Third of MoT failures could be avoided if drivers made basic checks

Drivers have been urged to carry out basic checks on their car before taking it for an MoT, after new research revealed that over a third fail due to poor maintenance. Motoring website analysed millions of MoT records from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and found that, of the 7.3 million MoT failures recorded in 2017, over 2.5 million could have been avoided if drivers had checked their tyres, lights, brakes and windscreen before the test.

The number one cause of vehicles failing their MoT is poorly adjusted headlights, accounting for 976,569 failures, followed by poor brake performance (921,534 failures).

Incorrect headlamp aim is often caused by a broken or damaged bracket and is an easy fix for a competent mechanic, Honest John explained.

It's important to have your brakes checked if you have any suspicion that they may be worn or leaking.

Broken registration plate lamps were the third most common preventable failure -- and it's worth remembering that you also risk a fine of up to £1000 if your registration plate is not clearly displayed at all times.

Faulty side lights and insufficient tyre tread depth complete the top five, while thousands more cars are failed due to worn out windscreen wipers and missing screen wash, Honest John found.

Other common issues include faulty brake lights and headlights, and broken or corroded coil springs.

Figures from the DVSA show that motorists spend an average of £325 to fix their car when it fails its MoT.

Motorists can use the MoT Files to look up cars' common failures by make, model, year of registration and postcode.

"The MoT Files shows that the majority of failure items are down to the owner, rather than an inherent fault with the car," Daniel Powell, managing editor of, told the Press Association. "Drivers can now use this information to ensure their car is not failing on something that can be easily and cheaply fixed beforehand."

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