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MOT Checks - Pre MOT Checklist

There are things you can do to prepare for an MOT test BEFORE you take it to the MOT test centre.

You may notice problems that need addressing prior to your test being carried out, which may save you time and money.

The most common failure items are;

Lighting and signaling

Almost 20% of cars fail due to lighting issues such as a blown bulb or an inoperative number plate light or a faulty indicator. Your car can fail if your headlights are misted, misaligned or cracked.

Take a good look around your car and ask a friend to confirm all the lights are functioning – headlights, indicators, number plate light, sidelights, and brake lights.


Almost 15% of cars fail due to suspension issues like a leaking shock absorber or a snapped coil spring. It’s not easy to spot these, but whilst driving, listen out for any unusual noises or peculiar driving characteristics when cornering or braking.
You can carry out the ‘bounce test’. Simply push down on each corner of your vehicle and let go. The car should immediately spring up to its normal position rather than bouncing up and down


10% fail on brakes and this is picked up in the brake efficiency test which is part of the MOT. Most often this is caused by worn brake pads and/or worn, pitted, or warped brake discs. Sometimes you can see the pads and discs through your alloy wheels.

Try listening out for any grinding sounds when driving? Does your brake pedal feel spongy? Does the car pull to one side when braking?

Oh and don’t forget your handbrake as well. If you parked on a steep hill, would it hold you?


Almost 8% fail on tyres and these are perhaps the easiest component to check of all. The law requires 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tread. You can check this with a 20p coin. Click here to read about the 20p test. Are all the tyres the same size and with the correct load and speed rating? Don’t forget to check for lumps, bulges. If in doubt, drop it into one of our branches and we’ll check it for free.
Don’t forget those tyre pressures.


Over 7% of MOT failures are caused by issues affecting the driver's view of the road. Are the wipers working properly and are you able to squirt water onto your windscreen? Are there any cracks within the range of the wiper blade? A 40mm crack on the passenger side is an MOT fail. On the Driver’s side, it’s just 10mm. Is anything else obscuring the driver’s view for example a Dash Cam or a Sat Nav?

Is your screen wash topped up?

Here are some other areas you can check for yourself before your MOT;


Can you hear the exhaust blowing? Can you smell exhaust fumes inside the car? Can you hear any unusual rattling or banging during normal driving that might suggest the exhaust is not attached properly? This could be a very simple fix.

Oil & Fuel

Your car will need sufficient oil in its engine to pass the exhaust emissions test. With your car parked on an even surface, pull out the oil dipstick and wipe it clean. Then put it back in for a minute and pull it out again. Check the level is between the MIN and MAX marks on the dipstick.

Make sure you have enough fuel!


Firstly, check your dashboard for warning lights. They should come on when you turn the ignition on and then go out. If any are still showing, then you need to get those checked out beforehand. If you’re unsure what the dashboard lights mean, then we can offer a Diagnostic Check.


Next, check each seatbelt by pulling down sharply and you should feel it ‘lock’. Make sure all seatbelts can be secured into their locking mechanism.


Finally, honk your horn! Can other road users hear it?


These simple checks will help you pick up some of the most common failure items and hopefully save you wasting time and money.

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