DVSA MOT data analysis reveals top ten most-common test failures

Suspension and indicator faults are becoming an increasingly common reason for MOT certificate refusal

DVSA MOT data analysis reveals top ten most-common test failures
Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment accounts for 17.8 per cent of failures.

Analysis of more than 400 million MOT records from the DVSA by consumer website HonestJohn.co.uk has shown that lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment is the biggest MOT failure with 4.5 million vehicles caught out each year.

Suspension problems have been highlighted as the second most-common cause of failure and has been recognised as one of the fastest growing MOT failure points.

The data was revealed following a Freedom of Information request by HonestJohn.co.uk.

Brakes accounted for 9.5 per cent of failures, condition of tyres have a 7.5 per cent failure rate and tyre tread depth was a failure item in 4.4 per cent of cases.

Driver’s view of the road has a 6.8 per cent failure rate, with worn wipers and windscreen cracks causing problems with the driver’s line of sight.

Another fast-growing MOT failure are position lamps, accounting for 1.2 million vehicles failing their annual roadworthiness test.

HonestJohn.co.uk believes it’s possibly a trend caused by manufacturers swapping traditional bulbs for sealed unit LED items.

Top ten most-common MOT failures

MOT failure point Failure rate 
Lamps, Reflectors and Electrical Equipment  17.8%
Suspension  12.1%
Brakes  9.5%
Condition of tyres  7.5%
Driver’s view of the road  6.8%
Headlamp aim  5%
Stop lamp 11%
Registration plate lamp  4.5%
Indicators  4.5%
Tyre tread depth  4.4%


The data also revealed the top ten cars for passing their MOT, with the Audi Q3 topping the list with a 91 per cent pass rate followed closely by the Vauxhall Mokka and Mazda CX-5 with a 90.4 per cent and 89.2 per cent pass rates respectively.

Meanwhile, the Fiat Multipla is the most likely car to fail with a pass rate of just 41.5 per cent.

Also featured at the bottom of the list is the Daewoo Matiz with a 41.6 per cent, pass rate and the Citroen Saxo with a 43 per cent pass rate.


  1. I’d be more interested to know specific reasons for failure. ‘Suspension’ for instance covers a multitude of possibilities. We see more broken road springs nowadays (due to increasing number of pot holes and speed humps), but not so many worn ball joints. ‘Lighting’ is another one, is this completely failed units or just amber turn indicator lamp bulbs (which seem more common nowadays for styling reasons) that have faded and are showing a white light?

  2. does the 17.8% for lamps not inclued stoplamp reg lamp indicators?

  3. Just shows how statistics can give false impressions, for instance the Audi Q3, Mokka and CX5 are all relatively new models and wouldn’t be expected to fail but the Citroen Saxo and Daewoo Matiz haven’t been manufactured for at least 12 years so are obviously much older cars.

  4. I ran an MOT testing station for 10 years the most common fail was no water in the washer bottle and number plate bulbs then tyres all makes of car. I had the reports from DVSA which showed the most likely car to pass an MOT was a Suzuki Swift and the most likely car to fail was a Fiat Balingo.

  5. If tyre tread is illegal can the MOT station fine the motorist? #justthinking

    • Hi Steph an MOT testing station can not fine a person for anything regarding an illegal defect.
      regards Dave

    • No, that’s a Police matter.

  6. Your facts are meaningless when you make typo errors! Logically, you meant 90.4% and not 9.04% ? Sloppy journalism! ( And if you must use ‘four’ + ‘two’ in your efforts to distinguish between robots and ‘humans’ try letting me reply logically by inserting ‘six’ rather than ‘6’. Equally, here I’m being asked to multiply ‘four’ by ‘2’. I’m tempted to try (‘eighty’ – ‘Y’) but that would clearly not please you illogical use of the ‘crypton factor’!

    • Hi David, thanks for nudge on the typo! A correction has now been made.


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