MOT Test Tips

If you have a vehicle over 3 years old, you’ll need an MOT test to check that your car meets the minimum acceptable road safety and environmental standards required by law.

MOT’s are undertaken at garages authorised by the Vehicle Inspectorate to carry out the tests. They are easily identifiable by the blue, 3 triangle MOT sign. However, we recommend you carry out a few simple checks yourself before taking your vehicle for the test. This will ensure you don’t get a fright if your car has failed, and gives you the opportunity to fix any small problems yourself beforehand.

You should check the following:

Security of steering rack, steering box and mountings.

Horn operation and whether it is loud enough.

Test all lights work as they should, and check their overall condition and security. They should be of the correct type and colour and do not interfere with each other in operation.

There must be two, red reflectors fitted reasonably symmetrically to the rear.

Bonnet catch must work.

Test the operation of all the doors.

Body construction. Check for rust, corrosion, bodywork etc.)

Body condition and security.

Seatbelt mountings and locking stalks should be checked. Security and operation of the locking/release mechanism. Check the condition of the webbing and retraction of the belt.

Test brakes (if fitted function and sequence of operation of abs). Sufficient reverse travel on the footbrake. Rubber pedal not work to excess. Parking brake works without too much travel.

Check condition of brake components, master cylinder and servo for leaks, pipe leaks and corrosion or fouling. If your brake fluid is low, you may have a leak, but usually it’s a sign that your brake pads are low. Check brake pads and discs have some life left in them.

Cracked or chipped windscreens will need to be replaced if they are in the area that is directly in line with your steering wheel. Also, check wipers for condition and operation.

Mirrors need to be visible and secure, not distorted or damaged in any way.

Check suspension condition and security. No nuts or split pins missing or broken. Shocks must not leak and damp adequately.

Fuel filler cap must fasten securely; seal must also be in good condition. Fuel tank secure and leak free.

Check your tyres! Look for damage, distortion and cracks. Must be securely attached to the vehicle and no studs or nuts missing. UK legal requirement is more than 1.6mm tread left across 75% of the tyre.

Number plates must be clean, not faded and obscured. Correct digits and background.


It may seem like a lot, but it will be worth it when the test is over!

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