Your Questions Answered

The questions and answers in this section of relate to previous versions of the MOT manual and should not be relied on, as the law may have changed. Please ensure you check the relevant section of the current MOT manual, which can be found on this site.

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Brake Failure

Q Had car MOT failed on rear shock absorber having a leak and steering arm having movement on fixings at front. Had the work done. Took car for a drive same day few hours later red brake light came on dash. Brake pedal feeling really spongy, have to push pedal all way down. In the morning noticed oil stains on drive on rear wheel they changed the shock on. Theyre also possibly be some oil leak near one of the front wheels. Brake fluid reservoir is on minimum...filled up brake light gone out but brake pedal very low and spongy. Called the mechanic he said weve done no work on the brakes but to bring it in as soon as I can. Should this problem have been picked up on the MOT or has something been knocked/moved when they carried out this work Thanks for your replies

Name: George

This would have a failed an MOT if the problem was occurring during the MOT test. This all sounds like something that happened during the garage work and would have therefore been after the MOT. If there is a leak in the brake system then you should not drive the vehicle and get it seen to as soon as possible. The garage may have caught a brake line during the work. If the fluid runs out - NO BRAKES

Rear callipers sticking

Q I just got my car MOTd, and it passed after changing rear brake pads. Just got a call from the garage who now said one of the rear calipers need changing as its sticking on the new brake pad. This seems strange if the car passed MOT already... looking 500 quid all in. Does this seem legit

Name: Mgm

It does seem strange but the brake callipers and the brake pads are 2 different parts and it is possible that changing the pads may have accelerated the malfunction of the callipers. The MOT tests the brake performance and mechanical part conditions so a sticking brake should have failed. If it stuck at the time You can go to any garage and have your brakes checked, it doesnt need to be the MOT station. Halfords offer a brake test free of charge You might also not need a new calliper if the old calliper can be lubricated and/or freed off.

Secondary Brake Problem

Q hyundai ix35 just failed mot with rear parking secondary brakes imbalanced, garage does not yet know what problem is as they looked fine on service on same day

what does this mean

Name: Dave   Town: Edinburgh

The service brake system is the main braking system used to stop the car61472;the secondary emergency brake system is a backup system in case something happens to the main brake system In many cases, it is of lesser braking capacity and is only be used to stop the car in an emergency The parking brake system is a brake intended to hold a stopped car in place Imbalance is when the brakes are not working equally on each side within certain limits

Car for sale failed on brakes.

Q A car we were about to buy, a Dacia Duster 19k miles has just failed its MOT It saysReasons for failure
front brake excessively fluctuating both 3.7.B.3
Parking brake lever has no reserve travel 3.1.6b
Advisory notice items
Front Brake pads wearing thin 3.5.1g
brake disc worn, pitted or scored, but not seriously weakened both front inner faces 3.5.1i why has this happened in a car with such low mileage Should I insist on full repair or not buy the car Can you advise


If in doubt walk away It sounds like it just needs the brake discs replacing and some adjustment. The brake disc on a car usually last anywhere between 50,000 and 70,000 miles but it depends on the driving style of the user. Heavy late braking can shorten the life etc.


Q We have a 2001 Ford Focus, 1.6l, and it recently failed its MOT with KwikFit due to Brakes imbalanced across an axle 3.7.B.5b, the RBT brake imbalance was 34.

We had the work done with KwikFit which involved 2 new brake cylinders and a brake bleed. The car then passed, but there is an advisory now stating that the RBT brake imbalance is 27, and it also states that Rear brakes imbalanced requirements only just met. It would appear that the braking system required adjustment or repairs 3.7.B.5b.

Im not sure how this part of the test works, and am I wrong to assume that if they have replaced the cylinders and bled the system, they should have done this work so that it is 0 or at least it is not even an advisory


Name: Dom   Town: Birmingham

Cylinders are only part of the braking system there are the discs, pads and calipers all these components have a influence on braking

Q My sons car passed its MOT and a month after the brakes failed whilst driving down a country lane and one of the brake disc pads came flying of.

What rights does my son have and what legal obligation does the MOT place have for not spotting that the brakes were very dangerous

Name: Jance   Town: St Leonardís on Sea

The MOT Tester would only have checked the condition of the brakes on the day and if he thought they were safe at that time would have passed them if he thought that there would have been a problem with the brakes in the near future he would have issued an advisory if a month later the brakes failed this might not have been obvious at the time of the test

Brake binding

Q Nearside Rear rear brake binding 3.7.B.1

Name: Chris   Town: hull

Not really sure that this is a question.

