Revealed: Drivers In These Areas Are Most Likely to Fail Their MOT

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Having an up to date MOT is hugely important and if a test is failed, it can result in drivers having to pay for costly fixes to resolve the problem. We reveal which areas in Great Britain are most and least likely to fail their MOTs, as well as the most common reasons as to why.

With information gained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the study analysed a year’s worth of DVSA data on MOT failures, to find how many vehicles had initial failures in each postcode prefix in Great Britain. The failure rate percentage of tests for each area was then ranked highest to lowest to reveal which areas are most and least likely to fail their MOTs.

The study also looked into the reasons for the initial failures of the tests, finding what percentage of failed tests were due to twelve different categories of defects. These were then ranked highest to lowest to reveal the most common reasons drivers fail their MOTs. 

The study revealed that out of all the MOT tests conducted over the year period across Great Britain, over 9,000,000 failed on one or more factors, making up 29.21% of all vehicles tested.

MOT failures by region (1)

These are the 10 areas drivers are most likely to fail their MOT:

  1. Kirkaldy (KY) – 38.17% fail rate
  2. Plymouth (PL) – 37.42% fail rate
  3. Truro (TR) – 36.55% fail rate
  4. Dundee (DD) – 35.99% fail rate
  5. Llandrindod (LD) – 35.84% fail rate
  6. Exeter (EX) – 35.45% fail rate
  7. Torquay (TQ) – 35.29% fail rate
  8. Bristol (BS) – 33.98% fail rate
  9. Shetland (ZE) – 33.89% fail rate
  10. Dorchester (DT) – 33.80% fail rate

Drivers in Kirkaldy have emerged as the most likely to fail their MOT in Great Britain, with a 38.17% fail rate. Plymouth came in second, with a 37.42% fail rate, while Truro came in third with 36.55%.


These are the 10 areas drivers are least likely to fail their MOT

  1. London Eastern Central (EC) – 19.38% fail rate
  2. Enfield (EN) – 22.43% fail rate
  3. Bromley (BR) – 22.90% fail rate
  4. Twickenham (TW) – 23.37% fail rate
  5. Romford (RM) – 23.51% fail rate
  6. Kingston (KT) – 23.70% fail rate
  7. Ilford (IG) – 23.73% fail rate
  8. London – Western and Paddington (W) – 23.74% fail rate
  9. London – North Western (NW) – 23.74% fail rate
  10. Slough (SL) – 24.07% fail rate

The area in Great Britain where drivers are least likely to fail their MOT is London Eastern Central with a 19.38% fail rate, followed by Enfield with a 22.43% fail rate and Bromley in third with 22.90%. 

The study also analysed the twelve categories of defects which can result in a failed MOT to find which were the most common reasons for failures, with vehicles able to fail for more than one item, in more than one category.


These are the reasons drivers are most likely to fail their MOT

  1. Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment – 40.41%
  2. Suspension – 31.91%
  3. Brakes – 24.16%
  4. Tyres – 21.65%
  5. Visibility – 17.46%
  6. Body, chassis, structure – 12.50%
  7. Noise, emissions and leaks – 10.51%
  8. Steering – 6.34%
  9. Seat belts and supplementary restraint systems – 3.84%
  10. Identification of the vehicle – 1.46%
  11. Road Wheels – 1.15%
  12. Other – 0.05% 

Issues with lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment are the most common reason a car fails its MOT, with 40.41% of initial failures due to this factor. The suspension was the second most common reason with 31.91% of initial failures, followed by brakes in third with 24.16%.


“Once your car is older than three years, MOTs are an annual requirement. Drivers may not look forward to the yearly MOT, especially as their car gets older but it is one of the most important checks you need to remember when owning a car. 

Driving without a valid MOT means you will be breaking the law and drivers can be fined up to £1,000 for driving without one, so make sure to keep track of when it needs to be renewed to avoid a large fine.”

Eben Lovatt, Moneyshake CEO

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