What Happens If Your Car Fails Its MOT Test?

By: Motor Easy
car failed mot test

Let's start with the car

The 2003 Jaguar S-Type, which is the basis of this case study, has an impressively low failure rate for such an old car, of 37.45%. But it has a poor MOT index score of 7.23. The score reflects how expensive car repairs on the Jaguar can be.

Whereas a Ford Focus of the same age, has a dramatically worse failure rate of 50.58%, but because repairs are a lot cheaper, has only a slightly worse score of 7.96.


Why did it fail the MOT test?:

1. Parking brake efficiency was below the minimum requirement.

2. Insecure nearside rear anti-roll bar attachment bracket/mounting.


Were the garage trying to inflate the repair bill?

The tester said that the anti-roll bar was "completely gone," and quoted for the repair instantly.

To establish the repair needed for the parking (rear) brakes, the car had to be put on the lift, the rear wheels removed and the brakes stripped down.

The garage also removed the front wheels and stripped down the front brakes. As the car's front brakes had passed the MOT test, a knowledgeable and suspicious consumer might say the garage was now 'looking for work' and inflating the repair bill, but the garage may argue that they needed to check the front brakes as part of their duty of care obligations.

The fact is, as a consumer, you can't stop a garage making extra checks, or stripping parts down when the car is on their ramp. But you don't have to just accept their quote - MotorEasy can help you take control at this point.

MOT test failed We can request images on your behalf

MOT Failure Reason 1:

Anti-Roll Bar Link

MotorEasy inspected and photographed the car and its the anti-roll bar link. Interestingly it was not "completely gone" as the tester said, but it was clearly defective.

MotorEasy could have made an issue of the misleading summary, but didn't on this occasion because the issue was just the tester's comments; the test result was ultimately correct.

Because the customer was using MotorEasy to sort out the repair the parts and price were checked and approved the same day, saving £72.43.


MOT Failure Reason 2:

Parking Brake Efficiency

MotorEasy asked the garage to provide the brake efficiency score and measure the rear brake pads and discs (this is done with brake measuring 'gauges').

MotorEasy compared this to the manufacturer's minimum guidelines which revealed that the brake pads were below the guideline, but the brake discs were not. Meaning the discs did not currently need to be changed.

MotorEasy provided the customer with a discounted rate of £51.83, saving the customer 31% versus the garage's normal retail rate.


The car was then re-tested and passed MOT.


Non-MOT Safety Issues:

Because the car was booked with MotorEasy we evaluated the front brake requirements for the customer, something not many people get the chance to do.

The front pads had several thousand miles of life left, but the discs were right on manufacturer's minimum recommended limit.

While garages always recommend it is 'good practice' to replace pads and discs at the same time, it is not essential, and MotorEasy believe this should be the motorist's decision, based on good quality information about the life left in each part.

MotorEasy, where possible, always estimate the number of miles a part is likely to be able to deliver, so that a decision is easier to make.

From the MOT test we know your annual mileage, and if based on that your brake pads have 6-12 months life left in them, why would you throw them away?

That's what happened in this example, and only the rear discs were changed. Because the customer could take advantage of MotorEasy's trade discounts, this saved £57.77 on this fault alone.

Of course, the garage still tried very hard to get the extra work. They went as far as telling us that just changing the discs had created a terrible squeal when braking and only new pads would fix it. When the car was tested by MotorEasy there was no such noise.


Book A MotorEasy MOT Test


Further reading

MOT Test - How Tester Discrepancies Can Cost You

Council & Test-Only MOT Centre Myth Busted

Check MOT Failure Rate Using Our MOT Index

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