Got an MOT: 10 Things to Check Before You Go


The car is one of our most important possessions. As such, it’s important to keep on top of the car’s MOT and ensure that everything is in good working order way before you go for an official MOT test, “Car mot” is the British term for what Americans call “smog checks”. But what does a car need to have before its MOT? Here we list 12 things to check before your car goes for an inspection:

Before we go into the list, what is a Uk MOT?

A car’s MOT is a legal requirement for all vehicles in the UK. The aim of an MOT test is to make sure that vehicles are safe and meet specific environmental standards (for example, it checks exhaust emissions). You cannot drive your car without having had its first annual inspection certificate if you’re in England or Wales – failure to do so may result in fines and points on one’s license as well as attracting penalties from the DVLA. In Scotland, the three-yearly interval applies unless there has been significant damage or modification since last tested. At the same time, Northern Ireland operates two-yearly tests where history shows no previous problems with any vehicle parts subject to review during inspection.

Here is what to look out for:

1. Last years mot history

Is there any mention of an advisory? If so, it’s worth getting a professional to investigate what the fault is and rectify the problem before you get your car mot.

2. Check the headlights of your car, including indicators

Test, they all work, sidelights and main beam. Remove any insect remains to ensure they don’t contaminate the headlight or indicator bulb with their droppings. Check that there is no damage at all to the lenses or glass covers and replace them as soon as possible.

3. Test Brake lights

Get someone to go behind the car and make sure when you put your foot on the brake and the lights come on and off. Whilst you are there, check to make sure the fog lights and the sidelights work.

4. Check your number plate

Make sure it is fastened to the car. Please make sure there are no cracks or chips on it and that all numbers, letters and characters are clear. Also, make sure the number plate has the characters are all the same size with no illegal spacing.

5. Go over the wheels and tyres to make sure they are legal

check over the car to ensure the wheels and tyres are fitted correctly. Check that they don’t have any cuts, cracks or bulges in them, and if you need new tyres, then do so before your MOT

check the tyre pressure of all four with a gauge – it’ll be shown on the side of each wheel pod. It should read between 22-38 psi on average(pounds per square inch).

Also, a tyres minimum legal depth in the UK is 1.6mm, so if your tyre is on the wear marker, it will need replacing before the mot as it will fail.

6. Check your windscreen

Make sure there are no visual distortions or cracks in your windscreen, and if it is cracked, you have to replace it. As a basic policy, if you have any cracks– or even chips– in your windscreen that are larger than 10mm and remain in the A-Zone (which is a 290mm area straight in front of the motorist), your vehicle will fail its MOT. A crack or chip bigger than 40mm anywhere else on your windscreen will certainly likewise result in a fail.

7. Windscreen wipers

This is a simple step but always missed. Look at your wipers for any signs of bends or tears. If they have any, then it would be advised to replace them before the MOT as they will fail, and if you don’t know how to do this yourself, then a car technician can help.

Windscreen wipers should also not show any splits or cracks which might cause them to rip while being used on the screen surface– so these must be changed too!

The law states that both front wiper blades need to work for your car’s MOT pass.

8. Horn

Another simple step, check your car horn. It takes 2 seconds, but you won’t want to fail on something so so simple.

9. Screenwash

How many times will a car fail over something that takes 1 minute to check, open your bonnet, find your screenwash bottle, and top it up with screenwash. Talking to Wye Motors who carry out Mot in ashford, say this happens over and over again, doesn’t take long to top up the fluid, just get it done.

10. Fuel and engine oil

Make sure there is enough fuel to pass the MOT, and if you had any problems in the past, then one must be sure to change it before going for an inspection.

The engine oil needs a check, too- pay attention to your car’s manual, which will state how much (and what type) of oil is required for each service interval, or just run some tests on the dipstick and see where they are at – there should always be enough.

It would also not hurt to get someone who knows about cars another opinion as well!

11. Testing your car’s steering

Test your car’s steering, and it would not hurt to do some manoeuvres with the vehicle and see how it feels.

Is there any knocking or excessive play in the steering wheel? If there is might be worth getting this checkout first.

12. Brakes

Make sure that your brakes are in good condition, too – they should be checked within six months; otherwise, you will need them changing for MOTs!

Summary: The mot is a great way to keep your car safe. It’s also an excellent opportunity to find out about any problems with the vehicle before they become big and expensive issues. As we mentioned, there are many things you can do beforehand to make sure that nothing goes wrong during the test period, but here are some of our favourites that will help avoid simple failures on what should be a routine inspection process for most cars. If these seem like too much work or you don’t know where all the parts are located, let us take care of it! We have unique relationships with mechanics who specialize in inspecting vehicles for their MOT’s so contact them today if you need assistance checking off this list yourself-or; better yet

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