How to avoid failing your MOT on lights

MOT Advice

It is surprising just how many vehicles fail their MOT for minor issues that could be fixed prior to taking the vehicle to the garage. We’ve listed the most common MOT failure reasons and how they can be avoided.

One of the most common MOT fails among all manufacturers is the lights and lamps. Here we detail the reasons lights and lamps can mean a failed MOT, and how you can avoid them ahead of your MOT test:

Not working

The first point is to make sure all the lights and lamps are all working: headlights, fog lights, rear lights, brake lights, number plate lamps, indicators and your hazard warning lights. If they are not you could buy the appropriate bulb ahead of the MOT and ask the garage to fit it before the MOT is carried out. If you are buying ahead of the MOT, make sure you get the correct colour to match the other light and/or the manufacturer specification.

Too bright

Other cases vehicles can fail their MOT when the lights are badly adjusted. The result of which would cause an oncoming vehicle to appear to have their full beams on. If you have ever been subject to this you know it can be dangerous. Your MOT technician will be able to quickly and easily adjust this for you, as long as the bracket or mount is not damaged.

Too low

As well as being too bright, your car could fail it’s MOT for the lights being too low. The bulb must emit more than 50% of it’s potential. It is also worth removing any objects, which might be hindering the light output such as stickers.


One of the less common MOT failure reason is when an indicator flashes less than 60 times a minute. An indicator considered in its prime should flash between 60 and 120 times a minute.

Brake light

Other reasons why vehicles have failed their MOT is because the brake light appears even after the brake is released. You can check the status of your brake lights in advance by choosing a safe space, and asking someone to stand safely behind your car while you apply and release the brake.