UK MOT Test Results & Common Car Defects

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Moneyshake can reveal the latest figures about the UK MOT test. We submitted a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) to uncover pass rates of the UK MOT test between 2019 and 2020, plus the most common defects found on vehicles using our roads.

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Key findings

  • 25% of all cars entered for an MOT (including re-tests) failed
  • Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment defects were the most common reasons for failing the test, accounting for 27% of faults found.
  • 39% of cars that passed the MOT did so with at least one advisory (i.e. a fault on a non-mandatory item assessed in the test, or a part which is close to failing)
  • More than 5M cars that failed an MOT went on to pass within 14 days, but still with advisories.

The top 5 defects leading to an MOT fail

Between 2019 and 2020 more than 37M cars failed their MOT (including re-tests), according to the DVSA.

We studied the data to show you what the five most common reasons were for vehicles failing the MOT test.

MOT tests FOI

Most cars that fail their MOT go on to pass with advisories

There seems to be a significant number of UK drivers that pass their MOTs by the skin of their teeth. According to the DVSA’s research, more than 6.8M cars passed the MOT having failed in the previous 14 days leading up to a re-test.

Rather concerningly, more than 5.3M (77%) of these re-test cars still had advisories even after passing. This suggests that there’s an alarming number of cars on the road that aren’t in a totally safe condition.

We reveal the number of cars passing their MOT with advisories below.

UK Mot Test - advisories

On the other hand, nearly 13M cars were deemed as being in a better condition by garages across the country as they passed their MOT with nil advisories. This includes just over 2.5M re-tests.

With MOT exemptions now lifted, you’ll need to have an MOT each year if your car is more than three years old. If you’re about to have your MOT, check out our handy MOT guide so that you have the best chance of passing first time.

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