Things You Wouldn't Expect to Fail an MOT

Bradley Jando | Wednesday 27th October 2021 4:39pm

Man checking car oil dip stick

Most drivers are aware of the typical MOT failures. That is: faulty parts, damaged tyres, broken lights and the like. But how many of us realise quite how many things can actually warrant an MOT fail nowadays?

Very few drivers know the full extent of the grounds for MOT failure, and we’re here to help change that.

From messy cars to modified number plates, there are a whole host of unusual reasons that your vehicle can fail its MOT. Quite often, these overlooked reasons catch drivers out and lead to surprise failures.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you when you next book in for an MOT, read this blog and familiarise yourself with the uncommon reasons for MOT failure today.

1.) Accessories

Even something as trivial as an air freshener can be enough to fail your MOT. If the centre conducting your MOT deems it obstructive of the drivers’ view, they can fail you.

Anything in the dash and windshield area that could act as a distraction from the view of the road is enough to warrant a fail — including, but not limited to: air fresheners, poorly positioned sat navs, car window stickers, and other decorations. As a result, we recommend keeping your dash and windscreen as clean as possible to avoid being caught out.

2.) Messy Cars

Similarly, having an excessive mess of any sort can also cause MOT failure. While it sounds silly, having a dirty car — inside or outside — is grounds enough to fail a vehicle. If your car is really dirty, technicians can refuse to even conduct the MOT at all!

Takeaway packets, bottles, and other miscellaneous paraphernalia in the footwells or on the seats could easily roll under the pedals and cause an accident by preventing rapid braking.

As for the car’s exterior, if the dirt accumulated from the road builds up enough to conceal the lights and registration plate, that can be enough for a failure too, since displaying your reg plate adequately is a legal requirement.

3.) Lights & lamps

Driving with one headlight, broken bulbs, and other electrical issues are definitely enough to warrant an MOT fail. Although many drivers overlook the importance of regular light maintenance for their vehicles, even something as simple as the condition of a headlamp could be enough to fail. Faded, cracked, excessively bright, or discoloured headlamps can warrant a failure too.

To avoid this, you should regularly check your bulbs and book your vehicle in for regular servicing.

4.) Registration Plates

Obscured or partially-visible registration plates can affect whether or not you pass your MOT but other reg plate characteristics can also play a role in MOT failure. If your number plates are old, you run the risk of them coming loose. All plates should be secure to prevent them from flying off and potentially causing an accident.

You should also ensure the numbers on your registration plate are written in the standard font and evenly spaced so that speed cameras and other road users can see the individual characters clearly.

You can find the regulations for registrations in full here.

5.) Suspension

While many drivers see suspension as more of a comfort feature, it is essential for safe vehicle handling. Suspension helps you control your vehicle properly and, admittedly, it is also more comfortable with it.

Problems with suspension cause a sizable chunk of MOT failures, so it is advisable to conduct regular maintenance checks on your suspension to avoid any nasty surprises.

6.) Windscreen Fluid

Believe it or not, you can indeed fail your MOT for something as simple as not having enough windscreen fluid. The reason for this is that without enough fluid, your windscreen wipers can’t successfully clear your screen of debris. Without a clear screen, your road view is obstructed, and this may result in an accident if you aren’t paying attention.

You can buy windscreen fluid from most supermarkets, so there’s no excuse for dry wipers!

7.) Horns

Lastly, even your horn can cause your vehicle to fail its MOT. Horns are primarily used for alerting other drivers as to your whereabouts and are, essentially, a safety feature.

So, your horn needs to sound properly with an appropriate warning sound in order for your vehicle to pass. Excessively loud horns that may deafen other drivers may also warrant a failure, as they function as a distraction from the road.

For more information about MOTs or the reasons for MOT failure, get in touch with the experts at your local Kwik Fit centre or head over to our blog.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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