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How to Avoid MOT Failures

In the car’s third year, it has to undergo an annual MOT (Ministry of Transport) test and pass. All vehicles that are more than three years old need to go through this test with the exemption of cars made prior to 1960. If you take care of your vehicle well and keep it in good condition, there’s nothing to really worry about because the MOT is a test to ensure that your car is still roadworthy. To help you prepare for your car’s test, here are some of the things you need to check to help avoid MOT failures

Lights and Signals

About 20% of cars fail the MOT because of problems with their lights. Some of the issues are so simple that they could have been avoided. For example, car owners may have missed a blown bulb which they could have replaced easily. 

Make sure your car doesn’t fail the annual MOT by checking your lights first, from the indicator lights to the number plate light. Apart from the bulbs themselves, you may also want to check the plastic lenses which could be misty. Cleaning kits are readily available in your local garage. You can use one to clean the lights before the MOT. 

Don’t forget to check for cracks in the light casings as well. And as for your brake lights, you can ask a friend to check them while you’re pressing on the brake pedal. Take your time as you’re assessing the condition of each of your car lights to make sure your car doesn’t fail the MOT because of something easily fixable. 


Some vehicles don’t pass the MOT because of issues with their suspensions. Your shock absorbers might  be leaky or there might be a snapped spring. Suspensions are fairly hidden and difficult to inspect on your own so it’s important to be observant when something doesn’t feel right or you hear an usual noise while you’re driving your car. 

Do you hear noises while you’re driving your car on bumpy roads or when cornering? If you’ve noticed that your car is making unusual clunks, then there might be a problem. You can further confirm that it’s the suspension by parking your car and try seeing if it sits level or if it’s too high or too low in one corner. 

Before the MOT, you can take your car to a garage to check if there is indeed a problem with the suspension. The auto mechanic can examine it and identify if there are other issues with your car. Get the problematic parts fixed, repaired, or replaced to avoid MOT failures. Many garage offer a service/MOT package so will fix problems before the car is tested.


Any car owner knows the importance of a good braking system, however, some cars still don’t pass their MOTs because of issues with the brakes. You’ll immediately know if there’s a problem with your car’s braking system if you hear grinding or squealing noises when you press the brake pedal. It means that the pads are already running low. (Although sometimes you might hear this is your car has been standing for long periods in winter or wet weather as the pads can become a bit rusty. )

Observe your car whenever you brake to see if it stops in a straight line or if it pull to one side. This could also indicate an issue with the brakes. The car’s discs and pads should also be inspected although you’re going to have to remove the wheel to see them. Check if the surface of the brake disc and the thickness of the brake pads. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can take your car to a garage so an expert can check everything, including the handbrake. 


Checking the tyres is vital to ensuring your safety on the road. In fact, it’s not enough to check your car’s tyres just for the MOT preparation. You also have to assess the condition of the tyres whenever your going for a long drive, driving at night, during heavy rain, and before wintertime. To be save, try checking your tyres every couple of weeks. 

To assess the tread depth of your tyres, use a 20p coin. Your tyres need to have a minimum depth of 1.6mm. You can use the coin to measure the depth of your tyres by inserting the coin and checking if you see the outer band. If you do, then the tread depth of your tyres is already too low. Try to get new tyres as soon as possible or you might be fined £2,500 plus three penalty points for every tyre. 

Apart from visually inspecting the tyres, feel them as well, especially the inside of the tyres because there might be uneven wear, alignment issues, as well as poor inflation. Also, look for any cuts or lumps because those could cause your tyres to blow out. If there is anything unusual that you notice with your tyres, take your car to a garage so they can be fixed immediately. 


Before taking your car for its annual MOT, make sure that you check every part of it – from the wipers and windscreen to the fluids and filters. Take your time so you can assess each part properly. Whenever you see or feel something that’s not quite right, consult an auto mechanic so you can get expert advice on what should be done so you can prepare your car to get the best score on its MOT. 

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