Brake-ing Bad

70% of motorists driving vehicles with high-risk advisory issues for brakes and tyres

Leading UK car warranty provider, Warranty Direct reveals the most common advisory issues plaguing UK vehicles, since the MOT regulations were changed in May 2018.

The results were calculated by analysing the latest MOT and vehicle testing data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and claims on over 50,000 of its own live policies.


The new MOT rules state there are four categories vehicles will now be put into (excluding a standard PASS, where a vehicle meets the minimum legal standard):

Category Description Pass/Fail Number of vehicles with issues since May 2018
Dangerous A direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment Fail 3,070,196
Major It may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment Fail 17,473,946
Minor No significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment Pass 3,054,275
Advisory It could become more serious in the future Pass 8,712,403

While minor and advisory issues do not result in failed MOT tests, there have been 8,712,403 vehicles with one or more advisory issues since the recent MOT changes.

The number of vehicles with advisory issues was the second highest after “major” issues, which had 17,473,946 vehicles in its category.

Shockingly, the overall individual number of advisory issues was over 15 million*.

The DVSA data revealed faulty braking systems were one of the main, serious issues across the country, making up 34% of all advisory cautions. Warranty Direct paid on average £29,846 for authorised claims made against braking systems during this time period.

According to Warranty Direct, the vehicle makes which experience the most brake issues are:

Vehicle make Braking faults as Percentage of vehicle make claims
1 Chevrolet Kalos 54%
2 Kia Rio 46%
3 Kia Picanto 21%
4 Mazda 2 19%

Issues like weakened brake discs and drums should not be ignored for too long because all it takes is for one little crack to develop for issues to take a more serious turn.

Leaving a MOT with brake lining or pads less than 1.5mm thick could also become dangerous quickly, as your brake rotors can become warped or cracked over time, requiring an expensive replacement.

Despite the expense of such issues, avoiding paying out for repairs on brakes is one of the most dangerous decisions a car owner can make. The Department of Transport reported that in 2015 , 1,131 accidents were caused by defective vehicles, of which nearly a third were caused by unsafe brakes (364).

Poor tyre conditions were also a common reason for advisory issues across the UK, causing 35% of all advisory cautions. Nearly half of tyre-related advisory issues were due to vehicles operating too near the recommended minimum tread depth.

While not a direct MOT fail, tyre and safety experts believe the 1.6mm legal minimum is insufficient to guarantee safety. Most recommend a minimum tread depth of 3mm for tyre replacement.

Those who don’t take heed of advisory tyre notices could also land themselves a £2,500 fine and three penalty points for a worn tyre. If all four tyres are worn below the legal limit, you could face a £10,000 fine and even lose your licence.

According to Warranty Direct, the top five most common advisory issues in the UK overall are:

Part issues Percentage of issues Instances
Tyre issues 35% 4848523
Brake issues 34% 4677051
Suspension 24% 3228777
Engine 5% 638737
Exhaust 2% 312728

Suspension issues also ranked highly for advisory cautions, followed by potential problems with car engines and exhausts.

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct commented on the latest findings, saying:

Notes to editors:

About Warranty Direct

Warranty Direct is an industry-leading provider of direct consumer warranties, specialising in mechanical breakdown insurance for vehicles coming out of the manufacturer's standard 3-Year warranty.

Warranty Direct offers warranties for most cars and vans up to 12 years of age along with motorbikes up to 10 years of age. Policies include cover for Wear & Tear*, failure caused by non-insured parts and failures discovered during routine Service and MOTs.

Covered from day 1 on renewals or continuing a manufacturer‘ s policy. Otherwise, a 90-day exclusion period applies

Warranty Cover is arranged and administered by FirstBase Future Marketing Limited ”FBFM“ trading as Warranty Direct, a limited company registered in England and Wales. registered number: 0803554 Registered Office: 5 Clements Court, Clements Lane, Ilford, Essex IG1 2QY Tel: +44(0)20 8553 4076 and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Financial Services Register number FRN: 590013.
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