The dreaded MOT! Taking your car into an inspection bay for its annual certificate of road-worthiness is one of the most fraught and nerve-racking experiences faced by motorists. It's like trying to figure out an M6 contraflow or navigating through London attempting to tiptoe around the congestion charge zone. No, actually it's worse.
The devilish den of MOT mystery you drive into, could either leave you cartwheeling for joy and kissing your car on the grille, or desperate and despondent, scanning your bank account for non-existent funds and frantically searching ebay for cheap spares - or just a whole other car!
Around 40% of cars fail their MOT at the first attempt. How can you try and ensure yours doesn't? Well getting it regularly serviced and checked should mean your car remains in good health and hence MOT-ready throughout the year.
Another advantage might be gained in choosing a car known for having a high MOT pass rate. Fortunately, the Bill Plant Driving School has done the research and come up with a list of cars with the highest pass rates, based on the data from the Department of Transport for pass rates during 2018-2022.
1. Peugeot 108
At the top, with an exceptional pass rate of 85.9% sits a car that may surprise some as it's not Japanese, Korean or German (the usual high-achievers when it comes to reliability surveys) but is, in fact, French.
The Peugeot 108 is not only a great first-time car for new drivers, an ideal city-slicking companion and a relative bargain in the nearly-new classifieds, but tends to sail through the MOT test. Being comprised of tried and tested components from the Peugeot 107, probably helps.
2. Mini Cooper
Another great city car and one that remains immensely fun to peddle is the Mini Cooper, something of a British icon and achieving an exemplar 84.73% pass rate. If you're going to opt for a used example, the post 2014 models are the best ones to go for in terms of reliability.
3. Skoda Citigo
Owned by Volkswagen, Skoda proves it's not the poor man's choice in the giant VAG (VW-Audi Group) with a pass rate of 83.95% for its little Citigo. It shares most of what's beneath the skin with the VW Up! to aid its solidity, and boasts low running costs.
4. Volkswagen Up!
The only surprise about the VW Up! being on this list in light of the Skoda Citigo's success is that it's not ahead of its Czech cousin. It's close though with a rate just 0.03% lower at 83.92%.
5. SEAT Mii
Here's the third in that triumvirate of tiddly tearaways from VAG. It doesn't quite match the Citigo and Up! with a slightly lower pass rate of 81.51%, but that remains high and keeps it in the top five. The somewhat awkwardly named MII E makes it the only model at the top of this list that is also available in purely electric guise.
Best of the Rest
Astonishingly the much-overlooked MG 3 is in 6th place with the Peugeot 208 in 7th both in the 80% range. The Ford Fiesta-based B Max is close at well over 79% and then there's a little drop to the 9th-placed Toyota Aygo at 76.26%. The Hyundai i10 grabs the final spot in the top with 76.13%.
The Honda CR-V is the first full family-sized SUV on the list in 12th, Vauxhall's Insignia is the highest ranked saloon-style car at 15th.
Most Common Causes of Failure
The data was also analysed and cross-referenced with Google searches for faults, to try an ascertain what were the most common causes of MOT failures.
The engine came out with by far the biggest number of queries at well over half a million, but again, a well-maintained motor should easily fend off the MOT Angel of Doom.
Brakes are fundamental to a car's function, so it's alarming that that was second with just under 150,000 searches. Get the discs, pads and callipers checked and make sure the brake fluid is topped up.
Seatbelts were third on the list and while they aren't crucial to the running of a car, they are essentially for your safety. Don't wait till the MOT to get them fixed.
The clutch and steering complete the top five, both of which can be expensive fixes. So never hesitate to get them checked at the first sign of trouble to avoid costly repairs later.