The Most Common Reasons For MOT Failures


According to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (formerly VOSA), 40% of cars and 50% of vans fail their MOT test check.

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Ensure you are thoroughly prepared beforehand by knowing the most common reasons for an MOT test failure:



17% of MOT check failures are down to headlights and your headlamp aim. A poorly adjusted headlight direction, any faulty brake lights or indicators that don’t work will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT check.

Protyre offer all customers Free Seasonal Checks which could prevent you failing your MOT. Click the button below for mroe information:

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14% of MOT check failures are down to a lack of tread depth on your tyres. Any damage present or a tread depth less than 1.6 mm will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT check.

Get your tyres checked for free at any Protyre garage, click on the button below for more information:

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Registration plate

14% of MOT check failures are down to registration plates. A heavily damaged number plate either at the front or rear of your vehicle, or a faulty registration plate light will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT check.

Windscreen and wipers

12% of MOT check failures are down to faulty windscreen wipers. Any wipers that smear the screen or have visible tears and damage will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT check. If your windscreen has a chip or a crack that obscures the drivers view of the road, this will also lead to an MOT failure.


7% of MOT check failures are down to brakes not being in full working order. Discovery of excessive wear or unusual wear patterns will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT.

Faulty brakes could lead to a far worse outcome than a failed MOT! Book your vehcile in for a Free Brake Check at any Protyre garage:

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Exhaust System

7% of MOT check failures relates to your vehicle’s exhaust system. A noisy exhaust, corrosion, loose or missing mountings or missing silencer baffles will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT check. 

At Protyre, we offer Free Exhaust Checks to all of our customers:

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8% of MOT check failures are down to worn suspension systems. Issues in this area are demonstrated by bangs or knocks when driving over bumps or lurching when driving and will cause your vehicle to fail its MOT.

What happens if your vehicle fails its MOT?

Upon your vehicle failing, you will be issued with a VT30 certificate which will state the items that are causing your MOT failure. To gain a further understanding the VT30 certificate please see: MOT Failure Codes

You may also have advisory notices on your certificate issued at the MOT tester’s discretion. These are issued if:

  • Parts are near to reaching the point of test failure
  • Peculiarities of your vehicle which were identified during the MOT check
  • Defects on non-testable items

It is important to note that while items may only be advisory, it is the drivers responsibility to keep an eye out for any issues that may affect the vehicle’s roadworthiness. 

A recent change in the law means if a vehicle fails an MOT check it must not be driven on the road except to: 

  • Have the failed defects fixed
  • Attend a pre-arranged MOT test appointment

Once a car has failed a test the existing MOT left on an old certificate is wiped out, alerting police attention immediately, leaving the driver liable for a £2,500 fine and 3 penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

If your vehicle does fail its MOT, you could be eligible for a free retest.

For further information on MOT testing:

When is my MOT due? Find out now with our free MOT Checker.

Help! When Does My New Vehicle Need its first MOT?

How to Easily Check a Car’s MOT and Tax Status Online

Top 10 Things to Check Before an MOT Test

MOT Test Checklist: What is Included in an MOT?