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According to new research by What Car? Magazine, motorists cost themselves nearly £500,000 a year by allowing their car to fail their MoT test for simple reasons. The research analysed 285,236 MoT test failures recorded between August 2012 and August 2013.


What is an MoT test and why is it important?


An MoT test is used to check if your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition. To pass your MoT test, your vehicle must meet road safety and environmental standards. This is not the same as having your vehicle serviced and does not check it's general mechanical condition. Your vehicle requires an MoT test every year once it reaches 3 years old.


The MoT can be renewed up to a month before it expires and the earliest date the vehicle can have a new test is printed on the pass certificate. Vehicles without a valid MoT are not allowed to be driven on the road and those who do could end up prosecuted if caught. The only exception is if you have currently booked an MoT and are driving your vehicle to the test centre.


The MoT test research results


From the research, it was possible to see that almost 4% of all failed tests were due to reasons that could have been easily avoided. Two of the most common easily remedied reasons were forgetting to top up the windscreen washer fluid at 4,600 failed tests and the car being full of clutter and dirt at 2,852 failed tests. Out of all 285,236 tests, 800 vehicles failed as dashboard warning lights were illuminated and had been previously ignored.


The most common reasons for failing the MoT test was due to the tyre tread depth being below the 1.6mm limit, brake pads being worn down to less than 1.5mm thick and headlamps being wrongly aimed.


Comments on the MoT test results


What Car? Consumer Editor, Emma Butcher, commented, “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. However, most know there are rules about having a standardised registration plate and yet we found 29 people whose car failed because their numberplate was the wrong colour, and 114 who presented their car without a number plate at all.”