What is checked on an MOT – what can I do to help it Pass?

Portrait of a mechanic at mot work in his garage in bromsgrove

Did you know, most cars fail their MOT down to minor issues that can be easily avoided. You can do a few simple checks yourself before putting you car in for an MOT?

Here is a quick list you can follow:

Headlights and indicators

Check your headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators to make sure they are working and check number plates.
If one of the bulbs are blown we can supply a replacement or can be sourced from other outlets if you want.

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

Brake lights

To check your brake lights you will need someone else who needs to stand at the rear of the car. To do this you will need someone else to help and stand at the rear of the car while you press the brake pedal.
Do they light up and go off when taking your foot of the pedal.
Also check if any additional brake strip light if you have one.

Number plate

Cars can fail the MOT test because the number plate is dirty or unclear to read so just simple clean it first.
Number plates are often personalised by having a plate made using a special font – incorrect fonts used on a number plate can fail the MOT test.
Also on personalised number plates the spacing can be set wrongly that will fail the MOT. Even if you haven’t had the plate personalised you will still need to check the font and the spacing used.

Wheels and tyres

The fist thing to check is do the tyres meet the minimum legal tyre tread depth? 1.6mm is the legal limit, anything less than that will be marked as ‘fail’.
If you are unsure you can ask us to check first.

Seats and seatbelts

Check that the driver’s seat adjust forwards and backwards.

To check the seatbelts pull them out the full length of the seatbelts to inspect them for damage and pull hard and sharply on them to test how they react if the car has to brake hard.


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

Windscreen wipers

Check your front and rear wipers to see if they do wipe your screen clean. Check for tears or holes in the wiper rubber – 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 washer fluid to hand.


Check that it works. If itn doesn’t you will need to get it repaired or replaced.

Fuel and engine oil

Check and make sure you have enough fuel and engine oil. You could be turned away from an MOT without high enough levels as the tester will need to run the car to test it’s emission levels so there needs to be enough in the car to do this.
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: 01527874663

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