If the brake is not functioning then the car will fail. If it is 25 different to its opposite brake then it will fail. If you are looking for reasons for this then it could be a build of rust/debris stopping the smooth movement of the brake piston. It might be best to replace the brake calliper assembly.

Converted Parking Brake

Q have converted my electronic parking brake to i have parking brake warning light and orange spanner service light showing. would it pass an mot

Name: paul   Town: Chesterfield

There are two areas you can run foul with a tester

Electronic parking brake warning indicates a malfunction

A parking brake lever or control inappropriately repaired or modified

Click here for more information

Brakes imbalanced across an axle

Q brakes imbalanced across an axle rear zafira

Name: shelly   Town: bristol


The service brake system is the main braking system used to stop the car the secondary emergency brake system is a backup system in case something happens to the main brake system In many cases, it is of lesser braking capacity and is only be used to stop the car in an emergency Imbalance is when the brakes are not working equally on each side within certain limits

Testing Limited slip diff

Q Can a brake test on rollers damage a Limited slip diff on a RWD car

Name: Darryl   Town: London

Most garages are happy to road test the manual states Certain vehicles may not be suitable for testing using a roller brake tester. Testers should take account of the vehicles drive configuration, transmission type and any Vehicle Specific Information before deciding whether a full or partial roller brake test is appropriate. If additional information is available from the vehicle manufacturer, then this should also be taken into account.

Unsuitable vehicles should be tested using a properly calibrated and maintained decelerometer or a plate brake tester designated as acceptable for the statutory tests for more info go to

Brakes imbalance

Q car failed MOT on Clause 3.7.B.5b Front brakes imbalanced across an axle.

What work should be carried out to ensure the vehicle is safe and will pass the MOT

Name: Ed Lane   Town: Southampton

It depends on what is causing the brake imbalance. If its because of a leak contaminating a brake surface for example then the leak would need to be stopped and the surfaces cleaned. If a pad is low then both sides should be replaced. If there is a kink in a brake line then the line should be replaced.

Backup brake lights

Q Mercedes MLs have a habit of the backup brake lights being used when the connection to the normal brake light has failed. The fog lamps are used as brake lights when this happens. Would this be a UK MOT failure when tested

Name: martin

As long as you have high intensity red lights that light up when the brake pedal is depressed and extinguish when released and they do not affect the normal light I.e. side/running lights

Roller Brake test and LSD

Q Should cars fitted with a LSD back axle have the handbrake tested on the rollers or by road testing with a meter

Name: David Rosser   Town: Derby

Vehicles fitted with LSDs should not be Roller brake tested and would most likely try to push the vehicle out of the rollers. All authorised test stations should have a calibrated Decelerometer which can be used to test the brakes. The vehicle hand book would state how to perform the brake test.

Brake pad warning light

Q the brake pad warning light has come on and the follow up message reads your brake pads are worn but you may drive on. will this cause an MOT failure

Name: Dave Green   Town: cockermouth

If the light is on and the brake pads are worn and the fluid level light comes on it will fail.

If its just the pad warning light then the car should pass.

Dont forget that if you drive with worn brake pads then they can score the discs and you might have to replace them also which increases the total bill no end

MOT not picked up on fault

Q I had my MOT in January and it passed. On Saturday my left rear brake cylinder failed, causing me to lose brakes and leaking fluid everywhere. The garage doing the repairs told me that the right one was about to fail too. Is this something that the MOT shouldve picked up

Name: Rob   Town: Windsor

The MOT test can only test the car at the present time. Unless the rear brake cylinder had already failed before the MOT it could not be seen to be a future risk. The MOT inspector does not strip down the vehicle and test each part. If the brake cylinder had not failed at the time of inspection then the car could have passed its MOT. The condition of the master cylinders is part of the test but they could have looked fine on the day of the MOT.

MOT Disputed

Q We bought our 2002 motorhome from a dealer in april 2016 and picked it up on the 2nd june 2016 its mot was done in may 2016 with no advisories. We have had many problems and have had 2 separate independent reports done the first states that the front to rear brake pipe is heavily corroded, both front wheel arches are corroded and holed near to spring mounting,OSR brake pipe is corroded and exhaust rubber mounting broken backed up with digital photos. The second report states front to rear brake pipe dangerous, exhaust mounts corroded and missing. Should this have passed its mot in may and at the least should it have had advisories about the brake pipes etc. We had only had it 12 weeks when we found this out. I know its not part of the mot but there is also excessive rot to the outer floor and sides of the caravan part of the motorhome. All the dealer said over the phone was he needed it back to look at but wasnt willing to collect it. Weve now sent a letter and reports and photos but the dealer has not responded.

