fail sign

3 most common MOT failures and how to avoid them

30th May, 2023

An MOT – or a Ministry of Transport test – is an essential part of road safety and driving in general here in the UK, and it has been since 1960. It ensures that your car is safe and roadworthy — like an annual physical exam, but for your vehicle.

Right now, you must legally get an MOT for your car by the third anniversary of its registration – or by the anniversary of its last MOT, if your car is over three years old.

Booking in for an MOT can be a stressful time for many. No-one likes the idea of waiting to hear whether your car needs repairs, or even worse, how much it’s going to cost. New research shows that during the last five years, over half of British motorists failed their MOT. And now, the cause of these failures has been revealed. Here at Scrap Car Network, we’ve laid out these problem areas and how to counteract them, so you can go into your next MOT confident and stress free.

Reason #1 – Tyres

Tyres are the defect most likely to result in a failed MOT. Damaged, worn or otherwise unsuitable tyres account for a shocking 12.2% of all MOT failures. That’s more than one in 10 vehicles.

Here’s how to avoid this happening to you:

  • Check your tyre tread – Worn tyre tread is one of the most common reasons for MOT failure. Why? It’s incredibly dangerous. Worn tyres are less effective in rainy conditions and have a longer braking distance in both dry and wet conditions. The legal limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, but it’s best to get your tyres checked and replaced before they reach this point — especially before your MOT.
  • Check your tyre pressure – Checking your tyre pressure is easy, and it can be done at home with a pressure gauge or tyre pump. If you don’t have either of these, you can head down to a local petrol station that does. Most cars come with a sticker on their bodywork that tells you the ideal tyre pressure. If you can’t find this on your vehicle, check your user manual. It’s best practice to do this every 3 weeks, as under-inflated tyres affect your car’s gripping capability, as well affecting the outcome of the MOT.
  • Check for any visible damage – Any damage to the tread cap, sidewall or tyre shoulders is best addressed with a mechanic before your MOT. If the cords or ply are exposed, it will undoubtedly lead to a failure.

Reason #2 – Brakes

Faulty brakes are the second mostly likely issue to be mentioned during your MOT. According to Birmingham Live, 7.9% of cars fail because of faulty brakes.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Worn brake pads – If you peer into the gaps between your wheel spokes, you’ll be able to see your pad pressed against your brake disc. Some brake pads come with a wear indicator slot down the centre, if yours don’t, use a torch to inspect it manually. If you notice that there’s anything less than 3mm of the pad visible, then getting them checked out is the way forward.
  • Any changes in your car’s performance when braking – If when you brake, your car is making any screeching or grinding noises that it definitely wasn’t before, it’s a pretty good sign that the pads are running low. Similarly, if your car is pulling off to one side when you brake, it’s a sign of uneven wear on your pads. It would be best to get them seen to sooner rather than later.
  • Insufficient brake fluid levels – Checking your brake fluid level is another easy pre-MOT check to carry out that can reduce the risk of your brakes failing. Your car’s brake fluid should sit between the minimum and maximum markers under the bonnet.

Reason #3 – Suspension

Overly worn or damaged suspension systems will also cause your car to fail the MOT test. Research cited in Birmingham Live states that 7% of all failures are a result of defective suspension. And that’s no surprise, with the AA stating that the number of pothole-related breakdowns they attend daily has risen by 29% since the same month last year.

There are a few tell-tale signs that your suspension may need checking out by a qualified mechanic. These include:

  1. Your car is pulling to one side when you’re driving – if you’ve checked your tyres and you’re sure it’s not them, next check your shock absorbers for any signs of wear or damage.
  2. Your car’s ride feels bumpier than usual – If you can feel every rock, bump and hole, it’s a good indicator that your shock absorbers or struts probably need changing.
  3. One corner of your car sits lower than the others – If your tyres are properly inflated, but one corner of your car is sitting lower than the others (and it’s accompanied by a bumping or banging noise when going over a bump), that could mean a spring is worn or damaged.
  4. You have difficulty steering your car – If you find you’re having difficulty steering your car even at slow speeds, it’s probably a sign that either your suspension system is lagging or your steering system is at fault — both of which are potentially dangerous if left unchecked.
  5. Your car’s shock absorbers are covered in oil – Healthy shock absorbers should be clean and dry. If they’re covered in grease, it could be a sign of a leak which could be damaging if not addressed.

If your car is presenting any of these faults, then it’s best to take it to a garage and have the problem seen before any damage worsens. It’s important to get any of the problems discussed above rectified before you take your car in for its MOT test, or you risk failing.

If you fail and your car is deemed ‘dangerous’ by an MOT test, you will not legally be able to drive it anywhere until it’s been fixed – even if that’s just home from your MOT test. The consequences include fines of up to £2,500, being banned from driving altogether, or 3 penalty points. All easily avoided by keeping your eye on your car, and looking out for any abnormalities! If you get them fixed within good time, the chances are the damages will be minimal.

However, if your vehicle has too many faults to fix, or it fails its MOT test and the damages cost more than you’re willing to pay, the best solution might be to scrap your car.

And that’s where we can help right here at Scrap Car Network! Our super quick collection service is painless and easy to arrange, plus it saves you figuring out how to get your car to a scrap yard – a task which can be especially tricky if your car has just failed its MOT.

All you have to do is enter your car reg and postcode into the fields on our site, and we’ll get you your instant scrap car quote. From there, we’ll be in touch to find out where and when you want your car to be picked up from. We’ll finalise the payment upon collection, and that’s all there is to it! So if you’re thinking ‘it’s time to scrap my car’ you’re in the right place!

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial