MOT essentials…how to save money, avoid worry and receive a clean bill

Mr Clutch MOT test

Whenever change is made to long-standing systems, such as the annual MOT Test, it will raise concerns, states motoring journalist Iain Robertson, but when those changes improve security, safety and bring the Test into a modern era, the benefits will be felt by all.

In May 2018, the MOT Test underwent a major series of changes. A lot of tester leeway was removed and the parameters surrounding passes, fails, advisories and conditions have been altered significantly. Yet, it may interest you to know that some vehicles are treated so badly by their owners that MOT Testers refused to put over 2,400 grubby motors through the mandatory inspection in the past year alone. Instead of failing them, they were issued with a ‘Refusal to MOT’.

Although poor interior cleanliness was not the only reason for certain testers to be appalled, with old fast-food cartons littering the footwells and mould growth on the windows, in some cases, other maintenance issues rank alongside basic hygiene. These include number plates so dirty (or even missing) that they cannot be read and stickers placed on the windscreen that affect the driver’s view of the road. A lack of windscreen washer fluid was also a very common (and illegal) finding.

Aside from poor interior hygiene, some testers refused to test vehicles, where the undersides were so filthy that important components, such as brake pipes and chassis legs, could not be inspected. While the following list is not exhaustive, these are common reasons for a tester to refuse to test some cars:

  • Doors not opening
  • Excessive interior clutter
  • Low fluid levels (such as oil, coolant, washer and brake fluids)
  • A substantial amount of avoidable exhaust smoke
  • The underside is too dirty (common with off-road vehicles)
  • Obvious damage that makes the car dangerous
  • Excessive fuel, or oil, leaks
  • Insecure loads
  • Incorrect tyre pressures
  • Risk of fire
  • Timing belt history is unproven (mainly for diesel emissions check)
  • Identification of the car is difficult (such as no VIN, or V5 available).

If you want to avoid the embarrassment of a Test refusal, a pre-MOT check, carried out at your local Mr Clutch Autocentre, will ease its progress through the official roadworthiness Test, which is carried out annually on cars that have reached their third and subsequent birthdays. (

While it has always been illegal to drive a car on the road with a dangerous defect, the category tended to be used rarely. Now, faults that fall into the ‘Dangerous Category’ are defined more clearly in the Test procedure, meaning that the existing law is being enforced more stringently. Should your car fail on a dangerous defect, it is illegal to drive it away from the garage, until the repair work has been completed and the car made safe. The only way you can have the car removed is, if it were towed away from the premises, potentially, with all four wheels raised off the ground.

Mr Clutch Autocentre staff know their responsibilities to their customers and they can carry out essential repairs both to allow the car to pass the MOT Test and also to save you from additional expense. Check with them for the ways to avoid high costs, retests and even refusals to test. (

Bear in mind that not all Mr Clutch Autocentres can MOT all vehicle classes. Therefore, you are advised to check online for availability via the website. However, with MOTs being carried out for only £24 at participating Mr Clutch Autocentres (, we ensure that you can save money straightaway.

Visit to check availability and book your MOT online now!