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Bristol Street Motors

Top 5 MOT Failures (And How to Avoid Them)

Top 5 MOT Failures (And How to Avoid Them)

Ahh, the dreaded MOT - the bane of most motorist’s life! Let’s be honest, we’re usually guilty of leaving this to the last minute, and if we don’t take good care of our vehicles, can often leave our pockets and bank accounts feeling a little empty afterwards. In this article, we here at Bristol Street Motors take a look at the Top 5 MOT failures, with some handy research and stats from the RAC, how a few simple steps can help avoid any trip-ups on the big day.  

5. Issues affecting the driver's view of the road

As much as we like to fill our cars with air fresheners to retain that new car smell, or rely on good luck charms and nodding dog mascots, these can often affect our line of sight on the roads, particularly when placed on the dashboard or hung from our rear-view mirrors. This can be particularly dangerous and see your car fail an MOT as a result.

It doesn’t just stop at sat navs and air fresheners though, chips or cracks in your windscreen that catch your eye and affect sight while driving will also be penalised - cast your eye across the windscreen before a journey to help spot any potential hazards. Some small chips will see nothing more than an advisory note on your MOT, but major chips and cracks will warrant a fail.

You will also need to ensure your wipers work as well as they should. Do they manage to clear everything on your windscreen, or do they only make things worse? If you hear a scratching noise when using your windscreen wipers, or actually see scratching appear, this is a pretty clear sign that they need replacing!

4. Tyres

It seems people also underestimate the importance of their car’s tyres, and doing so could land you in a bit of bother. Although the latest technology and safety gadgets come in very handy, if the very things that actually connect you to the road aren’t in good nick, then a hefty fine and points on your license would be the least of your worries, as the likelihood of an accident is increased dramatically.

Check your tread regularly; a simple trick using a 20p coin can help keep your tyre tread above the legal limit. Check out our blog on Car Maintenance You Can Do Yourself


3. Brakes

There’s no disputing the importance of brakes, and yet a tenth of MOT fails are due to poor maintenance of the braking system.

There are a few things you can look out for, the obvious being your braking distance. If you start to see this increase, or are required to brake harder, even in normal weather or driving conditions, you may want to have a quick look at your brakes. Squealing or grinding noises are also signs that your brake pads are running low. Pay attention to any play on your steering when braking – your car should of course brake in a straight line but should you notice it pulling to one side, this may be a sign of uneven or worn out pads.

2. Suspension

The RAC announced that in the first quarter of 2017, they attended over 6,500 breakdowns caused as a result of potholes on the road. With that said, it’s then no surprise to see that just over 1 in 10 MOT failures are caused by issues with the suspension. To most motorists, these can be fairly well hidden, so a leaking shock absorber or snapped spring can easily go amiss until further down the line.

Try and pay close attention to the noises your car makes while driving, should you hear anything more than your usual road and wind noise; for example, slight ‘clunking’ noises while driving, particularly when cornering, this may be a sign of suspension troubles. To car lovers, these noises are worse than nails scraping down a chalkboard and chances are, they are nothing major to worry about, but are worth getting looked at – better safe than sorry!

1. Lighting and signaling

Almost a fifth of cars fail their MOT due to a faulty bulb! This can be as simple as a blown fuse and is a very cheap fix in most cases. To give your lights a quick once over, simply switch on all your lights and walk around your car to check they’re in working order. You can check your brake lights by asking someone to take a look while you press your brakes, or check the reflection of the lights in a nearby window.

How Long Does an MOT Test Take

To check your indicators are working, someone can again confirm for you. Should there be an issue with one of your indicators, you will notice they flash at a different rate than normal. If they flash less than 60, or more than 120, times per minute, this is usually a sign that one has decided to shut up shop and needs fixing. 

You can find replacement lightbulbs here.



And with that, we see the end of our list for the top 5 MOT failures. Be sure to look out for these warning signs whenever you’re out and about! Should you spot anything of any concern, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.

For more information, click here.

To book your MOT, click here.