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Top Gear Advice

Here are the 10 most common MOT failures

Nine common reasons and one moderately amusing one, here's what to look out for

MOT
  1. Bulbs, indicators, electrical equipment: 23 per cent

    Bulbs, indicators, electrical equipment: 23 per cent

    According to the UK's DVSA (via research commissioned by eBay), the most common reason for an MOT failure by some distance is a faulty bulb, reflector or indicator. TopGear.com suspects most Audi and BMW drivers will only discover their indicators are faulty once a year, for obvious reasons.

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  2. Suspension: 18 per cent

    Suspension: 18 per cent

    Over time, suspension joints, linkages, dampers and even springs will fizzle out and wear, or spontaneously combust if anywhere near a pothole. Which covers most of the UK road network. So if your car doesn't glide over the road anymore, or worse still, makes a strange noise, best get it checked out. Unless of course, you're in a Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet.

  3. Brakes: 14 per cent

    Brakes: 14 per cent

    Sponges are for cakes and cleaning up, not attempting to slow a large chunk of metal to a standstill. Goes without saying that brakes are Really Very Important. So keep an eye on them.

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  4. Tyres: 13 per cent

    Tyres: 13 per cent

    The more you use your car, the more you'll wear out your tyre tread. We’d suggest keeping an eye on your only contact patch with the road regularly and change accordingly, which will vary from person to person and car to car. Lively, rear-drive V8? Check them every half hour. Or once a week if you live in areas with cavern-like potholes and an unusually high number of nails on the road. So East London, basically.

  5. Window visibility (or cleanliness): 10 per cent

    Window visibility (or cleanliness): 10 per cent

    Now we reach the more niche problems facing drivers, beginning with visibility. It amounts to around a tenth of all MOT failures and revolves around just how much bird dirt and mud has accumulated across the windscreen and other crucial visibility points. Solution: don’t park under a tree at night.

  6. Body, chassis and general structure of your car: 7 per cent

    Body, chassis and general structure of your car: 7 per cent

    This can be associated with rust or corrosion, more common on older cars. Different circumstances (i.e. where your car is stored) can of course have minor implications on a car’s condition. Owning a Mk3 Vauxhall Cavalier will have a rather major implication, TopGear.com proffers.

  7. Weird noises, leaks, and emissions: 6 per cent

    Weird noises, leaks, and emissions: 6 per cent

    Could be a stone stuck in a brake caliper, a loose door card or a passer-by bemoaning yet another SUV on the road - whatever the cause, always worth getting strange noises checked out. Ditto any leaks (any leak = Very Bad) and emissions problems.

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  8. Steering: 4 per cent

    Steering: 4 per cent

    Next time you’re sat idling with your ignition on, try gently turning the steering wheel from side to side to see if there’s any play. Depending on just how severe the issue is, it could make up part of the four per cent of MOT failures handed out for this reason. Owners of Seventies American cars, don’t bother.

  9. Seat belts and restraint systems: 2 per cent

    Seat belts and restraint systems: 2 per cent

    This one doesn’t need much explanation: your seat belts are the single most important device fitted to keep you safe in the event of a crash. Alongside any other restraining systems, they contribute to two per cent of MOT failures each year.

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  10. Vehicle identification: 0.75 per cent

    Vehicle identification: 0.75 per cent

    Amazingly, less than one per cent of all UK MOT failures occur because the car… can’t be identified. Strong candidates here potentially include the Glenfrome Facet, the Oscar-Mayer Wiernermobile, or the Mitsubishi ASX.

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