Name: Bobby   Town: Leeds

There is an official online complaint form that you can use

Click here for more information

handbrake warning light

Q Is handbrake warning light an mot failure, Whilst stuck on

Name: John   Town: St Helens

Tested are electronic parking brake and electronic stability control warning lights the MOT test will also include checks of the following, where fitted;

Headlight main beam warning light

Electronic power steering warning light

Brake fluid level warning light

Tyre pressure monitoring system warning light

Airbag warning light

Seat belt pre-tensioner warning light

Steering suspension

this is a list of the lights that are tested the hand brake light is not included


Q I have recently bought a tail light for my motorcycle with integrated indicators, the indicators work great with orange LEDs, the running light is also fine with red LEDs. My only concern is the brake light, which when switched on emits a purple glow through the use of blue LEDs alongside the red running light. The company that provides this product says its fine and there should not be any problems. Will I pass an MOT with bright purple brakes Cheers


Name: Pro9   Town: Bury st edmunds

The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 states the brake light should be red.

Advosory notice still present after repair

Q MOT failed. One of the failure items was part 3.7.B.3 Front brake excessively fluctuating on both n/s and o/s. In the advisory Info I had items 3.5.1i for both sides brake disc worn, pitted or scored, but not seriously weakened.

I took the car home to do the repairs. When I examined the front brakes they had some obvious signs of wear but nothing out of the ordinary. I decided to change the discs and pads both sides anyway.
Car has just been retested and passed but I still have advisory info for both sides discs worn, pitted or scored so tester obviously hasnt visually inspected the discs. I questioned this and was given some flannel about he must have pressed some wrong button. Not sure what button he was referring to but obviously just trying to get me out of the door with the dont worry, its passed speech. I didnt have the time or inclination to argue the point any further but just feel that I have been scammed to a certain degree.

What do you think

Name: Mark Paterson

It is possible what he says although I would expect a bit more vigilance. usually a garage after finishing repairs will give you the old parts To prove that the work has been done If you have the old discs then you can judge for yourself if they where as bad as they said. As far as the advisory notice was concerned it is possible that he forgot to remove it.

Brake lights are tested with the ignition on

Q With ignition on all 3 brake lights work fine, with key out only the top middle 1 works but this is an aftermarket light fitted into a hard top on my Ford ranger pickup via a relay to main battery. Is brake lights working with ignition off part of an MOT test schedule and maybe do I not have a fault

Name: Chris

Brake lights are tested with the ignition on

Brake light stays on

Q failed mot because brake light stays on when lights are on.was told its an electrical problem. I have a Peugeot 206 , is this right thanks.

Name: jimmy   Town: london

Of course its right Brake lights must only illuminate when the brakes are applied or how will the car behind you be able to tell if you are braking or not.

mot advisory brake hub

Q What does it mean on mot advisory brake hub

Name: Kathleen    Town: Liverpool

It means that there is something wrong with your brake hub but its not bad enough to fail the MOT but will be by the next MOT test. Probably your brake shoes are low

Brake Imbalance

Q if a car has two different size brake calipers on the front will it pass mot

Name: peter   Town: bideford

As long as the brakes are balanced One brake cannot be greater than 25 different to its opposite

Binding Brakes

Q Hi a car I have put a deposit on at a trader has since been motd and failed for brake binding at 112275 miles. The car has been tested again at 112275 at the same station on the same day and passed. What work should have been carried out before handing car over to me. Can I reject car under the sales of goods act. Thank you for your help.

Name: John   Town: Leek

You have no obligation to buy any vehicle. If you are unhappy or think something is amiss or he has not made the necessary repair then you should walk away. If you have already paid or made a deposit then you should be able to ask for this back if you think that the car is not sold as agreed: i.e. 12 months MOT. If the brakes have been fixed of have freed off then the car can pass an MOT. If the brakes where binding because of inactivity then just using the car could have freed them off. If they where binding because of corrosion then this should have been remedied probably with new parts.

Faulty Handbrake

Q Will mot pick up faulty handbrake.

Name: Morris   Town: Nottingham

A faulty handbrake will cause you to fail hand brakes are diligently tested

Dashboard brake light

Q Brake wear light is on but pads are fine. Will this be a fail for NI MOT test

Name: JIm Allen   Town: Lisburn

Dashboard brake light can be connected to brake fluid level as well as pads if on will fail

Vuaxhall Antara

Q I have a Vuaxhall Antara with an electronic handbrake. It has been in had a full service and passed an MOT 2 weeks ago. After picking the car up and driving it i parked it on a slight incline and put the handbrake on however, the car started to roll backwards.

