MOT Failure Codes

If a vehicle fails its MOT test check, you as the driver are presented with an MOT refusal certificate, also known as a VT30 and the details will be logged in the MOT database.


Fail _certificate



What is an MOT test?

An MOT (Ministry of Transport) test is an annual, mandatory test for vehicles over three years old that measures a vehicle’s safety, exhaust emissions and roadworthiness. ​

If you do fail your MOT test you might be eligible for a free MOT retest, click here for more information.

Not sure when your MOT is due? No problem! Use our MOT Checker, simply click the button below and enter your vehicle's registration number.

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To avoid failing your MOT, use the links below for more information on the details behind MOT testing, what to check before sending your vehicle into the test centre and common reasons for MOT Test failures:


MOT Fail Sheet

Listed on your MOT fail sheet is a code as to why your vehicle has failed its MOT test check. The code listed applies to the section of the MOT test that the vehicle failed. For example, code 6.1.b.2 can be broken down to the following; Section 6. Sub-Section 1. b Subject. 2 Reason for fail.

Below are the sections, sub-sections and subject items checked throughout the MOT test check that generates MOT failure codes:

Section 1: Lamps, Reflectors and Electrical Equipment

1.1 Front and Rear Position Lamps and Registration Plate Lamps

a. Front and rear position lamps
b. End outline marker lamps
c. Registration plate lamps

1.2 Stop Lamps

1.3 Rear Fog Lamps

1.4 Direction Indicators and Hazard Warning Lamps

  1. Flashing type
  2. Hazard warning device
  3. Semaphore type

1.5 Rear Reflectors

1.6 Audible Warning (Horn)

1.7 Headlamps

1.8 Headlamp Aim

  1. All headlamps
  2. European ‘E’ Beam Headlamps
  3. British American Type (Main Beam)
  4. British American Type (Dipped Beam)

1.9 Electrical Wiring and Battery

Section 2: Steering and Suspension

2.1 Steering control

2.2 Steering System

2.3 Power Steering

2.4 Suspension – General

  1. All suspension types
  2. Leaf springs
  3. Coil springs
  4. Fluid/gas/air suspension
  5. Torsion bars
  6. Bonded suspension units
  7. Suspension arms and linkages, sub frames etc

2.5 Front Suspension Front Wheel Bearings and Drive Shafts

  1. Suspension joints and wheel bearings (wheels jacked)
  2. Suspension joints (wheel on turning plates)
  3. Front wheel drive shafts and couplings

2.6 Rear Suspension and Wheel Bearings

2.7 Shock Absorbers

2.8 Suspension Type Diagrams

Section 3: Brakes

3.1 Parking Brake Control

3.2 Hand Operated Brake Control Valves

3.3 Service Brake Control

  1. All types of braking systems
  2. Hydraulic systems (including servo assisted)
  3. Vehicles with High Servo Boost
  4. Full power hydraulic braking systems
  5. Air and vacuum systems

3.4 Anti-lock Braking and Electronic Stability Control Systems

3.5 Mechanical Brake Components

3.6 Braking systems and Additional Braking Devices

  1. All braking systems
  2. Brake pipes and flexible hoses
  3. Servos and master cylinders
  4. Reservoirs (air/vacuum), including accumulators, pressure and vacuum vessels
  5. Valves
  6. Pumps and compressors
  7. Hydraulic systems
  8. Air systems
  9. Additional braking devices
  10. Electronic braking systems (class 5 only)

3.7 Brake Performance

  1. Roller brake test
  2. Decelerometer test
  3. Plate brake test
  4. Gradient test

3.8 Method of Calculating brake performance

3.9 Brake Efficiency Tables

Section 4: Tyres and Road Wheels

4.1 Tyres

  1. Type of structure
  2. Load index and speed rating (applicable to class 5 and  only)
  3. Speed rating – Restricted speed vehicles (applicable to class 5 only)
  4. Condition of tyres
  5. Tread – pattern, breadth and depth

4.2 Road Wheels

  1. Applicable to all vehicles
  2. Additional checks (applicable to class 5, 7 and large class 4 only)

Section 5: Seat Belts and Supplementary Restraint Systems (SRS)

5.1 Seat Belt Requirements

  1. Fitment
  2. General Information
  3. Three-Wheeled Vehicles
  4. Passenger Vehicles, Motor Caravans and Ambulances with up to 8 Passenger Seats
  5. Minibuses, Motor Caravans and Ambulances with 9-12 Passenger Seats
  6. Minibuses, Motor Caravans and Ambulances with 13-16 Passenger Seats
  7. Coaches and Other Buses
  8. Goods Vehicles and Living Vans
  9. Seat Belt Types

5.2 Seat Belt Condition

5.3 Seat Belt Installation Requirements (Class 4A & 5A approved VTS only)

  1. Seat belt Installation Check
  2. Vehicles Exempt from Seat belt Installation Checks Seat belt Installation
  3. Guidance Notes

5.4 Supplementary Restraint Systems

Section 6: Body, Structure and General Items

6.1 Vehicle Structure, Body and General Items

  1. Vehicle structure
  2. Body security (vehicles with separate bodies only)
  3. Body condition
  4. Engine mountings
  5. Steps and stairs (class 5 only)

6.2 Seats and Doors

  1. Seats
  2. Doors
  3. Passenger entrance and exit doors (class 5 only)
  4. Emergency exits (class 5 only)

6.3 Registration Plates and Vehicle Identification Number

  1. Registration plates
  2. Vehicle Identification Number
  3. Registration Plates – Additional Information

6.4 Load Security, Spare Wheel and Carrier

6.5 Speed Limiter

  1. Speed limiter plate
  2. Speed limiter

6.6 Towbars

6.7 Speedometer

6.8 Driving controls (Class 5 only)

6.9 Glazing (Class 5 only)

Section 7: Exhaust, fuel and Emissions

7.1 Exhaust system

7.2 Fuel System

7.3 Exhaust Emissions – Spark Ignition

  1. All vehicles
  2. Vehicles first used on or after 1st August 1975
  3. Basic emissions test (BET)
  4. Full CAT test

7.4 Exhaust Emissions-Compression Ignition

  1. Vehicles First Used Before 1 August 1979
  2. Vehicles First Used on or After 1 August 1979

Section 8: Drivers view of the road

8.1 View to rear

8.2 Wipers and Washers

8.3 Windscreen (Classes 3, 4 and 7 only)

8.4 Bonnet

For a full list of reasons as to why your vehicle has failed its MOT test check download the MOT tester manual.

If you do fail your MOT test you might be eligible for a free MOT retest