5 ways your windscreen could fail your MOT

Thursday 28th April 2022



If your annual MOT is just around the corner, you may be wondering about the best ways to prepare for your MOT test. Familiarising yourself with what motoring components can fail an MOT is a good place to start – for example, understanding how obstruction of visibility to your windscreen can affect your results.

There’s a number of reasons your windscreen may lead an MOT fail – learn what to watch out for and ways to prevent windscreen MOT fails from this guide.

Windscreen MOT failures

1. Visibility

Visibility is one of the most important components checked during an MOT test - this is tested by the examiner sitting in the driver’s seat and checking the field of vision through both the windscreen, and the front side windows. If your visibility is significantly affected, this will cause you to fail your MOT. The following list shows examples of where visibility could be obstructed, but will only be considered a defect if it seriously restricts the driver’s view:

  • Car air fresheners
  • Misplaced sat navs
  • Stickers, such as parking permits or disability parking permits
  • Taxi signs to indicate if a vehicle is ‘for hire’
  • Sun visor on the driver’s side that cannot be stowed in the ‘off screen’ position
  • Window wipers that stop in a position that obscures the view

2. Condition (e.g., chips, cracks)

Ever wondered if a cracked windscreen will fail an MOT? Well, it depends. If the crack, or chip, on your windscreen affects visibility – for example, if it’s in the driver’s line of vision – this can result in an MOT fail.

It also depends on how large the crack or chip is, as to whether this will affect your MOT result. However, in order to determine whether your windscreen crack fails your MOT, your windscreen is split up into different zones:

  • Zone A – this refers to the section of your windscreen directly in the driver’s line of vision. If there are any chips or cracks in this zone measuring over 10mm in diameter, this will result in an MOT fail.
  • Zone B – this refers to the rest of the windscreen. A crack or chip in this area is less likely to result in an MOT fail. However, if there are cracks measuring over 40mm in diameter, this will then lead to a fail. If the chip or crack is less than 40mm, it won’t lead to a fail, but this will be noted by the tester.

3. Windscreen wipers

As well as the windscreen itself, your wipers also need to be considered when prepping for your MOT. If your windscreen wipers are clearly damaged or worn, these would be instantly rejected. If a wiper is not operating, is missing, or is obviously not clearing the window, these would count as a combination of both Minor and Major defects.

Ensure that your wipers are in the best possible condition with our guide highlighting when to replace windscreen wipers, or how to change wiper blades.

4. Rear-view

Of course, the rear-view also has a part to play in the success rate of an MOT test. Mandatory rear-view mirrors, or indirect vision devices, must provide an adequate view to the rear from the driver’s seat. Therefore, if a mirror or a device is missing, damaged, loose, inoperative or not providing an adequate view to the rear, this can result in either a Minor or Major defect.

5. Windscreen washers and wiper fluid

Lastly, the amount of wiper fluid you have can also affect either a pass or fail on your MOT test. Washers must provide enough fluid for the wipers to clear the windscreen effectively, so if your washers are not working, or not providing sufficient fluid to clear the windscreen, this can result in a Major defect, leading to a failed MOT test.

Hopefully with our tips, you’ll be able to avoid failing your MOT – however, if you’re interested in learning more, find out what happens if your car fails its MOT. Ensure your vehicle is legal on the roads by booking in for your next MOT or car service at your local Formula One Autocentre.

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