This is the most common reason cars fail their MOT

A large sign on the door of a UK MOT testing station.

The government has proposed changing the annual MOT to every two years. (Getty)

Faulty lights and electricals are the most common reason cars fail at roadworthiness tests, a Yahoo News UK analysis of Department for Transport (DfT) data has found.

While many may worry about obvious problems such as worn tires or brake pads, 26% of faults since 2019 that caused cars to fail MOTs were related to “lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment”.

The next most common cause of failure was the suspension (19%), while the brakes came in third (17%).

The figures show that since 2019, an average of 30% of cars brought in for roadworthiness testing have broken down, with the average number of defects for damaged cars being 2.52.

Over a quarter of MOT failures are due to lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment.  (Getty/Stock Photo)

Over a quarter of MOT failures are due to lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment. (Getty/Stock Photo)

Proportion of failures by defect category, 2019-2022:

  • Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment 26%

  • Suspension 19%

  • Brakes 17%

  • Tires 12%

  • Visibility 9%

  • Body, chassis, structure 6%

  • Noise, emissions and leaks 5%

  • Steering 3%

  • Seat belts and additional safety systems 2%

  • Vehicle Identification 1%

  • Road wheels 1%

The figures come after motorists raised concerns that the mandatory annual car inspection could be changed to every two years under government proposals to help cost of living crisis.

While the government believes the plans will help struggling Britons save money amid high food and energy prices, more than half of drivers (55%) think it’s a bad idea, according to RAC research.

Almost all (98%) who said it was a bad idea said the policy would lead to more dangerous vehicles on the road, while a fifth (20%) said it would lead to more crashes.

Some 58% of respondents also said that the benefits of saving money would be lost in the long run, as any problems or defects would go undetected and cost more to repair.

MOT vehicle inspection certificate

In the past two years, 687 MOT testers have been banned for misconduct. (Getty)

The average cost of an MOT for a standard size vehicle is around £40, although garages cannot legally charge more than £54.85.

Driving without a MOT can result in a £1,000 fine and cancellation of your insurance certificate.

However, 687 MOT testers have been banned in the past two years for misconduct and issuing false certificates, according to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Office (DVSA).

The figure – a 49% increase on the previous two years (2018-2020) – may be a result of many businesses being closed during the COVID-19 lockdown or fully booked after reopening.