This month is set to break the record for MOT failures with the prospect of over two million vehicles failing the annual safety check.
It will mean motorists are millions out of pocket for not making the simple checks that could prevent over half of all failed tests.
September 2016 saw a record number of over half a million new cars and vans registered. They now face a first examination alongside the highest ever number of vehicles on the road with nearly 40m motorbikes, cars, vans, buses and trucks in the UK.
With 24 million cars on the road over three years old and with the average age of motors increasing this major headache for drivers need not be so costly and time consuming.
Analysis of nearly 90 million MOT reports by researchers at Continental Tyres revealed that faulty bulbs, worn brakes and inadequate tyre tread depth will account for 57% of the failures recorded in MOTs.
The detailed study is the first time any organisation has analysed previously unpublished government data to reveal the scale of avoidable risk and cost.
Around one in five of all car owners will face a MOT this month as around 20% of vehicle registrations are made in September – making it, with March, the most popular month by far for the test of roadworthiness.
Safety experts at the tyre and automotive technology business have shared how simple checks can eliminate major safety risks, and will save motorists both time and money.
As well as having the hassle of an MOT re-test, car owners face extra costs as most will settle for the tyres and components offered rather than shopping around for the right product at the best price.
On tyres alone, this leaves drivers up to £30m out of pocket from seven million failures due to tyres in the last three years as part of the compulsory safety check.
The average labour charge at garages is £67 an hour, so leaving simple tasks to the test centre like swapping faulty bulbs and worn wiper blades could mean more than £50 each in labour and parts for millions of motorists.
Mark Griffiths, safety spokesman at Continental Tyres said: “It is crucial that people understand the seriousness of driving with worn brakes or tyres given the impact it has on the safety of all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
“Tyres are the vital and only connection between the vehicle and the road surface, and as the leading advocate of road safety we want to make people aware of how they can save time and money through quick, simple checks.”
Researchers examined records covering every postcode and identified that 30% of MOT failures were for lights, 17% for brakes and 10% for tyres.
Griffiths added: “As well as analysing the data from the last three years we have unrivalled insight given that one in three new cars in Europe are delivered with Continental tyres – so supporting manufacturers as well as consumers is what we do.”
Checking all lights and tyres can be done in a couple of minutes and many vehicles now have a warning light to indicate worn brake pads. Most garages offer free brake and tyre checks to support safe motoring.
A third of cars will fail due to a problem with lights, brakes or tyres – sometimes more than one problem. As three of the four most common reasons for not passing the test, each of the easily identified faults can be resolved before the compulsory annual safety check.
The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. Though recognising the deterioration in braking performance, Continental recommend tyres are replaced at 3mm tread depth as is the policy with vehicles operated by very many councils, government departments and perhaps all emergency services.
As part of the campaign, the tyre and automotive business has launched a series of videos that remind motorists of the crucial role they have in basic vehicle maintenance – supporting their own safety and that of all road users.