Checklist for an MOT – what items are checked

Portrait of a mechanic on an mot test in leamington spa

Many cars fail their MOT because of minor things that could have been avoided. Belive it or not you can do some checks yourself to correct these minor issues before putting your car in for its MOT?

Here is a quick check list you can do yourself:

Wheels and tyres

The main thing to check on your tyres is the tread. The minimum legal limit is 1.6mm of tread left, if you have less then your car will fail its MOT.
If you are not sure on how to do this just bring in you car to use we can advise straightaway.

Headlights and indicator lights

Simply switch on and use your headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators to make sure they are working. Make sure also that your rear number plate is lit up aswell.
If any of your bulbs are blown we can supply a replacement or you can source and fit yourself.

On most cars its not too hard to replace the bulb yourself, its best to check and follow your manufacturers handbook, however if you are unsure we can do it for you also.

Brake lights

To check your brake lights you will need someone else to help. While they stand at the rear thye can help you check your rear brake light. Press on the brake pedal and they can if the light comes on and then goes off whne you take your foot of the pedal.
Thye need to check any additional brake ligh strip as well if you have one.

Number plate

Cars can fail the MOT test because the number plate is dirty or unclear to read so you can simple clean it.

Number plates are often personalised by having a plate made using a special font. An incorrect font used on a number plate will be an MOT fail.
Private number plates often have the spacing of the letters changed aswell, again wrong spacing of letters on a number plates wis an MOT fail.

Seats and seatbelts

Make sure the driver’s seat adjusts and moves forwards and backwards.

Then check the seatbelts by pulling them out full length to inspect them for damage and pull hard and sharply on them to test how they react if the car has to brake hard, they should stop extending out.


Check for any damage to the windscreen glass. If there is any damage to the screen larger than 40mm or wider than 10mm in the area in front of the driver this will cause a fail.
Check your insurance policy because often a repair to the windscreen can be free or with a small excess fee. You will need it repairing before your MOT is done.

Windscreen wipers

Check your front and rear wipers to see if theywipe your screen clean. Also check them for tears or holes in the wiper rubber because these will cause an MOT fail.

Screen wash

Check that you have washer in your bottle, if not just top up with washer fluid or water if you do not have any to hand.


Check that it works? If not you will need to get it repaired or replaced.

Fuel and engine oil

Check and make sure you have enough fuel and engine oil. This sounds simple but you could be turned away from an MOT without high enough levels because there needs to be enough for the MOT tester to run the car to test it’s emission levels.

If you are unsure about the type of oil that should be used, ask your manufacturer main dealer.

WARNING: Make sure your vehicle has had the chance to cool down fully before checking fluid levels and parts which could be hot to touch

I hope this has helped in advising what you can do to help your car pass its MOT, if you have any questions about your MOT, please feel free to give us a call on tel: 01926 882522

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