40% of MOT’s fail on their first attempt because of problems that could be rectified before the test. Some of these are DIY solutions, some you may need a mechanic but to save you the hassle of arranging an MOT re-test these are the main reasons cars can fail the test.

1, Lights

That’s right, it might be staring you right in the face but unless you have all lights working befoCheck lights MOT Testre an MOT test, it can be a failure. It’s actually about 1 in 5 cars that fail for faulty lights!

These are all lights on the exterior of the car so we have the indicators both front and back, your headlights, dipped headlights, hazard lights and brake lights. Along with your main front and rear lights.

It can be a quick fix before you come for your MOT test, find out which bulb has gone, have a look in your drivers manual to see which bulb you need, head online or to your local motoring store to purchase your bulb and follow the instructions in your drivers manual to fit the bulb. Modern bulbs are often found for under £5.

SMR Tip: Checking your lights on your own – Drive up close to a wall, try each of your lights at the front and check you can see all the relevant lights shining on the wall. Once you’ve done the front, reverse up to the wall and repeat.

2, Suspension

Now this one is a bit more difficult to diagnose but with 13% of MOT’s failing because of suspension this is what you can do to check yours. It is very difficult to perform a full suspension test but if you apply weight to each corner of the car and listen out for any creaks or rubbing noises that can be a sign they need a closer look by a mechanic.

Another thing to look out for is that when you apply weight and release, make sure the suspension settles back to normal quickly. If it doesn’t then this again could be a sign of a fault.

3, Brakes

Once again this isn’t the easiest part to test yourself but if your brakes feel loose or unresponsive this could be a sign that they need attention. 10% of all MOT’s fail due to inadequate brake pads, disc or systems.

SMR Tip: Brake pad wear – Brake pads can wear out within 25,000 but can last up to 70,000 miles. It all depends on the make and model of the car and also the way you drive. To get the most out of your brake pads slow down a long way from a corner, using your engine to slow the car. Another tip is not to leave your car un-used for a long period of time as rust can form on the disc pads and corrode the disc resulting in you needing new discs too

4, Tyres

Don’t be one of the 8% who fail dueTyre Depth Gauge to your tyres! There are two common faults with tyres when they are checked in an MOT. The first is the tyre pressure; make sure the tyre pressure is to the manufacturer’s suggested level. If they’re under inflated take your car to a petrol garage and fill them to the recommended levels.

The other common fault is that there isn’t enough tread on the tyres, legally you need at least 1.6mm of tread on a tyre. That is on each tyre and at each area of the tyre. Some tyres wear out quicker in the centre, or on the outer section so check each tread pattern to be certain.

SMR Tip: Checking Tyre Pressures – This is usually found in either the drivers manual, but may be on a sticker in the petrol cap or on the drivers door frame.

5, Windscreen

7% of MOT’s fail due to your windscreen. Cracks on your windscreen can be one of the problems but we also include windscreen wipers and washers as well.

Cracks on your windscreen can’t be more thanWindscreen Chip Check 40mm wide. However if you have one that is 10mm wide in the drivers central vision this can also be a failure.  Cracks can usually be sorted through a windscreen repair company and this service is often included in car insurance policies and it won’t affect your no claims policy.

The other area we check is your wipers and washer jets. Make sure your wipers work and remove water from you windscreen and that your jets can cover a large area of your windscreen and are no blocked. New windscreen wipers are relatively cheap and can be brought online or at many motoring shops.


 SMR Tip: Fixing Wiper Jets – First of all check which jet needs fixing from within the car, if it shoots off to the side, up in the air or is blockedthis is how to rectify. Take a look at the jets and see how big the opening is. Find a pin, paperclip or something similar which can fit inside and unblock the jet with this. Don’t push too hard as we don’t want to damage the jets, just unsettle the blockage. Then try the jets again to unsettle and unblock the debris. Once they’re clear, use the same tool to move the jets into position. The majority of washer jets can move so don’t be worried about breaking them.