The 10 Most Common MOT Failures | CCM Blog

The 10 Most Common MOT Failures

MOT failures are something most of us drivers have experienced at one time in our lives. Every year we put our vehicle through its annual MOT, and around 30% of vehicles fail their test on the first attempt. The most common failure items include issues with your lights, suspension and brakes, but there are some not so well known faults out there too.

We want to get everyone clued up on their MOTs, so let’s first take a look at some of the not-so-common issues that your car could fail on.

1.      Messy Cars

Believe it or not, a messy car can be a reason to fail your MOT. In fact, if your car is really filthy the MOT tester has the right to refuse to perform the test completely. Empty takeaway cartons, used water bottles and the like all pose a risk of slipping under the pedals and preventing proper braking in an emergency.

We often see cars that have a lot of dirt on them. Our sites are all pretty rural so we’re used to that but there is a limit to how much dirt you can have on your car. If it’s so thick and heavy that it is completely covering your registration plate and lights, then that can be enough for a failure. It is a legal requirement for your plate to be visible and obviously, if your lights are covered in dirt this is dangerous for yourself and other road users.

2.      View Restricting Accessories

It’s not often we see fluffy dice hanging from the rearview mirror anymore but some people like to decorate their cars. If you have so many items that the driver’s view is obstructed it can be a failure. When you are placing your air freshener, sat nav or any window stickers, take care of where they go.

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3.      Windscreen Fluid

This is a really simple silly thing that catches a lot of people out. If your windscreen fluid tank is empty, you’re going to fail the MOT. Without any screenwash, you can’t effectively clean your windscreen of any debris meaning your view is obstructed. Most supermarkets and garages stock screenwash so it’s really easy to get hold of and only costs a few pounds.

4.      Horns

Your horn is a safety feature used to warn other road users of your presence and not just for tooting at your friend when you pass them. If your horn doesn’t work at all, that will be marked as a failure. If your horn is excessively loud it can be classed as a distraction to other road users so you can also fail on that too.

5.      Registration Plates

It’s a common misconception that your registration plate just needs to be clean to pass the MOT. An insecure plate could come loose and that will be a failure as it could potentially cause an accident if it were to come off. There are some strict rules and regulations around your number plates, so make sure that your lettering is in the standard font and evenly spaced out so other road users and cameras can easily read it.

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Now let’s get down to the bit you really want to see. Taken from data from the DVSA, we delve into the top 10 most common MOT failures, advisories and the worst-performing makes and models.

Top 10 Most Common MOT Failures

Incorrect headlamp aim – 976,569 failures

How many times have you felt blinded by the headlights of a vehicle driving toward you? This is not only because the new LED highlights are super bright, but can also be because the headlamp aim is out of alignment. Most of the time, this is caused by a broken bracket within the headlight which can be easily fixed by your CCM technician.

Poor brake performance – 921,534 failures

If your brakes feel ‘spongy’ or you can feel a vibration through the pedal, then there’s a really big chance that something somewhere in this system isn’t working correctly. Your brakes are one of the most crucial safety aspects of your vehicle so they need to be in full working order at all times. If you ever feel like something in your brakes isn’t quite right, make sure to get them checked by a professional.

Broken registration plate lamps – 912,246 failures

The lamps illuminating your registration plate are a legal requirement, and if the police catch you without them you can face a hefty fine of up to £1000. You can also expect to face a failed MOT if you come in with the lights faulty or not working.

Sidelights not working – 880,901 failures

Just to make things a little confusing, the sidelights are not actually on the side of your car. These are the lights located in the corner of your headlight and are normally used when the weather is a bit overcast or it’s not quite dark enough to put on your headlights.

Insufficient tyre tread depth – 827,876 failures

Tyres have a legal minimum requirement of 1.6mm tread. Anything below this will be a failure. Most tyres have a tread bar that allows you to see how much tread you have left. However, wonky wheel alignment or irregular suspension can make cause your tyres to wear unevenly. This is why regular checks of your tyres are important.

Damaged windscreen wipers – 745,925 failures

Your windscreen wipers are the quickest, cheapest and easiest repair to do so it’s surprising to see just how many MOTs have failed due to such a simple thing. Not only that but there are clear telltale signs that your wipers are on their way out. Squeaking or juddering across the screen, and most obviously not clearing water is what we should be looking out for.

Faulty brake lights – 727,409 failures

Now it’s no surprise that your brake lights are an essential safety feature of your car. A damaged lens or blown bulb will result in a failed MOT. A really simple way to check is to park up and ask a friend to go around and check that both lights are coming on as you press the brakes. If you don’t have a friend to hand, try parking in front of a light-coloured wall or a big window and you should be able to see the lights through your mirrors.

Broken coil springs – 694,671 failures

If your car journeys are starting to feel particularly bumpy and uncomfortable it could be down to an issue with your coil springs. Broken or corroded coil springs are a really common reason for MOT failures, especially around our area where potholes are a big problem.

Faulty headlights – 621,613 failures

When it comes to the summer months and you’re only driving during the daytime, it can be easy to miss a faulty headlight but your MOT tester won’t. Try to get into the habit of checking them every now and then and you won’t be surprised come MOT time.

Low windscreen washer fluid – 509,367 failures

Here we have the simplest of fixes accounting for over half a million failures! You almost can’t believe it. Screenwash only costs a couple of quid from your local supermarket or garage and if you’re in a rush, even having water in the tank is better than nothing! While some MOT testers will top up your screenwash free of charge, some main dealers have been known to charge a huge £35 for a single litre of screenwash.

 Top 10 MOT Advisories in 2021

ItemAdvisory TextAdvisories
TyresWorn close to legal limit/worn on edge8,402,001
TyresSlightly damaged/cracking or perishing3,746,771
Brake discsWorn, pitted or scored, but not seriously weakened3,728,247
Brake padsWearing thin2,819,528
Rigid brake pipesCorroded, covered in grease or other material2,174,022
SuspensionPin or bush worn but not resulting in excessive movement2,120,342
Noise, emissions and leaksLeak, but not excessive1,440,840
Suspension coil springCorroded1,296,206
Non-component advisoriesChild seat fitted not allowing full inspection of adult belt901,153
Registration platesDeteriorated but not likely to be misread795,524

Top 10 Vehicle Make and Models Most Likely to Fail MOT in 2020

MakeModelTestFailuresInitial Failure Rate
BMW3 Series453,370127,55428.13%

What is checked on an MOT test?

Feeling curious about what MOT testers are actually doing when they have your car? Then take a look at our other blog What is Checked on an MOT Test to see a full detailed list of every check!

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