RMI Transparent. TMG Transparent. The Motor Ombudsman The Motor Ombudsman. Servicesure Autocentres

Block phone number

Improved Drivability | Good Fuel Saving

Getting Your Car Ready for its MOT Check

How a few simple checks at home could help your car pass its MOT 

An MOT is a Ministry of Transport Test and is a legal requirement for all cars over three years old. Designed to make sure your car is safe and roadworthy, an MOT must be undertaken once a year and passed to ensure your car is legally allowed to drive on public roads. 

Many people dread their MOT, scared their vehicle will fail and cost them money. Between October 2010 and September 2011, 24.5 million MOTs were carried out in the UK with one in five failing the first time as a result of faulty lights, which accounted for a total of 164,837 fails. 

But instead of getting all worked up about your MOT, here are a number of easy checks you can do at home to prepare your car for its next test:

  • Test your horn.
  • Make sure your registration plate is clean so the registration is visible and that it is not loose or cracked.
  • Ensure the seatbelts work correctly and that seats are upright and secure.
  • Check windscreen wipers have no signs of damage or wear and tear and make sure they work properly.
  • Test to see of your steering wheel is fairly tight on the steering column – signs of wear in the column would be it feeling loose or any abnormal movements.
  • Make sure mirrors are cleaned and not cracked.
  • Check the brakes and that the handbrake works properly, if you have to pull the lever up too far the cable may need adjusting. Alternatively, if the handbrake can be released by tapping on the lever it will need tightening. Also ensure the brake pedals don’t feel spongy when you press them – if they do there may be air in the hydraulic system which needs to be removed.
  • Test that all your lights work (and that there is no cracks in the casing); headlights, rear lights, side lights, registration plate light, indicators and rear fog lights and hazard lights. 
  • Check your tyres are inflated to their correct pressure and have 1.6mm of tread – you should also check for punctures and any signs of damage.
  • Inspect windscreen for chips and cracks, if there is a crack on the driver’s side it cannot be bigger than 1cm.

With many MOT failures down to simple things like blown bulbs and faulty windscreen wipers, it is important to examine your car in good time before your MOT is due.