News story

MOT fails could be avoided by basic car maintenance

New figures have revealed that carrying out basic car maintenance could avoid the main reasons cars fail their annual MOT.

MOT testing

Nearly 50% of all faults found on MOTs could be avoided by carrying out regular, simple checks and maintenance, like replacing bulbs, wipers and tyres.

Between April 2015 and March 2016, nearly 1 in 5 cars taken for their MOT had problems with lighting and signalling - including simple problems such as blown bulbs.

Top reasons for MOT failures between April 2015 and March 2016

Type of defect % of MOTs where the defect was found
Lighting and signalling 18.9%
Suspension 13%
Brakes 10%
Tyres 7.7%
Issues affecting the driver’s view of the road 7.2%

Tips to avoid a fail and stay safe

Basic safety checks

Check that brakes work smoothly, tyres are legal, headlights and other lights work, windscreen wipers and washers work, and the driver’s view of the road is clear of any obstruction.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is urging drivers to carry out regular, simple checks on their vehicles to avoid MOT fails and the accidents that defects cause.

Make sure that:

  • brakes work smoothly and that the vehicle doesn’t pull to one side
  • tyres are correctly inflated, have no cuts or bulges, and that they all have at least 1.6mm of tread
  • headlights and other lights work - give them a tap to check they’re not loose or damaged and check the colours are correct and match
  • windscreen wipers and washers work
  • the driver’s view of the road is clear of any obstruction, such as stickers, toys or air fresheners

Car defects contributing to accidents

The 2015 road casualties report for Great Britain shows that car defects were a contributory factor in 1,131 accidents.

Over 75% of defects that contributed to accidents were either braking or tyre issues.

The MOT is there to help avoid this and help you keep your vehicle safe to drive. However, you need to follow the standard to pass the MOT all year round.

Safe to drive at all times

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:

DVSA’s priority is to help you keep your car safe to drive on our roads.

Don’t wait until your MOT to find out if your car needs attention. Make sure your car is properly maintained and safe to drive at all times.

Carrying out regular checks on lights and tyres will help you to stay safe and legal, as well as saving you time and money when your car’s MOT is due.

Find out more about getting an MOT.

The MOT testing data for Great Britain for 2015 to 2016 has more information about why other types of vehicles fail their MOT.

Published 13 February 2017