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Motoring experts reveal the most common reasons for MOT failures

ALMOST one third of cars and vans on UK roads failed their MOTs last year, leading experts at Macklin Motors to reveal the most common reasons.

According to the motoring experts, the most frequent issues with these failed vehicles were found in either the brakes, tyres, lights, or windscreen wipers.

Regular MOT checks are vital in ensuring that a vehicle is road-safe and meets environmental standards. However in the UK, 29% failed their MOTs last year.

Macklin Motors have outlined what drivers should be looking out for in each area in order to pass their annual MOT.

Back of car on the road with headlights on
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on Unsplash

The number one reason that cars fail an MOT is due to an issue with the brakes, most likely the brake pads or discs.

During an MOT test, the condition of the brakes is tested to ensure they operate and perform correctly.

They are also checked to see if any inappropriate repairs or modifications have been made.

General wear and tear is the most likely culprit behind any brake issues. Brake pads, in particular, get worn away over time and can be extremely dangerous to drive with.

If ignored, the issue could also damage the brake rotors or brake callipers, which are costly to fix. To fail the MOT test, the brake lining or pad would need to be below 1.5mm.

Other reasons for failure include when brake pads are insecure, contaminated with grease, or missing entirely.

Tyres are another common culprit for MOT failure. The test will check the condition, security, tread depth, tyre size, and type of your tyres to ensure they are road safe.

According to Macklin Motors, tyre tread is the most likely of these factors to get flagged on an MOT test, as it impacts the braking distance of your vehicle.  

The tread depth is typically worn away through general wear and tear or by direct damage to the tyre.

The legal minimum tyre tread to pass an MOT is 1.6mm – however, most manufacturers recommend changing tyres when the tyre tread reaches 3mm to ensure maximum performance.

When it comes to light checks, no stone is left unturned. Headlights, sidelights, indicators, fog lights, brake lights, and registration plate lights are all checked in an MOT.

Vehicles commonly failed these checks when their lights were inoperative, faulty, broken, or even showing the wrong colour, in some rare instances.

Broken lights can significantly reduce vision when driving, especially at night or during periods of low light, and will also impact other drivers’ ability to see the car.

In fact, not only would broken lights fail an MOT, but it would also be breaking The Highway Code.

It states that drivers must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, ensuring all sidelights and registration plate lights are lit between sunset and sunrise.

It might seem like a small issue, but windscreen wipers are inspected in every MOT to check that the driver will have a clear view of the road in heavy downpours.

The most common issue is when the wiper blade is split or torn, which results in smearing or not clearing the windscreen effectively. Luckily, these issues can be quickly resolved and at a low cost.

Wiper blades wear down naturally over time as they come into contact with dirt and grit from the roads, so it is important to replace them regularly.

Calum Thomson, Group Aftersales Director at Vertu Motors plc, comments: “To avoid any unpleasant and costly surprises, it’s crucial for drivers to be aware of the potential issues that could see their vehicle fail its MOT.

“We recommend regular vehicle maintenance throughout the year, which will help drivers keep a better eye on the condition of their car.

“This will not only increase the likelihood of passing your MOT but may also save you money in the long run by catching any potential issues before they become more expensive to fix. 

“If you have any concerns about the health of your vehicle, or you’d like guidance on how to complete basic maintenance checks, it’s always a good idea to speak to an expert first.”

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