9 Simple Checks to Ensure Your Vehicle Passes the MOT

9 Simple Checks to Ensure Your Vehicle Passes the MOT

Once you’ve successfully navigated the journey of learning to drive and passing your test, you’ll find yourself faced with the ongoing duties that come with car ownership.

These include ensuring your fuel tank is adequately filled, managing your insurance, keeping up with regular services, and of course, preparing for the MOT.

What is an MOT?

An MOT is a mandatory annual inspection that ensures your vehicle adheres to the minimum safety standards required for roads.

Emission Checks

During an MOT, the inspection includes a thorough review of your vehicle’s exhaust emissions. This involves measuring levels of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide. If the emissions exceed the allowed limits, your vehicle will not pass the MOT.

How will I know when my car needs an MOT?

Timing of Your MOT

Your vehicle requires an MOT every 12 months after it becomes three years old. This annual check is essential to ensure your vehicle adheres to the required safety standards.

Checking Your MOT Date

If you’re uncertain about the last MOT date or have misplaced the details, there’s a straightforward solution. Simply visit the GOV.UK website to check your vehicle’s MOT history and find out when it’s due next.

What’s checked during an MOT?

Overall Vehicle Condition

The MOT begins with an inspection of the vehicle’s general condition, checking for excessive damage that might affect its safety or environmental impact.

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What’s checked during an MOT

Key Components

The check encompasses several critical areas:

  • Fuel and exhaust systems to ensure they’re functioning correctly and not emitting harmful levels of pollutants.
  • Doors must open and close properly, providing safe entry and exit.
  • Seats and mirrors are assessed for security and proper adjustment.
  • The braking system, tyres, and wheels are examined for wear and functionality.
  • Lights, including headlights, indicators, and brake lights, must be in good working order.
  • The bonnet must latch securely.
  • Windscreen, horn, and wipers/washers are checked for effectiveness and condition.
  • Finally, the steering and suspension and electrical components are evaluated to ensure they meet safety standards.

9 Checks to Pass Your Next MOT

Making sure your car is in tip-top condition before its MOT can seem daunting. However, by conducting these simple checks, you can improve your chances of passing.

9 Checks to Pass Your Next MOT

1. Brake Fluid

Check your brake fluid levels when the engine is cool and the car is on a level surface. Open the bonnet, locate the master cylinder, and ensure the fluid is between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ markers. If it’s low, top it up with the correct brake fluid for your car, which you can find in the car’s manual.

2. Mirrors

A quick check involves ensuring your mirrors are free from cracks or damage that could impair your vision.

3. Dashboard Warning Lights

If your dashboard displays warning lights, consult your car’s handbook to identify the issue. Some problems may require professional attention before your MOT.

4. Tyre Tread

The legal minimum tyre tread depth in the UK is 1.66mm. Use a 20p coin to check each tyre — if you can see the outer band of the coin, your tyres need replacing.

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5. Lights

Ensure all front and rear position lights are functioning. Turn them on and walk around the car to check.

6. Horn

A quick test of your horn can ensure it’s working properly. It’s a fast check but crucial for passing the MOT.

7. Oil

Oil levels are vital, not just for the engine’s health but also for emissions testing. Check the oil with the dipstick and ensure it’s between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ levels.

8. Windscreen

Inspect the windscreen for cracks. Cracks larger than 10mm in the driver’s view or 40mm elsewhere can lead to an MOT fail.

9. Car Cleanliness

While a bit of dirt won’t fail your MOT, excessive dirt that obscures the registration plate or lights could be problematic. Ensure your car is reasonably clean for the test.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, you will. Our best advice, though, is to stay on top of your maintenance throughout the year. This way, you can sidestep the hassle of tackling a lengthy to-do list just before your MOT.

If your car fails its MOT due to any dangerous or major faults, it cannot be driven until these faults are fixed.

Yes, electric vehicles also require an MOT every 12 months. The key difference is that they are exempt from emissions tests.

Driving a vehicle that has been classified as dangerous following a failed MOT could result in a fine of up to £2,500, alongside a potential driving ban.