If your car is more than three years old, an annual MOT test is non-negotiable – in fact, it’s a legal requirement to ensure your car is roadworthy. A car with an expired or failed MOT is illegal to drive and could land you with a hefty fine, and even a driving ban.
It is estimated that around 40% of cars submitted for an MOT check fail the test. Here are some quick checks you can do to improve your chances.
Tyres and wheels
- Your tyres should be the right shape and size and be your standard wheel, not a spare.
- Their tread depth should be a minimum of 1.6mm across the central three-quarter of the pattern. An easy way to measure your tyres’ tread depth is with a 20p coin. We walk you through how to do this in our article ‘3 steps to check your tyres like a pro’.
- Identify any lumps or cuts? Damage like this could result in your car being deemed unfit for use.
- Lights must be fitted with the correct bulbs – that means no crazy colours!
- Ask a friend to help you with this next bit. One of you needs to walk around the car, while the other tries all the lights. The person outside should note any flickering or dim lights, as these will need to be fixed or replaced for the car to pass its MOT.
Wipers and windscreen
- Ensure your wipers and washer fluid are sufficient to clean the windscreen – the driver must always have a good view of the road.
- If not, replace the wipers, top up your washer fluid, or unblock the jets – whatever is causing the problem.
- Any chips or cracks on the windscreen? If they’re bigger than a 5p coin, consider getting this repaired before your test.
- This should be fastened securely to your car and clean so it can be read easily.
- If your number plate uses a unique font, check the government website to ensure it meets the requirements.
- Check that all doors close and stay closed and that the front doors open from the inside and out.
- Check for sharp edges, loose parts, and excessive damage, i.e. rusting or corrosion, as this could cause your car to fail.
Under the bonnet
- Top up your brake fluid and fuel if you need to. The garage will need these to carry out an emission test.
- Check your oil levels and top up if necessary.
- Turn your car on and check that all your warning lights come on and then off. If a warning light stays on, this could affect your MOT test result.
- Make sure the speedometer is working as it should.
- These should be locked in position at all times.
- Check for frays or damage as, if present, your seatbelts will not pass.
- Make sure they’re secured and that they click in and out effectively.
- Give your horn a quick toot to make sure it’s working.
- Clean your mirrors if they’re dirty and position them correctly.
- Your car must have an interior rear-view mirror and driver’s side mirror to pass.
There are other checks that a technician will conduct during the MOT that are not so easy to do yourself beforehand. This list is not exhaustive, but it does help you prepare your car at least somewhat for its MOT test.
Is your MOT expiring soon?
If the deadline for your MOT test is coming up you’ll want to get your car booked in for a test ASAP. Try our online booking system if you’re tight for time. Or, if you fancy a chat, call either of our friendly reception teams on 01485 533786 for Hunstanton or 01553 763763 for King’s Lynn.