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What checks should I make before my MOT test?

Around 1.5 million cars fail the MOT test every year. However, many of these failures could have avoided if you performed some simple visual checks on your car before the test. These checks are easy to do and can save you time and money.

This is a cost-effective way to get your car checked and topped up for the MOT. Many motorists are smart enough to book both a Car Service or an MOT simultaneously. This allows all service checks and repairs to be done on the vehicle and then the MOT test is completed. This is a great way to save money on your car’s costs. A combination service (MOT/service) is often more affordable than booking them separately.

Before the MOT Test, check your car.

These checks were created for motorists and not car mechanics. They should be easy to follow. It’s best to consult your manual if you are unsure about any items or where they are located on your vehicle. The page at the top of the manual has a drawing of the vehicle and the related numbers. This will help you understand the various areas of the vehicle and their purpose. These pre-MOT checks will be easier if you have a better understanding of your car.
Get to know your car

Before you begin these checks, it is important to ensure that you have not just driven your vehicle and that your car has had time to cool down completely.

  1. Engine oil and fuel

Both must be adequate levels. You should have enough petrol to pass the emissions test and enough oil to meet your requirements. Check the oil level by removing the dipstick, located under the car’s bonnet, in the engine area. Also ensure that the vehicle is level. Pull the dipstick ring/handle, which is usually a bright-coloured one, off the vehicle and wipe it with some kitchen roll. Next, check the oil level. You should add a little oil to the dipstick if it falls below the mark. Be careful not to add too much. It is best to use a little at a given time. Use only the right type of engine oil. Always check your vehicle manual to make sure you are using the correct oil.

  1. Indicators, brake lights and headlights

You can have someone walk around your car with you in it and turn on all the lights. Then, use your indicators to verify which ones are working. Make sure to check your hazard lights (or warning lights) as well. These are usually located near the steering wheel or on your dashboard. These bulbs can be difficult to replace and require a professional to fix them. While you are checking your headlights, have a friend stand behind you while you push the brake pedal. This will allow you to verify that all brake lights work including the high-level brake light strips. You can also reverse your car to a reflective surface such as a garage door, window, or wall and examine the reflection.

  1. Tyres and wheels

Tread depth should not exceed 3mm, but the legal limit is 1.6mm. It is recommended that you renew your tyres when they reach this level. If the tread depth is less than 1.6mm, replace the tire. A 20p piece is a great way to check the tread depth of your tyres. You can check the tread by placing the 20p piece in the groove of the tyre. If the outer rim is visible, you will need to replace the tire. The condition of the tyres is important. Sidewalls should not be broken or destroyed. Also, check the spare tire and wheels.

  1. Windscreen

Wash your car, then inspect your windscreen for damage or chips. A fail on your MOT test will be given if there is damage greater than 40mm. Attention to the driver’s side of your vehicle. Any damage greater than 10mm in the swept area of the windscreen is also a fail.

Contact your car insurance company if you find a small chip in your windshield. Many policies cover windscreen repairs for no additional cost, provided that you use the recommended supplier. You can easily fill in small chips at a specialist windscreen shop while you wait.

  1. Windscreen wipers

If there are tears in the wiper rubber, an MOT test is likely to fail. If your wipers are making a lot of noise or smudges when you use them, it is time to replace them. A new wiper blade can make a huge difference in your driving, especially when it comes to the UK weather.

  1. Wash your screen

Even though it is the simplest of checks, an empty screen washer bottle can cause an MOT failure. It should be topped up with water regularly. Keep a litre-sized water bottle in your car’s boot. This will allow you to refill it wherever you are. Add screen wash additive to your car. It’s great at removing oil and dirt from wet roads and helps prevent freezing in cold seasons. After you have filled the washer, ensure that it works.

  1. Seats and seatbelts

This is yet another simple check. To ensure that your seat belt locks securely, simply take each belt and place it in the lock. You can inspect the belt material and check for tears or damage. Next, tug it to make sure it will hold you if you need it. Next, examine your driver’s seat to make sure it can be moved forward or backwards easily.

  1. Horn

You can give it a quick blast with the horn. If it doesn’t work find a repairer. It is easy to locate a garage that can fix the problem.

  1. Plate registration (number)

Another reason to clean your car is to make sure your number plate can still be clearly seen from afar. You can wipe down the number plates with a damp cloth if you have left it too late. To pass the MOT test, both plates must conform to legal requirements.


It’s worth taking the time to check your car before you take it to your local MOT Test Centre. This will help you to be more confident and save money. If you prefer someone to check your car, then a Full Service and an MOT are the best options. Checkreg.net allows you to book both your MOT and car service together. It’s completely free, and the garage only charges when it’s done.