Getting a vehicle ready for its MOT

MOT ready Mr Clutch poster

If your car or van is due to have an MOT within the next few weeks, it is well worth your while getting it ready for the test. In the UK, one in five cars fails the MOT first time around. Usually they fail on small things that could easily be remedied by the owner before they attend the test. Nobody wants the inconvenience of a second MOT test. Most people are extremely busy, so having to wait for their car to go through a 2nd test is an inconvenience they really do not have time for.

Here are the main things we suggest you check before you bring your car in for an MOT.


One of the biggest reasons cars fail their MOTs is faulty lights. A few days before your MOT check that all of your lights are working. You will need to get a friend or member of the family to help you with this. As well as checking your brake lights, headlights and indicators remember to check your fog lights and that the number plate light is working. Should one of them not be working it is usually a simple matter of changing a bulb or fuse to get them working again. If you notice condensation or cracks in the casing consider getting this repaired.

Dashboard Lights

You need to look for warning lights on the dashboard. In particular, look out for suspension, steering and brake system warning lights. If your car is fitted with things like ABS and Electronic Stability systems, they need to be in full working order for your car to be able to pass the MOT. Bear in mind that repairing problems with these systems can be complex, so you are going to need to check for issues at least a couple of weeks before your MOT is due to give you time to get the repair done.

Wheels and Tyres

Make sure that your tyres are properly inflated, and examine them for damage. Check the tread depth. You can buy a gauge to help you to do this. Remember to check the spare too.


Pull each seatbelt out and examine it for signs of damage. Tug the belt shapely to make sure that the belt works properly. Seats Make sure that the driver’s seat can be adjusted backwards and forwards.


Check the windscreen for damage. If there is any damage that is more than 10mm in size in the swept area it will need to be repaired. Any damage bigger than 40mm, outside of the swept area, also needs to fixed.

Windscreen Wipers and Screen Wash

Top up your washer bottle and make sure that it is not leaking. Check that your windscreen wipers, back and front, are working properly. Any tears or nicks in the rubber could lead to a MOT failure.

The Horn

Lastly check your horn works.

Carrying out these checks will help you to spot the main issues that lead to MOT failures and get them addressed. Naturally, your car could fail for other reasons, but the issues above are the ones that are easy for a non-technical vehicle owner to check and address.