MOT Failure: What is MOT Failure & How to Avoid It?
MOT Test, also known as the Ministry of Transport Test, is required by the UK Law to gauge the roadworthiness of your vehicle and to make sure it does not possess a threat to anybody’s safety. It is designed for all kinds of automobile and involves an in-depth check of internal and external parts, making sure they are all functional as per the set standard.
MOT differs from the occasional car servicing as it does not, in any way, provide advice or change/remove a part, or fix any issue in the car. Your MOT is simply a test which judges the condition of the car, and based on that, decides whether you pass or fail.
Since MOT is a visual check, you must also keep up with your regular car service for your car’s health and your safety.
Once your car passes its third anniversary (when bought new), your MOT is due. After that, you need to renew the MOT certificate every year before the expiry date. If you’ve bought a second-hand car, make sure you pay attention to the MOT certificate, the condition of the car, and the servicing booklet.
What is MOT Failure?
When your car is not found to be up to the standard set by the government, you fail your MOT. MOT checks are designed to take care of all the crucial parts of the car. If you do fail your MOT, there is no need to worry. You can always ask the mechanic to repair the said part and apply again.
Most car service centres allow you free MOT within a day of failure, or at a reduced car later on.
To be on the safe side, it is advised to get your MOT done at least 3-4 weeks prior to the expiry date so you have more than enough time to carry out the repairs if any.
| Read More: A Definitive Guide to Car MOT: Is Your Car MOT Due? |
Why do you fail your MOT?
We have already discussed what is MOT failure and we know the test is carried out to judge the roadworthiness of the vehicle. Naturally, if the regulations set forth by the DVSA is not met, you would receive a failed MOT certificate.
There are four types of problems that are highlighted in an MOT; Dangerous, Major, Minor, Advisory.
Dangerous or Major Problem, as the name suggests will be the reason for your failed MOT. If your car problems are within this category, you might not be allowed to drive until they are fixed.
The minor or advisory problem will not lead to a failed MOT but you will be advised to monitor and fix them at the earliest for your and others safety.
This is what happens when you fail an MOT test:
- You’ll get a ‘refusal of an MOT test certificate’ from the test centre
- It will be recorded in the MOT database
- You can appeal the result if you think it’s wrong.
You can take your vehicle away if:
- Your MOT is still valid – i.e, you have a few days before your expiration date
- Your car did not have any of the ‘dangerous’ problems.
What are the penalties of not having a valid MOT?
Your valid MOT certificate is a proof that your car is working efficiently and within the standard set forth by the government. In case you’re unable to produce a valid MOT certificate when stopped by authorities, you can receive a maximum fine of up to £1,000. Moreover, your car insurance is deemed invalid, and therefore, should you encounter any damage, you will have to pay for the repair yourself.
It is also not recommended to drive with invalid insurance as you could also receive a fine and points on your licence.
An expired MOT does not allow you to renew your road tax.
Let’s have a look at the most common reasons for an MOT failure as per the DVSA data.
How can you avoid failing your MOT?
Lights & Signals
Out of all the cars that fail MOT, 1/5th of them have an issue with their lights and signals. You might not pay much attention to the flickering headlight or the blown number plate light, but your inspection will reveal the shortcomings.
The most common reason is a blown bulb which most car owners do not feel the need to fix immediately. While it may not be as important as a brake issue or a suspension one, it can lead to a failed MOT and additional cost.
Before your MOT is due, it is advised to check all the lights and their condition which includes front, rear, indicators (including side repeaters), brake lights (including central repeaters), and fog lights front and back. If your lenses have become misty and have a layer of dirt, it will do good to bring out your cleaning kits and wash it.
On that note, you can also fail an MOT test if your headlights are equipped with deflectors fitted for driving in Europe, and you’ve forgotten to remove them.
Did you know that almost 13% of the failed MOTs are due to issues in suspension? While you may associate suspension with only shock-absorbing and smooth brake, it does much more than that. Crucial to your safety, your suspension system is responsible for the friction and keeping your tyres on the ground.
Any issues that arise in this part can lead to an MOT failure. Since these issues are hidden underneath the many parts and the body of the car, you can only detect these with the help of a mechanic. However, you can spot the early signs like how your car reacts when there is a bump or a sharp turn. You can also look for the bounce by making sure it is coming up and down a few times.
| Read More: Top 5 Signs Your Car Suspension Needs Repairing |
To detect any failure within the brakes, it is important to listen to the squeaks and screeching noise coming from your car. They are signs that your brake pads are worn out. Additionally, you can also have a look at how efficient your brake is, as you are in the position where an unexpected tug or turn can be felt. If you’re experienced enough to take a look at the brake system, you can do so by removing the wheel.
Tyre issues are also an important reason why most cars fail their MOT test. Before MOT, have a look at the tyre condition and pressure, ensuring that they meet the manufacturer’s recommendations. It is also a good practice to keep an eye on the pressure from time to time.
Take a good look at the tyres and look for any lumps, bumps, or cracks. Moreover, you should also check the tread depth to ensure it is at least 1.6mm deep. Make sure these criteria are met before taking your car for an MOT test.
Driver’s view of the road/Visibility
There is no debate that the driver’s visibility is a major factor to have a safe drive. If you have a cracked/chipped windscreen or the view blocked by some air freshener, phone holder, etc, they may contribute to a failed MOT. Make sure your windscreen washers are also working as efficiently as possible. It even includes whether the bonnet can be closed securely – is there a danger your bonnet could pop open and block the driver’s view? Keeping the visibility in mind, also check if the wiper is working and top up the washer fluid.
This brings us to the end of the discussion about what is MOT failure and avoiding it. Hope this was clear. In case of any questions or doubts, feel free to drop it in the comment section below!