Common wiper blade problems and MOT failures: Your ultimate troubleshooting guide

We understand that keeping your vehicle in top shape is a priority, especially when it comes to passing your MOT test. Your safety and the safety of others on the road depend on the proper functioning of your wiper blades, making it essential to address any issues promptly.

In this blog, we will delve into the typical wiper blade problems that can lead to MOT test failures, and we’ll provide you with a troubleshooting guide to ensure your vehicle passes the test with flying colours. Clear visibility is paramount for safe driving, and this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tips you need to maintain your wiper blades and navigate your way through MOT requirements.

We at Bromley Vehicle Test Centre Limited started back in 1960. Book your MOT online and save 20% with us. And if you want to book your car in for a service or repairs, call 020 8460 6666 or email now.

Common issues leading to wiper blade problems and MOT failures

Inadequate visibility

Insufficient wiper blade performance can result in reduced visibility during adverse weather conditions, a critical factor in MOT test failures. Ensure your wiper blades are in optimal condition to meet MOT standards.

Blade damage

Cracked or torn wiper blades are a common issue. They can lead to streaks or smears on the windscreen, affecting your ability to see clearly. Replace damaged wiper blades promptly.

Worn rubber

Over time, wiper blade rubber deteriorates, losing its effectiveness. This deterioration can lead to MOT failures, so be vigilant about regular wiper blade maintenance.

Incorrectly sized blades

Fitting wiper blades of incorrect sizes can result in inadequate coverage, leaving some areas of the windscreen untouched. Always use the right-sized blades for your vehicle.

Streaks and smearing

Streaks and smearing on the windscreen can hinder your vision. Address this issue promptly to ensure your wiper blades are up to the MOT test standards.

Bending or warping

Wiper blades that are bent or warped won’t make proper contact with the windscreen, leading to MOT failures. Inspect and replace bent blades.

Lack of lubrication

Proper lubrication is essential for smooth wiper blade operation. Dry or unlubricated blades can result in juddering or uneven movement, causing MOT issues.

9 best troubleshooting and repair tips for MOT failures

Replace damaged blades

When it comes to addressing wiper blade issues, one of the most crucial steps is to replace damaged blades promptly. If you notice any cracks, tears, or other visible damage on your wiper blades, don’t delay the replacement. Damaged wiper blades can result in streaks, smears, and uneven wiping, leading to poor visibility and potential MOT failures.

Invest in high-quality replacement wiper blades designed for your specific vehicle make and model. Properly fitted blades will ensure optimal contact with your windscreen, clearing rain, snow, and debris effectively.

Regularly inspect your wiper blades for any signs of wear and tear and make it a part of your routine vehicle servicing to replace them as needed. By doing so, you’ll maintain clear visibility, which is a critical factor in passing your MOT test in Bromley.

Regular cleaning

Maintaining clear visibility on the road is not just about having the right wiper blades; it also involves keeping them clean. Regularly cleaning your wiper blades is a simple yet effective maintenance practice that can significantly extend their lifespan and functionality.

Dirt, debris, and residue can accumulate on the rubber wiper blades, causing streaks and smears on your windscreen. These issues can affect your visibility, potentially leading to MOT failures.

To clean your wiper blades, use a damp cloth or sponge and mild detergent. Gently wipe the rubber blade surfaces to remove any dirt or contaminants. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly and dry them with a clean cloth.

This routine cleaning will help your wiper blades maintain consistent contact with the windscreen, ensuring a clear and unobstructed view during the MOT test in Bromley.

Check for the proper size

Verifying that you’re using the correct-sized wiper blades for your vehicle is essential for optimal performance and to prevent MOT failures. Using the wrong-sized blades can lead to inadequate coverage of the windscreen, leaving areas untouched during wiper operation.

To find the right size, consult your vehicle’s manual, or you can seek advice from an expert at your local Bromley MOT test centre or an automotive parts store.

Choosing the correct-sized wiper blades ensures that they make full and even contact with the windscreen, helping you maintain clear visibility during your MOT test.

Lubricate moving parts

Regularly lubricating the moving parts of your wiper system is key to preventing issues like juddering or uneven movement. Dry or unlubricated components can lead to wiper blade malfunction, potentially causing MOT test failures.

Use a silicone-based wiper blade lubricant to apply a thin film on the pivot points and joints of the wiper arms. This lubrication minimises friction and ensures smooth wiper operation, allowing the blades to glide across the windscreen effectively.

Perform this maintenance task as part of your regular vehicle care routine, especially before your MOT test, to keep your wiper system in top shape and maximise your chances of passing the test.

Adjust wiper arm tension

Properly adjusted wiper arm tension is vital for wiper blade performance. If the wiper arms don’t apply sufficient pressure to the blades, they may not make proper contact with the windscreen. This can result in streaks, smears, and MOT test failures.

To adjust the tension, locate the wiper arm’s spring or tensioning mechanism. Use a wrench or pliers to make subtle adjustments, increasing or decreasing tension as needed. It’s important to maintain a balance; too much tension can lead to excessive wear on the blades and motor, whilst too little tension can result in inadequate cleaning. It is advisable to seek professional help for effectiveness.

By ensuring the right tension, your wiper blades will effectively clear your windscreen, improving your chances of passing the MOT test at the Bromley MOT Test Centre.

Replace rubber inserts

If you notice signs of wear or deterioration in the rubber inserts of your wiper blades, it’s crucial to replace them promptly. These rubber inserts are responsible for making direct contact with the windscreen and clearing away dirt, rain, and other debris. Over time, they can become worn or damaged, leading to streaks, smears, and decreased effectiveness.

Replacing the rubber inserts, often referred to as wiper refills, is a cost-effective way to rejuvenate your wiper blades’ performance. You can usually find replacement inserts at auto parts stores, and they are relatively easy to install.

By regularly inspecting and replacing these inserts, you’ll maintain the optimal wiping action required for MOT test standards, enhancing your chances of passing the test.

Inspect the windscreen for damage

Your windscreen’s condition plays a significant role in the effectiveness of your wiper blades and, by extension, your ability to pass the MOT test. Chips, cracks, or damage on the windscreen can obstruct the wiper blades’ movement, causing uneven cleaning and potentially leading to MOT test failures.

Regularly inspect your windscreen for any signs of damage. If you discover any chips or cracks, consider having them repaired or, if necessary, replaced by a professional auto glass service. Keeping your windscreen in excellent condition ensures that your wiper blades can make smooth and effective contact with the glass.

Visit a professional

When in doubt about any wiper blade issues, or if you’re experiencing problems that you can’t resolve on your own, it’s advisable to visit a qualified mechanic for expert assistance.

Professionals have the expertise and equipment to diagnose and address complex wiper blade problems effectively. They can assess the overall condition of your wiper system, identify any underlying issues, and make the necessary repairs or replacements.

Additionally, visiting a professional ensures that your wiper blades and wiper system are in compliance with MOT standards. Their experience and guidance can be invaluable in helping you pass your MOT test with confidence.


Ensuring your vehicle’s wiper blades are in excellent condition is not just a matter of convenience; it’s a crucial aspect of road safety. A failed MOT test due to wiper blade issues can lead to inconvenience, additional expenses, and most importantly, compromise your safety and that of others on the road in Bromley.

By understanding the common problems associated with wiper blades, following our troubleshooting and repair tips, and being proactive in their maintenance, you can significantly improve your chances of passing the MOT test at a Bromley MOT test centre.

Our team at Bromley Vehicle Test Centre Limited conducts unbiased MOTs in Bromley. Book your MOT at a discount with us. We aren’t the cheapest in the area but we’re fair and thorough. Contact us now!