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The Essential Pre-MOT Checklist


Nervous that your vehicle isn’t going to pass its MOT test? 

MOTs are unavoidable, so why add to the stress of daily life by not ensuring your vehicle has the best possible chance of passing with flying colours?

MOTs don’t need to make you anxious. 

There are some simple things you can do yourself before you take your car in, that will give your car the optimum chance of passing first time! 

The top three reasons for a vehicle to fail its MOT are to do with your brakes, lights/signalling and suspension – so why not start there?

We have put this checklist together to help you avoid the smallest of faults that could cause your car to fail. 


MOTs test not only your foot brake but your handbrake too. 


Fluid leaks or excess air in the system are the most common faults. 

Checking how far your pedal goes to the floor is a simple way to check if there is a possible leak. If your foot reaches the floor or continues to lower without you pushing, there is likely to be a problem. 

If your pedal has a spongy feeling when you add pressure, this may be due to excess air. Bleeding the system could alleviate the problem. 


Parking your car on a hill, or slight incline is an excellent way to test your handbrake. 

If your vehicle isn’t secure, there is an obvious fault. 

Another way to check your handbrake’s efficiency is to listen for about six audible clicks when fully engaged. 

Lights/Signalling – Electrics

There is so much that could go wrong in the electronics department! 

Check ALL of your lights – main beam, low beam, brake lights, hazards, fog beam – the works. Keep an eye out for where the beam from your headlights lands, as this should be aimed correctly.

Honk your horn, and make sure it is audible and works every time. 

Don’t leave your wipers as an afterthought – they need to be fully operational and in good working condition.  


Checking your vehicle’s shock absorbers is crucial. Look for where the springs enter your engine compartment and check that they are stable and intact with no visible wear.

Parking your vehicle on a flat surface and pushing down on each corner can help you see how well your suspension is working. Your vehicle should return to its starting position, with no bounce back afterwards. 

Checking your tyres for potential damage from non-performing shock is also worth a look.

Wheels & Tyres

Failing an MOT due to not performing these simple checks would be a tragedy! 

Just by checking for lumps, bulges and any tears on the sidewalls, and making sure nothing is pushing through the rubber can save you some money. 

Check that your tyre pressure is correct and that they are the right size for your vehicle. Tread depth is vital. It MUST be no less than 1.6mm for at least 75% of the tyre. 

Don’t forget to make sure that your wheel is sitting straight and is showing no signs of buckling. 

Windscreens & Mirrors

Noticed a slight chip in your windscreen?

Is there a tiny fracture in the corner from where you drove over that pothole last week? If your answer is yes, you may well fail your MOT.

Essentially, nothing can block your vision while driving. Sorting out the issue when it is a tiny chip, is much less severe than the time and money it may cost you later down the line.

Make sure your mirrors are all secure and intact. You must be able to see clearly with your rearview mirror.


Keep an eye out for any build-up of rust, protruding sharp edges and any general signs of corrosion on your vehicle.

Ignoring any areas of thinning, issues from minor accidents or wear down of side sills, chassis etc. may cost you your MOT pass.


Possibly the most crucial feature of your vehicle, make sure there are no tears, fraying or any noticeable deterioration on your belts. 

Check that when plugging in each belt, they engage and disengage without too much force!

Exhaust & Emissions

Merely placing a rag – ask a friend!- over an exhaust when your car is running, will address if there is a leak. 

Checking emissions without specialist equipment is a bit harder. You can make sure that your vehicle is not burning oil, and isn’t showing any serious faults with your injection system or carburettor.

Keep an eye out for blue or black smoke as you can get this sorted before your MOT.

These simple steps could save a fortune! 

We hope you’ve found our checklist useful. It’s worth taking time out of your busy week to perform these simple checks. 

This will enable you to spot any problems before the MOT and resolve them at a cheaper rate. 

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