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German & Japanese cars top MOT passes

German and Japanese cars are the most reliable, according to new research looking at the motors most and least likely to pass their first MOT. 

German and Japanese cars are the most reliable cars when it comes to passing their first MOT.

The ninth best-performing car, the Land Rover Freelander alone broke the trend.

MOT passes and failures by model

The best model was the small Toyota iQ, with a pass rate of 91.82 per cent from 2,835 tests.

This was followed by the Honda Jazz with a 90.40 per cent pass rate, and the Honda CR-V at 89.83 per cent.

The Renault Kangoo and Citroen Berlingo are the cars least likely to pass their MOT first time, with a 63.54 per cent and 67.84 per cent pass rate respectively.

MOT passes and failures by make

Lexus, pictured below, proved the most reliable brand overall, with an average of 89.4 per cent of its cars passing their first MOT.

Lexus IS

Subaru and Honda scooped second and third places respectively to complete a Japanese top three, with Toyota fourth.

The least likely brand of vehicle to pass its first MOT was Citroen, with a success rate of 76.18 per cent.

Volkswagen also featured in the bottom 10.

Mini, Volvo and Alfa Romeo also appeared in the bottom 10, along with Seat, Fiat, Renault, Peugeot and Chevrolet.

MOT records analysed

A total of 253,000 vehicles failed their first MOT in the opening eight months of this year, according to the research by car servicing comparison site

It analysed 70 million records from the Vehicle Operation and Services Agency (VOSA), the government body that oversees MOT testing, looking at which cars were most and least likely to pass their first MOT.

An MOT is required three years from the date of a vehicle's initial registration, to ensure it is still fit for motoring.

40% of cars fail MOTs

More than 10 million cars fail their MOT every year, according to motoring manual publishers Haynes.

But figures from VOSA show that nearly half of all MOT failures could have been avoided by checking tyre condition and pressure, ensuring light bulbs were working, and maintaining mirrors, wipers and washers.

Matthew Minter of Haynes motoring manuals, says: "Around 40 per cent of cars fail their MOT at the first attempt.

"The amount of time and money wasted on a re-test can be extremely frustrating for a driver, especially when around half of those failures were due to problems that are very straightforward to resolve."

"Many test failures could be avoided if drivers did some simple checks on their car before taking it into the garage.

How to pass your MOT first time

Haynes' top tips to passing your MOT first time:

  • Check the exterior lights are working.
  • Check the dashboard panel warning lights. Malfunction of warning lights related to ABS, airbags, brake fluid level, electric parking brakes, electric power steering and stability control systems will result in a fail.
  • Check tyre pressures and condition. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, although it is better to fit new tyres well before that depth is reached.
  • Check and resolve any issues with the driver's view of the road. This includes the windscreen, wipers and washers, and mirrors.
  • Road test. Take the car for a drive and check that it pulls up in a straight line when the brakes are applied, that the steering does not pull to one side and that the handbrake will hold the car on a slope. 

DIY car repairs

There are simple DIY car repairs that anyone can do. We teamed up with Haynes, the motor manual publisher, to show you how.

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Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick covers all things consumer for She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

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