Avoiding MOT Failures

A good tip for avoiding MOT failures is to take your car to an MOT station that does not do repairs. Many councils have their own MOT test centres for council vehicles but the law says that they must be open to the public. Using a council run MOT test centre means that they do not have an incentive to fail your car on the grounds that they can get work out of you. There is also no incentive to fail your car for faults that don't exist. You may miss out on a 'Cheap MOT deal' but general the pass rate will be a lot higher and the work needed a lot lower.

What about Safety?
The standards of MOT carried out by council MOT test centres is second to none. They are just as strict as any other - they just don't make things up to make more money.
Click here for a list of Council MOT test centres

Whats the best way to pass an MOT?

Most MOT failures are down to the simplest of things. A blown bulb of worn windscreen wiper can mean the all the difference to headache free motoring. Such simple things can be avoided quite easily if we take the time to do a pre MOT inspection ourselves beforehand. Changing lightbulbs and windscreen wiper blades is well within the abilities of most of us yet in 2007, out of 2,106,946 MOT tests carried out 580,754 failed first time. Below is a chart of the most common MOT failures.

Component Total Item Failures
Lights 271,567
Tyres and Wheels 155,489
Drivers View or the road 120,095
Brakes 110,327
Steering & Suspension 99,798
Fuel & Emissions 23,634
Reg Plates & VIN 19,047
Seat Belts 11,271
Others 11,115
Bodywork & Structure 7,705
Road Wheels 5,746
Drive System 656
Driving Controls 183
Total: 836,633

Click here for a complete list of common MOT failures broken down by make,model and year of vehicles

As we can see the biggest reason for failure was lighting.
A blown bulb! How hard is it to change a bulb?

Tyres can be inspected easily to avoid the second biggest reason for failure. Cracked windscreens are again easily checked and most fully comprehensive insurances cover windscreen repair and replacement. If everyone checked these items before their MOT test in 2007 then 547,151 failures could have been avoided (thats over 65%).

Two more startling reasons where Reg Plates and Road Wheels. Standard Registration plates will not fail an MOT but customise your own and your in for trouble. Same goes for wheels. They must be the standard wheels for the car. The road holding, speedometer and gearing etc. are all designed around a specific sized wheel and changing this can cause MOT failures aswell as damage. Again both items are easily checked.

Some of the other reasons may get a little more technical but there is no reason why we cannot attempt them ourselves in an effort to save money and time off the road.

Below are the checks that you can make yourself before putting your vehicle through its MOT. You do have to do every check but we would suggest doing the tests that have the highest failure rates first ie bulbs etc.. The top 3 reason for MOT failures are the 3 easiest tests to carry out yourself.

Checks 1-6 can be carried out sat in the drivers seat
Checks 7-12 are carried out by inspection ot the outside of your vehicle
Checks 13-18 Need your wheels to be off the ground and free to rotate.
Checks 19 - 20 Are exhaust and emission checks

Internal Checks
1. Handbrake
2. Footbrake
3. Steering Wheel
4. Windscreen & Mirrors
5. Seat Belts
6. Doors

External Checks
7. Registration Plates & VIN (Vehicle Idenification Number)
8. Electrical Equipment
9. Brakes
10. Steering & Suspension
11. Shock Absorbers
12. Exhaust System
13. Steering Mechanism
14. Drive Shafts
15. Braking System
16. Fuel & Exhaust
17. Wheels & Tyres
18. Bodywork
19. Emissions - Petrol Engines
20. Emissions - Diesel

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