Most Common MOT Fails

Failing an MOT can mean being without your car longer than you expected, but it can also mean that you need to pay more to have work carried out in order to bring it up to the legal standard. 

MOT symbol

Nothing should be more important than your safety when out on the roads, which is why this month, at Auto Exhausts & Tyres, we’ll break down the most common MOT fails according to government data, so you can avoid these issues and experience a smooth MOT process.

Lights & Signalling

Lights help us see the way when it’s dark and allow us to tell other drivers when we’re making a turn. It’s not surprising lights and signalling are a common cause of MOT failures since we are often inside the vehicle when they’re on.

To help prevent an unnecessary failure, perform a regular check of your lights before you set off on a journey. You can walk around the car with the lights switched on or ask someone else to help check brake lights and indicators while you switch them off and on. 

Sometimes it can be as simple as replacing a bulb, and this could save you a lot of time when your next MOT comes around – not to mention you’ll be a lot more visible out on the roads.


Suspension issues are high on the list of reasons your car might fail an MOT, but this one is more understandable. Many people may not even know what their suspension looks like, let alone how to assess if it will pass an MOT and fix any faults.

The only real way to tell if by listening to whether there are any unusual noises as you go over bumps. You could also try pressing down on each corner of your vehicle when it’s parked to see whether it returns to its original position – if it seems to bounce up and down before settling, this could indicate an issue.

If you feel like you’re getting a bumpier ride than usual, make an appointment to have your suspension checked.


Roughly one in ten vehicles fail an MOT due to issues with brakes. Your brakes are vital to your safety as well as the safety of others on the road – for obvious reasons!

A clear sign that there’s something wrong with your brakes is a high-pitch squeal or any grinding noises when you press down on the pedal. You might be able to assess the situation by carefully removing your wheel and inspecting the brake discs and pads – a visual inspection will help you determine which part of the brakes are worn.

If you don’t feel confident assessing this but have noticed your brakes making noises, take your vehicle to your local garage to have them checked out.


Essential for staying safe out on the road, it’s worn tyres which can lead to a failed MOT. Whether it’s merely low tread depth or uneven wearing, you can very easily establish whether your tyres will result in a failed test – so it’s completely avoidable!

The classic tip to check you have the legal tread depth is to get a 20p coin and use the outer-edge in each groove. If you can’t see that outer-edge, you have enough tread, if you can see the outer-edge, it means they’re worn and will likely fail. This gives you time to buy replacement tyres and have them fitted before your next MOT.

Issues affecting the driver’s view of the road

This last one is something many people don’t consider when taking a car in for an MOT. You must be able to clearly see the road in order to stay safe – and keep others safe – when on the road, but this is a common failure point.

Make sure you don’t have anything hanging over your windscreen, such as an air freshener or decorative item, and don’t attach a sat nav to your screen. You should also check for cracks which could be in your view of the road.

Your wipers also form part of this. Check they’re not worn, that they wipe adequately and that your washer fluid is topped up before your MOT to avoid getting pulled up on this.


Common MOT failures can be avoided with regular servicing as well as with regular attention paid to these key areas. If you’re not confident with any of the above, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with our friendly team at Auto Exhausts & Tyres in Lincoln.

Whether you want to book in to have your brakes, tyres or any other area taken care of – or if you want to book an MOT in Lincoln with trustworthy and reliable mechanics, simply call us today and we’ll be happy to help – you can see our reviews for an honest view of what previous customers thought of our services!