Why your car will fail its MOT

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You might think that if your car is relatively new, the MOT is a mere formality. You didn't fork out thousands of pounds just for your vehicle to start falling apart as soon as you got it on the road. However, research into cars facing their first MOT found that this is exactly what happens. It unearthed the things that were most likely to go wrong with the 20 most popular family cars - and revealed the cars most likely to fail their first MOT.

So what are the risks?

The research, from comparison website Tootcompare.com, looked at 70 million cars manufactured in 2010 and tested for the first time in 2013, and discovered that one in five cars actually failed their first test.

Most common reasons to fail

The most likely reason for failure is that one or more of the lights isn't working, or it's not correctly aligned. This affects a shocking 38% of cars.The second most common problem is that the tyres have worn down below the legal minimum.

Number three on the list is that the driver's view of the road is obscured - which usually means a problem with the windscreen wipers. And number four was brakes - which may have been worn through over-use.

Chief executive of TootCompare Douglas Rotberg told the Daily Mail that the top three reasons for failure at least were entirely avoidable. He said: "The majority of items in the top three failure categories are relatively basic maintenance items. All should be picked up by regular maintenance, and many could be detected by the owner by a very simple walk-around inspection of the car."

To make matters worse, earlier this month, What Car discovered that thousands of cars were failing because the owners hadn't topped up the screenwash, cleared the clutter in the car or paid attention to warning lights which were illuminated on the dashboard.

Likely to fail?

In terms of the cars most likely to give drivers trouble, the cars most likely to fail their test were the Volkswagen Passat (only 76% of which passed first time), the Vauxhall Zafira and the Mini Hatchback (both at 78%) and the Ford Mondeo at 79%.

The Passat and Zafira followed the usual pattern of being most likely to fail on the grounds of lights, then tyres and then view of the road. The Zafira also had problems with its brakes - responsible for 11% of failures. The Mini Hatchback was most likely to fail on lights, but suffered a particular problem with the view of the road. And the Ford Mondeo's weaknesses were overwhelmingly lights and tyres.

Some of the more highly powered cars suffered particularly bad wear to the tyres. Some 43% of the failures of the Audi A3 were due to over-worn tyres, and 39% of the BMW 1 Series' failures were caused by this too.

Meanwhil,e those most likely to pass first time were the Land Rover Freelander (with 90% passing first time), followed by the Mercedes E-Class at 86%, and the Renault Scenic, the Hyundai 110 and the Audi A3 (all at 85%).

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