This happened on a few occasions even when leaving it in gear as well so i called the garage and got it booked in today. They have just called to say that there is a problem and it is going to cost minimum 130 to fix but have not stated what the problem is.

My question though is this not something that should be picked up on its MOT test. The garage have said its not as it is only tested on a rolling road that goes forward but in my eyes surely they should have spotted that and failed its MOT.


Name: Tony   Town: Cramlington

There seems to be a procedure on antaras on inclines contact Vauxhall main dealer and ask them to clarify whether there is a problem the test carried out by the tester is standard procedure if Vauxhall say that the garage is at fault you can complain to the DVSA

Click here for more information

Hand Brake

Q Would like to know if your brake efficiency can pass MOT if handbrake cable as broke on caliper on near side off car

Name: david price   Town: sheffield

To pass the MOT the handbrake must stop both wheels from turning

Rear Brake binding

Q offside rear rear brake binding 3.7.B.1

Name: jkkk   Town: pj14t

If little or no braking effort is recorded from any brake this will be cause for failure all brakes must be functioning correctly

Broken brake cable

Q My car passed a MOT test and 6 days later I was driving to work and my brakes failed and I was lucky not to have a accident the brake cable had snapped. Why didnt this show a problem on the MOT certificate

Name: Dawn Pugh   Town: Tonypandy

The condition of the brake cable would have been tested at the time of the test if in the opinion of the tester the cable was serviceable then he would pass it there is no guarantee that components will not fail even the next day if the fault is not obvious

Failed Brakes

Q my car failed its brake test do need to buy new brakes

Name: Elliott Tyalor   Town: Abingdon

Brake failure can be due to a number of faults the best solution is to get a competent mechanic to look at what the problem is

Brake repairs

Q Estimate price to repair brakes,

1 brakes imbalanced across rear axle 3.7.B.5b

2 rear brake binding offside rear 3.7.b.1

Name: Colly   Town: Plymouth

Unfortunately we cannot advise on the cost of repairs age and condition of the car has to be taken into consideration but as a rule main dealers are usually more expensive than independent garages

Motorcycle and Sidecar Brakes

Q If a motorcycle and sidecar has two brakes ,one on the front wheel and one on the sidecar wheel but no brake on the motorcycle rear wheel, will it fail a UK MOT

Name: John   Town: Malvern

All brakes must work to pass

Hand Brake

Q I have a Ford Focus mark 2 and am concerned about the handbrake, how many clicks does it require to fully engage the handbrake to pass an mot

Name: Roger   Town: Bolton

As long as the hand brake works it will pass if the tester thinks it needs adjusting he will give an advisory

Brake Pads

Q My Car passed its MOT 5 weeks ago and now my brake pads have gone should this not have been noticed at the MOT

Name: aM   Town: SUNDERLAND

The MOT only tests the performance of the brakes at the time of the MOT. They do not take them apart and inspect them. If the brakes where not worn at the time of the inspection then the MOT is valid

wheel Imbalance

Q My car failed an mot due to the rear brake imbalance of 36. I have heard they cannot fail you on the rear brake imbalance, is that correct

Name: Tony   Town: Bedfordshire

Sorry no The original changes to the brake efficiency test in June 2013 were made to meet the requirements of Directive 2010/48/EU, where the reason for failure states The braking effort from any wheel is less than 70 of the maximum effort recorded from another wheel on the same axle. The change was also made to align with HGV and PSV testing what this means is any imbalance over 30 results in a fail

Mot Appeal

Q I bought a car from a Dealer in Feb 2014, it had MOT Cert until October 2014. Dealer agreed to test and issue a full 12 MOT Cert. Previous MOT had an advisory of Front Brake Pad thin the new MOT did not show any advisories. Brakes are now not very good, when questioned the Dealers tester said he had not checked the pads so would not know whether the pads had been replaced prior to their purchasing from previous owner who had the previous MOT Test carried out.Surely that should have been checked on the MOT done by the dealer who is also the MOT Testing station.

