What should you check before your MOT?

On average, one-fifth of vehicles fail their MOTS every year in the UK. But by carrying out some basic checks, you can greatly improve your chances of passing – plus it doesn’t take long.

So, before you book your MOT online with a trusted garage, what areas of your car should you check? 


Your tyres need to be properly inflated. You can find out what the correct tyre pressure is in your vehicle handbook. 

Moreover, the tyres should have at least 1.6mm if tread around the circumference of each tyre. An easy way to check this is to use a 20p coin.

Finally, ensure that none of your tyres are damaged. Look for bulges, cracks, or gouges on the surfaces or sidewalls of all four tyres. Any of these could cause you to fail your MOT.


All the exterior lights of your vehicle need to be in good working order. This includes:

  • Headlights
  • Sidelights
  • Indicators
  • Brake lights
  • Hazard lights
  • Number plate lights

To check this, you may need to enlist the help of a friend or family member. They can look at the relevant light and check that it’s in working order while you operate your car. Or if you don’t have anyone that can help you, you can drive your car close to a wall and check for reflections.


Apply as much pressure as you can on each front edge of your car. If it bounces up and down after you let go, then the shock absorbers could be worn. You should get these fixed before taking your MOT if you want to improve your chances of passing.


The windscreen of your car is another important area to check before taking an MOT. Watch out for any chips or cracks that may be present. Any chip or crack larger than 40mm can cause an MOT failure – as can any chip or crack that covers 10mm or more of the windscreen wiper area.

Fuel and filler cap

MOTs include emissions tests, so you’ll need to leave enough fuel in the tank to account for this, not to mention the drive back. You also need to ensure that your car’s filler cap closes securely.

Seats and seatbelts

The position of the driver’s seat plays an important role in comfortable and safe driving. That’s why you need to make sure that it can slide back and forwards smoothly before taking your car for its MOT. 

Wearing a seatbelt is a legal requirement. So, you should also check for fraying or wearing on each of the seatbelts in your car – and give them a good tug to ensure that they lock and ping back like they’re supposed to.

There’s never any guarantee that your car will pass its MOT. Yet if you take the time to conduct some basic checks, you can greatly improve its chances. What checks would you add to the list? Share your considerations with us in the remarks area!

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