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  • Writer's pictureDan

How to prepare your vehicle for an MOT test

Updated: Aug 16, 2019

If your vehicle is 3 years old or more, you are required by law to have an MOT. The Ministry of Transport test, commonly known as the MOT test, is an annual safety check to ensure the vehicle meets minimum safety standards and levels of exhaust emissions set out by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, formerly VOSA).

During the MOT test the designated tester will conduct an inspection and a comprehensive series of checks around the vehicle, including the interior, exterior, under the bonnet and under the vehicle. The MOT test ensures the vehicle is in roadworthy condition. However, should not be confused as having your vehicle serviced and the MOT test does not check the general mechanical condition of the vehicle.

Without a current MOT certificate, you will be unable to drive your vehicle lawfully or renew your road tax.

So what should I prepare for?

There are various checks you yourself can do to increase the chances that your vehicle passes it's MOT test.


Turn on the ignition and make sure:

  • The horn is working

  • The seat belts must work properly and not be frayed or cut

  • The chairs should be secured to the floor


Walk round the vehicle and inspect the tyres. Make sure:

  • There are no bulges or cuts on the sidewalls or any cable showing

  • The tread is at least 1.6mm deep.

  • If the car has a spare tyre, this must be road-legal as well


Check for chips and cracks in the windscreen.

  • In an area in front of the driver a chip cannot be bigger than 1cm, in other areas swept by the wipers that damage cannot be over 4cm.

  • Mirrors should be securely fixed and the glass in good condition

  • The windscreen washers and wipers are working

  • The screen wash is topped up

  • The rubber blades on the windscreen wipers are in order


Lighting is one of the easiest to check and one of the most often failures.

  • Check all exterior bulbs are working - Headlights (both dipped and main beam), front and rear side lights, break lights, reversing lights, front and rear fog lights and all indicators plus number plate lights should all be working

  • Each light’s lens should be free of cracks or damage and that they are not dull and yellowed


You will find it difficult to check these accurately however you can do some things to give you an idea.

  • Check the fluid level in the brake system is between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ indicators. Check your car’s handbook to find it.

  • When putting the handbrake on, If you have to pull the lever up too far through lots of clicking this may need adjusting.


Obviously you can not do an emission test yourself, however these checks you can do:

  • The exhaust must be secure and free from corrosion

  • The exhaust shouldn't be producing heavy smoke constantly

  • Whilst parked, you shouldn't hear any obvious rattling noises if you rev the engine


Similarly this is difficult to get accurate but there are things you can check:

  • Your steering wheel should be fairly tight on the column. If it's loose or there are abnormal movements when you turn, there could be wear in the column support

  • Listen for knocks when turning the steering wheel from full lock to full lock, or excessive whining from the power steering pump, both of which could indicate worn components

Hopefully if all these checks result in no problems, you should be on your way to passing your MOT test!

With every service at Deeping Direct we include a FREE Vehicle Service & Record book - A helpful & comprehensive record of your MOT testing dates, and service dates.

For more information on MOTs please check out our MOT information page and our MOT, failure and retest page.



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