How a Simple Change Could Cause MOT Fails in 2024

As a leading car service centre with branches across the UK, we understand the importance of keeping your vehicle in top condition. However, many drivers are unaware that seemingly small modifications can result in easily-avoidable MOT fails, including changing your car horn. This article explores the nuances of MOT regulations and how to keep your vehicle compliant.

The Devil is in the Details: Small Changes, Big Consequences

MOT tests in the UK are stringent, assessing various aspects of vehicle safety, roadworthiness, and exhaust emissions. Upgrading your car horn to a non-standard or excessively loud one, not removing the GPS dashboard fitting from the window, or even hanging air fresheners from the rearview mirror can lead to MOT fails. According to the official UK government regulations, any modification or addition that obstructs the driver’s view or affects the vehicle’s operation can be deemed non-compliant.

Understanding MOT Fails: Common Culprits and How to Avoid Them

There are major and minor MOT fails. Major fails could be due to faulty brakes or emissions, while minor failures could be as simple as an obstructed view due to dashboard decorations. Here is a breakdown of the most common reasons your car may not pass the MOT:

1. Faulty Lights and Signalling: Issues with lights, especially signalling and brake lights, are a leading cause of MOT failures. A quick pre-MOT check, including the condition and operation of all lights, can prevent this.

2. Suspension Issues: Be attentive to unusual noises or uneven car positioning. Regularly test your suspension’s response by pressing down on each car corner.

3. Brakes: Listen for unusual noises when braking and check if your car stops straight. Inspecting the brake pads and discs for wear and ensuring the handbrake works effectively are crucial steps.

4. Tyres: Tread depth below 1.6 mm means an automatic MOT fail. Use a 20p coin to check tread depth and inspect for uneven wear, which could indicate wheel alignment issues.

5. Visibility Issues: Ensure nothing obstructs your view like the windscreen’s condition, but it also includes air fresheners, cute decorations hanging from the rearview mirror. Also, check that the bonnet closes securely and that wipers and washers work properly.

Other Notable MOT Fails

Apart from the most common reasons for MOT fails, there are other considerations you should be aware of, including the following:

  • Damaged tow bar
  • Illegible registration plates
  • Many aftermarket modifications, including lowered suspension or excessively noisy exhausts

Failing an MOT test in the UK means your vehicle is deemed unsafe or not environmentally friendly. You need to fix these issues before your vehicle can be legally driven. However, it is not just about avoiding MOT fails. It’s also about road safety and keeping your vehicle in the best condition possible.

By following the tips in this guide, you can avoid common MOT fails and stay safe on the roads. If you are unsure about anything, we highly recommend consulting your vehicle owner’s manual or a qualified vehicle technician (car mechanic).

Maintaining MOT Compliance: Tips and Tricks

Given the stringent MOT regulations, it is understandable to be concerned about your vehicle’s prospects. Keeping your vehicle in top condition and compliant is essential, both for legal reasons and ensuring road safety. Here are a few simple tips that can help avoid MOT fails:

  • Book regular maintenance appointments with a reputable car service centre.
  • Stay up-to-date on your vehicle’s recommended inspection and maintenance schedule.
  • Check for any recalls or known issues related to your vehicle make and model.
  • Be attentive to any changes in your vehicle’s performance or unusual noises.
  • Ensure all lights and signals are working correctly. This includes headlamps, indicators, and brake lights
  • Check for correct tyre pressure and tread depth. Remember, wheel alignment plays a crucial role here
  • Keep your vehicle clean and free of obstructions that could obstruct the driver’s line of sight.

Top Tip:

Ensure that any new advanced driver alert systems (ADAS) such as lane departure warnings or dashcams do not affect the vehicle’s operation and visibility in any way.

MOT Retests and Next Steps

If your vehicle fails its MOT, don’t panic. We offer a free retest within 10 working days of the initial test, provided the necessary repairs by an vehicle technician. Once you receive your VT30 certificate, detailing any issues with your car and their severity level, book an appointment at any of our branches for prompt and efficient servicing.

The Bottom Line: Prevention is Better Than Cure

Maintaining your car regularly and following manufacturer guidelines for modifications can help you avoid MOT fails. With the potential of facing hefty fines and losing your license to drive if caught with non-compliant vehicles on the road, it is crucial to stay on top of your MOT obligations.

While wheel alignment may not directly be tested in an MOT, misaligned wheels can cause tyre wear, which inspectors do check. Regular wheel alignment checks at our branches, including our MOT Portsmouth and MOT Southampton service centres, can pre-empt these issues.

With regular maintenance and attentiveness, you can ensure that your vehicle passes its MOT every time with flying colours. So keep an eye out for any small changes that may have big consequences and always maintain your vehicle in top condition.

Conclusion: MOT Fails

Overall, the best way to avoid MOT fails in the future is to be proactive about maintaining your vehicle. Remember, even the smallest change could have significant consequences when it comes to your annual car MOT. Some vehicles have failed their MOT due to a mobile phone or GPS holder and air freshener ever so slightly obstructing the driver’s view. While this was an easy fix, it was also easily avoidable.

Another issue some vehicle owners face is forgetting about the MOT altogether. By signing up for the Elite Member’s Club, you will receive Free MOT & Service Reminders so you will never forget an appointment again. Plus, it gives you early access to special offers and events, like our exhibitor stand at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

If you’re looking for a reliable service for MOTs, including MOT Portsmouth and MOT Southampton, below is a list of Elite Garages MOT test centres:


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Category: MOT Tips

An MOT is a legal requirement and driving without one could result in serious consequences, including a £1,000 fine (or up to £2,500), a driving ban and 3 penalty points on your licence if your MOT faults are deemed ‘dangerous’. Your vehicle insurance may also be invalidated.

Tags: MOT rules, MOTs
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Tags: MOT rules, MOTs
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No, you need to get an MOT test done before you can drive your newly purchased vehicle on any public road.

Tags: MOT rules, MOTs