Passing an MOT is a key part of every car’s lifecycle. Often they’re not a problem for many car-owners, especially people who own a relatively new car, but they’re surprisingly easy to fail. Booking in an MOT, especially around a busy schedule, is tough. None of us want to use our time, and spend up to £54.85 while we’re at it, just to fail!
It’s also worth mentioning that if you do fail your MOT, you will have to pay for the problems to be fixed professionally and you might even incur extra charges to have your vehicle take another test.
Passing first time isn’t difficult but it’s easy to trip up, so we’ve put together a few common reasons that motorists fail and how you can avoid them:
- Lighting or Signal Failures
Something as simple as having a rear light, headlight or fog light not functioning can cause you to fail your MOT. This is even more pronounced when you bring signalling failure into the mix, which is almost certainly a failure. Make sure you check this prior to your MOT by asking a friend or family member to take a look around your vehicle whilst you test the lights.
- Unsafe Tires
Unsafe tires are a big no-no when it comes to MOTs. It’s easy to see why as well; there’s strict legislation on how deep your tire tread needs to be and how far across the tire it has to span. Invest in a tire-tread depth gauge and keep track of how your tires are performing. Prior to your MOT, measure your tread depth and ensure it’s at least 1.6mm deep, across the central ¾ breadth of the tire. If it’s any shallower, your car won’t pass.
Check for any cuts or bulges as well, as this could be a sign of internal damage within the tire which would also constitute a failure.
- Inadequate Wiper and Washer System
We’ve bundled this section into one, to include everything you need to check about your windscreen wipers and washer system. Firstly, it’s important to check both your front and rear windscreen wipers for damage, this could include holes or rips that are affecting their performance. If you see any damage, it’s worth replacing them as any damage could cause you to fail your MOT.
Secondly, ensure that your windscreen washer reservoir is topped up. It may surprise you, but an empty washer reservoir can lead to a fail.
- Damaged Windscreen
If you have any damage to your windscreen, chances are you’ve already noticed it. Still, it’s worth thoroughly checking your windscreen for any cracks or marks that are larger than 40mm. Even if they aren’t in your eye-line, they can still lead to a fail.
If you spot any damage and aren’t sure whether it could affect your result, attempt to get it repaired. If the damage is definitely larger than 40mm, it’s worth considering replacing your windscreen.
- Excessively Dirty Vehicle
It might seem shocking that a dirty vehicle can cause you to fail your MOT, but it can. If dirt is obstructing the view of any part of the number plate or could affect your vision inside the vehicle, it needs to be cleaned.
Save yourself the time and money and take your vehicle for a quick once-over at a local carwash, or get out the old bucket and sponge!
- Insufficient Oil and Fuel
If you have an insufficient amount of engine oil, you can fail your MOT. Ensure this is topped up prior to your test.
It’s also worth noting that you will need to arrive at your MOT with a good amount of fuel in the tank. The test centre will want to test your vehicle’s emissions, and running out of fuel mid-test will lead to a fail.
- Small Extras to Check
There a couple of extra things that could cause problems for your MOT that are very simple to check. Ensure that your driver’s seat can be easily moved forwards and backwards. This is an essential safety feature within virtually all vehicles and must be functional to a good level. If it’s very difficult to move, or entirely stuck, you could fail your test.
A quick and easy check to do is testing your horn. If it’s non-functional or muted then your is unlikely to pass an MOT.
We hope that you found our list helpful. Whilst it’s not all-inclusive, it should help see you safely over the line. However, we know that not everyone is a mechanic and that there may be problems that you can’t check easily that could lead to an MOT failure. It’s always worth trying to book your car’s annual service just prior to its MOT. That way, you can ensure that any faults will be picked up and can be rectified in time.
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