MOT failures soar to 10 Million

MOT inspection

MOT failures soar to 10 Million

The updated MOT Test caused a third of vehicles to fail

A year after changes were introduced to get the most polluting vehicles off the road, test failures rose by 37%

In the year to May 2018, nearly 10 million of the 30 million vehicles that underwent the test failed. This is notable rise from 7.3million in the previous year.

A quarter of failures where from ‘dangerous’ defects. Vehicles with dangerous defects need to be rectified before they can be allowed back onto the road. The fine for operating a non-road legal vehicle on the road is £2500

Forty-four percent of failures were major faults.

The UK region with the highest failure rate was the South West (38%).


The Regions with the Highest and Lowest MOT Test Failure Rates

 Highest Failure Rates
Region Fails (per cent)
South West 38%
Wales 35%
Scotland 35%
East Midlands 33%
North East 33%


Lowest Failures Rates
Region Passes (per cent)
Greater London 71%
East of England 69%
West Midlands 68%
North West 68%
South East 67%


New checks as part of the MOT from May 2018

A vehicle will get a major fault if the MOT tester:

  • can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust
  • finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with


Other new checks include:

  • if tyres are obviously underinflated
  • if the brake fluid has been contaminated
  • for fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
  • brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
  • reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
  • headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
  • daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they’re 3 years old)


The data also showed that motorbikes were more likely to pass the updated test than cars, with 83 per cent of motorcycles sailing through their MOT.


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