The number of MOTs set to be carried out in October and November will be 60 percent higher than normal volumes, according to the latest DVSA forecast.

This is because motorists were no longer able to extend their MOT for six months from 1st August.


It’s therefore important that the appropriate repair and maintenance is carried out before booking to avoid common MOT failures. Re-tests can be charged for and expensive repairs can follow – and motorists will not want to fork out unexpected costs in the run up to Christmas!

Around a third of vehicles fail the MOT and many of these failures could be avoided if motorists kept their cars safe to drive all year round. We have highlighted the most common MOT failures so that you can prepare ahead of your test and ensure your vehicle is roadworthy.

  1. Lights & electrical equipment
    Faulty lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment are the most common MOT failure items according to official DVSA test data. A total of 15 percent of cars that failed their MOT test had electric faults.

    To check lights are operating correctly, turn all of the lights on, including indicators and brake lights and walk around the vehicle.

    Click here to find replacement bulbs & holders for your vehicle. 

  2. Suspension

    Suspension issues accounted for 10 percent of the overall vehicle failures to become the second-highest reason why cars didn’t pass their tests. Even throughout lockdown, RAC patrols reported still having to go to the rescue of 1,700+ drivers whose vehicles had fallen foul of potholes. Potholes damage shock absorbers, suspension springs and wheels. Shock absorbers are the unsung heroes of the suspension system. Without good quality, well maintained components you’d be in for a very bumpy ride. 

  3. Windscreen wipers

    Faulty windscreen wipers are a common MOT fail. If you’re noticing that they’re leaving a smear on the screen or have any visible damage, you’ll need to get them replaced. Also look out for chips or cracks on the windscreen that hinder driver visibility.

  4. Brakes

    Good quality braking components are an essential, safety critical item. Listen out for squealing or grinding as a sign that you’ll need to change your brake pads. 

  5. Tyres

    Look out for any bulges and check your tread depth on your tyres. It should be 1.6mm and an easy way to assess this is by sticking a 20p piece in between the grooves. 

  6. Seatbelts and airbags

    Seatbelts are another important safety feature, and an MOT will make sure they all retract easily, so check for knots and twists. Make sure you haven’t got a missing airbag too – this should be fairly obvious as your vehicle should have a warning light. 

  7. Exhaust

    Reducing emissions is high on the Government’s agenda and if they’re high it can lead to failure so make sure your exhaust is in good working order, especially if you have a diesel vehicle. Check for rust, corrosion, loose parts, missing mountings or missing silencer baffles. By taking your car for a spin on the motorway beforehand, it can run at high revs and gives the entire system, including diesel particulate filter, a chance to reach optimum temperature.

  8. Steering

    Power steering fluid is checked during an MOT so make sure you have a look to see if it’s reaching the minimum level before bringing your car in.

  9. Vehicle exterior

    If your car’s bodywork is a little tired, make sure you check for loose bumpers or rough edges as this could also result in an MOT failure.

  10. Registration plates

    Quite simply, ensure your vehicle registration plate is visible.