Lazy drivers waste £500k each year on stupid MoT failures

Mechanic working on car in garageMotorists waste nearly £500,000 per year by allowing their cars to fail its first MoT test for the most stupid of reasons, according to new research from What Car?

For example, 4,649 cars failed their MoT between August 2012 and August 2013 because their screenwash needed topping up, while a further 2,852 failed because their car was so filthy and full of clutter that the MoT tester rejected it.

Here’s the What Car? summary of the top five simple (or stupid) reasons for MoT failure:

MoT test issue No of cars Whatcar.com advice
1 Screenwash not topped up 4649 Topping up screenwash is a basic task that takes hardly any time
2 Car dirty or full of clutter 2852 Clear the mess from the boot and cabin and give the windows and mirrors a quick wipe
3 Reg plate anomaly (incorrect font/spacing, dirty, missing) 1398 If you have a personalised plate, make sure it adheres to DVLA rules
4 Stickers on windscreen blocking driver’s view 1055 Keep any windscreen furniture, including tax disc and parking permits, strictly outside the area of the wipers’ sweep
5 Warning light on dash 799 Warning lights have been part of the MoT test since 2012 and relate to anything from brakes to tyre pressures and airbag; if you see one, get it checked out

These 10,753 first-time test failures cost motorists an estimated £483,885, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

In total, 285,236 MoT test failures were recorded between August 2012 and August 2013, and unsurprisingly, the most common reasons wer tyre tread depth worn below the legal limit of 1.6mm, brake pads worn to less than 1.5mm thick and headlamps being wrongly aimed.

Although most motorists can’t fix these problems themselves, they are all problems that are readily identifiable by drivers who pay attention to the condition and behaviour of their cars. I’ve written about the UK’s embarrassingly high MoT failure rate before — one-in-five cars fails its first MoT, while our first-time failure rate is four times that seen in Germany and France — and nothing seems to change.

UK motorists appear to be proud of their ignorance and the lack of care they display for their cars. Many MoT failure problems, such as illegal tyres, blown bulbs, empty windscreen wash and knackered brake pads, are either easy for any driver to spot (if they look) or would be prevented/corrected by regular servicing.

Money is an issue, of course, but it’s more than that — these problems are safety issues, but drivers treat them as inconveniences to be ignored. Driving with bald tyres isn’t safe, neither is having faulty lights. The data show that 20% of MoT failures could be prevented by drivers themselves performing the simplest of checks and preventative maintenance.

If you’re unsure of what you can do to help your car pass its MoT test first time, then here’s a checklist to get you started. Don’t be put off — it’s really simple, and you don’t need any mechanical knowledge and could save yourself the cost and hassle of a re-test and last minute fixes.

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