Those silly reasons for MOT failures aren’t so silly

MOT symbol

So, you’ve taken your pride-and-joy along to a trusted MOT centre.

You’re learned that it’s failed. Unexpected, but fair enough.

Ah, but when you’re told the reason, your blood pressure goes nuclear. If you’d been failed for a proper reason, fair enough… but failing you for that? That’s just taking the…, etc, etc. Time to get on your favourite social media platform to let off steam about jobsworths and rip-offs.

But easy there, Tiger. What if those silly reasons for failing your MOT were actually, you know, kind of a good idea?

Bearing in mind that the overall purpose of the MOT is to make your vehicle safe for you, your passengers and other road users, let’s look at five not-so-silly reasons why your car might not make the grade.

1. You’re out of windscreen washer fluid

Every year, this one catches out many, many motorists.And though it might seem the height of pettiness to fail a vehicle because there’s no washer fluid, running out of the stuff can be serious. For example: you’re on the M1 at night, your windscreen is constantly getting bladdered by dirty spray, and nothing happens when you hit the washer control. Pretty soon, windscreen washer passes from trivial to vital. If you can’t see properly, you’re in danger and you are a danger.

2. The interior of your car is too dirty/messy…

So what if your car is like a mobile skip? That’s your lifestyle choice and democratic privilege. It’s no reason to fail you, right? Well, actually it is. Here are a couple of good reasons:

  • If there’s that much junk in your car, it has the potential to interfere with your control of the car. Discarded cans, coffee cups and so on have a tendency to roll forwards, especially when you’re decelerating fast. That sort of stuff can and does get lodged under brake pedals just when drivers need them the most.
  • If your car is a health hazard, you can’t reasonably expect an MOT technician to get into it. Being around rotting food or mould, for example, isn’t good for anybody.

3. …the exterior of your car is too dirty

Likewise, a percentage of MOT failures occur because the car’s exterior is too dirty. But what on Earth does that have to do with roadworthiness?

Well, for one thing, beyond a certain point of filthiness, it’s hard for the mechanic to properly assess  everything that’s necessary. None of our lovely customers would do this, but it’s not unknown for unscrupulous owners to try to disguise poor bodywork or other faults with a thick coating of mud!

More often, excess dirt just obscures registration plates or lights, which for obvious reasons need to be clearly visible to other road users, emergency services, etc.

4. Windcreen stickers and cabin accessories

Oh come on, really? Yep, you can be failed for stickers, things dangling from your mirror and so on if they impact on the driver’s field of vision. It’s not illogical. To get all sciencey, an object like a cyclist or pedestrian may only subtend a small angle at your retina  – which means that potentially they can be obscured by your Visit Conwy Castle stickers or novelty air freshener (if these are in in the wrong place).

MOT testers are allowed to remove air fresheners and badly placed satnavs, and the like, but why not just remove them yourself before the test?

5. Your suspension is dodgy

Note that we’ve used the correct technical term there! To be fair, most owners accept that suspension issues aren’t trivial. Still, some are under the impression that the suspension is simply there for comfort and has no bearing on the car’s safety. This isn’t true: as any keen driver will tell you, the suspension has a huge effect on how the car handles, especially under braking and when cornering. Overall, suspension problems account for almost one in eight MOT failures.

Time to get your car MOTed in South Wales?

Relax in our waiting area while we carry out your MOT
Relax in our waiting area while we carry out your MOT

We understand that it’s hard to love the MOT process, but at WVS, we try hard to make it as painless as possible.

Your car or van will be MOT tested by fully trained and qualified members of the team, and we make a point of being efficient, professional and friendly – respecting both car and owner. We’re specialists in the VW Group marques, including Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Skoda, but of course we MOT any other make.

If you’re short on time, by prior arrangement we can offer while-you-wait MOTs. Our waiting area is comfortable, with free Wi-Fi and complimentary tea and coffee.

If you’re in South Wales and it’s MOT time, we hope to see you soon.

The WVS blog covers a wide range of automotive topics, from the contentious to the light-hearted. We are an independent garage specialising in the VW group marques, including Audi, Volkswagen, Skoda and SEAT. WVS provides services, repairs and MOTs, delivering a main dealer level of care at affordable prices. To book your vehicle in, or for any enquiries, get in touch.