First MoT test - most common reasons for failure

Most cars fail their MOT test for items that are quick and easy to rectify. Here we reveal the top 10 most comon reasons for failing the annual test...

First MoT test - most common reasons for failure

1. Lights and indicators 29.5%

Includes blown bulbs and incorrectly aligned headlights.

2. Suspension 20.2%

Broken or corroded suspension springs are the main culprit, caused by Britain’s poor roads and cold, wet weather.

3. Brakes 17.2%

Covers worn-out brake pads or brake discs and leaks in the braking system.

4. Tyres and wheels 10.9%

Tread depth below the legal limit is the main issue, followed by bulges or cuts
in tyre sidewalls and damaged wheels.

5. Driver’s view 8.7%

Includes any items that obscure the view forward and cracks in the windscreen.

6. Fuel and exhaust 5.4%

Cars aren’t allowed to emit any visible smoke, plus emission levels are checked. A locking fuel filler cap and a fuel tank in reasonable condition are also required.

7. Steering 3.0%

Covers worn racks or other components.

8. Seatbelts 2.2%

Frayed or worn seatbelts, insecure anchorage points and belts that don’t retract properly are common issues.

9. Bodywork and structure 1.9%

Rust can be a major issue on older cars, especially if it’s on structural components.

10. Numberplates/VIN 0.9%

Includes broken numberplate lights and plates that flout the legal requirements.

Online services make it easy to get MOT information

It’s now possible to check online to see whether a car you’re interested in has a valid MOT certificate and to view its test history. All you need is the car’s registration number. This means you can find what faults a potential purchase has had and if they’ve been rectified before travelling to look at it, making it easier to weed out less well-maintained examples.

You can get a copy of an MOT test certificate online, too. In 2018, more than 636,000 duplicate certificates were issued by the DVSA; that’s around 2% of the tests conducted each year. With this in mind, the government body has just launched a service that allows car owners to view and save their car’s MOT certificates as PDFs and print them out. It’s free to use, and you just need the car’s registration and VIN numbers. Having a copy of the certificate is a great way to enhance the appeal of a used car when it’s time to sell it, too.

To look at a car’s MOT certificate, visit

Find out which car models are most - and least - likely to fail their MOT

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