MOT Checklist – Tips to help your car pass first time 0

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The dreaded MOT test… It takes a special kind of masochist who looks forward to that particular nail bite. The annual ritual, the nervous wait to find out whether or not we’re going to be stripped of our transportation, the sizable repair bill rubbing salt in the wound.

Obviously our cars suffer a fair amount of wear and tear over the course of the year and on occasion there will be times when a failure is the justifiable result of something needing urgent attention.

There’s nothing more galling however, than failing your MOT for a trivial reason that could easily have been taken care of before your car reached the test centre. Here’s a brief checklist to work through before you book your test, ensuring that if you do fail, it’s not for a reason you’ll kick yourself for afterwards.  


If any of your tyres don’t have at least 1.6mm of tread across the middle three-quarters they will fail instantly. Other reasons your tyres could fail is if they show signs of damage (cuts, bulges or cracking).


Your lights can cost you a pass if they are not clean or don’t work correctly. It’s definitely worth giving them a profunctury check before you book the car in for its MOT. Get a friend to help, and check your headlights both on full and dipped beam. Check your side lamps, daytime running lights, hazards, indicators and fog-lamps if you have them. Even your rear number plate lights are worth giving a quick once over as they’ll count as a fail if inoperable. Replacement bulbs can be purchased from accessory stores and are usually easy to fit.

Windscreen Wipers

You won’t necessarily fail your MOT simply because your windscreen is cracked, it’s all down to a number of factors – the most important being the location of the crack. Technically, you can get away with cracks smaller than 10mm directly in front of the driver. Damage in this location that’s larger than this (or within the area covered by the vehicle’s wipers) will result in a fail. Damage in other areas will trigger a fail if it’s larger than 40mm.


Wiper blades must be in good condition – not damaged or perished – and should capable of clearing the screen effectively. Your washers need to be functional and if you haven’t topped up the washer bottle or unblocked clogged up washer jets, the tester is within their rights to issue a fail.

Number plates

Your number plates need to be clean and easy to read from a distance. They should use the correct lettering style and spacing. Modified, damaged or illegal number plates will result in an immediate fail.

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