Common MOT Test Fails

New data from the DVSA shows that 50% of all faults found during the MOT test could be avoided by carrying out regular maintenance. Carrying out simple checks at home could help you to pass your MOT test first time and will help to keep you safe on the road.


The DVSA states that during 2014-15, 10% of MOT fails were due to issues with tyres. You should regularly check that your tyre tread is over the legal limit of 1.6mm to keep your vehicle legal. Tyres that do not meet this requirement will fail the MOT test and could result in points on your license and a fine of up to £2,500 per each illegal tyre. Here at Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre, we would recommend having your tyres replaced when tread reaches 3mm as at this point your gripping capabilities and wet weather performance will be dramatically affected. Find out how you can check your tyre tread here.

As well as checking your tyre tread depth, you will need to ensure that your tyres are not damaged, as cuts, bulges and lumps will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT test. Check your tyres visually every three weeks for any signs of damage and visit a tyre specialist if you find any signs that indicate your tyre may be damaged. If you are unsure what you should be looking for, take a look at our helpful tyre condition guide.

Whilst checking your tyres, it is also important to check that your tyre pressures are at the correct level for your vehicle. Learn how you can check tyre pressure here.

Lights and Mirrors

Checking that your lights and mirrors are in good condition is a simple task and can keep your vehicle from failing its MOT test.

Ensure that all your lights are all working effectively. You can do this by parking close to a reflective surface and switching on your headlights, fog lights, indicators and rear lights. Even better, ask someone to stand by your vehicle and watch as you test your lights, ensuring the correct lights come on and off when the correct pedals, dials and switches are used.

Similarly, you should check that all of your mirrors are in the right position and there are no signs of damage to them which may obscure your view. Damaged mirrors can cause an MOT fail and could also impair your vision when driving, which could be dangerous.


When driving it is vital that you have a clear and unimpaired view of the road ahead, which is why a damaged windscreen is classed as an MOT test fail.
Damage larger than 40mm directly ahead of the driver, or 10mm anywhere else on the windscreen will be deemed an obstruction, so ensure that you have this kind of damage fixed before your MOT test.

In addition, windscreen wipers should work effectively. If yours leave smears on the windscreen and do not remove all water on every pass, then the likelihood is they are damaged and will need to be replaced. You can inspect your windscreen wipers for damage very easily with a simple visual inspection. Run your fingers down the full length of the rubber blade, being careful to look for any splits, tears or cracks.

Further Checks

You should also keep an eye on the following components:

  • Make sure that your brakes are working effectively by listening for any unusual noises or noting if your car is pulling to one side. If you do notice these or any other signs, visit a trained specialist immediately.
  • Check that there is a seatbelt for every seat in your vehicle, each one operates effectively and all are in good condition, as signs that they are starting to fray can cause an MOT fail.
  • Ensure that there is no excessive damage to the body of your vehicle, if there are sharp or jagged edges that may potentially injure a pedestrian or another vehicle; you will want to have them fixed before the test.
  • Book your MOT test online at Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre, we provide Class 4, 5 and 7 MOT testing at competitive prices. You can also book an MOT test alongside a Car Service to save time and money.