Reasons why your car fails an MOT

You can avoid the common MOT fails by checking:

lightbulbs are working - 30% of all faults related to lighting and signalling tyre condition and pressure - 10% of all faults related to tyres, mirrors, wipers and washers - 8.5% of all faults related to 'Driver's  view of the road'

Check your lights

Nearly one in 5 (18.4%) of all cars taken for MOT had a problem with lighting and signalling – including simple problems, like blown bulbs.

Checking your lightbulbs is easy to do. You just need to give them a light tap to see if they are loose or damaged. You can also check the colours are right and match.

Replacement bulbs are fairly cheap and you can change them yourself if you have your car handbook. If not, many garages will change your bulb for free.

DVSA has published a series of short videos on YouTube about simple car maintenance - including one on how to carry out checks on lights and indicators.

Driver's view of the road

6.6% of MOT fails are due to issues with the Driver’s view of the road.

You can avoid this by carrying out simple checks like:

  • the windscreen wipers and washers work
  • your view of the road is clear of any stickers, toys or air fresheners

Windscreen wiper blades should be replaced if they show signs of damage or if they are more than a year old.

You should get your windscreen replaced if you have any large chips that affect your view, as these will result in an MOT fail.

Your rear-view mirrors must be adjustable and in good condition.

You should also make sure that you regularly top up your washer fluids and check that your washers are working properly before setting off.

Check your brakes

One in 10 (9.6%) MOT fails are due to brake issues.

You can test your brakes every day as you set off.

If you hear any strange noises, or if your car pulls to one side, contact your local garage immediately.

You can also check your brake fluid levels. Look for the high/low markings on the reservoir and make sure that your brake fluid is topped up.

Check your tyres

During 2014/15, 7.4% of car MOT fails were due to tyre issues.

You can use a tread depth gauge to check your tyre tread. The minimum tread for a car is 1.6mm.

You can also check that the tyres:

  • pressures are correct
  • are all the same size
  • have no cuts, bulges or other signs of damage