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These Are The Ten Pre-MOT Checks You Should Be Making

If you’re car is three years old, it’s a legal requirement that it receives an MOT on an annual basis. Around 40% of vehicles fail the first time around. Here’s how to ensure yours passes…

Tyres And Wheels

Around 10% of all MOT failures are a result of faulty tyres and wheels. Prior to your MOT, check them for damage. You can do this yourself or visit a local tyre fitting business. The legal minimum for tread depth is 1.6 mm, anything lower will cause a fail. You can check that you have enough tread depth by using a 20p coin. Place one in a groove, if the outer band of the coin face is visible you’re tread is insufficient. Most experts recommend that you keep tread depth at 3 mm for optimal safety; so don’t run your tyres as low as you legally can.

Seats And Seatbelts 

This is an often overlooked pre-MOT check. Make sure that the driver’s seat can be adjusted and that all the others are stable and securely fitted; they all need to be able to be fixed in an upright position. Check seatbelts for damage, such as tears and knots. Make sure to pull on them with some force to ensure they’re capable of reacting sufficiently.

Windscreen And Wipers

Check over your windscreen for any chips or scratches. Any damage that’s bigger than 40 mm and any chips wider than 10 mm will cause a fail. Even the smallest chip or crack can grow substantially and suddenly; compromising the entire windscreen. Anything that looks amiss or that could obscure your vision should be corrected before your car faces its MOT.

Car Fluids

It sounds silly, but your car could fail its MOT for simply having an insufficient amount of screenwash! Before you head to the garage, top up screenwash, oil, power steering oil, fuel and brakefluid. Most of these can be topped up easily. If in doubt, ask a professional to do it for you.

Warning lights

Warning lights are your car’s way of communicating serious problems and they should never be ignored. Turning up for an MOT with your car’s interior looking like a 70s disco is a terrible idea. Even a failed main beam warning light can cause a fail. So, make sure to get warning lights investigated and resolved before subjecting your car to the test.


This is probably the easiest pre-MOT test to carry out. Unless you suffer from pronounced road rage, it’s unlikely that you use your car’s horn often. It’ll be checked during the test, so make sure it’s working beforehand. Make sure it’s sufficiently loud and responsive.


It goes without saying, but a car’s brakes a pretty fundamental (to say the least). One in ten MOT failures are linked to faulty brake systems. Ask yourself whether your car’s brakes are reacting in sufficient time. Are they making strange noises or do they feel spongy? Another sure sign of a fault is if your car pulls to one side. Get a garage to check any of these signs out immediately.


Whilst many drivers will naturally think of their brakes prior to an MOT, fewer will think of their car’s suspension. Make a habit of conducting a pre-MOT check on them. It’s simple enough. Simply press down on each of the car’s front wings. If the car effectively ‘bounces’ or produces knocking-like noises there’s probably a fault. If they’re functioning, the car will gently return to its correct position.

Number Plates

Yes, your car’s number plate will be inspected during its MOT. First of all, it needs to be legal. Even incorrectly spaced letters or numbers can entail a fine up to £1,000. They shouldn’t be obscured by dirt, debris or damage either. Even the colour needs to be ‘official’. So, if you’re sporting a reg from a supplier that isn’t registered get it swapped for an authentic one.


Amazingly, 30% of MOT failures are related to problems with lighting and signalling. Make sure that you check your car’s lights before the test. That includes headlights, sidelights, rear lights, indicators and hazard lights. Get a friend to help with the ones you can’t see for yourself (or a reflective surface if no one’s on hand). If a light is dim or isn’t working, get the bulb replaced. Sometimes, you can do this yourself. If not, consult a professional.

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The Autoserve Club can save you time, money and stress. Club Members can receive huge fuel discounts, discounts on servicing and new tyres and access to our professional 24/7 helpline. To learn more, contact our friendly Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 today.

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