MOT costs could rise significantly, says new report

By Laura Linham

25th Apr 2024 | News

 Diesel vehicles topped the list with a 30.24% failure rate, closely followed by petrol cars at 28.19%
Diesel vehicles topped the list with a 30.24% failure rate, closely followed by petrol cars at 28.19%

A recent report by Wessex Fleet has suggested that the cost of an MOT could rise from £54.85 to over £70, an increase of 34%, if adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The fleet management team conducted this analysis through a Freedom of Information request to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), also examining the failure rates of MOTs across different vehicle ages and types.

The findings indicate that vehicles 20 years old have the highest failure rate at 37.36%, despite older vehicles like those aged 50 years having a much lower fail rate of 17%. This disparity highlights how vintage cars, often better maintained and used less frequently, tend to fare better in tests.

The report also sheds light on the challenges posed by different fuel types. Diesel vehicles topped the list with a 30.24% failure rate, closely followed by petrol cars at 28.19%. In contrast, electric and hybrid vehicles showed significantly lower failure rates, which could be attributed to their newer technology and fewer mechanical components.

BMW models were noted for their robust performance, registering the lowest percentage of MOT fails among popular car brands at 21.67%. This may be influenced by the typically newer age and well-maintained status of such luxury vehicles.

To assist motorists, Wessex Fleet has provided five expert tips to help maintain an older vehicle and improve its chances of passing an MOT. These include regular checks and maintenance of brakes and fluids, adhering to a service schedule, taking care of the battery, and for diesel vehicles, ensuring the engine is clean to maintain efficiency.

  • Maintain your brakes 

It goes without saying your brakes are critically important when it comes to driving. Maintaining your brakes not only means you can drive safely, but it also means you're less likely to be presented with a hefty maintenance bill at your next MOT or service. Having your brakes inspected regularly means you can be aware of any wear that may need to be taken care of, for your peace of mind when driving.  

If you are driving a car with faulty brakes, you could be seen to be 'driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition', which is a £2,500 fine and at least three penalty points added to your license according to the Highway code. 

  • Regular fluid checks 

Fluids are quite literally the lifeblood of your vehicle. Keeping them topped up means your vehicle can continue to function smoothly. 

Make sure you regularly check your engine oil levels by opening the bonnet and removing the dipstick. Wipe it and redip it. When you remove the dipstick again, your oil should be between the minimum and maximum marker. This will help you determine whether it needs to be topped up. 

Other fluids to check include the coolant reservoir and the windscreen washer. 

  • Keep up with a service schedule 

Make sure you stay up to date with services and MOTs. Ensuring that you have your vehicle checked regularly means you can identify and rectify any issues that might have cropped up since your MOT. It also means you can keep on top of any maintenance issues as soon as possible — instead of leaving them to tackle all at once. 

Generally, your car's manual, as well as warning lights on the dashboard will tell you how often services are required. It's best to budget for a smaller service once a year, and a larger service to be carried out every 2-3 years to prolong your vehicle's lifespan. 

  • Take care of the battery 

If you have a classic or vintage car, you may not use it all the time — it might be stored in a garage or on your drive. When a car hasn't been used for a long period, the battery can degrade and become flat. While you could jump-start it, this can do more harm than good, resulting in additional wear and tear to the engine and more intricate mechanisms.  

To prevent your battery from becoming flat, you could use a trickle charger to keep it topped up when you're not driving. If you don't want to invest in a trickle charger, simply take your car for a drive once a week to keep the battery in good condition. 

  • Diesel cars can require engine cleaning to improve their efficiency 

Driving a diesel engine can be a good choice if driving long distances for personal or business use. However, drivers need to keep on top of cleaning the engine or filters to keep the efficiency of a diesel car running as smoothly as possible. There are many diesel system cleaners on offer, but you can also clean around it with a toothbrush or sponge to remove any debris from it. 


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