Earlier this year, major changes to the MOT test regarding the way faults and problems are classified were made. Now, all vehicle faults will be recorded as either Minor, Major or Dangerous.
The main difference is a failed component will now be classified as major or dangerous depending on its condition. The new measures are intended to highlight to drivers the most urgent problems and the safety risks they pose.
Warranty Direct explains some of the unexpected reasons for MOT fails and how these could be prevented by regular, simple maintenance tasks.
Light it up
Our research revealed nearly 40% of class three and four vehicles (including cars and vans) failed MOTs in 2016.
Lighting and signalling defects were the most common reasons for MOT failures, causing 19% of all failures. Electrical faults (which incorporate lighting and signalling issues) also made up nearly 20% of all Warranty Direct’s authorised claims.
Many smaller electrical faults can be avoided by owners carrying out consistent maintenance tasks more regularly between MOTs. For example, indicator, tail and brake lights can be fitted for as little as £5.00 each.
To pass an MOT, front, rear, brake, fog, indicator and registration plate lights and rear reflectors must be correctly positioned and secured, in a good condition, show the correct colour and not be obscured.
Checking your lightbulbs is easy to do. Give them a light tap to see if they are loose or damaged and check pairs of lights emit the same colour, size and shape.
Brakes and suspension
According to our data, the second-most common cause for MOT failures were suspension faults, which accounted for 13% of tests where defects were found.
Braking systems were the third biggest reason for cars not passing MOTs across the UK, making up 10% of all failure rates. Despite the expense of such issues, avoiding paying out for repairs on brakes is one of the most dangerous decisions a car owner can make.
Experiencing a drift or pull when turning, or your car jerking when the road surface is uneven could mean the suspension shocks have worn out. One tyre wearing more or starting to bald on the same axis as the other is another indication of suspension issues.
If your car pulls to one side when you brake, this may suggest a problem that requires further attention before you take your MOT. Signs of excessive wear of brake pads or pitted brake discs could also mean your brakes need replacing.
According to Kwik Fit, 10% of all faults relate to tyre condition and pressure, so it’s important to keep these maintained.
The UK legal minimum tread depth for a car is 1.6mm, so keep an eye on tyres and ensure they’re all the same level. If your tyres are inflated at the correct level, they will wear evenly and be safer and more fuel efficient.
Watch out for tears, bulges or other signs of damage to your tyres’ structure. Not only would this be classed as an immediate MOT fail, but it could increase your risk of a high-speed blowout or serious accident.
Keep it clean
Believe it or not, nearly 2,500 people were ‘refused’ an MOT because their vehicles were too dirty and non-accessible to allow one to take place. So make sure you keep both the physical and cosmetic upkeep of your car in good health.
According to gov.uk, 8.5% of all faults are related to a ‘driver’s’ view of the road’, including issues with mirrors, wipers and washers. You can avoid this with simple checks like making sure the windscreen wipers and washers work at all times.
Your rear-view mirror must be adjustable and in good condition and windscreen wiper blades should be replaced immediately if they show signs of damage.
This article was originally published on the Warranty Direct Blog.