An MOT certificate confirms at the time of the test your car met the minimum road safety and environmental standards required by law.
It doesn’t mean your car will remain roadworthy for the following 12 months. You still need to make sure you maintain your car well, including regular servicing.
Make sure you’re not caught out by any of the five simple reasons for a fail shown above, then inspect your car against our 11-point checklist below.
If you find any problems in the following areas, you can fix some yourself to help keep garage costs down.
Headlights and indicators: front, rear, headlights (main beam and dipped), hazard lights and indicators.
If any aren’t working, first check for broken bulbs and replace them.
Brake lights: ask another person to check the rear brake lights come on when you press the brake pedal.
Tyres: check all the tyres have at least the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm, or they’ll be marked as an MOT ‘fail’.
This can easily be done with a 20p coin – see the diagram on the Tyre Safe website.
Check for any damage such as splits in the tread, bulges or cuts in the sidewalls.
Also check the tyre pressure is correct – the car’s manual will list the right pressure and they might also be on the sidewall of the tyre itself – and increase it at a petrol station if necessary.
The handbrake: check the tension in your handbrake.
If it slides up and down without resistance and can’t be ratcheted to a set level, there’s likely to be a problem needing fixing by a professional mechanic.
Seats and seatbelts: check the driver’s seat adjusts forwards and backwards and inspect the full length of the seatbelt for any damage.
Check all the seatbelts latch and fasten securely, and lock when you give them a sharp tug.
Windscreen: any damage wider than 10mm in the driver’s central view will cause an MOT fail, as will any damage larger than 40mm in the whole of the swept area.
Windscreen wipers: make sure your wipers clean your windscreen effectively along with the washers.
Remember, any tears or holes in the wiper rubber can mean an MOT fail.
Suspension check: check the shock absorbers by applying your weight to each corner of the car then quickly releasing it.
The corner of the car should quickly return to its original position.
If it bounces more than twice, this could mean the shock absorbers are faulty and need to be checked.
Horn: give a short blast of the horn – if it doesn’t work or isn’t loud enough to attract the attention of pedestrians or other motorists, get it repaired.
Exhaust: check for exhaust leaks by starting the engine in a well-ventilated space at normal temperature, then listen from the rear of the car for any unusual noises or abnormal smoke.
Fuel and engine oil: make sure your car is filled with enough fuel and engine oil – you can be turned away from the MOT if there isn’t enough to test your car’s emissions levels properly.
We can do a pre MOT Check for you – just ask when booking in!