Name: Bob Lawson   Town: Newcastle upon Tyne

If you are not satisfied with the result you can appeal to VSA the phone number is general enquiry unit on 0845 600 5977 local rate brake pads should be checked

Hand Brake

Q Is the hand brake tested on an mot

Name: mark   Town: lowestoft

Yes the hand brake is part of the MOT. It has to be present, stop at least 2 wheels from turning and the brake leaver must be in good condition and secure

Electronic brake

Q Electronic park brake works normally and there is no fault light, however there is an advisory message stating park brake fault would this be a fail

Name: Ray   Town: Londonderry

It depends on the fault on the brake and if it was dangerous. The tester thought this needed to be advised and not a fail. The tester should explain the advisory


Q Hi. My car failed its MOT due to brakes imbalanced across an axle. I was told car needed new rear cylinders and shoes at 320, i haggled the price down to 200 on a price match. When i got the repair sheet it only mentions that the brake shoes have been replaced, does this mean the cylinders are part of the shoes or that possibly the cylinders have not been fitted

Name: Mark

Cylinders and shoes can be bought as part of a kit, so it is possible the full repair has not been recorded accurately on the sheet. You should call the garage and ask them.

Brake light cluster

Q On modern A8 led rear lights some of the led lights are not working on boot section of passenger side rear light cluster. The rest of the led lights are working fine. Will this pass or fail mot Thanks

Name: David Black

Any brake lights fitted must work. If its just some of the LEDs in a cluster then as ling as the brake light intensity is sufficient i.e. bright enough then it should pass

Rear brake strip light not working

Q My Fiesta rear brake strip light not working. Will it fail Mot Part ordered but may not be here in time for test.

Name: Debbie Devlin

Any brake lights fitted must work.

Side Lights

Q Im getting a warning saying that side lights bulbs are faulty, but they are working fine. Would this be an mot failure

Name: Helen

No - as long as the side lights are working. The side light warning indicator is not part of the test.

If youve got one of these warning lights then it must now work correctly:
Electronic parking brake
Electronic stability control
Headlight main beam warning light
Electronic power steering warning light
Brake fluid level warning light
Seat belt pre-tensioner warning light


Q Does the handbrake have to lock rolling wheels

Name: andy   Town: leicester

The handbrake must stop a minimum of two of the vehicles wheels from turning.

Worn pads but MOT pass

Q My car passed MOT, during the service which was conducted immediately after I was told that the front and rear discs and pads were completely gone and needed replacing. How can the vehicle have passed the MOT if the brakes were so completely worn The garage want to keep the vehicle and charge me hundreds of pounds for the repairs

Name: Angela

The vehicle should have failed its MOT if a brake lining or pad was less than 1.5 mm thick at any point.

5 year warranty with Hyundai

Q Hi

My car passed its MOT but there was an advisory that the rear brake was binding slightly. Would this be a warranty repair I have a 5 year warranty with Hyundai and how quickly should I get this looked at My MOT was with a large car dealer and to be honest I dont know if I should trust them or if they are just trying to get more cash out of me

Name: Jennifer Rocks

If the brakes showed an equal and ample braking force and not deemed dangerous or too low then this is where the MOT test stops. Your warranty is nothing to do with the MOT test. You would have to contact Hyundai

adversely affected by the operation of any other lamp

Q Should a car fail its MOT if when the brake is applied both the brake lights and the front side lights come on

Name: Ian Dale

It could do, Re: section 1.2 Stop Lamps

Reason for Rejection

f. adversely affected by the operation of any other lamp

Movement in brake caliper

Q with force i can push the brake caliper hub etc all connected forward and backward. ie front to rear of car. in theory this should be solid with no movement.... i suspect the bushes on the wishbone at faut.... taken to 2 different garages but they stated everything is ok am i correct

Name: mart   Town: stoke on trent

The brakes are only tested for safety and their ability to stop the car efficiently and evenly.

The suspension is checked less nowadays until it becomes dangerous. If 2 garages have said that its ok then I would assume that it was ok. Suspension movement is essential for road holding but without seeing it, it is hard to assess

Brake imbalance

Q I have had a brake caliper fitted by a garage under warranty but my car still wont fully hold on a steep hill. They gave me a brake test report saying that the rear had a 32 imbalance. They said it had to be minimum 16 to pass. I have asked an mot tester and they told me over 30 is a fail. Is 32 a pass or fail

Name: Brian Kirkpatrick    Town: Kirkcaldy

32 is over 30 Basic schoolboy maths So the car will fail

Worn brakes

Q Just bought a 2011 audi from an audi dealership. Upon getting home and giving a spit and polish i noticed front discs and pads worn. Had confirmation they are 60 worn. I have been given a service and MOT from Audi. Should the discs and pads have been replaced Im now looking at having to pay out when ive only just bought it Not happy. Also no mention of advisory on MOT cert.

Name: Steve   Town: Aylesbury

If the brakes stop the car efficiently then they will pass the MOT. 60 worn would imply 40 life left in them. Average brake pad life is 50,000 miles so you could satill expect 20,000 miles on them.

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