp aim, making it the leading reason for an MOT failure.

The second most common reason for an MOT failure is poor brake performance, with 921,534 failures.

Other common faults include broken registration plate lamps, faulty side lights, insufficient tyre tread, all the way to missing windscreen washer fluid.

Daniel Powell, Managing Editor of HonestJohn.co.uk said: “The MOT Files shows that the majority of failure items are down to the owner, rather than an inherent fault with the car. Drivers can now use this information to ensure their car is not failing on something that can be easily and cheaply fixed beforehand.”

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