Thousands of cars failing MOT for being 'too dirty'

24 March 2014

Thousands of cars in the UK are failing their MOT test for unnecessary and trivial reasons, according to the latest research.

A study conducted by examined the reasons behind 285,000 MOT failures between August 2012 and August 2013. It found that many vehicles failed for easily remedied problems, such as being full of clutter or not having the screenwash topped up.

While these easy-to-fix problems are costing motorists both pain and money, it is important the car garages and mechanics themselves don\’t fall foul of similar carelessness you need to ensure you get an appropriate motor trade insurance policy that covers all your needs. Some policies even cover loss of MOT licence in specific circumstances, so if this is a service you provide, be sure to ask an expert insurance broker for advice.

Of the 285,000 MOT failures, 4,649 were found guilty of not having enough screenwash, 2,852 failed because they were dirty or full of clutter, and 1,055 were given the thumbs down as a result of having windscreen stickers that obstructed the driver\’s view.

The most common reasons for vehicles failing the examination were having incorrectly pointed headlamps, worn brake pads or an insufficient tyre tread depth below 1.6mm.

Surprisingly, four per cent of the cars that failed were having their first MOT test; with an average MOT test price of £45, the 10,753 cars that failed their first test amounted to £483,885 wasted by UK motorists.\’s consumer editor Emma Butcher said: “There are some really simple things that every motorist can do to help a three-year-old car pass its first MOT test, but it’s amazing how many people don’t do them.

“Many people probably don’t even realise that MOT testers can refuse to test your car if it’s too dirty or full of clutter.”

The company is now launching a website to provide drivers with advice on how to ensure their car passes its MOT test.