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How to prepare for your car's MOT


Pre-MOT checks

Is my car going to pass it's MOT?

Most people are not sure if their vehicle is going to pass or fail. However, there are a few quick checks that you can do to make sure that you are aware of things which may come up at on the test, or which you can rectify beforehand.


Many of cars simply fail their MOT because of issues like faulty bulbs or split wipers which can be which are quick, inexpensive and easily rectified, but the garage may be busy and you may be inconvenienced in having to come back at another time for the work to be carried out if you don't know about these things in advance.


Do Electric vehicles need an MOT?

Yes! The same as any other vehicle, once the vehicle is three years old, it must have an annual MOT. The only difference is that the emissions test is not part of the MOT for an electric vehicle.


Below are a few quick checks that you can do before your MOT, but you can Click here for a full list of what will be inspected in an MOT on the GOV.UK website (opens in a new tab).


10 things to check before your MOT


Tyres showing cords on an MOT is a dangerous failure

1. Tyres

The legal minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm around the centre 3/4 of the tyre.


Tyre tread is easy to check as most tyres have tread wear indicators. The tread wear indicators are 1.6mm high, so if the tread is worn down to that level, you need to replace the tyre before the MOT.


If the tyre is worn down to cords, or if there is a cut exposing cords, this is dangerous and will fail the MOT. You would also receive 3 points on your driving licence and a fine up to £2,500 per each tyre.



2. Windscreen, Wipers & Washers

Test that your wipers can clean the windscreen properly and make sure that your washer fluid is topped up.


Check your cars windscreen for any damage, such as cracks or chips.

Any damage of 10mm or more in the A-zone of the windscreen (a 290mm area directly in front of the driver) will fail the MOT.

Any cracks/chips 40mm or more on the 'swept' area (rest of the area covered by the wipers) will also result in a fail.

Damage to any part of the windscreen outside the 'swept' area covered by the wipers won’t result in a fail, but may still be advised.


Obstructions to your view from the windscreen could also result in an MOT fail.


Checks to carry out before an MOT

3. Lights & Indicators

Check that the headlights, side lights, brake lights, rear fog light and indicators are all working properly and not faded/showing white on indicators.


Test that your hazard light switch is working and that the 'tell-tale' lights for direction indicators, hazard lights, main beam headlamps and rear fog lamp are all working.


For number plate lights, at least 1 of the 2 lights needs to be working to pass your MOT test, but it is best just to ensure they are both working if possible.


4. Seats & Seat Belts

You should test to see if the front seats moves normally and locks securely in any position, without any problems.


When testing seatbelts, check each one fully to see that they are locked in properly once clipped, they clip in and unclip without hassle, that they are securely attached to the floor or seat, that they do not have any cuts or fraying and that they retract properly,


5. Horn

Test the horn – but try and do this somewhere where it isn’t likely to startle other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, animals or disturb someone sleeping!


If the horn does not work, it will need to be repaired or replaced before the MOT.


6. Exhaust

Car exhaust on an MOT

The exhaust must be secure and there should be no unusual, noises or rattles coming from your exhaust.

If there is anything you are concerned about and cannot see, take it to your regular garage to be checked before your MOT.



7. Engine Oil & Fuel

Make sure your vehicle has enough fuel and oil for its MOT.


The engine will need to be running to check the exhaust emission levels and the tester may refuse to test your car if the fuel or engine oil level is too low.


You can check your engine oil level using your dipstick or on some new vehicles they display the oil level on the dash.


Car warning lights on an MOT

8. Warning Lights on the dashboard

If an engine management or check engine dashboard warning light is on, this will result in an MOT fail as it will be marked as a major fault.


Other warning lights such as ABS, Traction, ESP, SRS and many more warning lights, can also cause an MOT failure.


You will need to get these kind of faults diagnosed by a garage and should never leave a warning light as it could be something which could be dangerous and damage your vehicle.


9. Car battery

If a battery is leaking or insecure and looks likely to fall from the carrier, this would be an MOT failure. If it is insecure but doesn’t look likely to fall from the carrier, it would be classed a minor fault.


10. Mirrors

In order to pass your MOT, you must have your obligatory mirrors intact.


When checking your car’s mirrors, ensure that none are cracked, exposing a damaged edge or severely impairing your view.


What else can fail a car MOT?

Corrosion - This can be hard for you to see as it could be present under the vehicle and may only be seen once the vehicle is on a lift.


Braking System - This will be inspected for brake performance, efficiency and overall safety. You can't always see from the brakes if system is working as it should.


Emissions - Your car's emissions will be tested to see if they are within the legal limits.


This is not an exhaustive list, Click here for a full list of what will be inspected in an MOT on the GOV.UK website (opens in a new tab).


Brake Testing on an MOT

Can an MOT test be done early?

Don't leave your MOT until the last moment! We see many customers booking their MOT test close too close to the expiry date and it inconveniences them if the car fails when they are not expecting it. Your car can be tested up to a month early, and still hold the same anniversary date!


It is an offence to drive an unroadworthy vehicle and you could be fined or even banned from driving.


To book your MOT through us click here


Free visual vehicle health check


For a free visual vehicle health check, we can have your car in and out in no time! No obligation, simply call to book in! We can't guarantee a pass, but we can help you find common faults and rectify them before your MOT.


We manage your MOT, with the test being carried out at Newark MOT Centre just next door. They only MOT, so they are unbiased as they are not looking for any work which is not necessary.


Looking for car repairs in Newark? We supply and fit parts and tyres, in most cases for MOTs we can do this work on the same day.


If you have unexpected MOT repair costs, you can spread the cost of your repairs with us, interest free and fee free through Payment Assist! Subject to acceptance, terms and conditions apply.


For vehicle servicing to make sure your car or van is in great condition before your MOT, call us for a quote today on 01636 550852.





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