Londoners most likely to suffer ‘avoidable’ MOT failures

19 April 2013 #SMMT News
  • 35% of MOT failures in London could be avoided vs 22% nationally.
  • Simple checks could cut up to 1.5 million failures across the UK each year.
  • 5,545 UK car dealers unite to reduce MOT failure rate.

Motorists in London are more likely than those in any other part of the UK to fail their MOT as a result of simple, easy-to-fix, issues such as blown bulbs, worn tyres and cracked windscreens.

The research, conducted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), indicates that around 1.5 million MOT failures each year could be avoided if motorists carry out simple visual checks of their vehicles and forewarn their dealer of issues, before the annual test of roadworthiness.

Across the various London boroughs, the research suggests 35% of failure issues could have been anticipated had the visual checks been carried out. This is well above the national average of 22%.

The findings are highlighted as part of the automotive industry’s ‘Minute Or Two’ campaign, which encourages motorists to carry out 10 visual checks of their vehicle prior to the MOT test. The full ‘Minute Or Two’ checklist, which can be viewed at, includes checks of headlights, tyres, windscreen wipers and fluid levels. The website also features a video guide to the checks and a Garage Finder tool, powered by Motor Codes, the car servicing customer service scheme backed by Trading Standards.

The campaign is backed by every major car maker, and technicians at 5,545 manufacturer main dealerships across the UK are ready and able to assist customers who might be unsure about carrying out the checks themselves.

Central London topped the table of fixable MOT failures with SMMT findings showing that 46% of issues could have been addressed after a simple ‘driveway’ check. At the other end of the spectrum, the Orkney Islands had the lowest number of avoidable fails, with only 13% of issues being of the type that an owner could have identified in advance of the MOT. In joint second place are the Hebrides and Shetland, with a 13.6% ‘fixable’ failure rate.

UK areas with highest proportion of avoidable MOT failures

Ranking Town % of all MOT fails considered ‘avoidable’
1 Central London 46.4
2 South West  London 35.4
3 Bromley 34.3
4 Ilford 33.9
5 North West London 33.3
6 Kingston 32.7
7 Sutton 32.3
8 Harrow 31.0
9 East  London 30.8
10 Croydon 30.6
11 Romford 30.5
12 St Albans 30.3
13 Twickenham 30.2
14 West London 30.1
15 Enfield 29.8

UK towns with lowest proportion of avoidable MOT failures

Ranking Town % of all MOT fails considered ‘avoidable’
1 Orkney 13.0
2= Hebrides 13.6
2= Shetland 13.6
4 Berwick-on-Tweed 14.0
5 Kirkcaldy 15.1
6 Bradford 15.3
7 Sunderland 15.4
8 Inverness 15.5
9 Aberdeen 15.8
10= Hull 15.9
10= Stoke-on-Trent 15.9
12 Newcastle 16.1
13= Dundee 16.3
13= Telford 16.3
15 Truro 16.5

“The data shows that, more than anywhere else in the UK, motorists in London would be able to avoid needless MOT failures by spending just a few minutes carrying out a series of simple pre-MOT checks,” explains Mike Baunton, SMMT Interim Chief Executive. “The aim of the ‘Minute Or Two’ campaign is to give motorists the knowledge and confidence to check their own vehicles and eliminate the possibility of simple problems, such as lights and fluid levels, causing a fail at the vehicle’s next MOT test.”

Sue Robinson, NFDA Director commented, “The statistics prove that unnecessary MOT failures are commonplace throughout London and the rest of the UK. The ‘Minute Or Two’ scheme, along with the assistance of their local manufacturer main dealer, could make a huge difference to MOT pass rates, saving motorists both time and money.”

Watch for your guide to the Minute Or Two check

Go to for the full ‘Minute Or Two’ checklist and a garage finder powered by Motor Codes.

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