Common MOT Fails to Avoid

MOT Fails

While a standard MOT test costs no more than £54.85, things can start to get expensive if your vehicle fails and repairs are required before you’re able to head back out onto the road.

Avoid being left in a costly situation, and check your vehicle thoroughly before taking it for its next MOT. Often, faults that lead to MOT failure can be detected in advance, and fixed for a much lower cost.

To help you with your pre-MOT checks, we’ve put together a list of the most common reasons vehicles fail an MOT test. Make sure you’ve checked each component on your car before your next test, and don’t forget to read our Ultimate MOT Guide for more MOT advice.

Lights and Signals

The most common reason for vehicles failing an MOT is lights and signals. Around 30% (29.6%) of cars fail for this reason, and prices can quickly add up if multiple lights need fixing.

This doesn’t just include the main headlights either. Don’t forget to check rear lights, fog lamps, licence plate lights and indicators. You can find a huge range of affordable replacement bulbs for every kind of vehicle at Euro Car Parts, and we can even help you find a local mechanic to fit headlights for you with our Fit It For Me service.


A faulty or broken suspension system is the second most common cause of MOT failure. Around 20% of MOT tests fail because of suspension-related issues, and this can typically cost around £241 to fix.

Identifying the faulty or broken components in your suspension system – such as suspension bushes, coil springs or suspension arms and joints – and fixing them ahead of your MOT can help you to cut down repair costs. To figure out if your vehicle has a suspension issue, there are a number of signs and symptoms drivers should look out for. If you’ve noticed any of the following, your car’s suspension system may need repairing:

  • Uneven wear on your tyres
  • Excess oil on your shock absorbers
  • Drifting or pulling when trying to turn your car
  • Feeling every bump and dent in the road when driving


Driving around with unsuitable brakes can be extremely dangerous, yet 17.2% of vehicle’s fail their MOT test because of insufficient brakes.

There are a number of things testers will assess when it comes to checking your brakes. When carrying out your own checks, make sure your car can decelerate effectively, is balanced correctly, can hold your vehicle even when on a steep incline and has sufficient pedal rubber in place. Brake discs, pads and calipers, among many other brake-related car parts, should all be in working order too.


Tyre issues discovered in an MOT can cost up to £164 to repair correctly, and while many drivers may think it’s obvious when a tyre is faulty, this vital car part is still responsible for 10.4% of MOT test fails.

To help maintain your tyres, there are a number of tyre-care products available. Tyre inflators can help you to maintain the perfect tyre pressure at home, and replacement tyre pressure sensors are a must if you’ve noticed your car has stopped alerting you when pressure levels are low.

Driver’s view of the road

It can be extremely dangerous to drive if your vehicle is compromising your view of the road. Visibility issues can be caused by a number of things, including:

  • Damaged windscreens that impact visibility
  • Windscreen wipers that automatically stop in a position that obscures the driver’s view
  • Primary bonnet catches that cause visibility issues when open

8.7% of MOT tests fail because the driver’s field of view is obscured, so be sure to check your vehicle thoroughly so this doesn’t happen to you. Further information on visibility checks conducted during an MOT test can be found on the Government’s website – take a look to learn more.

Fuel and Exhaust

It goes without saying, but ensuring your car’s fuel tank and exhaust are functioning as they should is a must if you want to pass your MOT. Around 5.4% of MOT tests fail due to fuel and exhaust related issues, and any kind of fuel leak, including holes and splits found above the fuel line, will automatically result in a fail, as will a missing or faulty filler cap or damaged fuel pipe.

Missing fuel tank shields or exhaust shields will also result in a failed MOT, and should be fixed immediately as they pose a fire risk and make a vehicle extremely dangerous to drive.

Steering, Seatbelts and Body Structure

Other common reasons for MOT failures are related to steering issues (3%), seatbelts (2.2.%) and body structure problems (1.9%).

Checking that your seats and seatbelts are secure, and in good condition, and identifying rust and sharp edges on the body of your vehicle should be fairly easy to do before your MOT. Rust on or within 30cm of safety-related car parts, such as brakes, will definitely result in a fail.

Identifying steering related issues, however, is more difficult to do at home. Testers will assess the condition of the steering wheel and column, and check for something called ‘free play’ in the system. Steering bearings will also be checked, as well as bolts, clamps and gaiters.

If your MOT is coming up soon, remember to spend some time inspecting your vehicle for faults and wear and tear. If you do spot issues like those mentioned above, you can always find high-quality replacement parts for fantastic low prices online at Euro Car Parts. With over 130,000 car parts in stock for all makes and models, we’re sure you’ll find what you need.

Why not get started by taking a look through our range of MOT Essentials? Once you’ve found what you need, don’t forget to check out our Fit It For Me service too – we’ll book you in with one of our trusted local garages, and they’ll help you make the repairs in time for your MOT.

And, if you’re always forgetting when your next MOT test is due, make sure you take advantage of our MOT reminder tool. Using a vehicle that’s deemed unfit to drive can result in a fine and penalty points on your licence, but with our tool you’ll never miss an MOT again.