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Top 3 reasons your car will fail its MOT and how to avoid them

Renault Picasso having car MOT test, car inspection happening on ramp with headlamps switched on


As so many people’s MOT tests are falling due over the next few months, we thought we’d share some simple tips to help you avoid that dreaded fail.  




The Top 3 Reasons for MOT failure


The top 3 reasons your MOT may fail are all pretty simple things that you can actually check yourself before your appointment, and they will only take you a few minutes. Not only are they essential for your MOT test to pass, but they will also improve the safety of your car for the coming winter months as well.


So what are you waiting for, have a quick read through and then (while it’s not raining) go and check your own car. 



1. Headlamp direction

This is the top failure reason for all vehicle types – the headlamp aim is incorrectly set. It’s can be as simple as the fact that you may have had a headlamp or headlamp bulb replacement since the last test. In the UK we seem to have that many potholes and speed bumps that your bulbs can easily adjust over time through natural vibration.


 Headlamp checks during MOT test


You can easily check this yourself by positioning your vehicle in front of a garage door or wall and shining the headlamps on to it. If you’ve got someone around you can ask, you might as well get them to walk round the vehicle for you while you’re checking the headlights and they could check the rest of your lamps are working too. Don’t forget the hazard warning lights and also the number plate lights too. If there is anything not working, it could be as simple as needing a new bulb. If you’re not sure how to do it, check your vehicle manual first, some headlamp bulbs can be really difficult to change, we’ve even had to take bumpers off to get to headlamps before, and if you need assistance, just let us know when you book it in.



2. Tyre tread depth

Another common failure for all vehicle types is tyre tread depth being below the minimum legal requirement.  Your tyres are actually the only part of your vehicle in contact with the ground, so it is really important that you check them regularly.  Braking distance is hugely influenced by the grip from the tread of your tyres, as well as the great British weather and as we’re coming in to the wetter, colder months, it is even more essential to have good tyre tread.

The easy way to check whether you are within the minimum legal requirement is actually really simple – take a 20p coin and insert the edge it into the main grooves of the tyre, so it looks like it’s standing on one of its flat edges, and if the border around the coin is hidden then the tread is probably fine. Don’t forget to check all four and your spare if you have one. 

Another way to check on some, but not all, tyres is to look for the tread wear indicator in the tread grooves – it looks like a raised knobbly bit inside the tread and it is set to the minimum tread depth.  If your tread depth has worn down to this knobbly bit, you are on the limit.

Brand new tyre showing full tread depth



3.  Windscreen wipers

If the windscreen wiper is not clearing the windscreen effectively, your vehicle will fail its MOT test. This is something which is again really easy for you to check, just operate the wipers and the washers, if the blade doesn’t clear the water effectively from the screen and leaves areas untouched or smeary across the drivers view, then this may result in a fail. This is also a great way of making sure you have water in your washer bottle, as your vehicle can fail on not having any fluid for the washers too! Wiper blades naturally wear over time and can also become damaged by grit and dirt, so they do need replacing at regular intervals. Most motorists are surprised to learn that a typical windscreen wiper has a usable lifespan of approx. 2 years.  We can supply wiper blades and whilst we don’t stock every type all the time, we can easily get replacements for you the same day. 


windscreen wipers in the rain


We hope these tips will enable you to achieve an MOT pass rather than a fail, especially when these top 3 reasons for failure can be so easily checked.


If you would like to book your MOT with us at Just Nice Clean Cars, Warwick, CV34 5AE, check for instant availability through our easy online booking.  Online booking means you can choose whichever available slot suits you best and you’ll get immediate confirmation.  Or call 01926 836900. 

Just Nice Clean Cars Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FRN: 663362. All finance is subject to status and income. Written quotation on request. We act as a credit broker not a lender. We work with a number of carefully selected credit providers who may be able to offer you finance for your purchase. We are only able to offer finance products from these providers.

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Just Nice House
Millers Road
CV34 5AE

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