What are the Most Common Reasons for Vehicle MOT Failures?

Each year, motorists need to take their car for an MOT test to ensure that it is roadworthy. Interestingly, data suggests that around 40% of cars fail their MOT at the first attempt but nearly 50% of faults could be avoided with simple maintenance.

Since 2018, MOT test centres stopped with simple pass or fails and introduced different categories of faults; minor, major and dangerous. Minor faults are de-fects that need to be addressed but are not serious enough for a fail while ma-jor and dangerous faults will cause the car to fail the MOT.

vehicle mot failures
Image credit: pxhere

The Main Faults of the Vehicle MOT Failures

Drivers can book an MOT test online easily, but it is important to be aware of what the main causes of failure are so that you can get your car prepped and avoid having to pay for the test twice.


Lights are one of the most common issues with 1 in 5 cars having a problem with lighting and signalling. Often, this is something like a blown bulb which is easy enough to change yourself. Before taking the MOT, you should always check that all of the lights and indicators work as they should.


Tyre issues are another common reasons that a car fails an MOT and again something that could easily be prevented. Before the test, you should make sure that the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, that you have at least 1.6mm of tread depth (ideally 3mm+) and that there are no signs of damage on each tyre.


Brake issues result in 1 in 10 MOT fails and obviously this is an area that you always want to have working properly. You can test your brakes every time you use the car, so you should pay close attention to how they perform and if you hear any strange noises. You can also check your brake fluid levels and top up if necessary.

Driver’s View

The driver’s view is an aspect of the test that results in 6.6% of failures and again is an area that is easy to prevent. You simply need to make sure that the windscreen wipers and washers work and that there is nothing interfering with your view, such as stickers or air fresheners.

It is also important to be aware that the annual MOT is constantly being updat-ed and improved to ensure that it is still regulated and relevant for modern cars. This means that you need to keep an eye out for changes and take appro-priate action to give your car the best chance of passing the first time.

It is surprising to see how many cars fail the annual MOT the first time and how easily this could have been prevented with basic maintenance and checks be-forehand.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.